We have to make choices leaders, and in making right decisions, we should seek counsel from as many different sources as possible, both above and below. However, there is no shortage of lousy advice offered today.
One of my earlier lessons as an infantryman in the Army was the idea that "slow is smooth, smooth is fast." We first applied this while training our drills, especially entering and clearing a room. The idea behind this is that to be rapid, effective, and decisive, we have to have expert proficiency in every smaller task that goes into this drill. These more modest tasks only develop over time with deliberate effort and training.
Business today needs collaboration across multiple areas, proper collaboration requires open and honest feedback. However, as dynamics in an organization's environment grow, and relationships develop it can often become difficult to provide constructive criticism to peers and team members, especially if the feedback is negative.
As a leader, the way that we approach our problems has a lot to do with their successful outcome. It is also important to remember that we are in the relationship business, we continuously build and maintain relationships with our teams. In creating and maintaining these relationships, it is vital to develop a good sense of emotional intelligence and empathy.
Listening is a skill that we tend to take for granted. Often we tell ourselves and others that we are active listeners, but are we? There is a difference between listening to respond and listening to understand.
As leaders, we face a multitude of tasks in our daily lives. One of our fundamental skills is the ability to set priorities and focus accordingly. In leadership, we have three critical areas to focus on in no particular order; developing our team, driving the mission forward, and self-care. Each of these ideas is dependent upon the others, and the situation we find ourselves in will help dictate the priority.