Integrating timeless principles with modern research to transform mindsets and organizational cultures

Leading is Not Firefighting

Leading is Not Firefighting

“My work environment is toxic.” How many of your employees complain about their managers and colleagues when they go home at night? What are the consequences of such complaints?

It should not surprise us that these sentiments are so common. In many organizations, individuals rise to leadership positions based on time in service. These same individuals are not asked to invest in leadership training or to demonstrate a personal commitment to grow their leadership skills. Their emotional willingness to develop their leadership skills is never assessed. Because they see leadership as just another position, they are unable to deal effectively with their new responsibilities.

Leaders like this often find that they spend their days firefighting problems. They associate leadership with long days of problem solving and self-sacrifice, all done for the good of the organization, and are thus driven to catch and correct the errors that others make. Perhaps they believe they are smarter than everyone else; or perhaps, they fear what might happen should they relinquish control. Many well-meaning and dedicated leaders agree: they end the day exhausted and dispirited, paying what they think is the price of leadership. For many, leadership means little more than management, and management means little more than controlling others. But does it really have to be this way?

Fortunately, the answer is no. There are timeless principles and modern research that help reduce the stress of those in leadership roles while simultaneously increasing employee discretionary effort. The result of embracing these ideas: Your organization can ignite the intelligence of its employees making for a happier, more creative, and more productive workplace.

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