The Sucky Reality and Relief from Leadership Paralysis

Leadership paralysis sucks. Being stuck sucks.

If you have led, you’ve experienced leadership paralysis.

Leadership paralysis has clearly recognizable symptoms: confusion, unsettledness or restlessness of spirit, weariness, irritability. Those who suffer from leadership paralysis lack a hopeful vision. They can’t articulate a dream. Their feelings of discouragement persist. They feel helpless and completely vulnerable to others’ weighty and restrictive expectations. They know deep down that they could do more, be more. There just doesn’t seem to be any way out. They are paralyzed.

What are your symptoms?

So, what causes this sucky, stucky place? What are the root causes of leadership paralysis?

In my personal leadership journey here are my Top 3 root causes of leadership paralysis. See if you recognize and of these. Do these ring true?

No Clarity Space

Three major culprits keep us from carving out space on our calendars to consider our identity and direction. The weight of too many advisers-we rely too much on what others think and tell us to think, trying to please everyone by following their advice will put you in a sucky, stucky place.

Busyness-our over-extension leaves zero time to consider, let alone, define and hone in on our identity and direction.

Persistent disobedience over time-how many times have you said, “Today is the day.” or “I really need to put some thought time on my calendar.” The reality is, you say it, you feel it, but you have done nothing about it.

“But,” you say, “I don’t have the freedom to do this.” “I can’t get the support of my leaders.” “There’s no money.” “This is just a bad time right now.” “I’ll get to it when things slow down.”

No Creative Space

For some of us, we have a sense of identity and know where God is leading us. We are clear. Our challenge, though, is to shake off the known in favor of a new thing, a new attempt, a new rhythm.

The weight of too many advisers-those around us resist the new, encourage us to maintain what is in front of us.

Busyness-there’s work to be done. No time to take an adventure. Exploration is only for those who have nothing to do.

Persistent disobedience over time-how many times have you been nudged to stop what you were working on and step into a new opportunity? How many times have you heard a still, small voice in your head nudging you to venture out of the well worn path and do something a little out of the ordinary.  Recently, I road my bike to work instead of taking the car.

No Coaching Space

The weight of too many advisers-as leaders we are so quick to give advice, and so quick to receive it. Do you believe that people have their own best answers? That people will own their own solutions much more fiercely than someone elses?

Busyness-listening to your heart, to your deepest yearnings takes time. You don’t have it. Maybe later.

Persistent disobedience over time-how many times have you had the strong inclination to reach out to a trusted and trustworthy guide to walk with you and hold you accountable to a new life-giving rhythm and either consciously or sub-consciously resisted it?

Stop it! Turn the persistent disobedience into sudden obedience. Get off the hamster wheel of your busyness. Stop excusing it and give into those deep yearnings. Dive in. There will always be more work to do, more events to attend, things to “see to.” And, at least for awhile, turn off your ears and your heart to the advice of others, as helpful and coming from the heart as it might seem, and spend time listening to a Higher Voice.

What’s the antidote to leadership paralysis? How will you get unstuck? What CAN YOU DO today to cut through what has you all tied up?

May I suggest three simple moves to help you get free…

Seek Clarity

Step Out In Courage, &

Strengthen Your Competency

Seek Clarity-Know who you are and where you’re going. Do whatever it takes to figure this out, personally AND organizationally. (This is what I mean by Clarity Space.)

Step Out In Courage-Ask for help, invest in a guide to walk with you. Find someone who isn’t just interesting, but who will be interested in you, invested in you. Life is too short and leadership is too darn hard and lonely to try to go it alone! (This is what I mean by Coaching Space.)

Strengthen Your Competency-Try new things, and find some new life-giving rhythms. Take the next step convinced that it has been promised. You can’t strengthen your competency without trying and repeating new things. Over time you will find that they stick and you’ll forget you were stuck! (This is what I mean by Creative Space.)

Which one of 3 root causes of leadership paralysis are you suffering from today?  And which of the three antidotes resonate with you?