Over my years, I've read a number of books that I would say have changed my life, for a variety of different reasons. One of those is The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck, which I recommend wholeheartedly. The first pages of the book had a profound effect on me. They shook me out of my innate desire for life to be easy, for things to always go my way. Peck wrote:
Once we truly know that life is difficult--once we truly understand and accept it--then life is no longer difficult. Because once it has been accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.
Most do not fully see this truth that life is difficult. Instead they moan more or less incessantly, noisily or subtly, about the enormity of their problems, their burdens, and their difficulties as if life were generally easy, as if life should be easy!
It's true that life is difficult for everyone. And if life is tough for individuals, its difficulty is multiplied for leaders. Individuals can think me, but leaders must think we. Thinking we means other people are included, and that means their problems are also yours to deal with.
Remember, as Peck told us, life isn't supposed to be easy. So I want you to consider one of the positive aspects of the many troubles and inconveniences you will face on a day-to-day basis. Because I believe they represent an opportunity for you to step up and gain credibility in the quickest way as a leader. My CEO, Mark Cole, has reminded me that a pragmatist takes things that others see as problems or distractions and turns them into opportunities. Problems hold potential benefits: They introduce us to ourselves, to others and to opportunities.
Whether you want to receive an opportunity to lead for the first time or you already have leadership responsibilities and desire to make an impact, problem solving affords you unique opportunities. Grow in this area by answering the following three questions.
WHAT DOES THE WAY I HANDLE PROBLEMS SAY ABOUT ME?
How you see problems shapes your attitude and your leadership. Do you see them as opportunities to use your leadership for the betterment of your team and organization? Or are they inconveniences that simply ruin your plans and discourage you?
You can change your mindset when it comes to problems and solving them. Make a list of past problems that have led to lessons or opportunities. Now make the conscious decision to look for positives in whatever problems arise from this day forward.
HOW CAN I ENLIST...