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Monica Wofford, CSP, is a leadership development expert and author of Contagious Leadership and newly released, Make Difficult People Disappear.

Are you a sure thing when it comes to leadership?

In the Olympic Games certain athletes are said to be a “sure thing” for the gold medal. But some arrive in those unfamiliar facilities and face unexpected challenges and their sure thing goes south. Leaders, promoted from rising stars, are often seen as sure things, but fail to adapt and flail. How do you keep your “sure thing” status and keep your skills fresh?

Avoid Auto Pilot

Leadership is not a skill best performed on auto pilot. The moment you lead by habit, dole out the same recognition you always have, give the same motivating talk you always do, and treat new team members just as you did old ones, your skills are likely to crash land. Leadership takes conscious thought and consideration of each individual’s needs so keep that in mind.

Quickly Accept Change

Those you lead look to you for what to do. If you stew over a change or refuse to accept what is a new reality, the entire team will suffer. It may feel good to have the team’s support, but long term productivity will suffer as you drag your feet to accept a change that others have moved past, in preparation for the next one. And there will always be a next one.

Be Nimble

Contagious Leaders keep their eyes open for opportunities and those can be fleeting moments. If you’re not paying attention and moving through what you need to do, you’ll miss a chance to make a fast change and stay ahead of the game.

Stay True to Yourself

If you like your fun loving, jovial side, keep it. You can still be professional, get stuff done, and have fun. In fact, when we work with managers using the CORE Profile®, we find this is the personality suppressed the most. Hiding who you are will send mixed messages to team members and rob you of the energy you need to keep up the speed of work.

Sharpen the Saw

The late Dr. Steven Covey reminded us to sharpen the saw to stay highly effective. When coaching managers, this homework will often sound like “go get a hobby”. If that means spending ten minutes on break grabbing your favorite Dunkin Donuts coffee, that can be a hobby. If that means every Friday you leave at 5pm or every drive home you just listen to tunes or an educational CD, those, too, can be hobbies. Do what you need to do to take care of you so that you can keep your wits about you and keep that sure thing status. Those who don’t won’t be able to lead well for long.

As a quick aside, some of those challenges you may be having on the team you lead, may be a result of a lack of awareness or emotional intelligence. 54% of the population struggles with knowing who they are and we can help. If you’re considering training options to develop your managers who’ve been promoted, perhaps not prepared and are no longer showing you their sure thing status, we have a solution that directly addresses that problem.

I’m Monica Wofford, and that’s your Monday Moment. Have a great Monday, an even better week and of course, stay contagious!

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