A new revolution in leadership is brewing and is coming to be known as 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 instead to impact reality.
Reality-Based Leaders simply refuse to argue with reality.
The average leader spends two hours a day arguing with reality, an argument you will surely lose 100 percent of the time. As a leader, when you argue with reality, you not only waste valuable resources, but also move away from the actual facts of a situation . . . assigning motive, making assumptions and manufacturing a false future. In this new mental “story,” you often paint yourself as a helpless victim at the mercy of a villain. Adopting such an antidotal view of your world will lead to ineffective decision-making and missed opportunities.
How do you know if you are, in fact, arguing with reality?
1. You’re arguing with reality if you are judging your current situation in terms of right and wrong. Such arguments with reality sound a little like the following:
“This is sick and wrong.”
“I shouldn’t have to do this.”
“My people should be more dedicated, motivated, innovative, etc.”
“There’s not enough time to get it all done.”
“My boss shouldn’t lose her temper.”
2. You’re arguing with reality if you are spending your days thinking and believing unquestioned stressful thoughts that you cannot absolutely know to be true such as:
“My co-workers don’t respect and appreciate me.”
“Management only cares about the bottom line.”
“The employees don’t care about the company.”
“I’m underpaid for what I do here.”
“The business world is cut-throat and corrupt.”
“My job zaps my energy.”
How to stop the argument with reality
•Learn to be a lover of reality, greeting each new piece of information with a welcoming attitude of, “Good to know.” Conserve your precious energy used in the past to argue with reality and use it instead to innovate and to problem-solve.
•Know that defense is the first act of war. If you find yourself at war, stop defending. Find a place of neutrality, and move forward in spite of the outcomes or circumstances.
•Depersonalize feedback from any source. The ability to receive feedback from the market, our environment, our co-workers or any other source without any sense of defensiveness or reaction is key for leaders. Reactions come from our egos – the right action comes from our willingness to forgo our own motives and work to achieve the goal at hand. Commit to responding to feedback with openness and willingness.
•Be very careful about what you think you know for sure. When you operate out of a mindset of “I know or I am right,” you quickly become righteous and stop learning. You will miss out on key clues about great opportunities or innovative solutions to your current reality. When you are judging, you are not leading – and the two activities are mutually exclusive.
•Work to impact reality by quickly sizing up the new situation and moving on by asking yourself, “What is the next right action I could take that would add the most value to the situation?” If you don’t get a clear answer, ask others, “How can I help?” and then follow the simple instructions that follow.
•Work to find the opportunity in your challenges. Ask yourself, “What are at least three reasons that what is happening is for our higher good?” Listen to the answers and invest your energy and talent to make sure that those opportunities come to fruition.
•Work harder to be happy than to be right. To be right means that you ensure that others see you as competent, correct and approve of you and your work. To be happy means to have achieved the goals at hand and to enjoy the results of your efforts.
•Pray that you may be released from your need for love, approval and appreciation. Without those motives, you can lead others to achieve the goals at hand. Too many times, we abandon the organizational goals in order to achieve our own motives. When we operate out of motive, our behavior deteriorates quickly.
Reality-Based Leaders are kicking off the newest movement, the inner peace movement. Peace comes when the argument stops and the delivering of results begins.
Remember, you rock and Cy Rocks.
Lead on my friend.