Part 1 of a 5 part series
Leaders often use knowledge, skills, and experiences at a level of unconscious competence to deliver results. During times of uncertainty, high risk, and diminished control, leaders are forced to kick into action. In such moments, combining developed instincts with an intentional approach is crucial to improve the probability of positive outcomes.
James Rosseau, a solutions-oriented, purpose-driven steward, recently authored a playbook for leaders titled Positioning to S.C.O.R.E. in Unpredictable Moments. This guide for leaders consists of five sequential essentials to help managers prepare for certain situations. James is innately a change agent for human potential, and his natural communication skills allow him to empower others to be and do their best. Through this playbook, James has used his own personal and professional experiences to formulate replicable techniques and mechanisms that can be used by other leaders.
In an interview, James explained why he chose to write this playbook, who the target audience is, and what it means to him. After interviewing James about his guidebook for leaders, we were interested in each one of the five underlying steps that he spoke of. To dive deeper into each one, we decided to publish a series of five stories. Here is a sneak peek into the first step in his guidebook.
The ‘S’ in S.C.O.R.E
“In case of an emergency, a mask will drop from a container in the airplane ceiling. The mask, which looks like a yellow plastic cup, fits over your nose and mouth. An elastic strap goes around the back of your head, and the ends can be tugged to tighten the fit. Pull on the hose gently to begin the flow of oxygen.
Put your mask on first before trying to assist others.
“Put your mask on first?” Initially, it feels counter-intuitive, regardless of your role, when at our best, we believe we should be selfless. However, let’s digest this from the perspective of a leader.
First and foremost, in principle, it is an act of self-care and selflessness. It is about sustaining your life by accessing oxygen. By doing so, you allow yourself to be of service to others for an extended period of time. But you also allow the flight attendants to direct their attention to others who are unable to care for themselves. Should you miss that step and direct your attention to saving others, you are well-intentioned, but are essentially seen as a liability and seen by the flight crew as a “passenger in need of care.” This principle fully applies when leading through times of uncertainty. Initially, your gut will call you into action. To be clear, it will call you into almost non-stop action. However, it is not sustainable. Absent self-care, physically, mentally, and emotionally, over time, you will not be in a position to effectively be of service.
Second is the need for what we might call “exampleship.” People gravitate towards emulating great examples more than following hollow instructions. Self-care becomes increasingly important in sustained periods of uncertainty. As you find yourself compassionately coaching and coaxing others to care for themselves, nothing is more compelling than walking the talk, transparently sharing your very own example of what you are doing for self-care, underscoring the importance for everyone to “refuel their tanks.”
Thirdly, prolonged periods of self-care neglect can lead to chronic stress. It is safe to say that in a state of chronic stress, one is less than effective in leading. Charles Stone writes that chronic stress affects leaders in five key ways: it amplifies fear and anxiety, it gives you a ‘shorter fuse’, it impairs good decision making, it diminishes memory and it decreases motivation.
4 things to continue or start doing:
- Get an adequate amount of sleep
- Eat healthily
- Participate in some form of exercise
- Engage in hobbies
2 things to stop doing:
- Don’t check your mail first thing in the morning
- Stop back-to-back meetings all day with no mental breaks
Read the interview with James below, and stay tuned for part 2 of the series.
Positioning to S.C.O.R.E in Unpredictable Moments - in Conversation with James Rosseau
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