The 7 Illusions of Leadership
Why top teams settle for ordinary results – despite extraordinary efforts

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The leaders we meet, in organisations of all types, are all telling us the same things.

“I’m incredibly busy”. “My days start early and end late, my inbox gets filled with
hundreds of emails a week, I have back to back meetings every day and I’m having to work evenings and weekends just to keep up.”

“I’m frustrated”. “I can see the potential of this organisation but progress is incredibly slow. We’re finding it hard to make the few percentage points of growth in our annual plans – let alone the transformational changes that we need to breakthrough to the next level”

“I’m not enjoying it”. “I worked hard to be in a leadership position because I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to help this organisation, and the people in it, reach their potential. I thought leadership would help me learn and be the best I can be. Most of the time it feels like a treadmill – just to keep afloat and to keep paying the mortgages of everyone working here.“

Leaders are working harder than ever but results are still disappointing. Does this sound like you?

Through our research, and years of working with leaders, we’ve identified the 7 limiting beliefs that hold leaders back . In this article, we look at each and how thinking differently can transform both your results and your working life.

Limiting belief 1 – Individual leaders change organisations

There are few leaders who can transform an organisation with the power of their own personality – or sheer willpower. If you aren’t one of them, you’re going to need help.

Teams, not leaders, change organisations.

To address the real issues your organisation will require your top team to work together. All the big challenges are cross functional. Most of them require the leadership team to be role models of how to lead and get work done. Our research suggests that leadership teams have the potential not only to increase results by between 45% and 90% – and also to make work more rewarding.

TSS Case study – The story so far

Peter was the MD of TSS, a division of Tata Steel. After years of incurring losses running into the tens of millions, the leadership team of Tata Specialty Steels (TSS), made dramatic surgery and achieved break even. Their biggest challenge, however, was still ahead of them.

Like most leadership teams, the TSS leadership team worked mostly within their own functions. There were tensions between departments, cross functional co-operation was weak and they were giving out different messages on priorities.

As we talked, Peter realised that creating growth would be much harder than cutting costs. TSS were nudging into profit but he knew he didn’t have all the answers. He needed the team to step up to a new level if TSS was to succeed.

Do I, he wondered, have the team around me to get the job done?

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