Leading the Day After: Leadership Opportunities After the Project is Over By Kevin Eikenberry
If you lead for any length of time, you have experienced one (or both) of these situations:
* Your team achieves a major goal, finishes a big project or lands the big client.
* The team tries for but doesn’t reach the big goal, finishes a big project late or loses a big client.
While these two sets of situations are quite different – some are big successes and the others disappointments – both lead to something very challenging for us to deal with.
Once you’ve climbed the mountain, what’s left? Once you’ve failed, what’s next?
Both situations lead to letdown. And letdown, regardless of the cause, is important for us as leaders to recognize and deal with.
A variety of the symptoms of letdown pose challenges for us. These include:
* Focus lost
* Energy drained
* Vision missing
And, if the letdown comes from a major success, you might need to add complacency to this list.
If, or when, you notice one or more of these symptoms, consider the six ideas below to help you as a leader get your group past the letdown and on to greater success.
Six Keys to Overcoming Let Down…
Recognize. The first step is to notice the symptoms. Keep your eyes and ears open. Notice how people are talking and acting. If you notice the symptoms, take the next step.
Discuss. Get people together to talk about how they are feeling. Are they feeling an adrenaline drag? Tired, not sure what to do next? Get people together and let them talk about what they are thinking and how they are feeling. Remember that the feeling question is the most important one. Ignore this component of the conversation and you will have missed a major opportunity for healing and improvement.
Allow (for awhile). It is OK for people to feel whatever they are feeling after these sorts of “big” events. Allow people to be tired, de-motivated or even cocky for a bit. If the feelings or behaviors aren’t what you want long term, then help people make the shift with the rest of these steps.
Reflect. Whatever led to the letdown, there are massive learning opportunities from those experiences. Make sure people have the chance to reflect on and learn from what happened. Reflection can be a powerful part of the celebration of successes and a great release from disappointments. Above everything else, reflection is like a much needed mental deep breath.
Look higher. Once you have gotten people to this point, it is time to move forward. The best way to re-invigorate the group’s mindset is to tie the past effort to the higher goal. When people understand or are reminded of the “why we are here” they can put the success (or failure) they now feel into the appropriate context.
Re-energize. Part of looking higher is setting new goals. Few things provide the powerful sort of mental, psychological and physical energy that an aspirational goal can. Help people set a new goal – one that helps them move forward with passion and purpose.
The best leaders try to focus on the needs and challenges of their team. This is a wonderful attribute and very important. In this case though, it is difficult to lead your group through these steps if you haven’t led yourself through them. Recognize that you may be suffering a letdown. Letting the team know how you are feeling can be a wonderful step into helping them through these steps.
Kevin Eikenberry is a leadership expert and the Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group, a learning consulting company that helps Clients reach their potential through a variety of training, consulting and speaking services. To receive your free special report on Unleashing Your Potential click here or call us at (317) 387-1424 or 888.LEARNER.
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