Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Question of the day

What do you do when you don't know what to do?

This is my favourite question at the moment. I thought of it yesterday when I was redesigning a leadership activity for a client.

I've been thinking about it ever since.

Actually, that's my answer - when I don't know what to do I think - sometimes.

When I don't know what to do I stop and think, spend some time analysing the problem. That would be my head taking the lead.

Other times when I don't know what to do I look and see what everyone else is doing. I check to see whether they look happy and engaged and either collaborate or avoid and change tack.  That would be my heart in charge.

Other times I'll just leap and do something! It may not be "the answer", but something will happen as a result and then I'll probably get a clue about what to do next. That would be me leading from my gut.

I've been talking to leaders lately about the balance between their head, heart and guts when they think about from where they lead. We've been discussing the book Head, Heart and Guts and the concept of the whole leader.

It's been interesting to reflect on my own growth and ripening as a leader. I look back on my days as a young union leader and know that I really lacked heart - not for the members I was representing, but for the people with whom I was working. I was head or guts. I LOVED the drama and thrill of acting on instinct. I usually felt confident and couldn't bear to "fiddle around", as I called it.

I now recognise that I've learnt a lot and am much more balanced and am mindful of whether my leadership actions are representative of a whole leader.

The question of the day is an excellent way to prompt thought and conversation about what your defaults are.  So: What do you do when you don't know what to do? I'd love to know.

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