My head hung low. A desk separated me from my manager as I sat for my annual review.
He asked how I thought I had performed that year.
“I’m used to exceeding expectations every year, but this time I didn’t finish what you wanted me to do.”
You see, that year I had accepted a challenge to grow as a leader. I took a new position overseeing three different fields of responsibility. I had never done any of the technical work for even one of those fields.
Instead of learning to inspire those team members to stretch out of their comfort zone and excel, I tried to quickly master the technical skills of each field.
I wanted to lead through personal expertise. After all, that’s how I had been successful so far.
But this time was different.
My team’s results weren’t necessarily worse that year, but we certainly didn’t reach the growth and improvement goals we had set – and that the company needed.
Zig Ziglar expanded on a G. K. Chesterton quotation when he said, “Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly, until you can learn to do it well.”
My love for exceeding expectations meant I didn’t like doing anything poorly.
But my poor performance as a new kind of leader that year was just the start I needed to learn to do it well.
I thought when I accepted the role that it may be much harder than anything I had done before. It turns out I was right. And it meant I didn’t get the salary increase that year that I had become accustomed to.
But the corrective feedback I received from doing it poorly was worth far more to me than the bigger salary increase would have been.
Are you someone who “always” exceeds expectations? Is it part of your self-identity? If so, you may be avoiding the very opportunities that will grow you to your next level of success.
Want help overcoming that self-limiting behavior? Visit https://www.stevedwire.com/meet to schedule a complementary call with me.
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