It’s no secret that times are tough. It’s very possible that if you’re the leader of an organization or company, you have a few major blows coming your way in 2009. Morale is dropping, hope is fading, oversight and micromanaging are increasing and, worst of all, leadership is vanishing!
Yep, leadership is vanishing. When the going gets tough, those of you who haven’t jumped on the reality-based leadership bandwagon will respond in predictable ways. First, you quit your jobs as leaders. (Oh, you still come to work and get a paycheck – but you have quit mentally). Then the BMW driving begins, the Bellyaching, Moaning and Whining, that is. You spend time and resources driving your BMWs about how bad the economy is, how hard it is to find good talent, what idiotic decisions are being made at the top, etc. Then comes the list making – documenting all of the things that would need to change in your environment for you to be able to lead again.
With all your focus on your circumstances and how they need to change in order for you to be able to succeed, you begin over-managing and under-leading your workforce. You jump in, acting as if you can change their reality. But people don’t need you to “fix” their circumstances; they need you to “fix” the way they view their circumstances.
As Einstein pointed out, a problem cannot be solved with the same mindset that created it. Reality- based leaders lead first and manage second. Leading is helping your people recreate their mindsets so that they can succeed in the current circumstances, truly solve problems and impact their own realities. Your people need you to help them become more bulletproof so they have the freedom to succeed, regardless of their circumstances.
Here are some quick ways to recreate your team’s mindset:
Challenge the way in which your people are currently seeing their circumstances. Rather than seeing an event in a negative light, help them to reframe and see the situation in a more positive light.
Insist that your people assign positive motive rather than negative motive to the actions of their co-workers. Invite them to give their co-workers the benefit of the doubt. Help them understand that it is not the event that causes the stress in their lives; it’s the stories that they create about the event that causes their stress. Stop the stories, stop the stress.
Challenge your people to find the lesson at hand and identify the teacher at hand. Rather than begrudging the fact that the universe gave them a micromanaging supervisor, welcome them to their next lesson in reality, which is learning to manage upward, especially when given such a supervisor.
Outlaw the option of judging a team member. It is not our role to judge a team member, it is our role to do whatever we can to help and add value. When you judge, you quit adding value and quit learning. Encourage teammates to simply ask, “What can I do to help?”
Striving for a better reality in 2009? Start capitalizing on the opportunities to develop your people from BMW drivers into valuable, successful assets.
Remember, Cy rocks and you rock!
Lead on my friend.