Great Leaders Focus on Healing

All leaders face adversity. Often leading includes leading through adversity.  It is a necessary part of the role and a skill.  One characteristic great leaders avoid is focusing on the wound and the pain.  They do focus on the problem, but with a healing – move forward mentality.  They focus on the actions that are within the organization’s control and help the organization avoid focusing on the circumstances that are not in their control.

They avoid focusing on circumstances that are not in the organization’s control

It is easy to hear the voice of the organization that is trapped by focusing on the pain and the wound. Statements like; “the government has made it impossible…” “we will never have enough resources.”  “there isn’t enough time.”

These circumstances may be true; restrictions may be crippling, resources limited, and not enough time, but while the leader has to accept these circumstances they cannot let the organization get trapped into focusing on them and not moving forward.

They focus on the problem, but with the focus on healing

It is easy to hear the voice of the organization that is focusing on the problem and the path forward.  Statements like;  “I will take responsibility for understanding the new regulations…” “we will need to list the resources we have and prioritize our needs” “we will have to postpone some of our activities to make time for what is needed.”

These are difficult decisions; we would want our resources focused on growth rather than understanding regulations, prioritizing needs means some valuable actions will be put off, and postponing activities is often disappointing, but  great leaders understand the focus of the organization needs to be on what can be done now.

A valuable tool

A valuable tool for leaders is to spend a few minutes with the team creating two lists.  The first is a list of all the pain.  Ask the team, what do people say who are focused on the pain rather than the cure. Likewise, the second list is a list of the what people say when they are focused on the problem and a path forward.

The list should be generic and just the typical things people say.  Posting the list in the daily meeting room is a good way to remind people of the difference and to ask themselves if what they are saying is focused on pain or a path forward.

Help your leaders focus on the path forward.

Jeff Boris

Jeff Boris

Jeff completed a 31 year career at Alcoa in engineering, Maintenance, Production, and 5 years as Location Manager. He currently consults across manufacturing facilities leveraging his plant management experience for excellence in EHS, Operations Management, and Cost analysis. He and his wife have 4 adult children. He currently lives in Newburgh, Indiana.
Jeff Boris

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