I am sure all leaders have days where not only have you planned out your day, you have launched into the day and the phone rings. In that one phone call you see much what you were planning to achieve for the day “go out the window” because the interruption you have just encountered has just elevated a bunch of other things to a much higher priority which now demand your focus. Today was one of those days for me.
I was reminded that one of the key things leaders need is flexibility in the way we decide to approach and handle situations when they arise.
- My first tip is mindset; as leaders you have choices around how you respond. You can move to the negative and into crisis management mode or remain rational and take 10 minutes to consider the options available, the consequences of each option and choose the appropriate course of action to resolve the situation. The most important thing is not to panic.
- Play to your strengths and be willing to ask for help. It may be that you can action what is required without assistance, however applying your strengths and reaching out to others can save time, reduce anxiety and provide time to give further consideration to the situation. Many times poor decisions result when calmness is lacking.
- Don’t get defensive or take things personally. Plans change in the light of new information, or changes in circumstance, and at the time you may not be completely aware of the full situation. Defensiveness creates unnecessary distraction and burns up much needed energy.
- Remain confident. There is a solution, the situation will be resolved and your day or week will get back on track.
Respond decisively. Having remained calm, purposeful and flexible you will have worked out a new plan of attack, then act with confidence and conviction and implement it.
- Know where you will focus next when things are back under control. Things will return to normal, know what you will do when normality returns that way you avoid losing valuable time.
- Capture the learning. Once calm is restored and things are normal take a few minutes to capture the learning. There are only two questions to ask; What worked? And If you were to encounter this situation again or something similar what would you change, correct or do differently?
- My last tip is to retain a sense of humour. I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason, however at the time that may not be clear. How many times do you look back on situations with a wry smile and think “that was not as bad as it seemed at the time.”
By early afternoon everything was back on track, with the day ending with almost all the outcomes for the day achieved.
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