Leaders Know How To Use Discomfort

Last week, I wrote about shame having no place in effective leadership. Shame is a destructive discomfort.

But, other discomforts can have a lot of value.

We only grow when we are uncomfortable.

Leaders not only make sure the work gets done, they develop their people. Below are several examples of ways you can push your team into a little good discomfort – to further develop and help them grow:

When you see someone who has great potential, give them a bit of a stretch goal. When the stakes are low, go ahead and let them try some things without coaching at first.

When you see someone who has become too comfortable with their routine, assign a way to change it up; for example, you could ask them to work remotely for a day or two.

When someone is too comfortable working alone and doing tasks that could be delegated, require them to delegate more and/or spend half a day coaching someone newer.

When some always asks for permission, or confirmation, or affirmation – smile and say, “I’ll let you decide this one.”

When someone makes a costly mistake, ask them to lead a fact-finding post-mortem to learn from it and share the lessons.

When you see someone who has a lot of potential, ask them to put together a presentation for YOUR boss.

And while you’re at it – what can YOU do to push yourself into a little discomfort? Choose from the list above, or ask your boss for ideas. They’ll like it.

  1. jacque mccurdy
    | Reply

    absolutely…it’s all about getting outside the box. if one stays in the box, they become complacent and possibly goes down the road of addiction. I say that because subconsciously they are looking for something, but because they are limiting themselves they look for things they think will externally satisfy that “need” inside their box. thus creating a false “high”. I guess i can thank my dad for creating that insatiable quest to always question and find new answers.

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