Management Principle: Coping

It seems that everyone wants to grow in leadership, and have authority over others, but few are really prepared to do what’s required to lead well. Some of the most respected examples from the past are those who were never daunted or distracted from seemingly impossible goals. They know how to frame and then reframe challenges, creating determination and emotional resolve in their people. I hope you enjoy this week’s principle.
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Coping.? When we have expectations that are confronted with disappointing results, we require emotional energy to bridge the gap-we cope. However, when the gap between expectations and reality is too large, we are typically unable to cope, resulting in stress behaviors that differ based on one’s temperament and maturity level. Some lose composure, while others become quiet and distant.

Both conditions represent amateur behavior and are obvious to all those who observe. We lose influence. To grow we must develop self-awareness and anticipate situations that undermine our ability to cope. To combat the issue we take a time out, regroup, and regain emotional reserves while maintaining composure. If we fail to regenerate our reserves, we lose the respect of those around us and wane in our ability to lead. When we say “yes” to leadership, we are really saying “yes” to suffering. A glamorized view of leadership results in an inability to emotionally meet the challenges of the office; we forfeit opportunities to model professional behavior, particularly during tough times when others learn the most as a consequence of our responses.

Coaching questions: What’s your coping capacity? How can you strengthen self-awareness and better anticipate your coping gap?

Read more coaching principles from Dean Harbry on the Internal Innovations website.