People with allergies can have severe reactions to small amounts of an allergen. My dog immediately heads for the closet when she hears a boom (whether from a neighbor’s trash can being moved or from fireworks). Corporations tie themselves in knots trying to accommodate every puff of the political winds.
These are examples of hypersensitivity. A small stimulus provokes an out-sized response. Hypersensitivity is bad for leadership. It can make for poor decisions and rash actions.
When I was learning to sail, my instructor pointed out that the wake behind the boat was in a snake pattern. It meant that I was over-steering and not keeping to a fixed point. Over-steering wastes energy and makes for slow sailing.
Are there things that you are overly sensitive to? Are there times when your reaction is not a great match for the situation at hand?
Leaders can be overly sensitive to all sorts of things, like:
- Fear of making a mistake
- Perceived lack of speed by others
- Feeling rushed
- People who cannot get to the point
- Not having hands-on control
- Need for acknowledgement
- Need to please others
- Things being too quiet
- Needing to be the smartest person in the room
Every leader can have triggers that that can provoke an unhelpful response. What are yours? The more that leaders have a handle on their triggers, the smoother the sailing will be—for them and the crew.