Stuck in the Status Quo?
As we talk with leaders across the country about the leadership challenges in the world of work, I think work projects and teams are beginning to look similar to the group projects I had in college. Everyone is tired, though for much less fun reasons than college, and stuck with the group of people around them. Though the Great Resignation took most organizations by storm, many are still grappling with the consequences, unable to fill needed positions and holding on to employees that intensify problems to keep the doors open.
Many leaders do feel stuck. Most feel like their ability to exert any meaningful change is painfully limited. Additionally, supply chain struggles continue to strain teams and shift expectations. Demand adds pressure, and consumer behaviors are, in many ways, exacerbating the issues. Tensions flair up. Life seems to get in the way of work, or maybe, work seems to get in the way of life. Either way, it feels like leaders can barely seem to catch their breath before needing to move to the next activity.
We're here to let you know that there is hope to move forward and that, maybe, stopping to catch your breath isn't the worst thing you could do for your team and yourself.
How to Energize Change Now
Reactionary leaders often overlook their locus of control. By only keeping their eyes on the problems and obstacles standing in their way, it becomes easy to feel overwhelmed. These feelings contribute to thoughts of powerlessness, so the snowball effect compounds and halts decision-making that leads to any sense of meaningful change.
Many issues are out of your control, but taking ownership of the areas in your life where you can exert control changes the direction of your spiral. Instead of descending into powerlessness, leaders gain momentum toward areas in their lives that fuel positive change.
Change is possible. Leave room for your mind to release the weight of things you cannot control. Lead practically and proactively in the portion of activities within your control. You can effectively tackle those problems. Rather than focusing on the obstacles in your way, begin to look for solutions that alleviate the burden you feel. Engage with others and bring your collective potential together.
Perhaps the most critical aspect of facilitating profound, positive change is a willingness to fail. Often failure is the catalyst for genuine learning in our lives, and without a psychologically safe environment, leaders may feel frozen by fear and shame in the status quo. Kurt Lewin writes, "The reduction of this learning anxiety is the third and most important component of unfreezing —the creation of psychological safety."
Moving from a frozen state, being stuck in the status quo requires a high level of accountability and idea generation. These characteristics thrive in psychologically safe environments. Check-in with your team. Don't be afraid to move beyond empathy toward compassion. Practice healthy emotional intelligence. These actions will pay dividends quickly and deepen the trust within your team. Trust fuels action. Positive change will begin to take root.
Register for our June 2022 Think Tank, Stuck in the Status Quo? Create Positive Change to Reach Your Potential! to learn more about creating positive change!
Photo by José Martín Ramírez Carrasco on Unsplash