Welcome to our July edition of The Leader’s Coach. For those of you who have recently subscribed, this monthly newsletter is intended to share with you, leaders and managers, some of the common challenges my clients face from time to time together with practical solutions, based on sound theory, that you can easily implement should you be seeing or experiencing the same challenges in your environment.
This month’s content arose from yet another stress-related outburst by a client’s executive. During a heated weekly meeting, this particular executive started throwing blame all around the virtual meeting room. Let’s be clear: I know that everyone has been working under huge stress at least for the last five or six years – yes, it was the pandemic before the pandemic! – and I acknowledge that it is difficult in these circumstances to keep a cool head.
We are taught that for every stimulus there is a response but, in these types of circumstances, we forget that we are always able to choose our response. In fact, there is often a split second where we seem to give ourselves permission to react in our habitual way. So, the first thing to remember is that by allowing ourselves to be triggered into our less-than-appropriate autopilot reactions is actually a choice, and a choice where we disempower ourselves – even if we are trying to do exactly the opposite by blaming those around us.
The second thing that came to mind for me was what Jim Collins wrote in his great book, Good to Great, way back in 2001. He was talking about what he called Level 5 Leadership, where a Level 5 Leader topped a hierarchy of effective and competent leaders by building “enduring greatness through a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will”. In particular, what I remembered in this instance was how these leaders apportion blame and credit. To use the relevant part of Collins’ summary:
In these difficult and stressful times where we are under ever-increasing pressure to achieve ever-increasing results, how might we remember to choose carefully whether to look in the mirror or look out the window? There are probably opportunities arising for you almost every day – how might you remember to be more conscious in the heat of the moment? And how will it start affecting outcomes and the company? Try using S.T.O.P:
- Stop – stop, step back and take a breath if necessary
- Think – what’s happening? I am about to lose it
- Organise your thoughts – consciously choose to respond in a more appropriate manner, with professional will and personal humility
- Proceed – just do the right thing; don’t deliberate why it’s okay to lose it
I would love to hear your thoughts? Is it a practical tip for you – or do you think your circumstances might be different?
How might I be able to help you move from good to great? Contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s explore this.
Until next month