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Turning ‘on’ your leadership

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by on
in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

Crisis produces a state of being “on,” which a University of Michigan business researcher calls the “fundamental state of leadership.” Here are the four stages of moving from a normal work state to being “on” for a crisis:
  1. You move from being comfort-centered (“What’s for lunch?”) to being results-centered (“How do we keep our jobs past Friday?”).

    If you’re not sure how to become results-centered, ask this question: “What result do I want to create?”

  2. You move from being directed by external forces to moving the agenda yourself. That means you stop complying and start fulfilling your own destiny.

    Becoming more internally directed requires clarifying your values, increasing your integrity, having confidence in others’ ability and establishing that you’re “for real.” Other people have to make sense of your new direction or they won’t follow you.

  3. You become less self-centered and more focused on others. You put the needs of the organization above your own, but you also put your people’s interests before yours. As your empathy increases, and people really think they can trust you, cohesion follows.

  4. You open up to outside signals or stimuli. When you’re in the normal state and outside indicators suggest that change is in order, the strong pull is toward denial.

    When you switch to a fundamental state of leadership, you’re aware of what’s happening, you generate new strategies, and you adapt. Quickly.
This four-step process is painful but it works.

— Adapted from “Moments of Greatness: Entering the Fundamental State of Leadership,” Robert E. Quinn, Harvard Business Review.

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