I am currently reading “The Pause Principle: Step Back to Lead Forward” by Kevin Cashman, who also authored “Leadership From the Inside Out”. Cashman is a brilliant man and one of our thought leaders on the topic of true leadership. In my reading last night I came across his concept of the difference between hesitation and pause. I had never considered the difference between the two words. Hesitation is a warning, almost the alarm bell that we need to pause, reflect and consider before moving on. I am intrigued by the difference.
Leaders are pushed to make decisions quickly
As leaders, there is constant pressure to make decisions quickly. Time is of the essence and people are relying on us to make good decisions, communicate them and move forward. I can think back many times and even just in this week alone where I have been hesitant to make a decision, yet feeling the pressure to do so. Cashman insists, that hesitation is a message.
Hesitation is a warning signal
Hesitation is a reaction. It is your body and mind encouraging you to think twice. Pause is the conscious decision to reflect and to be mindful of the decision we are making. Consciously rather than reactively we take the time to look at all of the information we have, the emotions surrounding the decision and the implications of the choices available.
Use hesitation as a gift
I will be using this insightful gift now. I will pause when I feel the hesitation. Welcoming that as a reminder, I am reminded that great leaders reflect, are mindful and take the time to, in Cashman’s words again, “step back to lead forward”.
Yes, it is summer and don’t forget, you (and a few others) are still working. You are still in the office. Despite that already everyone is thinking about how so much won’t get done now until fall. Meetings are being put on hiatus until September. Plans for projects are taking in consideration everyone’s holidays. It is almost like we leap forward two and half months wiping out the calendar for the summer. And really, it stretches into three months because we start writing things off in mid June and then also acknowledge, “Nothing will happen in the first week of September”! Whoa! Stop the horses! This is the perfect time to keep on track.
We talk about being mindful when in a meeting or when we are in a conversation with someone else. Mindfulness is about being in the moment and aware of what is going on. Consciously we focus on the task at hand and the person we are with. Mindfulness in June is kind of similar. What is the task at hand? Who are you working with? Put the effort in to staying present at work during the summer rather than jumping forward too fast.
It is different in summer
Yes, there tends to be a leaner staffing component over the summer months. People are at the lake, relaxing in the sun and having BBQ’s with their friends. And so they should be! It is summer! They are also working. At least most people are putting in at least a few weeks of work over the summer. Make the most of that time when people are actually at work.
Make good use of what is available to you now
If you are working on a project, I encourage you to think twice before putting it on hold over the summer. Granted although you may not have all of the participants at every planning meeting, it is a great opportunity to take advantage of the natural fun and slowed down pace of summer. Use that to your benefit. Let the mellowness flow into the project. Allow creativity in both your planning and in the project itself.
Don't throw away 3 months of the year
Rather than throwing away three months of the year (oh and another 1-2 months at Christmas) consider how you can keep on track over summer. There is a lot of work going on in organizations and there is a shortage of resources. Making best use of your time resource over summer will help keep the projects on track and provide you access to creativity, fun and an opportunity to build relationships.
Have you seen this?
It's not too late to sign up for my FREE Summer Virtual Book Club - Find out more here!
Great Leaders are readers. Great Leaders realize that leadership isn’t about a title. Leadership is the essence of who we are. To be a great leader we need to know who we are. With those concepts in mind, I am excited to be having a FREE virtual book club this summer to review Robin Sharma’s book The Leader Who Had No Title. I love Sharma’s ideas that leadership comes from who we are, what we believe in and how we show up. Sharma gives valuable and practical ways of stepping into leadership in all areas of our lives, regardless of our title. He packages the messages into a story about a guy who has returned from war in Iraq and takes on a job in a bookstore, because he not quite sure what to do with his life now. Do you want to read it with me?
Imagine a staff meeting. The boss is sharing information about budget restraints and they indicate there is no money for training in the next six months and likely the entire budget year. Person “A” leaves the meeting discouraged. There was a course they wanted to sign up for. They head out to smokers corner or the coffee room and join in the venting session with their co-workers. They lay blame (i.e. play victim) on the government for cutbacks, their agency for not advocating for them harder and the world for being in a downward spiral. They complain about the price of gas and food, potholes in the streets and of course, they grumble about the weather.
Does this sound a bit unbelievable? What if it wasn’t? In the FREE virtual book club this summer we will explore how leadership comes from all levels and how we can, as Robin Sharma says ,learn “Transformational leadership lessons to transform a company”. Click here to find out more details. or sign up below! Then join your colleagues and myself in exploring ways to bring out the leadership in everyone, including yourself.
I lead a full life full of love, adventure and growth. Check out my latest thoughts here.
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