For leaders, stagnation is the precursor to failure.  Too often, we watch things happen around us, then act surprised when we’re left out of the successful ending.  Worse, we realize after failure, that we could have done something. We’re not paid to sit idly by; we’re paid to act, sometimes boldly.

Leadership is supposed to be risky. But it’s easy to choose status quo over the active art of leading. So what have you ignored recently?  What have you decided not to do, because it’s difficult, confrontational, or uncomfortable?  Why aren’t you shaking things up? Do something big and bold and do it now. Here are 5 things you can – and probably should – do immediately. Any of these, done with forethought and vigor, can provide the activity necessary to break a momentum logjam.

No.1: Change Something

In every organizational environment–even the most successful ones–there’s always something that could be done better. It may be in your functional area or department or maybe it’s somewhere else entirely. But go ahead and do it better. Maybe you’ll be right and maybe not. But Leadership activity is always better than leadership inactivity.  And it’s better to be known as a decision-maker (even if some of those decisions aren’t “quite right”), than to be indecisive. A wise man once said, “If 25 percent of your decisions aren’t wrong, it’s simply because you aren’t making enough decisions.”

No. 2: Hire Someone

Right now is the time to take advantage of the employer-positive labor market. With no guarantee how long be the case, it’s simply worth the risk.  Do you have a specific need that could increase organizational productivity? Remember, it’s a buyer’s market, so you’ll likely get all you need, and then some for your dollars. Plus, you’ll have the chance to get a new hard-charger ready for when the cycle starts pointing back up. Having someone earn their stripes during hard times is fantastic, experiential training.

No. 3:  Fire Someone

Every organization has people it would be better off without. Whether it’s a bad attitude or mediocre performance, these are the people you tell yourself you just can’t get rid of. Hogwash. Whack ‘em now, today. You’ll feel better for it, the organization will be improved, and co-workers may even cheer your name.

No. 4: Do It “My Way

Train, develop or mentor someone. Take charge and realize that next to bringing in talent, the most value-adding contribution we can make as leaders is to develop those working for us into bigger, better, stronger, leaders. One of the most effective ways to grow is through direct attention from other successful leaders. Remember, leadership is not passed through osmosis – it’s a learned skill. Sometimes we need to provide the skill-based training to those needing it.

Effective leadership is about stepping in, taking charge and making a difference. You can always do more than you’re doing today, and often, it doesn’t require exponentially increased efforts, simply redirecting current attention.


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