Earl Breon: Are you trying too hard?

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Earl Breon: Are you trying too hard?

Tue, 05/16/2017 - 16:02
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Leadership is built on a set of fundamentals designed to make you and more effective leader and when you try too hard you make mistakes.

What do shooting a gun, playing quarterback, golf and leadership all have in common? We will answer that at the end but you’ll likely figure it out pretty quickly. Here’s a hint, it has to do with fundamentals and properly applying them.

So, lets dive right in and get to the answer!

Shooting a Gun

Shooting is built on a set of fundamentals that ingrain proper stance, hand placement, breathing and trigger control in order to place rounds on target. The more natural and relaxed you are the better your perform. If you are missing the target you can go back and review the fundamentals to see why you are missing and identify the mistake and take corrective action.

The number one mistake most people make? Trying too hard. Whether it is squeezing the trigger to hard or forcing their breathing, trying too hard makes you miss your mark.

Playing Quarterback

Playing quarterback is built on a set of fundamentals that ingrain knowledge of the game of football, proper footwork and proper throwing motion in order to make sure the ball makes it from your hands to the targets. The more natural and relaxed you are the better you perform. If you are missing your target or worse, hitting the other team’s targets, you can go back and review the fundamentals to see why you are missing and take corrective action.

The number one mistake most people make? Trying too hard. Whether it is an over-exaggerated throwing motion or aiming the ball, trying too hard leads to mistakes with the ball.

Playing Golf

Golf is built on a set of fundamentals that ingrain proper stance, grip and club selection in order to get from the tee to the green in the least number of strokes. The more natural and relaxed you are the better you perform. If you are hooking, slicing or in the weeds too much you can review the fundamentals to see why and take corrective action.

The number one mistake most people make? Trying too hard. Whether it is a bad stance, shoulder dip or gripping the club too hard, trying too hard leads to mistakes in the game.

What do shooting a gun, playing quarterback, golf and leadership all have in common?

Figured it out? Leadership is built on a set of fundamentals designed to make you and more effective leader and when you try too hard you make mistakes. Sometimes the mistakes from trying too hard can be worse than the mistakes from not trying at all. So, lets explore three of the more common ways we try too hard.

1. Over compensating

This is easy to do once we receive a piece of critical feedback. It usually plays out like this, somebody says you don’t smile enough or you don’t interact enough or any number of issues so, in order to fix it, you plaster a big fake smile on your face or you aggressively engage every person you meet in small talk. These are classic examples of trying too hard.

Worse, they are fake and easily seen through. Today’s workforce craves authentic leadership and you have just undermined your own authenticity in a way nobody else could.

Tip: Don’t make extreme adjustments unless you are made aware of behaviors that can be considered critical failures.


2. Re-invention

Sometimes a leader can feel they are in a rut. Things are rolling along but something is missing. It is time for a shake up to get things livened up again. So, you go out and buy the latest #1 selling leadership book. Cram yourself through it and start throwing around new catch phrases and trying to apply principles you don’t really understand.

Yep, trying too hard. And this one is really dangerous because it causes total organizational disruption, and not the good kind either. Your team will begin to feel that sudden change and can read it as panic on your part. That panic can translate into a multitude of fears and those fears take over their minds and kills productivity. All of that because you tried too hard!

Tip: Reading and self-improvement are great, highly encouraged in fact, but don’t try to copy anyone else. Incorporate their teachings so they fit your style and your organization.

3. Doing nothing

Doing nothing may sound like the opposite of trying hard but I assure you some people will go to great lengths to do absolutely nothing. And I don’t mean just to be lazy. I mean to avoid change. They try so hard to make people see their way is the right way that they miss the opportunity to grow themselves. The dangerous part here is when there are just enough people who agree with them that, in their mind, it makes the majority look wrong.

We tend to think of these people as dinosaurs or out of touch which is only partly true. They may be fully aware of what is changing around them but working overtime to stop that change.

Tip: Adaptation is critical to continued successful leadership. Doing nothing to improve, adapt and grow is not an option.

Don’t try too hard

If you become obsessive about mastering the fundamentals of leadership and be intentional about applying them you will find being a good leader is a lot easier than most people make it out to be. Sure, it is difficult and requires a lot of effort but, overall, it is pretty easy. And, good news for you, I have written a lot of material on these fundamentals which can be found in my Leadership 100 Series. Click through the pages for a more detailed look.