You can improve your leadership effectiveness with some simple triggers.
As much as I love all the science, academia, and psychology of leadership development, and believe me I follow a lot of it, I often find the biggest achievements come from simple steps. I call these triggers.
I had a client recently who was tasked with improving his executive presence. He had developed a reputation as having a somewhat short fuse when it came to interactions in the field.
In his defense, he works in a labor-intensive industry, with much of the workforce being trade skills and blue-collar. Nothing wrong with that picture other than you must understand confrontations can be ‘lively.’
My client had a tendency to meet his folks on their level whenever prompted by conflict.
As we worked through his options for changing his style and approach, we discussed specific instances and role-played the scenarios. After we had explored his options, I asked him “How do you think you will be able to affect this behavior once you’re back in the field?”
He was stumped for a moment. He really couldn’t think of ways to make it work.
The choice was simple. Either
I suggested he think of a trigger. It was going to be easy to know when a confrontation was about to begin.
I asked him if he thought he could decide between two simple choices; either “on” or “off”. What I meant was, decide whether the employee reactions were “on”, as in, “I don’t like this instruction, but
If the employee is totally opposed and becoming agitated, then the matter is “off”.
He agreed that would be easy to process.
By knowing whether the moment was on or off, he could choose to use his new methods for dealing with “off” situations.
The central theme we had landed upon was “an executive must act as he should, not as he feels.”
When circumstances were looking like they were in the “off” position, he needed to be extra diligent to be MORE executive about the situation, refrain from responding in kind, and become the peacemaker rather than another combatant.
By not forcing himself to have to think too deeply about the situation, he could rely on simple on/off logic to know which response was appropriate.
It worked very well.
After all my years of business and community leadership, I firmly believe there is a great deal you can accomplish as a leader with good common sense. That’s why I refer to much of my work as “Leadership Powered by Common Sense.”
Again, I love brain science, emotional intelligence, psychology, and all other facets of effective leadership study. Yet when you are in the heat of battle, you need simple, effective triggers to guide your response.
Question: What are some triggers you can use in your leadership to become a more effective leader? Leave a comment.
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