Do you have a hard time making healthy food choices while on business trips? Have you just resigned yourself to the idea that eating well while traveling is impossible so, why bother? Traveling AND eating well can feel like an impossible combination. Business meetings are often held at sub-par restaurants, workshops are stocked with sweet breakfast pastries, and a bag of fast food looks like the only option when you’re trying to catch your flight connection.
Do you know how to inspire your team or organization so they follow you? What if there is a challenge or setback? Will they stay by your side, hunker down and fight with you, or head for the hills?
Before we dive into these big questions, let’s talk about the word “leadership.”
If you try and Google a definition of the word “leadership” you will be inundated with over 2 billion results! With so many definitions to sift through I have come to like the one by President Dwight Eisenhower best.
Leaders have to decide what must be done and get others to want to do it.
The most important part of this definition – and the hardest – is getting others to buy into your vision for the organization and WANT to take action on it. Getting buy–in from those who are actually going to make it all happen, is the key to success.
Here is my 3-step process for inspiring confidence during difficult times.
Step 1: Dealing with Change
As a leader you have to deal with changes in the organization and changes in the environment. No matter if changes are in or out of your control, it can still shake your teams confidence. Distrust and uncertainty can spread quickly and significantly hinder the success of a sale, a project, a team, or an organization. Change WILL happen. A successful leader will embrace that change and chart a new course for their team. This brings me to step 2.
Step 2: Setting the Vision
It is the responsibility of the leader to continually remind their subordinates of the vision for the organization to help keep everyone working towards the same goals. Setting and reminding people about the vision is of utmost importance during difficult times, problems, and setbacks. Keeping everyone focused on the vision of the organization will serve as a positive reminder and everyone working towards a common goal. When hard times hit, keep your vision in mind, and then implement step 3.
Step 3: Optimism in the Face of Uncertainty
On June 5th, 1944, General Dwight Eisenhower met with young paratroopers from the 101st Airborne Division. Eisenhower knew that these men would be parachuting into Nazi-controlled France, in what we now call The Normandy Invasion. Rather than give the men last-minute instructions on tactics or strategy, his mere presence assured them that this plan was going to work. Eisenhower is quote telling his staff in March of that year, “This operation is being planned as a success. There can be no thought of failure. For I assure you there is no possibility of failure.”
As you are leading your team through difficult times never forget that, as author and leadership expert John Gardner said,“The first and last task of a leader is to keep hope alive!”
Content goes here…When is the last time you did something for yourself? Say, attended a fitness class, went for a walk, got a massage, or went away for the weekend?
Do you find yourself having a hard time making decisions? Or, maybe you feel overwhelmed by all the opportunities out there and are unsure of which ones to take and which to walk away from?
Making decisions is a leader’s #1 priority and it’s your job to figure out which opportunities are the best for your organization. That’s a lot of pressure!
At Diamond6 we frequently speak about four “dimensions” of leadership. They are:
Leading the boss
Leading (or being led by….) our peers
The last of these, leading peers, is perhaps the most difficult and least examined. Leading peers is hard because it often leads to conflicts over loyalty. It raises thorny questions: Is my greatest loyalty to my peers (friends, colleagues, and co-workers) OR is my loyalty to the organization? Are the mission, vision, and values of the organization more important than my personal relationships?
At what point during your Diamond6 workshop did you have a “light bulb moment”?
On the third day of the workshop we were at the Army Heritage and Education Center and we heard Dr. Chris Maxwell
’s presentation, Lead Like a Guide. One of the things he talked about was taking risks. At the end of his presentation he asked us to write down what resonated most with us from his presentation. In my spiral notebook all I wrote down was, “take the risk.”
It’s hard to believe but, bosses are people too! They are human and they can make mistakes. For the sake of this article I’m talking about good bosses. People who genuinely care about their organization and the people who work for and with them. Not bosses who are incompetent or unethical. (Check out George Reed’s book Tarnished: Toxic Leadership in the U.S. Military for those kind of bosses).