The Monkey That Hijacks Your Leadership Authenticity

In the Chinese zodiac calendar, it’s the year of the monkey. In the spirit of the zodiac, here are a few “monkey types” that hijack your leadership authenticity.

The Controlling Monkey is driven, ambitious, directive and a perfectionist.  If you’re this monkey, these are your gifts. Just don’t expect to score high in authenticity.  Your people have seen you put achieving results before them time and time again.  They don’t trust you fully and who’d blame them?

The Protecting Monkey is a super smart problem solver leader whose technical solutions win her approval. If you’re this monkey, thank you for your brilliance.  Sadly, your people might not trust you fully because they’ve been in too many meetings where you one up them with your smart ideas.

The Complying Monkey may or may not be as driven or technically genius but he’s the caring leader who works hard to fit in, does what makes his people happy and avoids rocking the boat.  If you’re this monkey, thank you for being so nice. You may not achieve as much as the others in results but surely you’re the most trusted of all the monkey types? Not so!  Your people see you say yes when you really mean no and they lose trust in you each time.

As counterintuitive as it may feel, it’s time to let go of the limiting aspects of your monkey type and embrace being a chameleon. Please take the 10 minutes to read this HBR article on The Authenticity Paradox.   This playful monkey post is actually grounded in some real world research you can trust.

“The only way we grow as leaders is by stretching the limits of who we are—doing new things that make us uncomfortable but that teach us through direct experience who we want to become. Such growth doesn’t require a radical personality makeover. Small changes—in the way we carry ourselves, the way we communicate, the way we interact—often make a world of difference in how effectively we lead.”  Herminia Ibarra

Step one: Come up with some relatively safe, modest ways to show up differently as a leader.  Step two: Collect data on what happens.  Your  leadership authenticity, depends on it.  I can help.

P.S.  I have long loved this poem by Oriah Mountain Dreamer.  Will you take The Invitation into you own authenticity?


1 Comment

  1. Emma Fugate on January 8, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    Thank you Lisa! This is a great piece and the HBR article was really interesting too. I know though experience that if you want to change/improve it can be hard to let go of old, comfortable habits to make room for and experiment with new approaches. Working on my inner chameleon!

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