Organisational Change | Leading with a light touch on the controls? | Fire Up Solutions

Leading with a Light Touch on the Controls?

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During a storm, like the one we are going through right now requires leading with a light touch on the controls. This may go against all of our intuition particularly in a storm where all you really want to do is grip tightly when things get rough. 

Too often during a storm when the pressure is on, we see leaders fall back to old behaviours and that is taking a heavy handed and controlling approach, often commanding people to change.  We understand why, but all this ends up doing is kicking in a fight or flight response in people. They feel unsafe, it disempowers and overloads them to the point where they are fearful to speak up just at the wrong time. They often don’t take action, and it really slows everything down.

Even in a storm leaders need to lead with full awareness of their impact. People really need role models.  The basics matter - you need to be engaging your people in conversations that empower them and so concerns are heard, rather than silence whilst people await their next instruction.

To do this well there are 4 things that will make a difference:

  1. Anchor to your why.  With a common purpose and vision to keep everyone on track and inspired.
  2. Engage and empower your people.  Where possible involve them in co-creating solutions, this means listening and being present and being prepared to be challenged and do the challenging to reach the right answer.
  3. Leading with a light touch on the controls. Only a few simple rules are needed to keep everyone safe, however, remember it’s ok to say no but respectively talk it through and explain why.
  4. Listen to and act on feedback. Feedback from your people is gold for a leader trying to navigate a storm, it will help you set your bearings, but remember to act on it! It's extremely disempowering to your people when you don’t follow through.

Take a moment to reflect on what’s worked and inspired action in a challenging event in your career. Click to access our FREE tool to help you reflect on whether you are leading with a light touch on the controls.

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