Leadership Lens

“The way a situation occurs for me is colored and shaped by my context for that situation, and my way of being and acting is correlated with the way that situation occurs for me.”

(This quote and future quotes extracted from this course material.)

The situation

I’m the manager at a small restaurant and we are expecting a huge dinner rush for the night. It is 4 pm in the afternoon and the cook calls in sick. How do I respond?

It depends on how the situation occurs for me. If I think the employee is not really sick and has an attitude problem, I may respond angrily. Or I perceive him/her as being lazy or indifferent, and I attempt to micromanage and control. Maybe I believe that the employee is trying to make a statement, “I always work hard, it’s time for someone else to step up,” – and I might react defensively, pleadingly or be extremely ticked off.

Here’s an illustration of three different lenses:

leadership lens

Which lens should I use? Probably none of these because they all leave me feeling desperate or bad.

Has anyone seen my leading glasses?

Oh, here they are. Not perfectly clean and there will probably be a newer model soon, but they work better than what I’ve tried on so far.

As the situation is occurring (cook calling in sick), the framework of my leading glasses makes me aware of the following:

1. There is no specific way I have to act or feel. Nothing is expected of me. I am free to respond.

2. Has the employee said everything he/she wanted to say? What information did I miss (“strongly held positions, views, opinions, rationalizations, justifications, judgments, significant history, anything else” the employee or I are stuck with)?

3. In order to live into a better future, a future where cooks calling in sick does not create mayhem, what needs to change today?

4. Will the employee be fulfilled working here? Do we share a future vision?

Using this lens, I am not left feeling desperate, but open and ready to act.

Based on my interpretation of Creating Leaders – An Ontological Model
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