Are you feeling constantly low, demotivated and uninterested in your work? You might be suffering from leader’s block.
It´s like the flu: common and contagious. The good news is that all leaders catch it at some point of their careers!
Ritu G. Mehrish has interviewed hundreds of leaders worldwide to discover the reasons behind these feelings, identifying the symptoms and ways to break out of them. She has given a name to it – leaders block. According to Mehrish there is a certain stigma over talking about this challenging phase.
– We all know that every successful writer goes through writers´ block and it is totally accepted and normal. I would even go as far as to say that it is totally accepted to have a bad phase in every other field except leadership. That is why I hope recognizing leader´s block enables us to accept that it is totally fine for leaders to go through unproductive phases during their careers. My message is that every leader is susceptible to leader´s block and no leader in any field ever has a consistent track record.
No material on leader´s setbacks and challenges
Mehrish has recently published a book called Leader´s Block. What triggered her to start diving deep into this topic? – As an executive coach I´ve worked with leaders all across the world and from various industries, and as I listened and worked with them, it dawned on me that there are tons of material available for leaders about how to be more effective, productive, profitable and successful, but almost zero talking about the challenges, fears and setbacks they experience. So, I wanted to create something for the leaders and by the leaders, and that´s why I started this journey.
Contagious like the flu
Mehrish is convinced that leader´s block is something that happens to every leader and goes around like a flu. – Everyone gets it at some point. It starts with a simple cough and the sniffles, which are self-healing, but if the cough and cold continue, it can lead to a burnout.
According to Mehrish, leader´s block is about losing interest and engagement in your work, feeling constantly demotivated. – It’s the precursor of a burnout.
A malady more likely to affect experienced leaders
Mehrish made another interesting observation during her research. – Surprisingly, most of the leaders were experiencing leader´s block when they reached the senior level. It looks like leader´s block comes into the picture once you start gaining a certain amount of experience and your eagerness to start asking for help declines.
An organization is the sum of its leaders
The organization has a key role in recognizing and acknowledging leader´s block. The first impact of a blocked leader can be seen on the team. An uninspired leader cannot inspire. A demotivated manager cannot motivate. A lost leader cannot direct. Disengagement and low energy in a leader can leave a lasting imprint on a team, leading people to switch teams or even leave the organization.
-A leader doesn´t operate in isolation and an organization is the sum of all its leaders and teams.
Wake up call for the work community!
As leader´s block is a precursor to a burnout, organizations have a huge opportunity to prevent burnout by helping leaders. –To raise awareness on leader´s block, organizations need to be familiar with the symptoms and be able to pay more attention to their leader’s behaviours, body language, engagement, mood and temperament, rather than focusing only on the metrics, targets and results.
You can read the entire article from the upcoming Nordic Business Report fall 2019 edition which is coming out at the Nordic Business Forum Helsinki event!
Biography – Ritu Mehrish
Ritu G. Mehrish is an executive coach and speaker with 20 years corporate experience in companies like Procter&Gamble and GE Capital. Throughout her career, she has worked with, coached and conversed with leaders from diverse industries across the globe. Her experience has enabled her to bring in a pragmatic approach to leadership development.