Leadership by Storm…

storm rolling in

Today it was not only stormy outside my window but also inside my office…

It was one of those days that I wish not to repeat because my passionate personality came out sideways in a group meeting.  I exhibited all the behaviors that I dislike being around: impatience, frustration, lack of listening…, you name it and I most likely displayed it.  I was feeling out of control and subsequently I went out of control.  No I did not scream, my face did not turn beet red in anger nor did I jump up and down in a temper tantrum but I might as well have because that is how I felt like I was acting.

Why?  I can blame it on stress from having some staffing shortages… or I can blame it on working long hours… or… I can blame it on many things but the bottom line is I reacted in a way that was not conducive to powerful leadership.  It doesn’t matter why it happened… it doesn’t matter who was involved… it doesn’t matter what the conversation was about… what matters is that I need to take corrective action with myself.

I think most of us know what great leadership looks like and I also believe those of us who are in leadership positions truly aspire to be the kind of leader that fosters an awesome environment which produces awesome results – right?  So what does a leader do when they unintentionally become a booming thunderstorm?

  • Apologize with sincerity to those who were in the storm’s path.  Human beings are pretty forgiving and if they believe you are truly sorry for allowing your bad mood to create negative behavior, they will allow you to make amends.
  • Assess the stress.  What is it that is causing your reaction?  For me,  I can usually figure out what is the root cause of my stress through talking it out with someone.  Journaling is also a great way to be self-reflective.
  • Stop talking and LISTEN to your team.  Hear what is being said and listen for what is not being said.  Is your team willing to discuss their concerns with you?  Do you have an environment that allows freedom of speech?  Thankfully I have a team who is willing to speak up and push back when needed.  I truly do appreciate when someone is willing to be straight with me because it only supports my ongoing growth and development (remember that as leaders, we still have opportunities for ongoing improvement too).
  • Educate yourself in Situational Leadership.  My next blog will give an overview of how practicing Situation Leadership is a powerful way to move through various stages of individual and team development.
  • Last but not least, move forward and do not beat yourself when you are not at your best leadership and fail forward…

Do you have a story to tell about a time when you “blew it” as a leader?  What did you learn?  How did you take that experience and become a better leader?

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