Icing Your Concerns: A Good Management Technique

The Power of Pausing

When somebody walks in and drops a big emergency in our laps we tend to get caught up in the moment and we tend to want to move forward, plunge in, and fix that issue immediately. This is understandable, but that’s not always the best management strategy. In this video I’m going to be talking about why pausing can be a very effective management tool.

Put the Problem into Context

I used to have this mug with a quote on it, “Lack of planning on your part, does not mean an emergency on my part.” I think that’s good criteria to use when you have something that you find yourself in the midst of. Is it really a big issue for your team and for the organization, or is it really just something that’s being created because of a sense of panic by someone else. You certainly need to acknowledge that sense of pressure that the person is feeling for whatever reason and not ignore it, but you can negotiate with the person the next steps that make sense for everybody, not just that one person.

Move Quickly Does Have Benefits

Employee issues in particular are the types of issues that I feel are most critical to move forward. Other kinds of project or task situations are often ones that you can give yourself more time on. If you’re faced with something to do with an employee conflict or issue I definitely think you need to move fast. That does not mean move immediately. There are lots of benefits to moving fast and in terms of making sure others are aware that you’re dealing with the problem. It gives them a sense of comfort that you’re dealing with the issue that they don’t have to worry that it’s not going to be handled.

Pause. Then Move Forward.

By putting a pause button on that sense of immediate action is really important for a lot of reasons. It gives you time to think through all of the information and not just one piece of the data. It helps you come down from any feelings of being overwhelmed about what you’ve just heard or listened to. It gives you time to weigh your options and to get a deeper perspective about some of the resolutions that you could be moving forward with.

Pausing is Not the Same and Dropping or Ignoring an Issue

The only risk then I see in pausing is that you drop the issue altogether.  I would never recommend that you ignore problem or just don’t pick it up and deal with it, because that isn’t going to help in the long run. But, putting again that pause button on it can really be effective way to chill out, if you will. That leads me to a little story.

Icing Concern in Action

In the winter we have a bit of an issue with some ice on one section of our roof. It builds up despite our efforts to keep it at bay. One morning I came out and I was amazed at the amount of ice that had fallen off of this section into our driveway. It looked so much more massive on the ground than it did up on the roof. What was really incredible, different, and baffling to me was Grace’s reaction. It was if the ice wasn’t even there and this is a dog who will bark at a leaf blowing in the wind if it’s out of place in her environment.

Take Time to Assess

So why did she do this? I think she was quietly assessing the danger without really addressing it. Another similar analogy is how we put ice on a bruise or sprain to give our body time to balance out and equalize.  Icing something, whether figuratively or literally, is an effective way to help us move forward in a calm and self-assured manner.

Know the Signals of Rushing

I know it’s not always easy to change behaviors, especially when you’re in the thick of it, but there are some signals to watch for to identify if you have moved too quickly.

  • If you’re hearing a lot of different and varying opinions from people after you’ve set something in motion
  • If you’re rethinking our double guessing your own decisions, where you haven’t had enough time to get confident clear on what you’re moving forward with
  • If there are more issues in the resolution that when you started

To any of those things that exist will signal to you it’s time to pause, stop, and get more facts and information. Reflect on what your options are before moving forward again.

Know Your Management Speed and Habits

When you’re faced with this emergency kind of situation what is your tendency? Do you dive right in and try to tackle it, or do you remain calm and try to assess the situation before moving forward? Do you see a pattern in how you’re reacting either with a particular person that comes to you, or a particular situation that you’re handed? Could you be more effective with a different approach? What are some steps that you can take to identify those and then modify your reaction for a better outcome for everybody?

Give Yourself the Gift of Time

Give yourself the gift of time to think through your options and make a calm decision not a rushed one. Remember when you’re feeling overwhelmed take a hint from Grace and just ice it!

Remember to check out other videos in the Learning Resource Center designed to help you create healthy workplace relationships. Here’s to your graceful leadership.

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