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Recently I was in the South when a snow storm hit. This storm, in many regions of the country would have been a light dusting, barely even affecting residents. But in the South, where driving in the snow and ice is not something most people have to deal with, chaos erupted. Entire towns shut down and businesses closed for days. Normally confident drivers quickly became overly cautious. These drivers’ actions slowed traffic to a snail’s pace, and in some instances stopped traffic all together. This relatively rare weather event simply overtaxed the skills and abilities of the residents. Had they had more practice driving in snow and dealing with the inconvenience, the event would have not even registered.
The same can be said for leadership. When a snow storm of strong moods and emotions shows up, what actions do we take? When there is a leadership crisis, what happens – clarity and action, or confusion and inaction? For many leaders, dealing with a crisis situation such as strong negative emotions and moods leads them too far out of their comfort zones. They become uncomfortable, triggering a strong desire to preserve and continue the status quo. Rather than looking at the situation as a great opportunity to have a different conversation with a different outcome, a leader under stress falls back to their own old patterns and ways of dealing with the situation. Low and behold, we have the same outcomes.
Leadership, like driving in the snow, is a skill that can be learned. We can learn to deal with strong moods and emotions. We can learn how to remain centered in our body and lead from choice when a difficult conversation arises. We can learn how to have effective conversations for action that create the results we desire. From a generative/ontological perspective we can learn in the following domains:
- Language– We can learn to have more effective conversations. We can learn to make more effective requests and offers. We can learn to see how our conversations are the basis for all outcomes positive and negative.
- Moods and Emotions– We can learn what moods and emotions we live in. We can learn to see what actions our moods and emotions drive us towards, both positive and negative. We can also learn to embody different moods and emotions, creating a more powerful outcome.
- Body (Somatics)– We can learn how to unlock our body and our somatic way of being. We can learn to shift in our body and create a presence of possibility and action. We can learn how to have a body that responds to negative events in a positive way.
Think of it this way. It is not difficult to drive in the snow…if you are good at it. The same is true with leadership, it is not difficult to be an effective leader, if you are competent at it. Like all competencies, you learn how to do it. What are you learning as a leader? @croftedwards #LeadershipFlow #SelfMastery
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