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Monday, October 08, 2007

Primary: Reaction

Something I am noticing about my life and leadership (parental leadership, marital leadership, organizational leadership, and self-leadership) is that it is primarily reactionary. Whether it's how I mold and shape the character of my kids, love my wife, or serve my organization, my leadership is reaction oriented; it's responding to the urgent screaming in my face in the here and now.

As a parent I tend to use negative situations (kids acting out or disobeying) as the focal point of leading my kids to make good choices or be kind to others. As a husband, I tend to love/lead "more" when my wife expresses frustration with my laziness or selfishness. When I'm at work, I tend to lead reactively because the people I serve tend to live in crisis (students failing class, a fight with a friend, a son/daughter dealing with depression, a family crisis with a co-worker, a superior dumping an urgent project on your plate, an so on and so on) or because of some kind of culture chaos (prepping for a retreat, class project, sales meeting, and so on and so forth).

I write this because not only do I notice it in myself, but I notice it in the organization that I work it. Whether it be the church, Costco, the USPS, or school, the organization that I have worked in live in this reaction mode of leadership. Maybe it's because these organizations are customer service based (even education). It's crazy.

This is an issue I have to go after in my personal life. It's also an issue we have to address in the organizations that we lead. It takes carving out the time to self lead (up to 50% of our time should go to this as leaders) and it takes leading in important areas and delegating the urgent things (if you can).

So how are you leading in your personal life, family system, or work environment? What are you noticing about how and why people lead the way they do in the organizations in which you work?

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