Leaders face many challenges. Of all the challenges they face, one frustrates me more than others. That challenge is leading when no one else is. I don’t mean things aren’t as good as they should be. I mean there are no examples of good leadership around me.
Immediately, you should be questioning my last statement: Mark, you just said “no one else is leading” and “there are no examples of good leadership around you.” You would be right for questioning that because it’s COMPLETELY FALSE. We are surrounded by amazing leaders. Leaders who’s sage wisdom is available in an instant via the Internet, your Twitter feed, LinkedIn account or email.
It’s just the opposite! There’s so much good leadership advice, it’s overwhelming. The good news is it’s available if you want it. Still, I think we all relate to finding ourselves thinking no one else is leading. Or maybe that the others have defaulted and you’re carrying the heaviest load. I have; I have found myself there many times.
As a result, I can be tempted to not work as hard as I should/could because something that’s outside of my control is controlling me. I would do better if…others were doing better. I would perform if…others were performing. It’s silly when you think about it, but when you are frustrated, exasperated, or just plain irritated, it sounds justifiable.
So how should you respond when this circumstance comes up?
Five responses to leaders preparing to abandon ship:
- Address behavior with a difficult conversation
- Get everyone back on track by asking “What are we here for?”
- Break the cycle of ineffective meetings and focus on what we can do today
- Set a time to follow-up
- Prepare for your response if nothing is going to change
Don’t get caught in the trap of believing that you’re the only one that’s leading. Take the challenging steps and face the difficulty head-on. Lead well and lead by example. It always produces results!
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Now, go lead like someone you would want to follow!