These days stress can come with a change in the weather. Hurricanes, fires, tornadoes, no place is safe anymore. What was business as usual yesterday could be taking a heroic stance to save a life today.
This is a great time to evaluate your leadership style and see what you can do to elevate to a next level of success. So, let’s start with basics.
How do you handle stress?
Do you face forward or hideaway? Do you look for scapegoats or leave the blaming behind? Do you wait for agreement or make decisions on your own?
My M.O. is calm and collected until someone starts to make the situation sound impossible. You know, the Chicken Little types who are sure (does anyone under the age of 40 even know who Chicken Little is?), the ones who are sure the sky is falling.
When those fear mongers show up I become the autocratic leader who takes charge and bosses people around. And then, I must admit, I start to second guess myself and think I should have taken more time to get others to accept what I think is the right way. It can be crazy making and that pleaser part of me creates even more stress. UG! Think dog chasing its tail.
Is there a better way?
That’s part of why I’m writing this post today.
Instead of behaving in ways that actually creates more stress I want to see what else is new in the world of leadership development that I may have missed.
First word that seems to get a lot of play is adapting. Not new, yet good to remember: If you can’t change the situation, at least make big changes in the way you handle it.
I’ll call this the Zen Leadership Style.
Instead of seeing the change that is causing the stress as an adversary, align with it. See whatever is happening as a test, a time to strengthen and learn. Even if you don’t believe it wholeheartedly, repeat to yourself that you can get through this and things will get better. Most of the time they will. Just Zen it for now.
Next is what I call the Grown-Up Leadership Style.
Stop looking for someone else to come up with the best ways to handle things. Get the word “should” and put it in the box with your little kid toys. No one should protect you. No mom, dad or auntie to figure it out. It’s up to you to use all your creative energy and find the next steps. You don’t have to be bossy, you just must be clear.
Now, let’s look at the Stubborn Leadership Style.
This is where you desperately hang onto old habits. It’s when you say, “This has always worked in the past and it will be fine now.” When those younger than you have new ideas on what to do, they are dismissed as idiots (oh, you never say it, just smile and ignore their suggestions). You stay with the old ways and hope the difficulties will pass and no one will judge your lack of initiative.
The “It’s Not Fair” Leadership Style
Do you ever feel helpless during change? Can’t see your way out of the forest? Spend time wringing your hands and shouting at the gods who rain down injustice from high above? Leaders who use this tactic are masters at blaming someone out there. Good move, if you are helpless and turn the attention outward, well, you then shift accountability away and are not a target for doing anything wrong. Leadership? Not really.
I am going to take the first two and be more Zen and grown up in my approach to change and stress. What about you?
Let me know what you envision as great leadership and what you think are the best ways to handle the stress of change that sure seems to be a constant in our fast moving world.