True Leadership is defined in how you respond when things do not go according to plan. Let’s be honest, life rarely goes as planned. In your leadership, it is exhausting and frustrating if you try to control every situation. Truly great leaders are the ones who are able to rise above the unplanned problems and difficult situations that come up, while maintaining their goals, vision, and authority.
The challenges and problems leaders face are from the following sources:
External - From people and situations
Internal - From within the leader him/her self
or from the very nature of leadership itself.
I once coached alongside a former marine. He was a volunteer and a lower level assistant coach that really enjoyed being with the kids. His knowledge of the sport was limited, however he taught something that I will never forget.
Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.
This three-word mantra speaks to the creativity and success-based attitude necessary to lead:
Expect the unexpected. Having a plan is a great start, but understand it will probably not go exactly the way you want it to. What is your goal for the day or moment? Be creative and take advantage of the opportunities you are presented with. Have a goal and find ways to achieve it even if unconventional.
Adaptability is the ability to change to fit a set of new circumstances. What resources do you have? What can be used to achieve your desired goal? How must your leadership change based on the audience you are addressing?
You can control your own effort and how you respond to situations. Make an effort not to settle for anything then the best you can give. Have the confidence you will achieve your desired goal. Sometimes you can solve the challenge with a quick fix; others you will need to hang in there, be persistent, and stay committed.
Your leadership will rarely go without difficulties. I use this phrase often in my own leadership. As I’m writing this, I have many challenges of my own: my best athlete has a hamstring issue; outside there is a torrential downpour; I have a few coaches unable to make it to practice today; the equipment storage facility has a broken lock that won’t open; and I have 165 boys who need to be prepared for a meet next week.
Take a deep breath and Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome!