Recently, I was privileged to connect with a political leader. When I asked, “How are you doing?” His response was, “Not good. Someone is challenging me for my seat.” As I conversed, I began to realize that how we see challenges influences our approach to solution.
Stanley says, “Without uncertainty we wouldn’t need leaders.” If everything was going great and there were no problems in our world – you and I wouldn’t need to do our job. But it is precisely the fact that there are problems, budget cuts, shortfalls, and difficult team dynamics that you and I are in the positions we’re in. So why then, do we see problems as problematic? They are opportunities.
Challenges are times when we clarify and focus. We don’t abandon our values, we solidify them. We don’t dismiss our strategies, we lead with conviction.
Instead of pressing pause and erasing the whiteboard and having an emergency brainstorm sessions (granted there are legitimate times for this), more often than not, I suggest we do a gut-check, ask if we’re doing what we believe to be excellent, and press on.
Leadership is necessary precisely because there are problems. Here are Stanley’s three questions for leading in uncertainty:
1) If you and I weren’t afraid to fail, what would you do?
2) If you were to be fired and the board appointed another person – what would they be expected to do?
3) How would your mentor (or a leader that you admire) handle this situation?
In that moment, you and I may know exactly what needs to be done. Don’t be discouraged by the challenge, but en-couraged by the opportunity. Lead.