Saturday, December 28, 2013

Hard – Harder – Hardest
I quit doing the hot yoga program called Bikram Yoga for six months. After faithfully practicing for over two years I got frustrated since I couldn’t hold the balance poses and continually fell out while I watched others beautifully and gracefully hold a one legged pose for the whole allotted time period. And it was not only the balance issues that irritated me, I also found it to be hard work and it did not seem to get any easier the more I practiced. So I quit. I blamed the balance issues on my bad ankles as well as the heat causing me too much trouble. After over 200 classes I still found every class to be hard. I would assess after each class and define it as being a hard class or a harder class or even a hardest class. I cannot remember ever crossing over to the other side of the continuum and calling a class easy. The continuum should actually have six grades to its scale – Easiest – Easier – Easy – Hard – Harder – Hardiest. My scale only had three grades. So because it was always hard, I quit.
A little over a month ago I went back and started again. It really was like starting over. So far every class has fit into the Hardest category. I am determined to stay with it this time and hope to be able to add the three Easy grades to my scale. It took a lot of reflection to realize that I feel embarrassed when something doesn’t come rather easy to me and every time I fell out of a pose or had to take a knee I was not going to be a star yogi. I noticed that I like to try new things as long as I can see ongoing improvement. With yoga, if I wasn’t improving then quit and find something else.
There is one thing I do exceptionally well. That is leadership coaching and teaching leadership skills to leaders. I am regularly reminded of how hard the art of leadership is for many of those I coach or find in our workshops. Many leaders would work from the same side of the continuum I work from when taking yoga classes – it’s hard for them. They did not go to school to be trained as leaders. Most went to school to learn how to be technicians of some sort. Many excelled at their technical craft and were noticed by others as having excellent technical skills. We then played a dirty trick on them. We promoted them to leadership roles.
In our workshops I see many people that put lots of effort into moving their leadership abilities from the hard side of the scale to the easier side. And they don’t quit. They realize they have to see leadership development as a life long practice. These are the people that recognize the impact they have on other people’s lives and they take this work very seriously. We believe leading others is noble work and not to be taken lightly.
My biggest worry is for those that do quit while they continue in their positions of leadership. These are the leaders that are strictly taking up space. The impact they have on others is far more harmful than the developing leader that takes their leadership learning as serious business. Poor leadership still ranks as the number one reason someone leaves his or her organization.
Which leader are you?