Leading people and influencing business can be a great challenge…
…but can also be one of the most rewarding aspects of your role and your life.
Being a leader is difficult and occasionally, we sometimes wonder if it is worth the effort. The challenges that emerge all too often cause us to contemplate on the performance of others and sometimes that of ourselves. We start to question our ability to maintain a high level of influence and whether we can ‘get the job done’.
When situations such as these occur the best course of action and thought-process is usually to stop and genuinely reflect – not react to the current situation and high level of emotion.
I have found the two aspects below to be particularly relevant in both my time as a leader and in coaching and mentoring others. The points may trigger a reaction for you and add to your leadership thought processes.
- Don’t immediately seek to blame – either yourself or others. When we blame, it is taking away from the necessary focus on the issue itself. Blaming can become personal, focusing on the individual, not the point at hand. In this type of discussion it is often referred to as how we blame others. In my experience, after the dust settles a little, a leader is just as likely to blame themselves and over-react to both the inputs that caused the situation and the apparent impact of the situation overall. Blame has little value, however gaining a full understanding of what and who contributed provides the opportunity to develop and coach accordingly. I have worked with some managers who avoid understanding the contributing factors altogether, claiming ‘there is no point in a witch-hunt’! Unfortunately this reflects more on their leadership style than a genuine desire to engage and seek improvement. Rectifying processes, understanding, skill gaps etc. is critical to ensuring issues and mistakes are not repeated – an important aspect of leading people and businesses.
- Share the details of the situation and current circumstance with someone who you trust. Challenge yourself to succinctly detail the key points without bias or emotion. You may find this harder than you think! It is best to select a mentor, coach or person who you know will be objective and provide conflicting viewpoints. They should be impartial and challenge the situation as much as they are willing to challenge the norms, beliefs and biases that exist in all of us. Although difficult in the initial phases of relationship-building, this type of discussion can be a key contributor in developing trust and respect between you both. Sharing is not to vent, but rather to seek solutions that may not be apparent to you. Being too close to a situation can add blinkers. I have been there many times and continue to challenge myself to think more clearly and broadly as required.
Being a leader is a challenge – this is not a doubt.
As leaders, how we react and seek solutions when things go wrong can help to define our own self-belief and how we are seen by others.
The key question is whether you are looking to maintain the status quo or seeking to move forward as a leader and as a minimum, meet the obligations of your role in leading others.
Obviously this is not a definitive list, although if the points are applied in a genuine way, it will add significant value to your position and contribution as a leader. Change in self takes small steps. At the very least, this is a good starting point.
What do you think?
- The Top 7 Distinctions Between Weak and Strong Leaders (adriandparker.com)
- Leadership Guidance: As Parents and Mentors (Steve Riddle – linked2leadership.com)