STORM SEASON is upon us and whether the weather is quiet or active, it affects your role, position, and operations. How do you recover? What is your role in recovery efforts as a leader? And don’t those same answers apply to all recovery efforts including a misstep in communication, a less than effective interaction at an upcoming conference, or a conversation with friends and loved ones that didn’t quite come off as you planned it? “Yes” is the real answer.
When you’re a leader, your role in recovery touches every action and aspect of leading you and leading others. It’s not always easy to lead that charge and humble pie and crow are viable menu options in all cases, but the steps outlined below will dramatically improve how quickly and effectively you, and others, are able to recover, rebound and move forward.
Assess the Situation
As the upcoming Global Excavation Conference is in Tampa, let’s use Floridians and hurricanes as an example. Long time Floridians accept that hurricanes can be an issue, just as Californians accept earthquakes. After each storm has passed, there is an assessment done of the damage. Much as you might fully assess where ALL lines and cables are buried, take the time to asses ALL aspects of the situation from which you need recovery. Conduct a virtual walk-around. Who all was involved? What was their contribution to the matter? How did the action from which recovery is needed impact your customer or team members? Lead the effort to gather all details and input because without all the information, any action taken may miss the mark or create more issues and sabotage solutions.
Address Needed Action
Once you know what happened, who with, and your contribution to it, address it. But, what does that mean exactly? A common response to a blunder or error or mistake we made and either intended, or wish we hadn’t, is to avoid it and inhabit a well-known location called denial. Leaders don’t have that luxury. Problems left unattended fester and spread into bigger issues. If you had a stressful day and the wheels fell off and you went way off the rails in barking at a team member on the phone, or in person, assess, then address it. Consider apologizing for the way you approached the person. Consider mentioning you hear or see his or her perspective. (This does not mean you agree, but rather that you realize their perspective has value and is simply different!) Or perhaps all you say is you realize the interaction was not ideal and you are wanting to approach similar situations in a different manner in the future. To recover requires active participation, not passive.
“When you’re a leader, your role in recovery touches every action and aspect of leading you and leading others.”
Set the Example
Leadership is a daily action best done at a conscious level. Whether you are a leader by title, the leader by tenure, or simply on the front line at work and only the leader of those you call family, the act of leading means you get to set the example. In recovery, it means you lead the way in repairing relationships. You lead the way in showing, to the best of your current ability, that we’re all human and that part of moving forward requires we recover from missteps that can and will happen. Don’t teach others that making mistakes is not an option or they’ll stop trying new things and then you’ll wonder what happened to all of their initiative.
Instead, if you were hung over that morning of the conference and said something snarky to a colleague in the hall, own it. Find them later and address it. If you snapped at a loved one on the phone when everything was falling apart on a job and equipment was failing, take action as soon as you’re able, and readily address it and seek understanding from the recipient of your stress level. Managing emotions and stress and recovering from uncomfortable situations, no matter if they’re a storm from mother nature or a storm from a colleague, loved one or vendor, is not always easy, but when you’re a leader, it is necessary.
Monica Wofford, CSP is a leadership development specialist, keynote speaker, and executive coach. For more information on her books, training firm or coaching services, call 1-866-382-0121, or go to www.ContagiousCompanies.com.
THIS COLUMN EXPLORES TIPS AND TECHNIQUES TO IMPROVE YOUR ABILITY TO COMMUNICATE WITH CO-WORKERS, CUSTOMERS AND INDUSTRY STAKEHOLDERS.