Response/Awareness

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Since September 11, 2001, our nation has been more aware of those serving in civic duties. One of the roles that has become vitally important to our culture is first responders. First responders are the first ones to show up at an emergency and are trained and equipped to deal with a crisis.

In leadership, many times we see ourselves as first responders because we often deal with a crisis or urgent situations. We are being equipped and trained to deal with urgency, so as leaders we have to be great responders and not simply reactive to drama and dilemmas.

I want to take you a little further. Although being a first responder is a critical role of a leader, it is not our primary role.
If we are not careful we can become managers of crises versus leaders of progress. One of the things that distinguishes good leaders from great leaders is their ability to see crises before they come; to see around the corner. If we are able to develop our leadership awareness, we will not only be better ready to respond to the crises of our culture, but we will actually be able to influence culture. We will always have crises to address, however, if we can steer culture to be less incident prone, we actually move into crisis-prevention.

Here are 3 ways to develop leadership awareness.

#1. Be Objective:

Learn to separate your opinion, your feelings, and your personal investment from reality. Don't get me wrong, as leaders we need to be emotionally connected to what we lead, but if we are not able to separate our emotional equity from a situation, we will move into self- preservation instead of cultural transformation.

#2. Study Trends and Patterns:
Several weeks ago I had the opportunity to teach a Trends and Issues class where we were discussing the issue of divorce. We started talking about all the emotional results with anger and frustration topping the list of children victimized by divorce. Studies show that close to 50% of marriages end in divorce, so it's no wonder we have such a hostile and violent culture! Maybe the solution to violence in America is strengthening the home? Knowing why something is happening is critical in preventing future occurrences. Let's focus on causation in an effort to see transformation!

#3. Ask the Bigger Questions:
What things could be established so that this crisis does not happen again? What is the issue beneath the issue? Most of the time we tend to address the symptoms and the pain. We need to discover the source of the pain and address the root cause.

I encourage you to be more observant in the midst of crisis. Be a great first responder, but always take the time to reflect on what can we do to avoid these issues in the future!




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