Have you ever noticed that it is often when you are consciously trying not to think about work that inspiration strikes? I was recently reading a general interest (i.e. non-work related) magazine article on a public figure, who was commenting on her takeaway from a conversation with another public figure, which was “negativity doesn’t move the dial.” Cue the light bulb moment.
Negativity doesn’t move the dial.
In this day and age of finger pointing and grousing about what “they” are doing to “us,” it is an important reminder. That is not to say that things aren’t tough, and as a leader you don’t have to make difficult decisions for the best interest of your organization. Unless you are living in utopia, that is pretty much the job description for a leader today. What separates those who merely have the title, from those who are successfully leading — moving the dial — is that they acknowledge the difficult reality before them, and then they take steps to change it.
You may not be able to impact a negative situation overnight, in fact it may take years, but taking definitive action to move the dial is empowering for both the leader, and the organization he or she serves. Sure taking negative swipes or hurtling empty threats at a situation may provide a momentary rush . . . but it also tends to leave a bad taste in your mouth, and ultimately does little to propel things forward.
You see, being a leader isn’t so much about what “they” do. It’s about what you do. How are you going to continue to forge ahead toward your end goal, in spite of the road blocks before you? I guarantee that putting one foot in front of the other will get you there faster than camping out in front of the road block and telling everyone who will listen how terrible it is.
Maybe the key is to find common ground. More than one barrier has faded away when someone quit pushing so hard against it. Maybe you are the one who needs to adjust the lens through which you are viewing the situation. There could be any number of ways to move forward, but digging in your heels and waiting for someone else to clear the path for you, taunting them all the while, is probably not your best option.
You’re the leader. You set the tone. How are you going to move the dial?