The Importance of Being Uncomfortable

When is the last time you did something that scared you, or at the very least, made you a bit nervous? Too often as leaders, we settle in to doing the things we have always done. Usually, they are things that have been successful in the past, maybe that we have become known for and  . . . well, it’s comfortable. But comfortable tends to mean things are consistent and have a rhythm and outcomes that are predictable . . . you know, status quo. Leadership isn’t supposed to be predictable. It is about stretching and growing — which often involves a level of discomfort.

If it has been a while since you have been uncomfortable, ask yourself these questions.

How are your current strategies keeping you stuck and perhaps causing you to be left behind?

It has been said if you aren’t moving forward, you are moving backward. Have you ever uttered these comments, or something similar . . . “I don’t trust this new technology,” or maybe “This younger generation has no clue about what it really takes to do this work,” or even “This approach has made us an industry leader, why would we want to mess with that?” Learn, listen and be willing to change. Otherwise, that scenery out your window is probably the future passing you by. 

How are you stretching and learning?

A wise team member once told me that I could tell staff they needed to be doing something all day long, but if they didn’t see me doing it, they would never really think it is okay. Are you challenging your staff to stretch and learn? If so, how are you modeling that behavior yourself? Whether enrolling in a class, writing an article, speaking at a conference, or meeting with a younger staff member to learn more about their experience and perspective . . . there are a myriad of ways you can stretch and learn, no matter how much others may consider you to be an “expert”.

Have you made it okay for your team to be uncomfortable?

That takes building a culture where “failure” isn’t fatal, but rather it is merely a step on the way to finding the best solution. Try and adapt rather than plan and implement, let people pursue their ideas for getting to the end goal rather than insisting on your approach – and then be okay if it didn’t turn out exactly as you thought it would. Projects are only final if you quit trying to make them better. And people won’t automatically assume adapting and changing as the project moves along is okay . . . unless you say so, repeatedly.

A key to your organization succeeding in the long run is to continually adapt and grow . . . and that will only happen if your people understand the importance of being uncomfortable.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s