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Survival Mode Kills You (And Your Team)

“The strong survive, but the courageous triumph.” - Michael Scott, The Warlock

Have you settled for survival?  Does your everyday become a fire drill that leaves you emotionally barren?  It’s time to stop.  Not only does survival mode prevent you from moving your team forward, but it will inevitably lead to collapse.  It’s time to shake off the victim mentality and become something more!

Work stress

In the illustrious words of Miley Cyrus, “We run things, things don’t run we.”  Leaders do not let situations manage them; they manage situations.  This can be especially difficult in service management, where fire drills are just part of the gig.  Break the cycle.  Take a few minutes and leave the demands of your work environment – give yourself an opportunity to rise above the immediate needs and anticipate what problems are soon to happen.  Identify trends that steal away your time and energy.  Instead of walking right back into the same old trap, think of how you can eliminate the root cause.  It is far easier to prevent the fire than to put it out once it starts.

The Victim Mentality

A person ruled by a victim mentality is always looking for something to blame.  If there is not a fire burning, they will find one.  Not having a situation to absorb their time and energy will put them a scary place – they will have to get out of reactive mode and face themselves.  This is very difficult for most people.  It is much easier to appear important through managing various fires then it is to actually think strategically.

Constant fire-fighting may make you feel busy and important, but this is an illusion!

Here are a few critical actions that a victim is generally incapable of:

Investing In People– If you are a manager, it is critical to note that you are not the only casualty of the fires you allow to burn.  Your team pays a heavy price for these distractions.  You will have good intentions of developing your direction reports, but can just “never find the time.”

Thinking Strategically – You can not move from a reactive environment to a proactive one without intentional effort.  It will require carving out time free of distraction and fire-fighting to look beyond the now and see the big picture.  Only when you take the time to envision your improved future-state can you take steps to raise the bar and get there.

Eliminating Recurring Frustrations – One of the biggest causal factors in turn over is having a “thorn in the flesh” that never goes away.  Do you understand the pain points that your team experiences?  Have you demonstrated a sincere effort to remove these hurdles from their employment experience?

Don’t pour fuel on the fire!  An effective leader will control their environment, gifting those around them with the ability to move forward.. to triumph and not just survive!

Take ownership of your situation and be that person!

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This first appeared on the Customer Centric Support blog.