This winter has been a pretty big deal for much of the country. Currently I’m looking out the window at the 2nd wave of a pretty nasty ice storm. The front windshield of my car looks like it’s plagued with the automotive equivalent of a cataract. The ice has completely encapsulated everything outside. The most amazing sight is the effect the weight the ice has on trees. They are bowing to the overbearing effects of being engrossed by it all. Quite amazing.

It seems like so much ice, but it has been developing for at least 24 hours. Little drops of freezing rain, at some times not more than a misty drizzle, fall calmly and rest easy on everything. As it’s happening it seems like not much at all, but over time it crescendos into a debilitating burden for the trees and electric wires to sustain. Currently, the power is out because of  the ice. There are tree limbs broken. Homes damaged. Cars have run off the road littering fields and yards giving the landscape an apocalyptic feel.

What is the ice storm in your leadership? What seemingly little thing is going on that once accumulated can have devastating effects? When we permit these types of things to continue, we begin to bend under the weight of them much like the trees we see. We lose power in our lives as we default to a maintenance position because of the extra burden we are carrying. We become broken versions of who we can be. Things in our home life begin to be damaged from us reacting to the challenges and the loss of power we feel in our leadership. Those we’re leading veer off course and feel stuck because we have become more concerned about just managing the added weight on our backs. We have somehow defaulted to an apocalyptic leadership style.

How to avoid Apocalyptic Leadership:

  1. Know what is exposed – You don’t worry about your couch gathering ice in an ice storm because it’s not exposed to those elements. Take mental inventory of what is exposed to potentially damaging elements should a storm come your way. Just being aware of what these things are can prepare you to respond to a storm.
  2. Don’t wait until the storm has passed – Part of the problem is something begins and we allow it to continue. We only respond to something when we are forced into a crisis moment. Continually “chip the ice away” so that problems don’t accumulate.
  3. Understand how seasons work – There are times when these types of problems are more likely than others. Many times the seasons that cause us the most trouble is when we are being comfortable and cozy. Things can pile up more easily than if we’re moving and making changes.
  4. Have a plan – Sometimes problems just don’t show up on your radar. Have a plan for how you will address problems that weigh you down and can easily be destructive when left unchecked.

We can’t avoid storms and problems, but we can prepare for them and respond to them well. Leadership can have it’s difficulties, so there’s no need to make more through lack of due diligence and insight. With a little effort and foresight, we can easily be ready to weather whatever storm comes our way and minimize the damage of it.

I look forward to reading your experiences on how you have been well prepared for some storms in your leadership.