When the heat is on and your team are under fire what do you do? Do you run and cower in the corner? Do you get aggressive, fight back and make it worse? Do you sit back and wait for the solution to sort itself out?
A good leader leads. Through thick and thin. If things are going well the leader stands with their team and accepts the accolades as part of the team. If things aren’t going so well then the leader stands with the team and leads the team through to a suitable solution and outcome.
The firing line is the place right at the front line where all the action is. Both good and bad. My view is that the leader should be right there with the troops all the way. The leader doesn’t always know all the answers or may not have quick fix options.
But not every situation needs or has a quick fix or solution for right there and then. And not every team wants or needs a leader that comes rushing in trying to make changes. Sometimes what a situation needs is simply a clear head and a clear path to make progress with.
So in short here’s my recommendation -
- Be present. Be handy to the team when the team needs you. Not stuck in meetings or hiding out of the way.
- Stay calm. Keep your emotions under control and what ever you do – DON’T lose your temper.
- Stand back. Assess the immediate situation, make a quick call on what action is needed right there AND THEN move away from the area and get your team to tell you whats really happening and going on.
- Laugh a little. Break up the tension of a situation with a laugh or a joke.
- Reflect back. Get the team members involved to reflect on the situation, what did their actions achieve and how did it go and then what would everyone do differently next time?
Whatever you do when you’re in the firing line – make sure your team know you are in charge, you are there to support them and that you will work with them to find a plausible solution.
- Black Hawk Down (the book). The thing I found interesting in this book was the difference in the training between regular army soldiers c.f. the Delta soldiers. The army soldiers operated according to a set plan and style. The Delta Ops worked in such a way as to adapt to various situations as they arose. So in short – standard operating procedure versus adaptability.
- We Were Soldiers (the movie). This movie has it all. Training, methodology, understanding the terrain, leading from the front and once again emphasises the ability to adapt.