Have you ever been in a leadership slump?
Every leader hits a slump every now and then. It’s a season when you make a few wrong calls, when you can’t seem to rally people, or when you just don’t seem to be making progress towards goals.
I’ve been there. We all have.
But I’ve also learned that there are early warning signs that can indicate a slump might be around the corner. And if you can recognize these signs you can often take quick action and get back on track.
What are the warning signs?
Warning signal #1: When Talking Starts Trumping Listening
Leaders are communicators. But before launching any course of action, seasoned leaders will listen to, and even solicit, the opinions of trusted voices.
“Is there another way to look at this?” “Have we considered all of the angles?” Effective leaders want answers to these questions.
When a leader is doing more talking and not enough listening, a slump could be coming.
Warning signal #2: When Action is Trumping Discernment
A bias towards action is a vital component in the make-up of a leader.
But if that bias toward action is increasingly drowning out the need for discernment, a leadership slump won’t be far behind.
In his book, The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership, Steven Sample notes that when presented with a problem the first thing he would ask is, “How much time do I have?” Despite a desire to move to action, Sample wanted as much time as possible to think through the issue facing him.
Wise leaders do the same.
Warning signal #3: When Emotions are Trumping Passions
Leaders are people of passion.
But that’s not the same as being overly emotional. Because when a leader is fueled by raw feelings of anger or frustration it can be very easy to make unwise, even foolish, decisions.
If you want to avoid a leadership slump keep your passion high, but your emotions in check.
Keep a watchful eye for these early warning signs. And when you spot them, be quick to take corrective action.
If you do, you really can avoid those pesky leadership slumps.