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“Great leadership does not mean running away from reality. Sometimes the hard truths might just demoralize the company, but at other times sharing difficulties can inspire people to take action that will make the situation better.” ~ John Kotter
We’ve all seen the meme.
In our training sessions, when we talk about being positive as a leader, this meme often comes to mind.
When dealing with an undesirable situation, the balance point is between 1) acknowledging reality while 2) vectoring people toward a solution.
Don’t whine—gripes go UP the chain of command. As the leader, if you join in the cathartic complaining, you drain the courage and will from your people.
Focus on the team’s efficacy. “Yeah, we all know we’re in a crunch now, but I know this team will rise to the challenge, and we will be successful in the end.”
Share a vision of what success looks like, and balance sharing a plan with being open to ideas to make it better. “Right now, our goal is X. And I think we can get there if we do Y and Z, but that will take a lot of time. If you have any ideas on how we might do it more quickly, please let me know. My door is open, and I’d love to find ways to improve this, especially on the timing issue.”
Walk the walk. If everyone is going to need to roll up their sleeves and get to work, yours should be the first sleeves up around your elbows.
(Image credit: K.C. Green, sourced from https://www.spokesman.com/stories/2021/may/20/the-this-is-fine-dog-is-back-and-his-creator-wants/)
(Quote source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ilyapozin/2013/10/09/20-leadership-quotes-to-make-you-laugh/?sh=4cb6dd5a76ad)