Every day is a blank slate, ready to be molded and crafted. Each leader has the best of intentions to lead in a way that is inspiring and produces top-of-the-line results. Results that would make the CEO proud to have put you in charge. But each day, as you settle into your desk with that morning cup of coffee from the corner cafe, things can quickly turn upside down.
Here are three reasons well-intended leaders goes awry in an unpredictable world.
Emergencies always will throw a wrench into your day. You need to be flexible and agile enough to maneuver these leadership obstacles. Of course, there are the people who are adrenaline junkies and believe everything is an “emergency” and needs urgent attention right away. They’re easy to spot, as they hit “reply all” first, believe they do their best work under pressure, and always are stressed out. Essentially, their emergency becomes your emergency. Being around them is exhausting.
Don’t fall into this trap. To survive in this stressful world, you’ll need to pause and take a breath before reacting. Give yourself the time to think, make the right decision or delegate the task. Leadership needs to be the calm, pillar of strength that others look up to for guidance.
Multitasking is a sure fire way to get several things done with little or no attention to detail. According to Dr. Paul Hammerness and Margaret Moore, authors of Organize Your Mind, Organize Your Life, new research shows that multitasking increases your chances of making mistakes or missing important information or cues. Not being 100% focused on the task at hand, which requires all of your attention, is only cheating yourself and others.
Multitasking in healthcare, for example, is the perfect storm to potential mistakes, which can be hazardous for the patient and costly to the organization. Being preoccupied with what will happen in the afternoon meeting will impact the interview you are conducting in the morning or the budget you are balancing. If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it again? Learning to focus on one thing at a time is a skill that needs to be strengthened and practiced each day.
The Blame Game is a foolproof way to ensure that nothing changes or gets resolved quickly. Too many people are quick to point the finger instead of taking responsibility and learning from the incident. It is less embarrassing or scarring on our career if we hold our arms up and play dumb, protecting our own self-images. It can be contagious, as each person blames another, which in the end will be destructive to any organization.
The most important thing a leader can do is to hold others accountable in taking responsibility and working together as a cohesive team, where one mistake or success becomes the team’s responsibility.
There are no excuses or places for poor leadership. Influencing your team and others in a role of authority should be first and foremost. Being the role model that embodies and avoids these roadblocks for inspiring leadership will create an accountable and safe environment for your team and those that you serve.