Call us on: +44 (0)1271 337 110

/Denise Campbell Get out of your own way

A number of years ago I invested in myself and chose to spend time in the lovely Lake District for some personal development with like-minded people. A message that really hit home for me that week was this - “We just need to get out of our own way!” It is a message I have subsequently shared with many of my coachees and other leaders in development workshops, and am pleased Sign Post My Wayto have seen colleagues writing it down to use themselves. After all, a good thought can only get better when it is shared.

When we get out of the way, or something or somebody else gets out of the way, in general the purpose is to free up the space, clear the path, avoid the obstacles on the path, or to let us see what is happening, what is going on.

If we apply that to ourselves and getting out of our own way, it raises some questions along these lines:

  • In what way am I taking up unnecessary space?
  • What am I doing to obscure my own path?
  • What do I do to block my own thinking?
  • In what way am I throwing mud into my own waters?

Wouldn’t it be great if, by building a coaching approach to managing others, we could help them to get out of their own way and take responsibility for the things they need to improve on or challenges they need to tackle? Yes, of course it would, but before we do that we need to get out of our own way first!

In my experience often when coachees are looking to be able to do something, they (in the main, not always) know how to do it already. 

“I would like to be able to deal more easily with people I find difficult”

Dig a little. You and I know that you can do this really. You might even have examples of when you tackled someone who was aggressive or someone who wasn’t motivated at all. You’ve been on assertiveness courses and have the theory but for some reason you are not doing what you know in the situation you find yourself in right now, with this specific person. You are in your own way.

In what way am I taking up unnecessary space?
By spending so much of my time worrying about dealing with this person. I am not sleeping as a result.

What am I doing to obscure my own path?
Telling myself “I’m hopeless! I’m the manager. I should be able to do this!”.

What do I do to block my own thinking?
Telling myself that no-one else can deal with him/her either, so it’s his/her fault, not mine.

In what way am I throwing mud into my own waters?
Focusing on what is wrong in the relationship and not taking time to think about the outcomes I want to achieve when working with him/her.

“I want to get a better work-life balance and to do this I need to be able to stop working excessive hours”

Again the principles of this aren’t the missing piece for most of us. If I asked you what makes for good delegation of excess work you could most likely give me a list of the things that work in theory. You are not applying them right now even though you know the mechanics. You are getting in your own way.

In what way am I taking up unnecessary space?
Moaning and complaining to anyone who will listen at work as well as at home about how awful it is.

What am I doing to obscure my own path?
Letting assumptions about what I really want to have as a work/life balance become bumps in the road without even challenging them.

What do I do to block my own thinking?
Blaming my boss, my team, or anyone else for my lack of action.

In what way am I throwing mud into my own waters?
Feeling superior/a martyr because I am doing it all myself.

“I want to see this project/initiative through to the end but it is not happening”

Your project plan has milestones, targets etc. Budgets are sufficient; skills training in the new system has been booked and scheduled, however, deep down you either don’t believe in the project and what it might deliver, you don’t believe that people or things will change because they didn’t the last time you changed this process, and you don’t believe in your ability to inspire. You are getting in the way and what you are thinking and what you believe to be true is making you exhausted. Therefore your resilience is low, your physical exhaustion results in less energy to get things done and all this compounds what you think and believe.

In what way am I taking up unnecessary space?Puzzle Pieces
Spending time worrying about it and not sleeping, eating properly or exercising as a result.

What am I doing to obscure my own path?
Procrastinating, and letting the fear of “it’s not working right first time” and making mistakes be an excuse for not being decisive.

What do I do to block my own thinking?
Cling to beliefs that with a little prodding and poking I might find are not really true.

In what way am I throwing mud into my own waters?
Not asking for others to help with a way forward.

Look after yourself

For me the first step to “getting out of our own way” is to recognise that, as leaders and managers, looking after ourselves and being kind to ourselves is an excellent starting point. Give yourself permission to do what you already know you can do. Take ownership and responsibility of the situations you want to improve rather than subconsciously giving power to other people or other things. Challenge yourself or find a good coach that will help you do that and ask yourselves some of the questions above. It is about accessing the help and support we need when we need it, wherever that may come from.

Who knows, if you get out of your own way it may come from you! As you start to look after yourself, you can then start to think about building a coaching approach to managing so that you can your team collectively grow together.

Contact us to discuss how you could get out of your own way in order to adopt a coaching approach to management.

Register for our Webinar "Think, Act and Deliver Like a Coach".

24 September @ 14:00

Denise Campbell

Denise Campbell, Learning Professional

Passionate about working with leaders and managers who want to contribute significantly in their own area of work and inspire those they work with to deliver the goals they are collectively responsible for.

Copyright © 2014 Bray Leino Learning

Subscribe to our newsletter

/Denise Campbell Get out of your own way

Tuesday September 16, 2014

A number of years ago I invested in myself and chose to spend time in the lovely Lake District for some personal development with like-minded people. A message that really hit home for me that week was this - “We just need to get out of our own way!”

Read More