5 - Being effective
Sent to RAC board and exceutive on 13 August 2010
Defend your ideas without being defensive
Getting behind an idea means it has captured your imagination, conviction and passion. Such commitment is essential for the successful implementation of any important initiative and this enthusiasm helps bring others to the cause. But it can also be your worst enemy when someone pushes back.
Since you are so enamored of your idea, your instinct is to protect it as you might a child (this project is my baby). Big mistake! This puts you on the defensive.
When you face criticism you need to defend yourself without being defensive. Being defensive opens you to additional criticism because very often it provokes negative behaviors such as lashing out or shutting down - where you become caught in the moment and the niceties of polite discourse go out the window. It’s okay to be passionate, but you need to avoid becoming overly passionate - unwilling and unable to listen to others.
Maintaining an even keel in the face of skepticism or even hostility is vital to leadership presence. It’s the kind of aura you need to radiate if you ever hope to instill confidence in your leadership abilities. When people are whaling on your ideas it’s easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment, so the challenge is not to overreact. The key is to separate personality from ideology.
Do what is best for the organization.