By Michael Holland – 

You cannot re-lead.  You can’t go back in time and lead in a different way.  You can’t wipe the slate clean and have people – your employees, peers and bosses – view you differently.  You can’t take back those words.  You can’t change the look that was on your face.

Every one of us has a less than perfect discussion with an employee.  And there are days and weeks where we just can’t seem to find the right rhythm in leading our teams.  Heck, you could have a bad year where you just can’t get your department or whole company to be successful.

But you cannot simply go back and fix the mistakes and have a do-over.

Here are 3 ways to avoid making mistakes as a leader.

  • Small Deposits of Good Leadership.  You don’t meet your healthy living goals by binge exercising.  Likewise, you don’t become a great leader through binge leadership.  Consistent behavior as a leader creates good leadership habits.  Making small deposits over time in building trusted relationships provide the foundation from which you can build a strong team.
  • Show Up.  The quiet, non-demonstrative, non-showy leader wins the long race.  Great leaders show up every day in the lives of their employees providing critical feedback for guidance.  It is the constant flow of the seemingly minor feedback that incites desired behavior in employees.  And to be crystal clear, critical feedback is defined as positive and negative feedback.
  • Focus On The Trend Line.  As my friend Jerry says, you can have a bad day or bad month or even a bad year, but it’s pretty hard to have a bad 5 years.  What is important is your trend line.  Take a similar approach to your leadership profession and focus on the trend line so you will keep looking forward.

Great leaders do replay the past so that they can learn from their experiences not so they can go backwards.   Maybe it’s the perspective the great leaders have on how they use those leadership learning moments or maybe their ego is in-check.  Or maybe they just look at their profession as that of a leader and want to become the best leader they can be.

Do you want to become a great leader?

You can have a bad day or bad month or even a bad year, but it’s pretty hard to have a bad 5 years!

Coaching Thoughts – For You and Your Peers

  • Have you been binge leading?  Showing up in bursts that are weeks or months apart?  Why are you doing this?  (Note: bad answers usually include words/phrases like ” too busy” or “in meetings”.
  • What’s your trend line look like?  How might your employees draw your trend line?
  • Grab a peer manager and discuss this question:  Why is showing up the simplest yet hardest leadership behavior?