It has been 2 years since publishing my first book, “Rescuing the Corporate Exhausted Hero.” And over those two years, I have more and more data indicating being an Exhausted Hero is a choice, not a life sentence.
Over the last two years, I have coached c-suite Fortune 500 executives and mid-major directors who have struggled as Exhausted Heroes. And 95% of them have made HUGE progress in elevating to more strategic leadership roles. Through coaching and making minor changes to their leadership style, these leaders are finding better personal balance, gaining positive feedback from their teams, and delivering more innovative solutions for the business.
What is an Exhausted Hero? This is a leader who maintains individual contributor responsibilities, manages a team, and in their spare time sets the vision. In trying to do it all, they probably aren’t doing any of it well.
An Exhausted Hero is a firefighter. They run into the fire with the team to try to put it out, constantly reacting to the changing fire patterns and challenges. They are exhausted, and therefore their team is exhausted too. A Strategic Manager is a fire chief who sets up the command post outside of the fire, continuously analyzes the fire, and proactively directs the team to put it out effectively. They are composed, and therefore their teams are composed as well.
What is the key to becoming a Strategic Manager/Leader? My research over the last four years shows 60% of leaders need to start with improving delegation skills. By delegating the work, the overwhelmed firefighter can start to be a proactive fire chief. Another 20% of leaders start by focusing on Influencing Change. Through coaching, leaders learn to have more strategic conversations to drive more proactive decision making. And finally, the last 20% of leaders start by focusing on Creating Vision. My coachees learn to create new habits and re-invest their time into strategy, innovation, and learning opportunities which are used to build the vision for their teams.
If you are a Corporate Exhausted Hero who feels trapped and hopeless, know there is a plan that works. It is a choice to not be an Exhausted Hero. It takes discipline. It takes courage. But most of all, it takes your desire to no longer be Exhausted.
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