How To Embrace Inspiration Over Frustration in Leadership? : Expectations vs. Reality

For several days, my husband has recommended I watch Boris Grundl’s lectures on Leadership. He got a monthly subscription to Boris Grundl Leadership Institute Online Academy and has been studying his content for several weeks now. Today, finally, I followed his advice and listened to the video he recommended I should start with, it translates as « The image of the ideal leader, manager » This has given me an opportunity to freshen up my German. The video content is currently available in German only. Side note: I do feel fortunate to be able to access Boris Grundl’s content. 

How to overcome frustration due to an idealistic worldview? 

Shift your perspective to a realistic worldview.

One of my enlightenments after watching Boris Grundl, is about idealism. To summarize, it is when you hold yourself to such high unattainable standards, perfectionism and idealism that you fall into a trap of imagining an ideal self you can never reach. The first step would be to start with where you are, no one is perfect, and it starts with accepting your flaws. Accepting where you are at this point in time. I find myself falling into the trap of idealism and perfectionism quite often, which leads me to frustration. The consequences are that my energy is slowly depleted from being trapped in that unhealthy loop. 

IDEALISTIC LEADERMATURE LEADER
Wants to be perceived, or give the image of strength, perfection and being always in control. Unconsciously focusing on the “image” and perception of things.

Aspires to become an ideal based on a combination of all the best traits of several role models

Sees himself/herself as not “ok”, not enough, to be improved, and not taking responsibility because these flaws need “fixing”

Holds high standards for himself

Commits to keeping up with the high
standards put upon oneself

Seeks perfection in everything and in every task

Is putting extra pressure on himself to meet high standards


See himself as being “ok”, sufficient, being “enough” and taking self-responsibility

Starts with acceptance, we all come with flaws, accepting them is the starting point of the real journey toward self-improvement

Focuses on where he stands, the current status isn’t a truthful picture of who you are, but rather a starting point: “I recognize that I am not perfect”

Being aware of the flaws but being whiling to learn and grow

A consequence of this mindset is FRUSTRATIONA consequence of this mindset is INSPIRATION

Idealism clouds your vision and clouds your perspective, it has for effect to let you wander and drift away or maybe better translated “to wander or live aimlessly”. Be very careful not to let your idealism push you in unhealthy directions. On top of that, idealism combined with perfectionism is a perfect cocktail for burning out. The balanced approach would be to put the “ideal” in perspective against “reality”.

IDEAL


REALITY

The ideal to strive for, but without losing ground with reality. The process of acceptance of working with “imperfect” or “flawed” team members, on a deeper level, allows us to see ourselves with our own flaws and accept them as well. That way we can truly move forward. It takes an authentic look at ourselves and our environment. This process isn’t easy when our image of ourselves isn’t based in reality.

Do you look through the window, or do you look into the mirror?

Instead of thriving for an ideal by bypassing reality, the mature approach would be to meet reality, and once this stage has been achieved, to thrive for that ideal. (See the I vs R illustration on the board)

Boris Grundl talking about Idealism in Leadership: online.grundl-institut.de

One of the points he makes is that satisfying yourself is already hard enough, if not impossible. To satisfy others is even harder.

In German, he says Menschen führen heißt scheitern, and adds that you will not satisfy others. Let alone one person, if not several people. The way I understand it, is that “Leadership encompasses failure”. It is part of the process to fail. Inevitably, you will fail, and you will be defeated. There is no ideal way of doing it as they are so many different people, being led by so many different personalities, accepting or rather letting go of “idealism” in leadership has had a healing effect on me. For me to come to that understanding has been healing. The sooner you realize this the sooner you will set yourself free from brake blocks.

Being a successful leader means failing. The key idea for me, is that despite failure, you strive to self-develop and grow.

Grundl talks about the Leadership personality, of someone who is self-assured but still has a little space left for doubt. It sounds contradictory yet it makes sense to me. Being confident enough but leaving a small window open for doubt, these people tend to inspire a following. In a way it show vulnerability and that you are human, trying to figure it out like everyone else.

If you are interested in the original content, Boris Grundl’s full lectures in German are available on his online Academy, it requires a sign up though, really worth it if you are interested in Leadership, you can go with this video: “Das Bild der idealen Führungskraft

Below, one of Grundl’s Ted Talks in English

There is so much content on leadership in English, but I have to admit, Grundl is on another level. It is so hard to find the real deal nowadays, when the majority is feel-good fluff. The subject of this post is only a fraction of what he covers.

I highly recommend you take a look at his work, even if you’re not in a leadership or a management position yet. Bottom line, everyone needs to start with self. Leaders are normal people, it is not what they are that is crucial but rather what they do, and motivated by which principles. You can’t imitate someone based on their actions only, because their actions are motivated by the principles they embody. Take a pause and think about the difference between values and principles.

If you define fixed principles of success, you can separate people from principles.

Leading Simple: The Laws of Successful Leadership

In Boris Grundl and Bodo Schäfer’s book “Leading Simple: The Laws of Successful Leadership“*, it is stated that values and principles are not the same. Values contain a subjective element and principles on the other hand are unchanging. If you imitate someone by adopting their values, the role model that you will follow will not lead you anywhere as these values are never the same.

*The book “Leading Simple: The Laws of Successful Leadership” is available in English as an audiobook or a paper copy. The original version is in German and is also easily found on Grundl Leadership Institute‘s online shop.