Without leaving any space for assumption, leadership has so many definitions and for the purpose of this conference, we will stick with that of General Dwight Eisenhower.
He defines leadership as the art of getting someone else [others] to do something you want done because he wants to do it. [Emphasis mine]
Reaction can simply be said to be the response to a stimulus or an action.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. – Newton’s third law of motion.
As leaders, there will ALWAYS be calls to react (❌) instead of respond (✅) if we are not smart enough.
While REACTION waits to be triggered by an action, RESPONSE prepares for whatever action may come along the way.
Let’s take it further; leaders are not permitted to be shocked. As John C. Maxwell puts it, ” a leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way “.
It would be ridiculous for a tour guide to lose his way, don’t you think so too?
If you, as the leader of the team, are always taken by surprise by the turnout of events, you will lose credibility with your followers in no time.🥊🥊🥊
We will divvy this topic (LEADERSHIP RESPONSE now) into two main subtopics.
1⃣ Response (not reaction) to issues.
2⃣ Response (not reaction) to people.
RESPONSE TO ISSUES
There are sometimes when things may not go the way you want and that time is not a time to tear up or wail. It is a time when your values are called to fore.
The story of one of the leading women in the nation comes to mind.
She mentioned that one time some people came to her company to order for a large number of units of her product with a condition to go on with the transaction if they (the woman’s company) would agree to add few thousands of naira to the price. Thereby granting them (the buyer) the opportunity to STEAL.
Around this period the woman was out of the country and she got a call from one of her employees with respect to what had transpired at the office. And the woman asked, what did you tell them? The employee replied “that we cannot do such.”
Cut the long story short, the woman eventually got the contract with NO STAIN TO HER NAME.
I believe that the reply that no such transaction should be made on the ground of the company was just not concocted on that day. The reply had been on ground since the inception of the oranisation.
RESPOND, not REACT!
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, one thing a leader MUST NOT TRADE is his values.
You keep your values, you become VALUABLE. You compromise your values, you begin to lose value.
What are values❓
“They are STANDARDS you establish for yourself.” – Femi Tiamiyu
I need you to understand that to THRIVE as a leader, you MUST place more discipline (higher standards) on yourself than you place on other people (team members, protégé, e.t.c.).
Personally, I use the acronym WI2SER2 to recall my values.
WI2SER2 stands for Wisdom, Integrity, Industriousness, Service, Excellence, Respect, Responsibility.
If I may ask, what are your values?
Let’s look into this scenario…
You happen to be the point man of a group that meets weekly. And you have assigned different people to speak on some selected topics from the beginning of the tenure so as to give direction and raise the expectation of all the members before meetings.
Before meetings, you make sure to remind speakers of what is expected of them at the next meeting and to receive assurance that they would be around too.
On this particular day, you call on your Assistant General Secretary (he was to speak for the day) to take the stage. He beckons on you and speaks these words into your ears – I am not prepared.
What do you do❓
Do you shout at him?
• Do you tell the other members what just happened in a manner that would denigrate him?
• Do you force him to speak to the group on ANYTHING?
Or like me, do you tell him it is all right and go on to have one of the best meetings ever (with the point man taking the stage)?
Leaders, I spoke to my fellow executive afterward (privately) and we amicably agreed that it was best he resigned.
Today, we still converse HEARTILY.
When there is an issue on ground, be wise not to attack the person (people). Focus on the issue!
RESPONSES TO PEOPLE.
In leadership, it is true that people are your most valuable assets and that is why you cannot afford to REACT when dealing with them.
Being a man in a conspicuous arena (leader), it will always be easy to SPOT and THROW stones at you, sometimes, for nothing.
Two days ago, the first speaker, @God’s Gift defined Emotional Intelligence as the ability to RESPOND to the emotions people give to you rather than to REACT to it.
Leaders need a very high level of Emotional Intelligence. You cannot afford to grant others good soil for their seeds of negativity.
Always remember that you will only be held responsible for either your RESPONSE or REACTION at any time t and not for other’ ACTIONS towards you..
Criticisms will ALWAYS come as long as you breathe. Except you want to take one of Aristotle’s comical yet powerful advice which says “if you do not want to be criticised, do nothing.”
Even machines experience friction. When two or more people are working together, there is bound to be divergence of views. The wisdom is knowing how to harmonize these views to produce great action points.
If two people ALWAYS agree, then one is not needed.
Leaders need all the brains they can get in getting the people to the city of their VISION. And one of the weapons a leader must have in his arsenal is PROACTIVE CONFLICT RESOLUTION.
Below are tips on how to go about it.
PROACTIVE CONFLICT RESOLUTION.
♦ Meet the person [team member(s)] as soon as possible to discuss their behaviour.
♦ Ask and listen to their side of the story – “Assumption is the least form of intelligence” – Femi TIAMIYU.
♦ Try to come to a place of agreement.
♦ Set out a specific course of action for them to take.
♦ Let them know you care about them and genuinely desire a positive resolution to the situation. [This is very important.]
You could also employ Norman Vincent Peale’s SANDWICH of CONFLICT RESOLUTION.
Compliment – Criticize – Compliment.
May I also add that compliments are better given publicly while criticisms should be doled out RIGHTLY privately.
N:B Let not your words cause others to lose their self-esteem.
In truism, there are sometimes when people’s criticisms of us hold some element of truth and our ego would not allow us sink these truths in.
“The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praises than saved by criticisms.” – Norman Vincent Peale
I hope these words above are not true with you.
I bring some advice from an unknown individual who said; “Don’t mind criticism. If it is untrue, disregard it. If it is unfair, keep from irritation. If it is ignorant, smile. If it is justified, LEARN FROM IT.”
Remember that though criticism might be a harsh form of feedback, it is still feedback.
Let me end on this note.
If you expect others to take the initiative of conflict resolution instead of you, then you should examine your veracity as a true leader. Leadership can be UNEASY many times as leaders are ALWAYS expected to take the HIGHROAD.
We are expected to ALWAYS do right. We get little or no credit sometimes. And when we SLIP a BIT, people make MOUNTAINS out of it.
These and many more are reasons why we cannot afford to SLEEP ON THE BICYCLE.
We must be cognizant of our thought life and emotions as these will be the determining factors with respect to our words and actions.
May we not destroy great things we have built with few seconds of EMOTIONAL SLIP!