Leading Through Change

The Elevator Paradox: Leading Through Change

Imagine standing before an elevator, tapping the button repeatedly, hoping it’ll rush its journey just for you. Sounds silly, right? But this elevator scenario – commonplace and almost comical – offers a profound lesson in leading through change. As you delve into today’s read, you’ll gain insights into why we repeat behaviors, even when they don’t serve us, and how, as leaders, you can shift from redundant actions to transformative ones.

Why We’re All About That Elevator Button

Let’s break down the elevator situation. Someone walks up, presses the button, and then, out of impatience or perhaps a pinch of hope, jabs it repeatedly. We all know – logically – that a button can’t be persuaded. Yet, almost all of us have been there, haven’t you? Pressing it more forcefully, lingering longer, and occasionally mixing in some frustration for good measure.

This isn’t merely about elevators; it’s a metaphorical dive into human behavior. Why do our brains, sophisticated as they are, fall into patterns of actions that seem, for lack of a better word, senseless?

The Comfort in Repetition

Patterns and habits provide comfort. When environments are uncertain, familiar behaviors can be reassuring. Think about it: How many times in a challenging situation have you found solace in a known routine, even if it’s not the most effective?

However, leading through change demands more than just embracing comfort. It necessitates the courage to let go of the proverbial elevator button and consider alternative routes.

Identifying Your ‘Elevator Buttons’

Every leader has their set of ‘elevator buttons’ – those repetitive actions and decisions that seem right because they’re familiar. Maybe it’s a management style you’ve clung to for years or a communication method that feels safe.

Ask yourself, where in your leadership journey are you hitting that button repeatedly, hoping for different outcomes?

Embracing Change: Start with Awareness

It’s not about never pressing the elevator button; it’s about recognizing when you’re doing it needlessly. Awareness is the first step. Understanding that repeated behaviors, while comfortable, often yield the same results is crucial. You wouldn’t want to be stuck on the same floor forever, would you?

A Playbook for Leaders: Leading Through Change

  1. Self-awareness: Before you can guide others, reflect on your behaviors. Understand your elevator buttons and acknowledge them.
  2. Encourage Fresh Perspectives: Remember, as a leader, you’re surrounded by potential think-tanks. Your team can often point out when you’re ‘hitting the button’ too often. Listen to them.
  3. Cultivate Adaptability: In a dynamic world, the ability to adapt is invaluable. Flexibility isn’t about being wishy-washy; it’s about understanding when a change in approach is warranted.
  4. Positive Reinforcement: Celebrate when you or your team breaks the mold and tries something new. Nothing motivates like acknowledgment.

From Why to How: Navigating the Change Labyrinth

Many stand by the elevator, hitting the button, wondering, “Why does this always happen to me?” Instead, let’s shift the narrative. It’s not about destiny or some mysterious force working against you. It’s about choices and the willingness to embrace change.

So, next time you find yourself before an elevator, or any metaphorical button in your life, give it a thought. Maybe once is enough. After all, leading through change is not about pressing harder but understanding when it’s time to take the stairs.

Remember, every leader’s journey is dotted with elevators. The trick lies in knowing when to wait and when to find a new way up. Happy leading!

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