I had a basketball coach that taught us to expect to make every single jumpshot that we ever took. He said, “you should be shocked when it doesn’t go in”. It was extremely helpful in building self-confidence when shooting the basketball. A lesson that I have learned in leadership is that I always plan and hope for the best but am never surprised when a problem, challenge, or adversity arises. I’m shocked if a problem doesn’t arise as we are working on a project. Knowing how to L.E.A.D. through that challenge is what built self-confidence in my leadership role. This simple acronym has guided me and my teams through many adversities.
The biggest mistakes that I have made in my leadership journey have always been due to not using those two wonderful ears we have. I would see a problem and know that I can solve it, most of the time making an even bigger mess of the problem. Thank goodness for maturity and learning from mistakes. The first step to solving any challenge is to ask those that are working on the project questions. What has been working? What are the challenges? Am I seeing the whole picture? Listening to what they have to say is the first step.
To have real trust with your teammates, you need to know what their hopes, dreams, and problems are. That will allow you to develop a personal connection with them. Once the connection is established then you can inspire and drive them to perform at their best ability. As Teddy Roosevelt said, “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”. Empathy is not being weak but rather is understanding. Everyone has faced struggles at work or home. To have your leader understand, will build trust and loyalty that every great team needs.
If you are following the steps, now is the time for your expertise to come into play. You are a leader for a reason and your teammates will look forward to hearing your input on how to beat this problem. Often the leader has encountered something like this in the past or possesses the critical thinking skills to get over the hump. Armed with all the knowledge of what the team had to endure; you get to provide insight. That does not mean that you do it for the team but rather give your thoughts. This is crucial because if you take over now, the team will lose the chance to gain vital experience and confidence that they can do it now and in the future.
A lot of trust has been gained if you get to this point. You have listened to them, empathized with what they were going through, and advised on a solution. With that trust you can start to develop your next group of leaders. This will excite them as they get the chance to improve and grow as a person and professional. I have never once encountered someone that didn’t want to develop and improve. Plan with them for their personal development and you will both be rewarded for the foreseeable future.
There is a lot of responsibility that comes with being a leader. People are looking up to you and depending on you to make the right decisions. Remember that does not mean that you always have the right answers but rather that you are willing to find the answers with and for your team. With all that added responsibility, remember to slow down, breathe, and follow your leadership plan for success. The L.E.A.D. acronym is a tool to be used when that inevitable problem comes along. If your team could use help with their leadership plan, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and Let’s Go Win at leadership together!
JM Ryerson is a best-selling author and Performance and Mindset Coach. JM has a question for you. Are you living your best life, and do you feel fulfilled in your goals and achievements? While it’s tempting to say yes, really take a minute to consider what it means to be truly fulfilled. What does that look like to you? Does it match your current environment? As a professional leadership coach for entrepreneurs and executive teams, these are the questions that JM has spent years helping people of all backgrounds answer. His passion to help others succeed at work, at home, and in life is empowering the next generation of business leaders. If you’re interested in pursuing peak performance in both your life and at work, then make a change now. Stay up-to-date with JM’s latest discoveries through his podcast, Let’s Go Win, and learn more about the power of positive growth.