Sun Tzu in the Art of War talks about the perils of a leader who lacks the ability to be decisive. When battling in business today, you are watched very closely as a leader. One thing that teammates of a leader will not forgive is lack of certainty. By your words, voice qualities and body language - you either transfer certainty or you transfer doubt. People want to follow a leader who can clearly paint a compelling picture of the future. The events of the past several years have shaken that trust in corporate America with a sting of disappointments.
Maybe your company saw it stock price chopped by 80% or more, had repeated downsizings or even went out of business. There still are many companies and individuals in the survival mode today. They are concerned with surviving and not thinking how they can out innovate, out think and out hustle the competition.
What difficult leadership situations have you found yourself in the last few years? One simple concept to remember when facing adversity is that there is a difference between difficult and impossible. A couple years ago when playing for the Arizona Cardinals, Jake Plummer and his team found themselves down my 21 with twelve minutes left against the Eagles in Philadelphia. Most teams would fold in that situation, but the Cardinals had Jake. According to an article in Sports Illustrated, this was not a new situation for him. In six seasons there he directed 21 game-winning drives in the forth quarter or overtime.
The story in the newspaper by the AP quoted Jake as saying, “With 12 minutes I don’t think I had to say it, but I did anyway. ” I said, “We’re down, but we’re still in it!” Then he went down the benches yelling, “You gotta’ believe!” They came all the way back and won the game 25-24 on a last second field goal by Chris Jacke.
I’ll bet he didn’t go to just anybody on the bench. He went his “go to” guys that he knew he could ignite a spark of conviction in first. He did it with enthusiasm, conviction and planted the seed of possibility in their minds. Sometimes to turn around momentum, all it takes is one person who makes a decision. A key belief to adopt as a leader is:
I can rally others to believe in what has not happened yet.
What can you do to test yourself? Set up a video camera to record your performance speaking to your team. It takes guts to record and even more to watch it. You get more feedback on what you are doing well and how to improve quickly than you can imagine.
When faced with adversity on the job or at home, how do you handle it? Does you attitude quickly become negative and resort to the “this is going to be impossible to turn around” mode? Or do you think, “I love a challenge. This is not going to be easy, but it is absolutely possible!” Once you can get yourself, a teammate or one of your children to acknowledge that the challenge ahead is difficult but not impossible, then the brain kicks in and says: Then there is a way to overcome this? What is my first step?” Companies today are starving for leaders to step up and take a stand. Victory in the next battle your company faces may hinge on you.
Chip Eichelberger is a peak performance strategist and motivational dynamo. Former Tony Robbins international point-man, he speaks at conventions for clients like Tommy Hilfiger, ADP, Century 21 and Marriott. Sign up for his e-newsletter at www.GetSwitchedOn.com - 866-224-1393 - Chip@GetSwitchedOn.com