Leaders Must Stand Alone

September 4th, 2013

Leading when times are good is easy! Leaders can walk around patting people on the back and giving compliments for a job well done. The work environment seems to have its own momentum. The heart of the business seems to beat faster and faster and faster. All we need to do as leaders is run alongside and just try and keep up. The team is confident and everyone seems to believe in the culture, the business direction, and you as the leader. Times are good…until they are not.

All of sudden the air gets still and the phone stops ringing. What you did yesterday does not work today. An employee is unhappy. A customer complains. We lose a new customer with whom we had a signed contract. They can’t do that! But they did. You’re off your sales forecast now. So, what do you do? Leadership confidence is real.

As leaders we must be careful where we take our energy from and derive our confidence. As leaders, it is a cautionary tale to take our cue from the external events around us. Events change every day. Confidence and leadership self-esteem are everything – and that must come from within.

Fear is normal. Worry is real. Feeling sorry for yourself is okay for a moment (with your boss or when your alone). However, great leadership is defined by what you do next. What do you that is useful with that stress?

It is easy to manage a winning team, whether it be a sales team, recruiting team or maybe your Tuesday night recreational sports team. Managing a losing team, well, not so easy. For example, I inherited a soccer team that had not won much in the last few years. I had to change the culture and instill values that the kids could believe in. I had to make changes. We had to work incredibly hard to improve our skills and our fitness. We have worked tirelessly for two years on and off the pitch. We are in shape now. We know the strategy and the plan. But we must learn to win. Every team – and every company – must learn to win.

So insert yourself here now. Are you coaching a winning team? Are you ready to do the work and make the necessary changes? Frankly, there is no such thing as an overnight success. But remember, it starts with you. Leaders must stand alone!

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