Pressure does strange things to people, doesn’t it?
A perfectly pleasant person, maybe it’s your boss, maybe it’s your boss’ boss, begins acting like their hair is on fire and it’s everybody else’s responsibility to fix it. To put out the fire. Their fire.
And suddenly, it feels like maybe your hair is on fire.
So what do you do? You turn around and put the pressure on. On yourself, on your team, on your customer.
Stop making other people responsible for your emergencies. And stop taking responsibility for someone else’s emergency. Both lead to dysfunction.
Turning up the pressure on customers because you missed a forecast, or on team members because your project is going sideways, is one of the fastest ways for your customer to fire you, especially if that customer happens to be your employee.
And it makes you a bully.
As a leader, you own your emergencies. If you’ve painted yourself into a corner, if something didn’t get done, a project isn’t progressing the way you expected it to, or a deal didn’t come in when you hoped it would, you own that. Because you are the leader, and you have the ultimate responsibility. So don’t blame your team. Don’t blame the customer who didn’t get back with you when you hoped they would.
If you’re constantly feeling like your hair is being torched by someone else’s, stop taking on the emergency. You don’t own that. You do own your response, though.
Who are you passing your fire on to?
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