2 steps to thriving in a dynamic environment
Thursday, September 27, 2018
The adage of, "If you want something done, give it to a busy person" is taken to the next level with good leaders. Some leaders embrace this constant change, seemingly feeding off it.
Others, however, push hard with the idea that someday, at some point, if they just do a few more things, it will all settle down. As nice as that may sound, it is often an illusion.
Most leaders are in charge because they continually set higher standards and tougher goals as soon as they accomplish one.
Planning to rest at a time in the future that never comes leads to burnout. Instead, for leaders to succeed sustainably, they must find a way to thrive in dynamic environments.
Being a good leader is a dynamic process. We must understand traditional methods and innovative approaches, then find a way to incorporate them successfully into whatever we are trying to accomplish. We must learn multiple leadership styles, understand our core style and find ways to apply the right mix to different situations.
In short, leading well is dynamic and requires active balance.
Amidst the pulls on our time and the drive to continue pushing forward, the best leaders find ways to reflect, course correct and iteratively improve their approach while change is occurring. Sometimes the adjustment is almost an instant reaction with its impact not fully understood until later.
Other times, it is an intentional shift, planned and thoughtfully evaluated. In any case, it happens while the leader is leading, not upon reflection on a tropical beach with no cell service.
Thus, an important first step is to recognize that both themes: leadership balance and continuous improvement, can be taxing.
Leaders are continuously under pressure to exceed expectations despite increasing demand on their time and the undercurrent of improvement already flowing through every action. Good leaders are dynamic and committed to improving; and that dynamism and drive can lead to increasing pressures to perform which in turn increase burnout.
In other words, in some cases, the only thing that can stop a leader is burnout. Thus, to avoid it, leaders must recognize that leadership is dynamic and that a sustainable leadership style requires incorporating habits that provide balance.
One way to counteract the pressure is to change. In such cases, change for the sake of change is not an exercise in futility. Instead, it is a planned, purposeful interruption designed to break the cycles in which leaders can get stuck.
For example, taking a walk outside during a break in an all-day board meeting instead of checking emails for 15 minutes. In other cases, incorporating a habit that nourishes — like a healthier lunch, taking the stairs, or reading a jokebook — can provide the comfort of routine as well as the positive benefits of a constructive activity.
The bottom line is, to avoid burnout, continue improving and thrive in dynamic environments, leaders must continue to adapt by incorporating balance into their constantly evolving approaches.
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