As leader, it's your job to achieve the right outcomes in every part of the company.
I call them the Four Business Outcomes: productivity, profitability,
staff retention and customer loyalty. In just a few words, I defined the
role of leader. If only being a leader was that simple. It's not.
Leadership is hard. Leadership is a roller coaster of emotional highs
and lows, wins and losses, joy and tears. And within every leader, a
battle rages between heart and mind. The heart represents emotions. The
mind represents clarity and logic. Together, they mix about as well as
oil and water.
To understand the complexity of the battle between heart and mind,
consider what happens when you need to make a tough decision. Tough
decisions (mind) always impact the lives of others (heart). Consider how
you feel when your mind is telling you that the performance of someone
you really like just isn't where it needs to be - and there are no signs
that it ever will be. Your mind is telling you exactly what to do. Your
heart is fighting back with all of the emotions of a potential lost
friendship, how it may break his or her spirit, the financial hardship
of a loss of income - and all the drama and negativity that may surround
your decision. To ignore the situation is a compromise. To go
no-compromise is hard.
What if, like medications, leadership came with a warning of side effects?
"If you choose to accept this job, you may experience extreme stress,
anxiety, negativity, disdain from others, and other gut-wrenching
experiences." Would you have taken the job? Of course you would - just
like you take medications knowing the side affects.
Here are some no-compromise strategies to help you manage your internal battle between heart and mind:
Recognize it early:You
can feel when our hearts and mind begin to battle. When you allow the
battle to rage on, it dials up internal stress that's almost impossible
to conceal. By recognizing it early, you can position whatever triggered
the battle as a task to address. It doesn't matter how complex the
matter is, it is a task that found its way onto your plate. Tasks
require you to assess, plan and execute on a timeline. Heart and mind
battles are less stressful when recognized and managed early.
Get it off your plate:
It's one thing to recognize and acknowledge the battle. It's another to
get it off your plate. Your mind wants a resolution. Your heart wants
to argue each and every "what if." The longer the battle continues, the
more disruptive and damaging it gets. No-compromise leaders are
compassionate and caring - but their ultimate accountability is to the
well-being of the company. This means finding a balance between heart
and mind to arrive at a resolution. The heart keeps the resolution from
being rushed. The mind keeps it from lingering on. The longer it stays
on your plate, the more it distracts you and everyone else in the
company from doing great work.
Please the company first:
If you please the company first, you can please everyone else -
employees, customers, vendors and the community. I see too many leaders
get caught up in what others want (heart) and the company pays the
price. FACT: Leaders can't please everyone all of the time. Not every
decision will be greeted with "Woo hoos." There will be times when
unpopular decisions are best for the company. No-compromise leaders are
prepared to make those decisions because only a healthy and enduring
company can take care of everyone who depends on it.
Know your center:
There are leaders who are all about the results (mind). There are
leaders who are compassionate to the core (heart). And there are
no-compromise leaders who seek a balance between both extremes. The
gravity or nature of a situation may cause your center to shift. At
times, more compassion is the best course. Other times may require the
clarity of logic. It's what makes you human and real. But knowing how
far to shift from center is what defines you as a leader.
Wins and losses:
I've made some pretty darn good decisions over the years, and I've had
my share of bloopers. I believe that the best decisions were made when
my heart and mind were working together rather than against each other.
Leaders make decisions. That's our job. Keeping the internal battle
between heart and mind under control is the best strategy to rack up
more wins than losses.
The good news is that your heart will forgive you when you make a blooper.