When in survival mode, leaders may fail to see past their current state, and fall into the kind of trap that allows them to deal with their immediate circumstances but prevents them from looking beyond. Their shortsightedness gives them the ability to fight fires in the present, but thwarts their vision of the future. They may have short-term goals, yet a very faint idea of what lies ahead.
On a personal level, these types of leaders tend to run from one emergency to the next. Stress levels can be very high and coping mechanisms include excessive drinking, angry outbursts, impatience, and withdrawal – making it difficult for others to know how to handle these behaviors. Family members walk on eggshells around this particular leader, preferring instead, to just stay out of the way.
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What’s the Impact: At Work?
Leaders are unprepared for future opportunities and challenges
They fail to anticipate problems before they arise
They are unable to mobilize appropriate resources where they are needed
Stress levels are high within the organization
A high degree of turnover adds to the constant chaos
What’s the Impact: At Home?
These leaders often feel that nothing is in their control
Family tempers flare easily over small issues
Family members feel like this leader would prefer to spend time working than with them
Exhaustion prevents these leaders from making good decisions and increases the likelihood of mistakes
Barbara has been under a great deal of pressure lately. Her VP of sales decided to quit and work for the competition, and the IRS selected her company for an audit. To top things off, her most important client has threatened to switch suppliers. She has been running from one emergency to the next with barely any time to take a breath.
On Father’s Day, she completely forgot to pick up a gift for her husband, or her father. At the last minute, she decided to throw a family brunch and in her haste to prepare, she sliced her hand open. Instead of spending the time with her family, she sat in the emergency ward at the hospital texting her bookkeeper, and thinking about a replacement for her VP of Sales. She was beginning to crack under the pressure.
What's the Solution?
When emergencies occur, extraordinary leaders take a moment to gather their thoughts, round up the appropriate resources, and work through problems with an eye on the long-term strategy. They leverage the expertise around them by delegating important tasks while making sure their input is received. They also make every effort to get enough sleep and reduce their stress levels by exercising and living a healthy lifestyle.
Extraordinary leaders have a clear picture of what they want and they express it in a number of ways. Their vision is articulated clearly and passionately, without apology. Extraordinary leaders have a vision that excites and inspires those around them, bringing out the best in their team members and equipping them for success. Their shared goals and dreams for the future help everyone see the big picture in their daily work, and lives.
Are you trapped?
Find out what's keeping you from becoming an extraordinary leader. Start by answering these questions...