As a leader, you will soon learn that each day is spent in recovery. During the course of a day, you will have more challenges than most people will have in a week. As a leader, you have discovered the secret for being strong and effective – quicker recovery is essential to move a company toward profits.
Many people who move into leadership positions have a tough time in recovery because they can’t let go of past challenges that have caused them failure. Several years ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to assist a local high school in their football program. As a former college linebacker, I was responsible for the kids trying out for the linebacker position. It is essential that linebackers learn to keep their heads up, follow the ball, and take the first step forward. I was quick to assist them in taking the first step forward as I would often stand behind them to insure the direction of that first step!
I had one kid who was outstanding. He had the right size, speed, and agility; and he loved physical contact. He only had one challenge – when he made a mistake on a play, he would go insane. He would become very upset about missing his tackle, and he would begin stomping around the field, hitting himself on the helmet. Quite honestly, I did not have a problem with his behavior, but he made the ultimate mistake in football-he carried the previous mistake into the next play. One day at practice I pulled him over to the sideline, took his facemask in my hands, and turned his head around so we were eye to eye. I said, “Ronnie, there is no player on this team who has as much talent as you. You have the ability not only to play but also to start for any number of colleges. You have the total package son, but if you don’t change your attitude about failure you will be watching football on TV each Saturday instead of playing. Ronnie, you must leave your mistake in the past, and focus on the next play. Son, it is a play, not the game.”
I have found many Ronnie’s in corporate leadership. I have found even more Ronnie’s who have the talent to be great leaders, but they never move forward because their mindsare stuck on past failures. In leadership, it is not a matter of whether you will fail; it is just a matter of when and how often. The difference between those who succeed in leadership and those who do not is carrying the failure forward. A leader understands that failure is the ongoing education of life.
As you step up in leadership, simply learn to get a GRIP:
G = Get ready to recover daily; don’t let failure take you by surprise. Prepare yourself mentally by not allowing external circumstances to control your internal commitment.
R = Respond don’t react. Relax and use your reasoning skills. Don’t allow yourself a knee-jerk reaction to challenges
I = Initiate a positive attitude. Recognize that something good is going to come from this challenge. Remember the little boy who found a pile of manure and said “I know there is a pony in there somewhere.”
P = Prepare to learn from the challenge. You will learn far more in the real world of leadership than in any major college.
Leaders must “recover quicker” if they are to remain in leadership.