I don’t think I can…
Leading a team to a long term goal is tough. You spend day after day chipping away at what you think could one day be the promised land. People have to continue to buy the vision and believe in where you’re going. But what happens when you start to wobble?
Losing your mojo
One of the things people don’t tell new leaders is how difficult the day to day can really be. There are constant battles, staff issues, externalities that impact the organisation and targets that need to be met. Your resources are finite and your internal reserves (mojo) are no different.
I was recently coaching a leader who’d been through a number of challenges and was feeling disenfranchised and resentful. The team hadn’t been fully on board and as is often the case with change management, there were some detractors. This was a critical inflection point for them.
Before we get back to how we refocus you when you’re in this state (like the coaching client), let’s look at the core problem.
You’re driving a change agenda. It’s carefully planned, you’re all tooled up and you know where YOU THINK the result is. You set down a path and start chipping away. You do this for months…
After awhile, you start to look like the team pictured above. You’re dirty, tired and still haven’t seen a result. You start to question where you’re going and change directions because there isn’t any clear feedback that you’re on the right track.
Or is there?
The dog in the image beautifully illustrates micro-signals that you’re on to something. Sometimes there won’t be any for a while, other times you have to shift your gaze (perception) and you notice the tiny indications of something just on the horizon. If you’re only seeking huge flashing signs of success, you’re likely to miss these and change direction. This causes the cycle to continue and your despondence to increase.
So how do you know when you’re on the right track?
The way to get back on the horse and stay the course
Like that coaching client I mentioned, we need to reset. Here is how:
- Revisit your goals – if you’re feeling despondent, perhaps your priorities have changed and you no longer want what you did before. If that’s the case, it’s time to revisit and reset your goals before continuing forward.
- Isolate the facts from feelings – change is hard. People will feel fatigued and so will you. The thing successful leaders do is remove their feelings of fear and continue to endure when there isn’t any positive praise coming their way.
- Look for the micro-signals – In science, signal is what matters, whereas noise is a distraction. In this example, the dog is a micro-signal, showing you there is something happening. The tired feelings and dirtiness are noise. Look for the micro-signals and seek to understand how they should affect your next round of actions.
- Endure – if you’ve done all of these, it’s time to look inside yourself for the focus and reinforcement you need. When everyone else has checked out, only you can stay the course and ensure the team doesn’t lose sight of the vision.
You’ve got this, now make it happen.