No MBA mumbo-jumbo, just stuff that's worked through 30 years of team-building in business and the military.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Leading When You Don't Feel It

Let’s be honest. Some days you just don’t feel like leading. The goal doesn’t inspire you, life outside work seems more engaging, you just don’t have the energy. Summertime especially we can all be vulnerable to days like that.

The first thing to do is remind yourself that you owe it to your team and your organization to lead. Now is the time for your discipline to take over; you have to do it no matter how you feel. That means you have to act as if. Do all the same things, even if you don’t feel the same passion.

It also can help just to focus on the next intermediate goal. Now is not the time for long-range planning, or recasting the vision. Trust the planning and vision-setting you did earlier, and just execute the next step. That will greatly simplify the mental part of leading.

Finally, cut yourself some slack. Instead of swinging for the fence, trying to connect on that home-run ball, just make solid contact and get a base hit. Someone once said, “Never try something vast with a half-vast attitude.” Some days, you need to give yourself permission just to tackle that one day as best you can.

The key, though: Don’t let yourself stay in this place very long. A few days while you cope with something else or regain your mental juice is OK. But if you’re thinking of mailing it in all summer, you need to do a gut check on whether you really want to lead at all.

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