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Are you leading the way through a crisis?
People seek leadership, not only in a crisis.
They turn to their leader and ask, does my leader know how to deal with this situation?
Then, they look at the decisions a leader takes and they ask, is my leader choosing the right actions?
Finally, they ask their leader, can you help me so I can follow your example and do what you do?
People seek leadership because they want to feel safe in a situation of uncertainty.
Especially these days you may ask yourself, what do leaders do when they are faced with a situation that they have never dealt with before?
In the moment of crisis people are stressed because they feel unsafe. They want to respond to the threat, they want to respond with a fight or flight impulse. The consequences of the response should create a feeling of certainty or safety again for them.
However, people can only relate to their past experiences. They can remember how a previous response brought them back to safety again. This means that in a moment of crisis, people are already conditioned to respond based on their past experience.
When we are faced with a new kind of crisis and we tend to respond in a way we have always responded, how can we be sure that we know what is right to do?
Leaders know the way
Even if people believe that they are rational thinkers, this tendency to prefer a response based on past experience applies to all of us. We all prefer what we know.
Especially leaders need to be cautious that their preferred response only gives them the illusion that they know the way.
In face of a different situation leaders must be aware of the consequences of their decision and actions. They need to know what to expect round the corner.
Leaders know of the consequences of their actions.
Knowing the way in this case means that they not only make choices and take action. They also need to know what the consequences of their decisions and actions are. Even non-decision and non-action has consequences, even if that is based on not knowing enough about the situation to be sure about a decision. It all has consequences.
Leaders need to dare to communicate the consequences of their actions to their people even if they may not get it right every time.
This way leaders help their people to feel safe about what may lie ahead on the way.
Leaders show the way
We know that the right way may be hard to do. It may not be perfect yet. There may need to be adjustments on the way. In some cases, the new way may not be totally invisible yet, or even in the unknown.
Only a few of us like to be the first ones out and start. Most of us prefer to wait to see if it is safe. Many people will not be convinced that the new way is safe. They will not take the first step and continue on the old way for a long time. This is what leaders are for.
We call them leaders because they go first.
Therefore, leaders have to find the way first, test it out, let somebody learn the new way, let them take wrong turns and make mistakes. Leaders know that a team needs to gather experience about the new way first, before everybody dares to follow.
When a team sees that somebody has tried it out, it will make them feel safe to start too.
This way leaders can show the team the way forward.
Leaders go the way
The primary role of a leader is to get a group of people to achieve common goals.
Leaders need to be fully convinced that they and their team know that this is the right way.
They want to be certain that they can show them the way.
Leaders lead the way so that their people can follow.
Leaders communicate the new direction, they decide and prioritize actions and resources so that the whole team can start going the new way. They are with their team on every step of the journey, coaching their team to continue and succeed on the journey.
This way leaders make their team feel safe by going the way with them.
All the best in leading your team to success!
Find out more about Colin Luthardt, an Award-Winning Trainer and Accredited Certified Coach with international coaching experience and international keynote speaker. Colin has studied Strategic Intervention at the Robbins-Madanes-Training center. He is the author of Speaking the Language of Leadership that is available on Amazon. This true story is about a group of good managers that increased their efficiency by nearly 50% by becoming great leaders.
Coach Colin owns the concept of Its Four Sides® of Leadership, which is specifically suitable for managers who want to develop their effectiveness focusing on leadership issues that matter and changing their communication rather than their personality.
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