Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Road Trip!
Originally uploaded by LShadrack


You know how it goes. The project is due in a month. You identify some possible road blocks. Nothing is really done about them because, well, you have a month to get them resolved. You have other priorities to focus on. Time passes by. Now you're a couple of days before deadline. The potential issues that were identified earlier have become actual issues. Suddenly time is short. It's time to cram. The stress level is high. Everything must be tied together at the last minute. Panic!

You know how it is. A troublemaker is within the midst of the team. This person's causing the team to focus on drama instead of being productive. But, you're busy. You don't have time to deal with drama. You have more important things to focus on. Nothing is really done to hold the troublemaker accountable for their actions. Things get worse. It seems the drama never really goes away unless the troublemaker calls in sick. Suddenly a couple of your best employees have turned in their resignation. They're tired of the drama as much as you, but they're willing to do something to get out of the situation. Now you're stuck with a troublemaker and some less than motivated employees. Your productivity is suffering. Panic!

In the short run it's easy to hope problems will just go away. In the short run it's easy to think someone else will take care of the issues you've just identified. In the long run, however, it will be much more difficult to correct your course, help the team regain focus, or fix the problems that were identified long ago.

The best leaders won't wait until the last minute. The best leaders will identify a problem, find a solution, and then follow through on that solution until there is no problem. The best leaders won't allow a deficiency of accountability within the team to occur. There will be no need for panic when everyone is taking care of problems as they arise.

Don't be a reactionary leader who waits until the siren is sounding to lead your people through the panic. Be a leader who not only can see potential pitfalls, but one who leads the team around them long before there's a need for panic.

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