As a father, one of my greatest joys is taking my son fishing. As I prepared for a trip last fall, I set the hooks onto the poles and loaded everything into the car. Sadly, that trip we returned home with no luck. I proceeded to place the fishing equipment on the back patio to await our next attempt to lure the big one. As months went by, one day I was playing a board game with my son on the living room carpet, and suddenly felt a sharp pain in my foot. The hook that I had set to catch a fish months earlier was lodged into my foot. I had caught myself! Somehow I had negligently lost track of one of the hooks and inadvertently set a trap for myself and my entire family. Thankfully, I was the one who got caught and not my wife or one of my kids!
The Biggest Trap Leaders Accidentally Set
As leaders, many times we set traps unintentionally that we get caught in all the time. These are problems that we end up having to deal with that are caused by our own doing. If we can be aware of the following trap, we can be more mindful and less likely to find ourselves hooked.
A trap we set for ourselves as leaders is creating a negative atmosphere with critical talk. As leaders we must realize that our words have power. There is a vibration and frequency with our speech that influences our atmospheres. While I am not saying that we ignore realities and real problems that need solutions, I am saying that being critical of our team members, ourselves, or our circumstances can have a self-fulfilling prophecy effect. The more we call something a certain name, the more it begins to manifest those characteristics. It has been said that “thoughts are things”. As we speak negatively, it creates a negative energy and negative attitude among our teams, and becomes contagious as they begin to speak negatively and reinforces that negative energy. Before you know it, you as a leader have created a perfect storm of doubt and insecurity that will be a hostile environment to creativity and essential critical thinking.
How To Prevent Falling Into A Leadership Trap
In “Remember The Titans”, a movie about a high school football team in Alabama in the 1960s, coach Denzel Washington is berating his team captains for their negative attitudes. In response, they tell their coach, “Attitude reflects leadership.” As leaders, we must realize the power that we have to create an atmosphere that will either cause our teams to have their energy be fueled or faded. Leaders must treat the team atmosphere like a fire, and tend to it so that it does not burn out. If we focus on people or circumstances that we cannot control, we will create in ourselves an energy of a victim with no power, and by transmission infect our team via the negativity soaked atmosphere. It is your responsibility as a leader to set structures and systems in place that will provide not only constructive feedback and correction to wayward team members but also creative and critical thinking which becomes accelerated through synergistic collaboration.
How Leaders Get To The Top Of Their Game
One of the most unique aspects of our GCA process includes identifying and ensuring leaders become aware of the obstacles in their path to success. Whether it’s a team or leadership style bottleneck, you won’t succeed unless you can clearly see it and have the tools to address these potentially hazardous bottlenecks to your business areas.