“Leaders face a challenge, and choose to see the opportunities to win

One trait rings true of today’s strongest leaders.  They are genuinely optimistic.  They see a challenging situation, and instead of barking orders, or demanding instant results, they pause.  They do things like ask questions, observe the team in action, and ask questions before jumping to conclusions.  They offer a different perspective.  They welcome diverse thinking from the team.  In fact, they demand it.

In my coaching, I hear about lots of challenging situations with employees and tough career choices.  We often limit our thinking to a finite set of choices based on fear.  Instead, good leaders confront that fear, and choose to think bigger and bolder in the direst situations.  They ask – what is possible?  They expand the dialogue.  If the situation is a real challenge, they ask – what will we gain?

Meet Rick.  He inherited a challenging set of circumstances.  His team was stressed, client wait times were inconsistent, leading to unhappy clients, and disengaged employees.  He had some tough choices to make.  Instead of jumping in with all of the answers, Rick stood back and listened to the clients.  He asked his team questions.  He said things like – “help me understand” and “tell me more” – to expand his team’s thinking.

Still knowing that the team’s results could be better, he chose to focus on the positive.  Instead of focusing on the negatives, he focused on the potential to rebound.  He offered a high performance challenge to rally the team.  He coined the phrase, “we have the opportunity for a lot of wins.”  Think about that.  The team could not help but be motivated by the positive energy it created.  Instead of focusing on the long wait times and client dissatisfaction, he shifted the focus to the wait time improvements and client success stories.  By shifting focus on the positive, he shifted the team’s mindset to one of self-fulfilling toward a positive outcome.  Week by week, with the genuinely optimistic focus, even the most disengaged employees rebounded.  It became increasingly difficult to resist the positive culture of change.

Because Rick genuinely embraced optimism, his team mirrored his behavior.  Individual team members became more positive, and the culture transformed, leading to improved performance.  Leaders that choose to look for the opportunities to win, have better business results.

What are your opportunities to win?

 

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