Thursday, October 9, 2014

Sometimes the Worst of Us Brings Out the Best of Us

It's been a rough month for me as a leader. I lost a new employee who I counted on and really thought would be a great fit for us, but I was wrong and she moved on. I am juggling speaking events, travel, business development, project coordination and single motherhood. Our firm has client demands that are very close to exceeding our current resources so we are in the process of coordinating coaches and trainers for 2015. It's all good stuff but even good stress is still stress and I have had some very unemotionally intelligent days! And it's on my lowest days of self-reflection that mean girl voice in my head says to me, "Some leadership expert you are, you are a fraud." I have also chosen this time to do my own periodic 360 assessment, so I am bracing for those results. I also plan on heavy drinking that day. 

I came across this great article from Wendy Wong at The Ken Blanchard Cos called Learning From Unleaderlike Moments. What a great reminder that even when we feel at our worst and most vulnerable, is when we can grow into the best of us. 

I think the key to successfully leveraging the most from bad times is the following:
  1. Having the willingness to dwell in the pain and shame long enough to self-audit our behaviors. Why did I say or do that? What are my triggers? Who was in the wake of my bad behavior that I need to apologize to? 
  2. Taking action instead of allowing the unleaderlike moments to continue. Identify the stress sources and take care of them, no matter how hard or uncomfortable it may be. Come clean with your team, own it and commit to doing better next time. Don't allow chronic bad behavior.
  3. Moving on. There is no positive benefit from lingering guilt, worry, or self-judgment. If you have done #1 and #2, you are ready to let this go and move on. 
What are your best practices for recovering from leadership failure?