How do we react when things go wrong? Miseries sometimes do not come alone, and you fail the skies raining miseries on us?
Let us imagine this scenario. Mr. X lost his job, his house burnt, he fell sick and needed to buy medicines that he couldn’t afford. Normally, like most materials under pressure do, Mr. X weakens. Is it possible to show exceptional behavior under these testing and destructive conditions for Mr. X to expand his possibilities rather than shrink them?
Before you rush to say no I tell you it is possible.
Scientists have made materials that behave differently from normal. These materials expand under pressure and turn the destructive energy into a useful one.
Are exceptional leaders the same? They lead and stretch possibilities when most people see them shrinking.
How to Stretch Possibilities?
One great way of stretching possibilities is to use opposite thinking. Opposite thinking is similar to materials that expand under pressure by convert negative thoughts to positive ones.
Opposite thinking is a technique that will help you contest your assumptions and beliefs to generate unfamiliar ideas. See the video below to learn more about this technique.
Opposite materials tell us to think of opposite ideas as they might provide novel ideas. They are mind-stretchers.
Mr. X’s wooden house caught fire. The opposite thinking is to have a wooden house that does not burn. He challenges the commonly accepted assumption that wooden houses burn easily.
Now, stretching the mind becomes possible with more questions such as
- How to make wood fire-resistant?
- Is it possible to change the structure of wood so that it become more resistant to fire?
- Would adding a charring material to wood stop it from burning?
You see the idea is to challenge familiar behaviors, beliefs and assumptions by thinking of their opposites.
Great leaders are mind-stretchers during difficult times. Most people fall under pressure, but great leaders thrive under them to spring back with more possibilities.
These leaders like all successful people know that success is not one shot in the arm. They can repeat their successes under the most challenging conditions.
Milka Zadok Dubai commented on one of my recent posts. Part of her comment reads;
“I can’t agree with you more, doing the opposite. Although overconfidence is one of the most powerful cognitive biases, there are some strategies that can be used to reduce it. You may be the best but make a conscious decision to ask for people’s opinions and be open enough to ultra your ego to see reasoning in someone’s ideas outside yours”
Be an opposite thinker.
When you have the responsibility of managing a team, a function, an organization, the importance of managing emotions simply becomes fundamental because our emotions are contagious and we pass them on to others. Here, in my opinion, the leader must play the difficult role of supporting against headwinds, with careful decisions, presence with his staff and sincerity about what is happening.
It is essential to internally combine the diversities and specificities of its members, but it must also be able to grasp, synthesize and make its own knowledge deriving from the outside. In this context, the leader plays a fundamental role in building and developing a climate aimed at facilitating interaction between individuals and promoting the team’s ability to manage complex situations with agility and effectiveness. But in these cases there is a need to leverage highly diversified skills, and the leader may not have a deep understanding of each of the activities overseen by individual team members. Her role will mainly be to pool specific skills and orchestrate collaboration between people who work in very different fields. In this context, therefore, the leader’s ability to channel positive emotions becomes relevant in order to favor the development of a relaxed atmosphere, one of collaboration, sharing and aimed at the search for innovative solutions.
Your comment, Aldo is a series of thoughts that connect with ach other.
managing emotions simply becomes fundamental because our emotions are contagious and we pass them on to others
and then invited for your second thought
… the leader plays a fundamental role in building and developing a climate aimed at facilitating interaction between individuals and promoting the team’s ability to manage complex situations with agility and effectiveness.
to reach your thought
But in these cases there is a need to leverage highly diversified skills, and the leader may not have a deep understanding of each of the activities overseen by individual team members.
To take tus to the concluding thought
the leader’s ability to channel positive emotions becomes relevant in order to favor the development of a relaxed atmosphere, one of collaboration, sharing and aimed at the search for innovative solutions.
You wrote the modern story of leadership masterfully
Very interesting article does make one think. I think I’m at my best when I’m under pressure too. I tend to rise to the occasion and try to get on with problem silving.
You are antifragile Eva Marie. To produce more under pressure means that you expand your thoughts and not shrink them. Congratulations.