Ever had a hindsight moment in which the realization hits that had one tiny event not happened, everything would be different? Maybe it’s a statement a colleague made? Maybe, it’s an action your boss did or didn’t take. Or maybe it was knowledge of how to solve a problem that could have saved hours of effort? There are a number of single events, when strung together, that tend to create a leader’s current environment. This Monday Moment shows you three such events, actions, or buttons pushed, that could transform your leadership and how others perceive it…rapidly.
The easy button never works, but does actually exist. The big difference button always works, but is more figurative. Go with it! As an example, our family has a farm. On that farm we have an ATV with four wheel drive. It comes in handy when moving hay or fence building materials. On the weekend, my future husband was transporting sand in the trailer attached to said ATV and the amount of sand became a load the ATV couldn’t handle. The weight lowered the vehicle into the sand on which it was sitting and the more he revved the engine, the more the back tires got buried and kept spinning. He pushed, pulled, revved, and swore, but to no avail, and finally gave up. He then had to unload everything and in the process strained his back. The next day he reexamined the ATV with a less exasperated perspective and found that to engage the four wheel drive, one has to push in one tiny green button. One push of one small button would have moved the vehicle, carried the load, saved his back and probably lowered his blood pressure, as well as allow him to finish the project he was working on. What is one behavior, one thought process, or one action that if you actually did, would make that kind of difference? Is there an action you, as the leader should stop doing? Both types of actions exist and finding them is fairly easy; admitting why you don’t do them and finding the discipline to take new action? Big difference.
Even the most successful, productive, and powerful leaders have hot buttons and strong triggers. Mash down on one of them and the reaction could range from volatile to irrational to complete dismissal of the offenders’ existence. The trouble is awareness. It is only after a trigger is tripped that we become aware of its power. But, what would life, work, and your own confidence be like if no matter what, who, when, or what was said, no reaction ever occurred uncontrollably, or without your conscious intent? What are your triggers? What is the button that if those employees push, will send you into proverbial orbit? What are the triggers that you, the leader of your own mentality, need to work through, become aware of, or redirect? Which ones need to become less hot buttons and more minor annoyances or events with no impact at all on your behavioral choices?
With hot buttons gone, triggers deactivated, and a big difference button in place, a leader is set! Approachable, respectful, well respected, tolerant, and focused on development that fosters employee engagement, will all be labels used with your name attached. If, of course, you’re also able to, on occasion, turn it all OFF. If you’ve not seen it, the movie The Circle inspired this last message. The movie depicts an uncomfortably potentially accurate scenario of our constant ON and connected status, now expected. Leave the grid. Disconnect. Recharge. Unwind. We are not wired to be wired twenty-four seven. We are not in need of leading the planet of 241 Billion people (movie reference) and even vaguely attempting, without ever hitting the off button, and actually talking with our loved ones or spending time alone, makes leading only five or ten times more difficult. Resist. Find the OFF button. Press it.
Our digital, sped up, always on world does have it’s advantages. A leader can communicate much more rapidly and to a larger international team of larger size than ever believed to be feasible. Yet, speed and size are not always the best approach. People are complex enough. Add more, stress them out and work them to death, and that complexity increases leadership difficulty. With people, the key is often time, rapport, knowledge and respect that make leadership more effective. And no, there is not a button for building that.
Monica Wofford, CSP is a leadership development specialist who coaches, consults with, and speaks to leaders of all levels, building their skills, emotional intelligence and authenticity. Author of Contagious Leadership and Make Difficult People Disappear, Monica may be reached at www.ContagiousCompanies.com, www.MonicaWofford.com or by calling 1-866-382-0121.