By Janet Daniels.
How do you lead when you don’t feel like a very good leader? That’s a tough question that you have to battle through when things are going well and you have to hold the responsibility for foxing the situation. I learned early in my leadership journey that leading while I was in a valley is hard. Even though I thought I was hiding my thoughts and feelings from my team, they knew that something was off. And, I missed the excitement, praise, recognition and feeling of accomplishment that I had when everything was going great! While I went through the motions, my passion wasn’t there.
So, how do you lead when you’re down? The answer is…you don’t lead effectively when you’re in a valley! So, you have to get yourself out of it as soon as possible. Peaks and valleys are a part of life and the sooner we learn how to handle them, the stronger we become.
So, here are some thoughts that may help you handle the valleys of your life.
- Valleys are a place to visit; you just don’t want to live there. When you find yourself in the valley, make the decision and figure out how to get out as fast as you can!
- Valleys are not the place to beat yourself up. We don’t like ourselves too much when we’re there and it’s easy to blame ourselves for everything. Give yourself some grace and forgiveness. Affirm that you are a strong, talented leader.
- Think about what you were doing before falling into the valley and answer these questions.
- Did I stop doing the activities I was doing before I got in the valley?
- Have I been coasting? (You know, the only way to coast is downhill.)
- Am I telling myself that “I just need a rest?” and taking your own advice.
- Where’s my vision? What happened to it?
- Focus on the future, not the past. What’s happened in the past is done and can’t be changed. When you think about the future, you are taking control. You see that you have choices and options and that you are not tied to just one thing.
- Take time to look ahead and create your next big vision. How does it feel? How passionate are you about it? Once it’s clear, make your action plan. Let everyone know where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. You’ve now begun your journey out of the valley.
You’ll find as you take these steps, your passion will return and your team will get back on board. Soon, you’ll be making progress toward those peak experiences again. Peaks and valley are a part of our business and our life. Following these steps will lessen your time in the valley so you can enjoy the journey.
As part of a Team Connections webinar, I had the opportunity to address this topic. The webinar on How Do I Handle Peaks and Valleys is available to provide you more insights into this topic. Join our free leadership site, Team Connections Basic, scroll down to the video, and you see this on the right side. As part of your membership, there are several free eBooks and videos.