Seizing your leadership moments.
Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about “carpe diem” which means “pluck the day.” As I said in my earlier post, pluck those big, juicy opportunities when you see them.
This led me to thinking about moments of leadership opportunity and how often we miss them. Leadership moments are often gone before we realise what they were.
I think we expect to see big opportunities or dramatic leadership moments (cue the drumroll!), but they come by rarely. Instead, we need be alert to the moments that slip in quietly, without fanfare. Small leadership moments and small opportunities like these all add up and have a big impact on our ability to lead.
In fact, these are the moments which can define you as a leader.
What is a leadership moment?
A leadership moment is an opportunity to lead yourself or to help someone else grow. It’s your chance to prise open that juicy moment and encourage people to take and enjoy it. If someone is angry you have the chance to learn more about their values and dreams. If you are caught off-guard, it’s your chance to develop new skills to ensure you’re alert to what’s happening around you. A leadership moment is one of those times which makes you stop and question yourself.
How do you recognise a leadership moment?
The best place to start is by paying attention to yourself, your reactions, and emotions. These are the little hooks that should make you stop and question what’s happening.
Fear: When your stomach starts to churn or your palms begin to sweat, it’s a sure sign that you’re facing a moment or opportunity.
Discomfort: When you’re feeling “iffy” or reluctant to face something, there’s an opportunity to be had.
Surprise: Whether it’s a person or a situation that takes you by surprise, this moment shows you’ve missed some cues along the way. You have something to learn.
These are just a few examples of how your body and mind can signal a potential opportunity or leadership moment. It’s up to you what you do– act on it or ignore it.
How to act on a leadership moment.
So, what do you do when you find yourself in front of one of these moments? Pluck it! Here is a way to get started.
- Reflect on your reaction. What did you feel? What were you thinking at the time? How did you react?
- Identify the cause. Why did you feel that way? What was your trigger? What was happening in your thoughts? Was there a particular event or person behind it?
- Choose your action. Is this a moment for action? (It’s worth asking the question because sometimes doing nothing is a good choice.) What outcome do you want to achieve? Who needs to be involved? How will you start?
- Manage the emotion. Whether it’s yours or from another, taking the emotion our of a situation often opens the door for positive action. Separate the person from the action to stay calm. Acknowledge the other person’s emotions to slowly defuse them. Listen and show you care. Your cues for action are in the conversation.
When is your leadership moment?
It could be your leadership moment right now. Open your eyes and ears and consciously look for the ripe opportunities in front of you. A strawberry is just as delicious as a mango and, even though it’s small, it is significant. Pluck the small fruit as well as the large.
What leadership moments are in front of you right now? Have you checked today?
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Caroline Kennedy, author of Lead Beyond 2030: The Nine Skills You Need to Intensify Your Leadership Impact, is an accomplished, award-winning CEO and global thought leader on business and leadership. She is a highly sought-after mentor and coach to top global executives. A respected keynote speaker and author, Caroline’s methods are neuroscience-based to achieve rapid development and growth.