Remember becoming a parent for the first time? You likely reacted to everything your child did. I remember standing over my daughter’s crib to make sure she was breathing. Her baby book included the first everything, from baby shower to bath tub to bicycle. By the time the second child comes along we’ve figured some things out. We didn’t wake up at every sound. Some of the little things we fretted over with the first child didn’t seem quite as big a deal.
I’m the youngest of four kids. By the time I came along my mom and dad had seen it all. I don’t even have a baby book!
My travels take me into a variety of situations and personalities. I work with some of the best of the best, and I’m also invited in to mentor those who are just beginning their journey. I see the behavior of those who’ve been through it before and those who are facing a situation for the first time.
Experience gives us maturity. Maturity develops perspective. Perspective leads to wise decisions.
A recent plane ride was unusually turbulent. After several nasty bumps I turned to the young lady sitting next to me and asked if she was scared. She just smiled at me and said,
“My dad is the pilot. He does this all the time.”
What signals are we sending as leaders? Do we react to every challenge as though it’s an unforeseen emergency, a time to panic, and a reason to “do SOMETHING” with READY-FIRE-AIM? Or we do we respond with the experience and calm of a pilot who is trained at navigating the inevitable turbulence, who has been through it before, and who instills confidence to those entrusted to him?
Now don’t take this the wrong way. I’m not against strong leadership. I worked for Bud Paxson for many years, one of the most aggressive leaders I’ve ever seen. But his actions were not RE-actions that sent the troops on an unpredictable tangent, they were pro-actions that motivated the team in a direction the team already understood.
Turbulence will come. Your team is watching how you will lead.