Saturday, February 9, 2019

Some Thoughts and Feelings about Leading with Thoughts and Feelings

Impulsivity is probably one of the greatest detriments to both leadership and life.  Have you ever witnessed some destroy their life or career simply because they sprung to action based on their immediate thoughts or feelings?  Of course, we have. 

Consider these tidbits of advice when it comes to everyday events in life.
  • Never go shopping for groceries when you’re hungry. 
  • It makes no sense to pull out your credit card for new clothes when your bank account is low.
  • It's not very wise to make life-altering decisions when your life is in chaos.  
The main idea to these pieces of advice remind us that our lack of order and self-discipline negatively impact our future.

So let’s apply these same statements to leadership. 
  • Never make decisions based on solely on your thoughts.
  • It doesn’t make much sense to confront a difficult personnel situation with only your feelings. 
  • Don’t act when you’re angry. 
  • Your hunches and your gut are right 50% of the time. 

Sure, thoughts are obviously important to our leadership.  We better think before we create solutions or analyze problems, but thoughts by themselves serve as a bad barometer for gauging the reality of a situation or developing a positive response. Feelings are even more unreliable, as they are merely a thermometer of our current and ever-changing mental state. In fact, our thoughts are often influenced by our immediate feelings and if that’s all you have to lead with, you’re in trouble as a leader. 

So how can we lead more effectively with ours thoughts and feelings?

Well first, we must remember that when we lead with preplanned systems, our responses have a greater chance of being consistent, effective and ultimately successful. Furthermore, if we reflect on our daily work, we can anticipate 80% of the problems we will encounter; therefore, leaders make their work more efficient and effective when we create a system of automatic responses to those problems. Second, we can anticipate that people will attempt to handoff their problems to us or infect us with their negative or irrational feelings.  In these situations, we create a system or responses to ensure that their monkeys don't shift from their backs to ours.

Thoughts and feelings are powerful in both constructive and destructive ways, but if we develop plans to respond to the majority of problems we face on a regular basis, our thoughts and feelings can be leveraged around those systems to ensure that we transform the ineffectiveness of going with our gut into the certainty of leading with confidence and competence.

So what other thoughts or feelings do you have about leading with your thoughts and feelings?

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