Real and perceived dangers – Leaders as protectors

If we sense danger our defences go up. If we feel safe, we relax and are more open to trust and collaborate.

Today we face a lot of dangers from outside.

As leaders, it is your sole responsibility to protect your people and, in turn, your people will protect you and each other and advance the organisation together.

Today reality the dangers we confront are both real and perceived. For example

  • Ups and downs of the stock market, which can affect the performance of your company;
  • The imminent and long-term impact of digitalization and technology advancement which may results in eliminating jobs or almost literally suffocated with information overload;
  • Fierce competition which is today not only about outperforming one and other but about survival of the strongest in adversity;
  • Uncertainty of today global pandemic and its whole impact on our businesses and livelihood;
  • Extremely polarized world whereby there is no discourses and acceptance of both sides, only tension and distrust; 
  • to name a few.

These all contribute to the constant threats that any business may face. These dangers are constant. And we have no or very little control over them, they may never go away and may never change. That is just the way it is.

There are forces inside our organisations as well. Unlike the forces outside, the ones inside are variable and are very much within our control.

Some of the dangers we face are real and can have immediate impact, like layoffs due to the pandemic. Some of you may face a real threat of losing your position if you try something new and lose the company some money. Politics also present a constant threat - the fear that others are trying to sabotage us to push us down so that they may advance their own career and so on. Today uncertainty can enhance the destructive side of organisation politics due to lack of sense of job security.

But the danger inside is controllable and it should be the goal of leadership to set a culture free of danger from each other. And the way to do this is by giving people a sense of belonging. By offering them a strong culture based on a clear set of human values and beliefs. By empower them to make decisions, by offering trust and empathy. By creating a Circle of Safety as Simon Sinek says.

Without Circle of Safety people spend way too much time and energy on protecting themselves from others (no information sharing, working on hidden agendas, less accessible etc.). Only when we feel we are in a Circle of Safety will we pull together as a unified ‘one team’ better able to survive and thrive regardless of the conditions outside.

So, what else should you do as a leader?

  • Taking care of yourself first as no one can help/protect others when he/she is in a mess, and keep crazily running after things, losing focus, feeling the enormous pressure of unknown challenges.
  • Learn to strategize differently. And start talking about your strategy differently with more human perspective in order to create that circle of safety. Not the same what you have done so far, not at all!
  • Remove organisational barriers in order to enable your people to perform better.
  • Get yourself out of the way, learn what is your real role in this as a leader. It’s changing rapidly!
  • Become more of a catalyst for development and growth. Don’t outsource it! Your greatest return is to develop leaders!
  • Learn and get your organisation learn how to recognize and appreciate progress no matter how small or big. And celebrate! This is a fuel!
  • Focus more on the strengths of your people, on their natural talents instead of their weaknesses. Different approach for learning & development!
  • Envision all the future potentials in your organisation, and unleash those potentials.

Where are you on this journey?

Source: Leaders eat last by Simon Sinek, Transformational Leadership Executive Solution by Beáta Kalamár




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