• Chemical Brain Freeze

Leadership

Playing Small during difficulty and stress

cropstopplaying smallLinda sat down in her boss’s office to update her on the progress of the project.

“How is everything with the project?”  her boss, Karen asks.

“We are going to miss one of our major milestones,” Linda comments. “We have a personnel issue that I need some help with.”

“What’s going on?” Karen asks.

“Mark isn’t meeting his commitments to the project. He has been behind on every one of his deadlines and it’s causing the entire project to get behind. When I try and talk to him about his performance he gets very upset and claims he is doing all he can do. I think it would help if you talked with his boss to help get him back on track.” Linda says.

“I don’t really feel comfortable talking to his boss right now,” Karen answers. “Don’t talk to Mark directly anymore this week and we’ll see if we can figure something out.”

Linda’s e-mails and phone messages to Karen during the week go unanswered and the project gets farther behind.

Exceptional leaders play big and do the proper things with the big picture in mind. When our primitive portion of the brain, the amygdala, kicks in during difficult times, we resort to default behaviors and we wind up playing small. Karen remembered an argument she had with Mark’s boss six months ago. Her primitive brain was cautioning her not to go there again. Her playing small best leadership move at the moment was to tell Linda not to talk to Mark.

How often do you see people playing small on a daily basis in business and your personal life?  We are going to be focusing on the ability to play big during times of difficulty and stress during the next few blogs and understand what our default behaviors due to us.

Thanks for coming along.

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