Leading successfully in challenging times is harder than when things are rolling along smoothly…
Quite frankly, easy times just don’t require as much skill or competency in leadership, as least when aspiring to maintain status quo. No, leadership is only difficult — it only really matters — when things are not going so smoothly.
Like when the wheels fall off that damn wagon…
I was facilitating a leadership session in Cedar Rapids not too long ago. Or, more accurately, I was scheduled to facilitate a session. The problem was, the hotel conference room we thought we had scheduled didn’t have us on their schedule at all. And, of course, they were booked solid.
It doesn’t really matter who did what to cause the issue; either way, I’m in the lobby, milling about with 18 mid-level managers looking to me to find us a home before their whole morning is shot.
In less than 10 minutes, the catering staff reset a room that was set-up and scheduled for someone else’s lunch, and got us in there with the agreement we would be gone in about 3.5 hours (originally scheduled for 4). Great session, and the whole thing was, in hindsight, a humorous case-study in organization, customer service, and most importantly, Leadership.
The hotel didn’t have to make this work; there was enough “noise” in the scheduling miscommunications that they could have felt that they weren’t to blame anyway. But they did, and that decision, made by an empowered staff, reflected on the hotel’s general manager — even though he wasn’t on the property then.
Leadership takes little skill when everything is in sync, moving as planned from point A to point B. When the train jumps track, however, real leadership becomes apparent. Or not.
My thanks to the Cedar Rapids Marriott.
But that’s just me…