Effective Leaders Pick up the Phone

What’s your biggest current dilemma?  If you don’t have one, then…

What one thing on your to-do list do you keep procrastinating on because you are unsure how to proceed? If you still don’t have something, then…

What is one decision that you have yet to make this week?

Most of us can drag our feet on things because of uncertainty.  That’s normal.  If we’re “leaders”, though, we’ve got a bigger problem, because we’re supposed to “have things all figured out.”  There’s a part of us that thinks “People look to me to solve problems, not have problems,” and we get a bit paralyzed.

Pick up the phone.

You have friends, colleagues, or mentors who can help.

When I started doing workshops in 1999, I took an established consultant out for breakfast to learn more.  That was over ten years ago, but I still refer back to that advice.

When I was a band director, during my first few years of teaching, I very rarely asked for advice or feedback.  When I had 15 years under my belt, I bounced decisions, big and little, off of at least three colleagues.  Guess when I was more effective?

Just yesterday, I got two seemingly conflicting e-mail messages from an HR professional that I’ve never met personally.  I didn’t know how to proceed at all! So, I went to Linked-In to find a contact who works in HR, and I called a friend (more precisely, a former student).  Her advice un-paralyzed me, gave me direction, and reduced my stress.  Dilemma solved.  Whew!

Go back to your answer(s) to the opening questions – who can you call, right now?  Do it.

I know this seems simple and obvious, but it’s astounding the number of leaders, especially young or new leaders, who mistakenly believe they’ve got to go it alone.  If you know someone like this, remind them that it’s okay to:

Pick up the phone.  Make a call.  Ask for advice.  This can increase effectiveness.

AND – reduce stress. That’s nice, too.

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