Friday, June 21, 2019

Leadership Lesson 5: Stop, Challenge, Choose

Leadership Expectation: Show Up Positive

Difficult, high-stress situations arise often in our fast-paced, changing world. As leaders, expectations for emotional control are also high and can lead to the suppression of our own feelings, increasing our anxiety and level of burnout. As stress levels rise and the pressure for quick decisions grows, the Stop, Challenge, Choose method can aid us in keeping our emotions under control, achieving better outcomes, and having more mature interactions with our teams and coworkers.

Stop, Challenge, Choose is a method for engaging in more strategic thinking using rational thought. Strategic thinking is a decision-making tool that relies on objectivity as a means to seeing a situation from a more creative perspective. Rational thought, or the ability to consider relevant variables and arrive at a sound conclusion, diversifies our interpretations of events (because we stop relying on what we’ve always done before) and guides us to make better choices. Objectively understanding our surroundings helps us find the best way to solve a problem.

When presented with a difficult situation:

  • Stop. Before we respond to an event, situation, or question, it is useful to pause and reflect for a moment—especially when we are stressed or irritated (or afraid, or angry). Take a deep breath and find your center, the place at your core where you are most at peace with yourself. 
  • Challenge. Our immediate thoughts are not always the best ones, particularly when a situation triggers a memory that had a negative outcome in the past. Take note of your immediate response, weigh the validity of your emotions, and reexamine the facts in a more objective way. In other words: we must not let how we feel about a situation (or a person!) guide our decision-making.
  • Choose. Select the best response based on your objective interpretation of the facts. Choosing logic over emotion is usually the best course of action in both professional and personal settings—especially when tensions are high! 

Through this work we can add depth to our relationships and leverage our learning for more positive, successful outcomes.

“Learn as if you were going to live forever. Live as if you are going to die tomorrow.”
– Mahatma Gandhi

Tip #5: Stop before you react. Challenge immediate negative assumptions. Choose the best response. 

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