One of the most difficult challenges for leaders is facing a decision or vision that was not well received. Not only do we feel rejected but sometimes we even question our abilities to lead. We wonder how our team will respond to our future choices. Will we still have followers? Have we lost that special “something”? We are thrown off balance and oftentimes fear marches in and takes a hold of us. Perhaps we are just focusing on the wrong questions and concerns. According to ice skating champion, Scott Hamilton, “It’s not about falling, it’s about getting up.” Let’s face it, we all fall down at different points in our careers. No leader is immune to that time when our confidence is shattered as we recognize that a mistake has been made. The key then is to find our inner strength and move forward. How do we continue to lead and not let this “blip” sabotage us?
Here are some ways that may help us to regain our traction and begin to lead again:
- Take a deep breath: First step back and try to gain some perspective. Say to yourself: “So what this happened, I have had many successes along the way, and this does not define what type of leader I am”.
- Reflect on the reason for the fall: Spend some time honestly evaluating the causes of your fall. Speak to your team members openly and without anger about their understanding of what transpired. Collect your information and try not to judge. Just listen with the intent of understanding.
- Create a learning opportunity: After gathering your data and putting it into order, think of what knowledge you have gained. Do not let this be a wasted opportunity! Put in writing what went wrong and why it was not welcomed. Then spend time writing out what you could do differently the next time. Developing an action plan can show you the direction you need to move in order to grow and become that stronger leader.
- Move into action: Now is the time to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and return to your team and followers with your new game plan. A healthy leader can admit their mistakes but not feel threatened by what others have shared. Incorporate your followers’ ideas and forge ahead with energy and excitement. Success begets success and we build our confidence on those positive leadership opportunities.
The way we pick ourselves up will help define our type of leadership and how our team sees us. How have you handled some of your challenges and how did you pick yourself up?