4 Ways to Deal with what Really Drives Leaders Crazy

Patterns, not isolated incidents, drive you crazy.

Three missed deadlines are worse than one. But, it’s likely you overreacted to the last occurance, if you didn’t respond to the first.

Leaders who avoid issues end up saying “never” and “always.”

patterns in brick and stucco

Pattern recognition:

“You’re always late,” is, for example, an overreaction to a disappointing pattern. The most recent violation is a distraction, forget about it.

Don’t respond to an isolated instance when patterns are the problem.

Successful leaders focus on patterns. “How can we deal with the pattern of missed deadlines,” for example. Don’t worry about the last missed deadline.

Predicting negative patterns:

Negative patterns begin with excuse-making.

An excuse is the first step toward repeating a mistake. When failure is met with excuses, you can be certain you’ll see the same failure again. Eventually heated confrontation or crisis erupts.

Pattern recognition enables leaders to solve problems before catastrophe sets in.

Big vs. small:

Dealing with isolated events wastes time, energy, and momentum. Avoid the short-term narrow view.

Successful leaders see forests; failures see trees.

4 ways to deal with negative patterns:.

  1. Deal with violations, mistakes, or disappointments early. Established patterns are hard to break.
  2. Think next time. Last time feels like punishment. Next time feels like progress.
  3. Identify what needs to stop, start, or change in order to prevent patterns of failure from recurring.
  4. Establish systems, procedures, and accountability. Reluctance to intervene means you’ll see the same issues again.

The patterns you tolerate, confront, or create determine success or failure.

What happens when leaders focus on isolated instances rather than patterns?

How can leaders identify and deal with negative patterns?