I had an opportunity during the past week to speak with a man who was down. Life had been kicking his backside. He showed all the signs of battle weariness that you would expect from someone who had been to the frontlines and came back home soundly defeated. His efforts in his business have been less than stellar and he is near exhaustion from the myriad of challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic has delivered upon his business. What to do?
As leaders, one of the most important, some might say essential actions that we must take is to empathize with our teammates when they have been beaten. When we can feel what they feel, we realize that they feel terrible and that they feel deflated. That is no way to go through a day, let alone a week, or a life. When your colleagues or your children or your spouse is deflated, we need to quickly re-inflate them. It’s time to encourage them and to help steady them while they figure out how to react positively to rejection and adversity.
A great leader realizes the critical state of disappointment when it arrives with one of their teammates, and they do everything in their power to replenish the depleted will and energy stores of their colleagues. When business or life is beating you down, you can hang in there for a long time if your teammates provide a safe and secure place where you can recharge and recover from the battle. That is why it is essential for leaders to help their people to reflect, to realize that failure is not permanent, and to get back into the game with a renewed sense of purpose and a revised strategy that is more likely to lead to strong results.
So, back to the man who was feeling beaten. Realizing that he needed someone to lift his spirits, I talked to him about all of the things he was doing right. We discussed how many changes he’s made in the last year that made a difference for his customers, and for his loyal employees. By the end of our conversation, he realized he had built a tremendous amount of positive momentum over the last year, and that his recent streak of bad luck and defeats was nothing more than a temporary losing streak. I encouraged him to get back in the batter’s box and just focus on meeting the ball and let his good luck return. The week ended with him calling me to tell me that he was back on his feet, swinging the bat freely, and expecting to connect with a base hit or two. Moral of the story? When you find a mighty warrior laid low by defeat, help him up! He just needs some encouragement, and he’ll be back in the winner’s circle soon.
Michael is the host of the “What Are You Doing? Podcast, a show for leaders who are investing in developing more leaders in their business. The show also provides great leadership strategies for Emerging Leaders. Check out the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Libsyn or Spotify, or on our website at www.michaelbeachcoach.com