7 Ways to Sniff the Stink
Success hinges on dealing with things others turn from. Plug your nose when something stinks, if you want to fail.
- Ignore anger.
- Reject worry. Tell yourself everything will work out on it’s own.
- Medicate organizational anxiety.
- Dance around challenges.
- Discuss comfortable topics – avoid uncomfortable.
- Affirm the mediocre.
- Tolerate backstabbers.
Successful leaders lean in when others lean away.
The way you deal with stink determines:
- The height of your reach.
- The usefulness of your influence.
- The effectiveness of your leadership.
Start sniffing when something doesn’t smell right. Breathe deep. Don’t plug your nose.
7 ways to sniff the stink:
- Stay curious when curiosity feels awkward. “I’m wondering about….”
- Bring together gratitude and dissatisfaction.
- Don’t be happy all the time. You should feel bad when things are bad. Just don’t wallow. Unhappiness instigates change.
- Be optimistic. “I think we could do better.”
- Declare the pain. “This hurts.”
- Pick the scab. “What makes you think things will be different next time?”
- Confront negative patterns. “This isn’t working. What needs to change?”
Subtle stink – 4 things lesser leaders ignore:
- Meetings that should be 45 rather than 60 minutes long.
- Talented people who wing it rather than prepare.
- The third conversation about the same issue.
- Bullies and backstabbers who deliver results.
Ease is the enemy of excellence. A little comfort strengthens. Constant comfort makes babies of us all.
5 essentials when sniffing stink:
- Show some frustration. If things aren’t right, let it be known. Don’t blow up. Speak up.
- Embrace dissatisfaction.
- Resolve to make things better. If you aren’t committed to improve, just plug your nose.
- Know where you’re going. Get clear on what “better” looks like.
- Believe in the power of hard work.
The tipping point in your leadership is what you do when something stinks.
What should leaders stop ignoring?
How might leaders sniff the stink successfully?
#7 under Sniff the sink — Board Meeting on Tuesday, one of the members leaned into the conversation and said “You need to force yourself to look at what you do not want to look at”. I loved it, I hated it. Dan, thank you for picking the scab from Tuesday, have a good day.
Thanks Scott. Love the message of the board member. It’s great to be on the journey with you, my friend.
Subtle stink: bullies and backstabbers who deliver results – I’d love to hear your fuller perspective on this topic – perhaps it’s an article of its own…
Thanks Terri. Managers tend to overlook the negative qualities of people who deliver results. This goes so far as to ignoring unethical behaviors. What they forget is the cost of tolerating backstabbers on the morale and productivity of others.
5 essentials when sniffing stink:
6: Make sure what you sniff isn’t toxic. Sometimes there’s a good reason why things like that are left alone!
Thanks Mitch. Glad you jumped in. Organizational culture is a factor in toxicity. You can really hurt your career by digging into something that should be left alone, at least for the time being. Perhaps one important factor in deciding when to sniff versus not is answering the question, What’s the probability of making things better?
What a great post. Typically, I can smell the stink, but I can often have a hard time articulating what the stink is. If it can’t be articulated, it can’t be addressed effectively. This leaves me feeling frustrated and feeling like there was something more I was supposed to do, which is never a good feeling. I really need to develop my emotional vocabulary.