At some point in your leadership journey, you will say or do something out of character. You will instinctively act upon something you value the most. And because you have a front row seat as a leader, your actions will be uncensored. No one will stop you.
Next comes the shock in the room. Then, the dissection of your actions by others outside of the room. Your moment will spread via the rumor mill, social media, and possibly even traditional media. Finally, you’ll face the fallout. That is where your real opportunity will emerge, which I’ll get to in a moment.
I’m not here to discuss who was right or wrong in the Will Smith / Chris Rock incident at the Oscars. It was such a layered moment with heightened emotions, old wounds, conflicting values, loyalty, love, respect, sensitive subjects, evolving societal norms, and more. Suffice it to say that personal and professional values collided in the perfect storm.
My point is this: As a leader, you are highly susceptible to defining moments. They will happen when you least expect them and can diminish your presence. But your true leadership influence will emerge AFTER the heat of the moment. What you choose to do next will become your biggest opportunity to elevate the conversation, unify the stakeholders, and shape the future.
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