Chip Shots – When A Leader Does Not Feel Ready

by  Paula Kiger  |  Chip Shots
Chip Shots – When A Leader Does Not Feel Ready

Here at Lead Change Group, we know that problems are most effectively solved when individuals come together to meld ideas, energies, and approaches.

To use a golf analogy, not every shot is a long drive. Many times, golfers have to take a chip shot to move the ball along for a short distance, with incisive accuracy.

If you are new to the Chip Shots green, welcome. In our Chip Shots feature, our Leading Voices are invited to provide brief insights into a leadership-related topic.

To learn more, spend some time browsing the entire Chip Shots Series.

Today’s Question

Consider this thought: Great leaders don’t always feel ready. Share about a time when you were asked to lead but didn’t feel ready or when you thought someone who reported to you was ready and you needed to coach them through that.

Becky Robinson – I am more interested in being ready than feeling ready. What’s important is to overcome any feelings of resistance and to take decisive action to do what’s needed. As long as I can step up to do what’s needed, how I feel is irrelevant.

David Dye – Leaders who lack key skills and preparation really can do more harm than good – that’s why it’s so vital to give your people opportunities to practice influence. It’s also the case that you’re never fully ready. There is no perfect time; there is only now. If you wait until you feel ready, you’ll never lead. The world (and your team) needs you now!

Mike Henry – I think often the people least ready to lead are the ones anxious to do so. Leadership is a responsibility. Our sense of responsibility causes us to take a leadership role when we’re rather just do what we’re told. The choice often comes down to clarity of what you want. Since leadership is service, the leader places the team and its goal ahead of their personal preferences. Great leaders are only ready to sacrifice for the good of the group. Any other readiness is secondary. If you want leadership for yourself, and you feel ready, you may be mistaken.

Jon Mertz – In many ways, the short answer is every day. And this is not meant to be cute because it is really true. On any given day, I do not know what will really come my way. New challenges arise. New situations appear unexpectedly. The important things I always try to remember is to be the calm in the storm and offer direction with humility and empathy. There is strength in calmness, for me and others. From this point, assessing what information is available and offering a way forward are essential ways to lead, ready or not.

We thank these established leaders for sharing their thoughts about supporting new leaders.

Has there been a time when you had to help someone who did not feel ready? Tell us about it…
Photo Credit: Morguefile

About The Author

Articles By paula-kiger
Paula believes her Twitter bio says it best: Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many. She is a communications professional who provides writing, editing and social media services through Big Green Pen. She was the community manager for the Lead Change Group for two years. Paula has a Master’s Degree in Counseling and Human Systems from Florida State University. She is an active advocate for many causes.  »  View Profile

What People Are Saying

Mary C. Schaefer  |  03 Apr 2015  |  Reply

David, it’s so interesting that you say “you’re never fully ready.” Last night a friend and I were finishing dinner and I asked, “Are you full?” My engineer friend said, “The full condition is rarely permanent.” Whaaaaaa?

He said it mostly applies to tanks (remember, engineer) and that they rarely stay “full” for long. I thought it was a great metaphor for so many things, including readiness for leadership. “You are never fully ready” = “The full condition is rarely permanent.”

My HR colleagues and I knew when we had some coaching to do when a manager presented him- or herself as knowing it all. We would say, “They are all trained up.”

Rarely are we fully ready and if so, it doesn’t last long. It’s so important to remain humble and proceed anyway. Thank you for sharing that, David.

Page Cole  |  03 Apr 2015  |  Reply

I love the idea of giving our staff opportunities to “practice Influence”! I brainstormed (Ok, maybe it was a quick sprinkle, not a storm!), and came up with my ideas for “practicing influence”… Let me know what others you have!

1) Have them lead a meeting
2) Partner them with a new employee to show them the ropes
3) Before critical meetings with clients, assign them parts of the project or task to explain to the client during the meeting
4) Work with them to lead a staff training time or staff meeting

Any other ideas?

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