Successful people are often idealistic. This idealism pushes them to improve, serves to maintain their integrity, and helps them be inspiring leaders. The only problem with idealism is that it tends to make people rigid.
Successful people often strongly identify with their idealism. They say I’m a person who always keeps his word or I put simplicity above all else or I demand nothing less than excellence from myself and my team.
There nothing wrong with these statements in themselves. In fact I’m inspired by people who highly value their integrity, simplicity, and the quality of their work.
The problem arises when these values slide across the small barrier into the realm dogma. Soon the ideals that drove growth become the walls that prevents it.
It’s like rich nourishing milk slowly turning into curd. Despite the smell and texture many successful leaders hold on to these ideals in the hope that they will sustain the growth that brought them to this place.
Integrity is admirable but sticking to your word even when it hurts your team, your family, or yourself is a folly that serves little more than your ego. Some people may be impressed, but you may find yourself exhausted.
Simplicity is vital for living a balanced life, but fear of complexity and resistance to the growth it requires limits you to live in a realm you fully control. Epic works happens on the edges of what we can manage and requires teams whose ability far displaces the discomfort of their complexity.
Demanding excellence is a marvelous aspiration but without accounting for priorities or being accompanied by loads of appreciation it leads to anxiety and a team that runs of fear instead of vision.
I’m not saying you should let go of your ideals. Rather I’m saying you have to learn to be unmatched to them. These ideals you have got you here and that’s great, but if you want to grow as a leader you must find a way to expand the definition of who you are and the values you want to embody.