Have you ever said to yourself, ‘I know this, what has led me to do this?’
I had that moment in Greece this summer. It was the end of the evening and I was cleaning up the patio before bed. I’d been sitting barefoot on a reclining chair, so pushed on my trusty Birkenstocks and proceeded into the house. I noticed something sticking to my big toe, under the strap of my Birkenstock. I shook my foot, but it didn’t fall off, so I simply took my finger and pushed it off. When I put away the items I was carrying, I thought I should pick up whatever was on my toe.
It must have been lurking under the strap of my shoe. I had pushed my foot in with such force, I crushed the scorpion between the strap and my foot! Eek. On this occasion Birkenstocks and my foot won.
How does my tale of my scorpion near miss link to leadership?
The most crushing part of this story is, I have worked extensively in Africa and at every door I passed in the Hassi Messaoud base, there was a sign saying, ‘Check your Boots for Scorpions’. It had an image of a scorpion to ensure all languages could understand the sign due to its importance.
I was embarrassed that although I had the knowledge and experience of living in areas of high Scorpion populations, I had not even considered this. My guard was down, I was on holiday, I had that feeling of being invincible, no worries, what can happen in good times.
In leadership complacency can arise for multiple reasons,
- Being in a role for a long time
- Lack of care for others or the work
- Feeling the role is being below our capabilities
- Constant change can distract and reduce focus
- Volume and pressure of work
- And so many more reasons, I am sure you could recognise
Creating Space for Clarity
The scorpion experience heightened everyone’s awareness, we checked our shoes, bags and towels from this point forward! The physical and mental fear influenced our behaviour to be more aware.
Let’s hope we don’t experience scorpions in leadership, but create space to notice what is going on right now. Coaching offers a safe space to slow down, reflect, speak openly in confidence and explore all areas of leadership. The positive impact of coaching can be formally measured via employee engagement, business performance, reduced stress, greater role satisfaction and higher retention rates.
To take your first step to leadership clarity and improved performance, book an exploratory session with Zia Savel: Book NOW