Leadership

Says easy does hard…really?

Why is it we struggle with the tough business decisions that impact people? Time and time again I see leaders struggle with emotions that add complexity to the business decision making process. What makes us human can also get in the way of us making good business decisions. Feelings, either in the form of too much empathy or a lack there of, can make an already difficult situation even more challenging.

So how do you strike the right balance? Here are some tips from over twenty-five years of leading people. For me personally, as well as from participants attending my leadership learning events, the techniques below are the ones found to be most valuable…

One: Influence vs. Control

The business world is full of challenges. As a leader, one of the many skills you need to exercise is the ability to prioritize and pick your battles. Being able to take on the ones where you will realize the largest return and leave others behind is a talent. To help with this filtering process, consider focusing on those issues where you have direct control. Clearly there will be situations that you can influence but those that you truly control will be fewer. Know the limitations of your sphere of influence and the boundaries of your sphere of control.

Two: Understand vs. Like

Leading people is hard. People are complex entities that can at times act and behave in a totally irrational manner. When having to deliver difficult messages concentrate on the recipient’s understanding of the situation rather than them having to like what you are conveying to them. Sometimes the nature of the situation makes it an unreasonable expectation that the person on the receiving end will like the outcome. Your goal is to have them understand. It is up to them whether they like it or not.

Three: Life’s All About Choices

You are a leader. You’ve chosen a leadership position for a reason. Having made that choice you’ve been bestowed the privilege and responsibility of effecting people’s lives. You need to honour the position and act accordingly. You need to make choices. Not taking action in a responsible way is unacceptable. You will be measured by your choices. Over time the series of choices you make forms your reputation as a leader. Choose wisely.

Four: Keeping it In Perspective

Some of us work to live while others live to work. For me, I’m of the mind that work is extremely important. That being said, it is a distant third to my health and my family. Without them, there is nothing else. Everyone picks their life priorities and to each their own. But for all of us, to help keep perspective in those crazy and difficult times regardless of where your work is positioned on your life priorities list, know that as significant as work is there are things in life that are even more important.

Whether you are a newly anointed Manager or a seasoned veteran, these four guiding principals will help you not only lead better but be a better leader.

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