• Karen Gregory

A SMOOTH SEA


A SMOOTH SEA NEVER MADE A SKILLED SAILOR

If you are in leadership you would probably agree the best days are when everything goes as expected. You are fully staffed and everyone is trained and productive. The team is operating at the highest levels of efficiency and production. They are happy! The customer is getting everything they need and more. They are also happy! You smile and say to yourself, “All is right in the world.”


Okay, that is more than just a little bit of an exaggeration, but it is in those easy days that we get to go home on time and with the least amount of stress. It’s when we get through the days without putting out fires. In our dream world this is the scenario we are looking for.


Stop looking for those days. Embrace the tough days for they are making you a better leader. I read a quote not too long ago that said, “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.” A smooth sea also never made a skilled leader.


As crazy as it sounds it is through those rough waters that you develop the most as a leader. Those raging tides give you the opportunity to dust off those leadership skills and put them to good use. Deadlines, opposing ideas and opinions, conflicts, growth, lack of business, losing an employee, new employees, new projects, projects gone wrong, projects that keep getting put off, customer complaints, etc. are all opportunities we should seize to look for what’s better.


It’s in these times that we can critically think. Is there a better process? What’s worked in the past? Can we try this? Can we train someone to do that? How can I take the best of this team and translate that into the best for our customers? Where are we headed? Why are we headed in that direction and is that what’s best for the organization?


It’s in these times that we can work on our communication and conflict resolutions skills. It’s in these times that we can focus on the goals of the department and the vision of the organization. It’s in these times that we grow as an individual and a leader.


We talk about selflessness in our leadership programs. Practice selflessness in adversity as well. How can you grow others when the sea gets rough? Challenge your team to grow with you. To learn new skills and to dust off old skills that don’t get used often. Growth should include everyone, not just you as a leader.


Consider the benefits of overcoming the tough days. You learn, grow, and develop. You and your employees are more confident in your skills. Your relationships get stronger. Your team gets stronger. The organization grows. The customers are loyal.


It’s okay to enjoy an “easy” day once in a while, but there is a great satisfaction in solving the problems that get thrown at us that those easy days just don’t provide. Fasten your life vest and enjoy the process of growth when the waters get choppy and you are faced with challenges!