Becoming Leader

Times like these reveal who the leaders are and expose the pretenders. History has shown that leaders emerge during difficult situations. True leaders cannot stand by during crisis; they have a sense of urgency to boldly take charge of situations to make things better.

A young vice president I have the privilege of coaching has been in his new role for less than two months and is encountering resistance from his boss. During a Monday morning staff meeting the VP shared his decision to terminate an underperforming project manager. To his surprise the president told him he could not terminate the project manager. The vice president was flabbergasted. In that moment he realized that he had been given a title and a mountain of responsibility for overseeing project management, but did not have hiring and firing authority. What could he do? Should he insist on the authority to carry out his assigned responsibilities or just accept the responsibility without the authority? The way in which this VP handles the encounter will define his working relationship with the boss, and his ability to lead for years to come.

The terrain of resistance and difficulty is fertile ground for leadership to germinate and spring to life. If you are in a difficult situation, here are a few steps for leading your way forward:

  1. Listen to what you believe to be TRUE about the situation…your inner voice.
  2. Trust in your ABILITY to make a good decision.
  3. Count the COST; what are you willing to accept and under what conditions?
  4. Harness your emotions of fear as ENERGY (motivation) to speak up and do what you believe is required for growth and improvement.
  5. Expect CONFLICT and keep the perspective that it is part of the pathway to becoming a leader.
  6. CONFRONT the challenge, whether condition or person, with confidence that obstacles dissolve in the face of those with resolve.
  7. Act on what you know must be done and LEAD the way to success, do not wait.

What challenges are you and your team facing today? This may be your opportunity to set yourself apart by showing courage and leadership in the face of very high odds. Be a leader and choose actions that make the situation better.

Perhaps you’ve been in a similar situation as this vice president. What would your advice to him be? I welcome your thoughts and comments.

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01-13-09

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