You are a leader of a team or project and the results you desire aren’t happening. You have tried various strategies but nothing really changes. You’re stuck. And you just can’t afford to stand still any longer. You have reached that pivotal moment where you are ready to take action though you aren’t sure what to do.
The single biggest effect of conflict for individuals, teams and organizations is feeling powerless. When we are stuck the “powerless barometer” kicks up two notches and forces us into a protective mode where we sit idle because doing nothing seems safer than failure. Or we busy ourselves with chasing new initiatives because at least we won’t be inert. We pretend to be strong when all along we are becoming weaker in denial of the truth. Pretending you are strong is not being strong. Saying you are strong does not make it so. Taking risks makes you strong.
Confidence builds with humility and action – putting down your guard, being vulnerable and admitting that what you need to do is dicey. We aren’t perfect. And seeking perfection is just an excuse for inertia. It denies the truth that we are afraid.
When we can’t face facts we play small because in that space of denial we are weak. Mindful leaders know to slow down and notice the discord. They don’t turn away from it but can sit with the unrest as long as it takes to vet reality. They lean in to vulnerability and name what holds them back thus diffusing its power. They talk about it with their team and people who matter. They recognize the root fear that clouds their vision and have the courage to cut the bowlines and let it go. Is loyalty to a senior leader holding you back? Did you go to market too soon and realize you need to regroup? Does shutting down a line seem like failure? Do you not want to confront someone but are hurting others in the process?
Seasons change to make way for the evolution of new life. Seeds drop, rain falls, plants grow, crops get harvested and the process starts again. Just as we have to wave goodbye to the sunshine and warmth of summer to yield the harvest sometimes we have to let go of things whose time has passed in our personal lives too.
Letting go of something might be the biggest initiative of your year. When you can stand in the open with the truth about what isn’t working without taking it personally you free yourself from the busyness of perfection. Attack a solution, not yourself. Done is better than perfect. Happy is better than perfect. “Done” and “Happy” are where you PLAY BIG!
When You Know It’s Time to Get Out the Eraser Litmus Test
1. What has the situation, person, performance been like so far?
2. Is it worth keeping?
3. Is there any sign that it will improve?
4. If not, are you willing to accept more of the same?
5. What reason is there that tomorrow will be different?
6. What is one ‘truth’ that you CAN believe in?
Mindful leaders can name what drains their energy, say ‘thank you’ when they get difficult feedback, and build self-awareness with daily mindful practices like pausing, meditation, gratitude, intentions and deep listening because they know that the higher they ascend in their career, the less supports are in place. Go to a quiet place and simply sit with the dissonance that clutters your vision. And don’t get up until you have clarity on what is at the root of it. Here is a free report to help you: 31 Success Practices for Leaders in the High Stakes Corporate World.
Mary Lee Gannon, ACC, CAE is an executive coach and corporate CEO who helps busy leaders get off the treadmill to nowhere to be more effective, earn more, be more calm and enjoy connected relationships with the people who matter while it still matters. Watch her FREE Master Class training on Three Things to Transform Your Life and Career Right Now at www.MaryLeeGannon.com.