You know I am often asked how to be more effective at a particular aspect of leadership. How can I be a great communicator? How can I be more effective leading change? How can I figure out the vision for my team?
Questions like these are critical ones certainly. They need to be answered, the learning leader does need to master these competencies. Leadership like integrity is a holistic activity. To pick out one area of leadership to develop in may provide short term benefit but really a balanced approach is critical. To communicate, lead change, cast a vision etc. etc requires many things but always relates back to a confident leader who consistently walks their integrity each day. They know who they are, they know what stresses them, what they are afraid of, what angers them, what gives them joy. Leadership is a journey of meaning and discovery.
Today lets talk about the world around us and the impact of financial matters, in particular the $5.00 gallon of gasoline on the world of a leader.
So how are you doing? Is this new economic reality hitting you, your business? Have you considered trading in your big beast for an econo-box, a hybrid or perhaps a bicycle? Have you discussed commuting, ride sharing? How are you doing?
Dealing with unexpected change such as this never ending spiral of inflation can be particularly destructive if you allow it. The stress and worry of financial matters can be corrosive to your health and your relationships, if you allow it.
How do you approach change, particularly adverse change? One of the concepts I love when discussing leadership is that of resilience. Resilience is the thing that gets you back up after you get knocked down. It is the thing that tells the worry in your head to shut up and starts you down a more constructive path toward solution.
It is important to step back and put adverse change into perspective. Consider what level of control you have in the situation. If you have none what good does it do to allow yourself to worry senselessly? Better to focus constructively on those things you have some control over. If you are stuck in a situation where there is no obvious answers or solutions it is helpful to find a way to think beyond the obvious.
Our emotions can deceive us. They can trick us into believing we are stranded, helpless out of options. Yet the reality can be different. We need to consider that we are just too close to our emotional state and cannot pull out of the nosedive we are in on our own.
No I am not talking about therapy! I am talking about gaining perspective from a trusted friend who is not up to their neck in your situation. The view can be a lot clearer when you are able to detach yourself from the crisis.
Phone a Friend?
So as Regis would say do you want to phone a friend?
Take the time to seek wise counsel. Recognize that the lie most of us live is to believe that our problem is so unique, so complex, so embarrassing that we cannot share it with any one. The opposite is true. Count on a trusted friend to share your frustrations with and see if it does not change your perspective. Please use common sense here! Try this technique out on small crises first. Tact and discretion are not to be thrown out the window they are a wise guide to use in approaching this situation.
Remember that like all the people you lead you too are human. You too are subject to the same emotions that all of us are. The challenge is not in experiencing them but rather the level of grace and patience with which you carry them.
Not up to disclosure?
Another useful technique is to write yourself a letter. Capture all of the emotion you are experiencing lace into the letter the logic as you see it of the situation. As you write see if the stress does not slowly slip away. Again common sense alert this is not the kind of letter to leave on the coffee table for others to find. Either store it in a secure place or get rid of (destroy) it when finished.
Not an Author?
Okay another strategy to deal with apparently hopeless situations is to exercise. Yes this is a not so cleverly disguised stress management technique…AND?!
Have you tried it? It works.
The bottom line for leaders is this in order for your team to be confident following you; you have to be confident leading yourself. This my friends means having a healthy self image and projecting a healthy self image. This is remarkably difficult in the midst of an overwhelming crisis.