No one likes tension. However, we live in a world where tension is inevitable.
Here are points of tension that you may deal with this week:
- maximize profit vs. more revenue
- demands at work vs. time with family
- coaching an employee for development vs. for performance
- strategic vs. urgent
- save vs. spend
- working with an employee vs. helping them move on
- working hard vs. taking time to rest
No one likes tension but it’s impossible to live a day without having to deal with it. You can’t ignore it. You can’t avoid it. So how do we deal with it?
Who was the last person to hurt or offend you? It probably didn’t take long for you to remember. That’s a problem.
We live in a culture where we are flooded by messages that interrupt life. While you read this post it’s likely you’ll receive multiple emails, a text, updates on Twitter and Facebook, and maybe even a phone call. As a leader it’s likely some of these messages flooding your life will be negative or critical. It’s also easy for people to hide behind a keyboard and make statements about people that they would NEVER be brave enough to say face-to-face. I’ve noticed people are much bolder when writing an email, opining on a blog, or sharing a headline on Facebook. We have a culture of cowards where instead of face-to-face discourse many of our critics hide in their rooms behind a keyboard.
The people you spend time with define you. It’s an election year and much of the focus over the last few weeks has been on the vice-presidential picks of the candidates. While the VP is never at the top of the ticket, how and who the presidential candidates select as their VP says a lot about who they are, how they will lead, and the people that will influence their decisions. Who is by your side? Who do you surround yourself with?
I’m not sure five people is the magic number, but the people around you define you. This is especially important in two different areas:
Remember that overly critical leader you worked for who always demanded more and caused frequent burnout and turnover on your team? How about that manager that was super friendly, never held anyone accountable and always made excuses for those that underperformed? These are two extremes on the spectrum of encouragement and challenge. As leaders, we must create environments that our team loves but also that produce results.
What kind of leader are you: a Challenger or Encourager? What kind of environment are you creating? A useful tool to help with this is the Encouragement and Challenge Matrix.
We live in times that are rapidly changing and often feel like a roller coaster. Last week the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. It shocked most experts and caused stock markets around the world to tumble. For those with investments in stocks (many of you) it caused a knot in your stomach and maybe even led to fear as you looked at your shrinking savings.
It’s made me think about the things we invest in. Regardless of your financial wealth we all make investments every day. I would suggest that even more valuable than your money is how you invest your TIME and ENERGY. Are you making investments that will make a difference? Are you investing in things that will last or items that will eventually fade away?
What are you missing? Blind spots. We all have them… those personality quirks, weaknesses, and annoyances that create barriers for people around us. What are yours? You don’t know! That is why they are called blind spots. However, you NEED to figure out what they are if you want to grow personally, professionally, and take your team to the next level.
Blind spots are usually not huge, obvious issues that cause us to fail. Those problems people are quick to point out and identify. Blind spots are the things that make you difficult to work with. They keep co-workers from building trust with you. They cause your direct reports to avoid coming to you. They cause the leaders above you to not be transparent or fully engaged with you. Blind spots will cause your customers to prefer another sales person or vendor. They will drive your spouse crazy and make your home a difficult place for your children. We all have blind spots. Great leaders have others help them recognize and deal with their blind spots. Average leaders don’t even know they exist.
How do you find a blind spot?