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Prepared:  The Defining Moment of Leaders Who Are Self-Aware

The New Year’s Eve celebration has come and gone. You have already brought in 2016 with a fireworks-filled bang. Now you are facing 365 days of fresh opportunities. The feelings of excitement flood your mind.  It is a time of reflection, redirection and progression.

You begin to plan a vision for how you want your life to change. Perhaps you want to lose weight or eat healthier. Maybe exchange those caffeinated drinks for bottled water. You have even decided to go on your annual scavenger hunt of finding a great gym membership plan.

You may decide to spend more quality time with your family or start volunteering. Investing in stocks or growing your retirement fund has always been on your to-do list. A new year means making the decision to explore new financial growth options. Every area of your personal life has a resolution or goal that you would like to accomplish in 2016.

You are prepared personally, but what about professionally?

January is the perfect time to envision ways of accessing undiscovered potential in your leadership skills. Leaders need to take the time and reassess how well they are prepared in handling different types of situations. Are you prepared to take your leadership performance to the next level in 2016?

The 8 Ps of Exceptional Leadership Blog Series


What It Means:   Leaders know their strengths and take pride in using them. They respect the time of others and know when and how to reach out for help.

                            “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” ~Benjamin Franklin

When leaders are unprepared, organizations face the risk of failure. Being prepared is more than just understanding the customer base or the industry. Leaders must be prepared to face situations that were never studied in management school. They have to know how to be engaged, involved and connected to those they lead and serve during times of turbulence.

Rudy Giuliani is a great example of a leader taking the helm during a time of turbulence. Fifteen years ago, he and his team had to deal quickly with the 9-11 crisis. They did not have time for a meeting or to panic. It was a time to stay focused and act.

When Captain Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberg and First Officer Jeffrey Skiles landed their plane on the Hudson in 2009, they had no manual or reference guide to assist them. There was no time to radio in an SOS. Lives were at stake. It was a time to respond, not react. 

Great leaders understand what it means to be prepared for crises. The best leaders prepare themselves physically, mentally and emotionally based upon their values, experiences and day-to-day encounters with unpredictable circumstances. Thus when the unexpected happens, the ability to remain calm, focused and engaged is a natural transition. Some refer to the illustrations above as “leading from one’s core.”

 Are you prepared to lead from your core this year? How do you know and what’s your measure of readiness?

Thought for Reflection:  “Preparations made during sunny days protect us from those stormy moments that are sure to come.” ~Barbara Tolliver-Haskins

Preparedness requires the recognition and acknowledgement that as a leader I am “always on”. The questions should always be—“Who do I want to be as a leader?  How do I build trust so that when crises occur, others trust my judgment and are willing to follow?  What do I owe to those who follow during unpredictable events and circumstances?”

How can you become better prepared in 2016?

One way you can answer this question is to devise a fiscal year forecast. Meteorologists study weather patterns, especially from the past years, and use them to predict a forecast for their local viewing area. You can do something similar to this by examining your past and current fiscal years. Are there any patterns that you notice? Have you experienced any unexpected crises? How could they have been handled differently?

Think about possible situations that could happen. What measures do you have in place for them? Think about your employees and their strengths. Set aside a time to have a turbulent times think tank meeting in which they can brainstorm strategies.

Lastly, examine your own core values and principles. Are they aligned with your mission, vision and strageic plan?  Will they support you under pressure because there is no doubt?  Have you articulated your core values  with those who look to you for leadership?  Are their values aligned?  This is the first step to disaster if you have not taken the tiime to truly examine yourself and those you lead in this regard.

Navigating the Course to the Next Principle

Being prepared demonstrates how well leaders respond during difficult times.  Leaders must be know their strengths and clearly understand emotional intelligence. This is a competency that must not be overlooked. The best decisions, especially during crisis moments, come from leades who are truly in touch with themselves authentically and purposefully.  The best leaders know that they must know themselves first in order to lead others when organizational leadership matters most.

The next blog in this series will discuss how to motivate your employees to excellence.

Need a plan of action to truly achieve and sustain exceptional leadership outcomes? Executive Coaching Solutions will help you identify your unique talents and competencies that will enable you to rise to the top.  Contact me today for an introductory consultation on how we can help you to be “all that you can be.” You deserve it.