Leaders tend to be curious, driven and have a desire for continuous improvement. These traits are overflowing into self-awareness more than they ever have before. Previously those traits existed more on what was happening around them then within. A heightened sense of self-awareness is one element that separates good leaders from great leaders.
A critical area that leaders can gain a big advantage in is to understand how they respond when things go wrong on their watch. There are three ways a leader will typically respond to an issue: analyze it, fix it, or delegate it. Spend some time thinking about recent issues you have faced and identify how you responded to them. If the pattern that emerges is that you use a combination of all three ways then you are already taking full advantage of the way you handle issues and are self-aware in this area.
If you find that your response to things that go wrong fall into the same category over and over you need to make some changes. When you typically respond to issues using the same method, you are leading with blinders on causing knee-jerk reactions to problem-solving. In my experience knee-jerk reactions cause extra work and usually end up with a reversal of whatever decision was made. This happens after adding a lot of pain to your employees.
How do you start to change your reaction to problem-solving? The answer is simple and hopefully you have already started by identifying that you have an area for growth here. Next comes the hard part, at least for most leaders. Slow down; spend some time thinking about the problem and force yourself to consider the three typical responses: is more information needed, do you need to intervene, or can someone else fix this faster and better? Once you have figured out which bucket to put the problem in you are ready to respond and implement a plan to correct it.
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