A term I hear often at work is “fire drill.” Priorities get elevated until there’s a problem and suddenly all eyes focus on it, scurrying for a solution. This surplus of effort detracts from other priorities, allowing them to inflate and erupt in a chain reaction of multi-stress. Not fun, and not efficient. Much of the energy is wasted in commotion which would be better spent re-engaging with the larger picture.
How do we go about de-escalating a fire drill? First, stop escalating. Keep control of the urge to move the issue up the chain of command. Think it through with co-workers on your management level. Second, relax, breathe, and step away for a brief amount of time. Write through the problem if it helps. Sometimes a simple break can give your mind the rest it needs to reset. Finally, consider a re-do rather than patching up what’s already there. A whole new version may seem like overkill, but piecemeal edits may gloss over the underlying glitch that created the problem in the first place.
Do you want to leave crisis mode behind? Or can a crisis improve your overall results?
Is there a wrong way to be a leader? I would argue that there is a wrong way to lead that does more damage to a cause then it helps, one that is centered on an individual who might have a charismatic personality but no ideas and instead relies on suggestions to others of how things ought to be. What I mean by suggestions is a statement of opinion about the way reality should be, as opposed to ideas which are solution oriented and creative.
What you might hear from a suggestion-based leader vs. an idea-based leader:
|“That’s your problem”
||“How would you work this out?”
||inspire the person to think for themselves
|“I want results”
||“This is how you’re contributing”
||fit the work into a larger picture
|“You need us, so you’ll help us”
||“Here’s what we have to offer each other”
||balance of power in relationships
|“I’ll talk him into it”
||“I’ll see what he thinks”
||listen and reason with people
|“We succeed because we work hard”
||“We succeed because we add value”
||purpose matters more than effort
Here is how you can become a great(er) leader:
Follow through on your idea in your own life first
Let your conviction speak through your actions
Build your network by seeking out others who inspire you
Be human like everybody else and let the idea itself take center stage
Great ideas make great leaders, and I am proud to say that in our community of Greater Providence in Rhode Island and nearby Boston there are many people who have taken their inspiration and turned it into action.
Who do you consider to be a great leader? Why?