We are certainly in challenging times in our business world today. We have been in challenging times in the past and – let me make a profound prediction – we will be faced with challenging times again at some point in the future. Here’s the reality check: the fact that times are challenging is not the source of our pain. The source of our pain is the absence of great leadership based in reality.
We must be willing to admit that our way of leading is simply not working and not creating the results or the quality of life that we would like. These times call for a new type of leader. We need leaders who are willing and able to recreate mindsets in order to change circumstances and lead in a new and revolutionary way.
The revolution begins with a few good leaders practicing Reality-Based Leadership. A Reality-Based Leader is one who is able to quickly see the reality of the situation, conserve precious team energy and use that energy to impact reality. Better yet, a great Reality-Based Leader anticipates the upcoming changes and capitalizes on the opportunity inherent in the situation. As with all great revolutions, a manifesto is needed. So here it is … Reality-Based Leadership is a new wave of leadership based on the following principles:
We, as Reality-Based Leaders, Refuse to Argue with Reality.
The average leader spends two hours a day arguing with reality, an argument you will surely lose, but only 100 percent of the time. Reality-Based Leaders work instead to quickly identify the facts of the situation and focus on following simple instructions – doing the next right thing that would add the most value.
We, as Reality-Based Leaders, Greet Change with a Simple “Good to Know.”
Today’s leaders seem to greet each and every change with surprise, panic and blame.Even change that should be anticipated often elicits a reaction of surprise, shock or disbelief. The moment of surprise is followed by anxiety or a low level of panic about how to lead forward, ending with a dose of blame focused on others’ lack of leadership, poor decisions or failures. Reality-Based Leaders greet change with great anticipation for the possibilities and a simple “good to know.” They move quickly to understand the new reality and search for ways to deliver results in spite of the facts or limited circumstances.
We, as Reality-Based Leaders, Value Action over Opinion.
In the past, leaders were encouraged to make sure employees felt that their opinions counted – as if opinions created value in organizations. Reality-Based Leaders are clear that the highest value the talent under their leadership can offer is to implement with excellence. To deliver results time after time, leaders need the ability to resist editorializing and instead move to lead in the execution of imperfect plans with excellence. In a nutshell, leaders add the most value when they understand that action, rather than opinion, adds the greatest value.
We, as Reality-Based Leaders, Work with the Willing.
A leader operating under today’s worn-out philosophies spends, on average, 80 hours each year on a single person in a chronic state of resistance. The average return on this hefty investment? At the most, 3 percent. By working with the willing, efforts move forward and others join up or move outside of the organization either by choice or behavior. Reality-Based Leaders play favorites – they favor those who use their talents to work with, not against, the organization.
We, as Reality-Based Leaders, Lead First and Manage Second.
In changing and challenging times, ineffective leaders are tempted to work diligently to perfect the circumstances of their employees. This approach has put managers in charge of creating engaging environments and has led to a great deal of over managing and under leading. Reality-Based Leaders know that engagement is correlated to personal accountability. Instead of working to perfect the circumstances of their people, Reality-Based Leaders work to “bulletproof” their employees, creating employees so resilient that they are unfazed by the challenges at hand.
We, as Reality-Based Leaders, Make the News, Rather Than Report the News. It is easy to report the news, update the team on the challenges at hand and make doomsday predictions about the future. Assessing the situation in the past tense and critiquing others’ responses to the circumstances is easy, but not effective. Reality-Based Leaders instead work to solve problems.
Intrigued? Stay tuned to this blog as I delve into the details.
Remember, Cy rocks and you rock.