How often do you stop to consider the state of your mindset when it comes to your leadership?
If you’re like any of the power players I work with, I know for a fact it’s not as often as it should be.
That’s a mistake you need to correct right now.
I was reading a short article by Business Insider not too long ago.
The article itself briefly touched upon a podcast interview of Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey. What sparked my interest was his concern of entrepreneurs emulating the working mindsets of famous public figures, most notably that of Elon Musk, and the “burnout” that comes from trying to mimic his type of work schedule.
The article reminded me of the leaders I work with and how many come to me suffering from generalized “burnout” – which is a serious issue for anyone in a position of leadership and can signal the death knell of progress.
But the concern of “burnout” will, unfortunately, become just another thing to “try and avoid”, if the underlying driver of burnout is not understood and conquered head on.
And that driving force is RIGIDITY.
In my experience working with leaders and performance-based executives, I have found that operating from rigidity is the Achilles heel to true progress. It should not be celebrated as conviction but be categorized as dysfunction and treated as such.
Now, the times where you may fervently stand your ground or hold unwaveringly to a decision or action is not something I am criticizing.
I view those as standards and values being upheld for the benefit of progress. And they show a stark contrast from the staunch and immoveable behaviors and perspectives exemplified by rigidity.
Rigidity is a personality trait that betrays intent and deeply fails leaders looking to make productivity their foremost priority.
Stemming from fear, rigidity is a galvanized byproduct of an incessant need for control.
It can initially provide you a false sense of power and confidence, even bravado.
This is a smokescreen.
It’s weakness, not strength, and it leaves you utterly vulnerable to outside forces that may challenge your position.
Rigid leaders may portray strength in rules for example, but, they end up breeding a culture of weakness, paranoia and even suspicion. Instead of showing judgment, they become judgmental and move towards incessant criticism.
Eventually, they fall because they lose the trust of their team.
Here’s one real-life example of dealing with such a leader.
After 9/11, the 101st Airborne, my military unit, was put on orders for deployment in Afghanistan. We were one of the first major Army Divisions to put boots on the ground just a couple months later.
Given our reputation as high-caliber combat soldiers, command felt we were ripe for a high stakes combat operation merely weeks of being in country.
The problem with this was the expected casualty outcome if we were to execute this mission.
Our intelligence emphatically briefed our commander that he would lose about 40% of his men, but he refused to heed their advice.
This Lt. Colonel was so hell bent on being a combat-hardened commander that he was willing to lose a large portion of his unit to achieve that goal.
Other leaders fought with him to pause until further support was possible, but his rigid mind was made up – he was going to get his combat certification, even if it meant the death of most of us.
Yes, war brings casualty. But we had the advantage to avoid such casualty given our intel, and what hurt our odds was a leader being rigid in his decision making.
Now consider Bruce Lee and his outlook on rigidity.
He says, “It is the ego that stands rigidly against things. And it is this ego rigidity that makes it impossible for us to accept everything that confronts us.”
He goes on to say, “when you move, be like water,” referencing the ability to be strong, yet flexible with anything you encounter.
This same sentiment is echoed by the Chinese sage, Lao Tzu, whose famous quote was, “Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard”.
As you can see, both ancient and contemporary wisdom, as well as real-life experiences, can attest that rigidity is a weakness, and sooner rather than later will obstruct or injure you and others you are responsible for.
Rigid leaders are, in fact, weak leaders.
You must refine how you operate if you are to lead successfully. And to do so you need to know where you may be operating from rigidity.
However, you’ll never know for sure until you’re challenged.
And better to learn in a structured dynamic with the right resource, versus an outside challenger simply wanting to take you down.
Find out how I challenge CEOs, Executives, and other Leaders like you to eradicate rigidity and resolve burnout for good.
This way you’ll be operating at maximum efficiency in your life and business, succeeding far beyond expectation.
Not sure you have what it takes to do this work? Take the Character Index.