Anyone can walk down a path with people following behind.  That is one way to be a leader.  Another way is to cut a path through the woods and have people follow.  Both of these are pretty brute forces methods, however.  A true leadership characteristic is not only to lead others down the path but to anticipate the correct path to follow.

Anticipation as a leader can come in the planning stages, when you have the courage to ask what if things go wrong.   Or it can come in the implementation, when unexpected events force improvisation or redirection.  It can even come at the conclusion when you as the leader must anticipate where to go now.  Following a script and keeping everyone on task is a skill that few people really master.  But the ability to anticipate and foresee accurately both short term and long term is what separates great leaders from merely good leaders.

Here are 5 ways to develop and strengthen your anticipation muscle:

  1. Creative thinking.  Use riddles, problems, and the like to really exercise your creativity.  Too many people think that creativity is the sole province of artists.  But who can question the creativity of the person who looked at a small box of wires and circuits and could envision email?

  2. Planning.  Once you have your grand creative vision, you must make it a reality.  This is where Thomas Edison excelled.  Several people came up with the idea of electric lights.  But only Edison planned out how to make one.

  3. Time management.  The ability to use your time efficiently and effectively is a hallmark of leadership.  Time management is more than just writing “to do” lists.  It means that the time per task is prioritized and allocated appropriately.

  4. Goals.  Leading others down the path has one important component – knowing where you are going.  Setting goals that are realistic and achievable, and capable of being attained on time and within budget, is vital.

  5. Feedback.  This means not only giving quality feedback to your team, but getting it.  A great leader listens to those around him, with the intent of improving his or her leadership.

Being able to anticipate problems or stressors is a key component of making progress.  By looking ahead creatively, and having alternate plans, any stress that is run into is lessened.   By defusing stress, you reduce or eliminate the chance of your great venture collapsing into chaos.

The solution is to have a comprehensive system that includes planning and anticipation as a key component.   Most people have a “system” to handle stress.  However, few of these systems act on the external world, let alone act on the world to change it.  Most stress management systems focus on merely changing your reactions and feelings about the stress.   The key is to develop the system that works for you personally.   Martial arts like karate and judo teach specific moves and holds, but a black belt will combine those teachings into the system that is personal.   Using the tips in this article, combined with the skills and knowledge that you already possess, can help you create your personal system with real leadership characteristics.

STRESS JUDO COACHING is designed to be that comprehensive system.  The Yellow belt level is focused specifically on taking control of stress.  Designed around the exclusive progressive belt training system, this unique training and coaching program can be personalized, for you to reach your black belt potential. Just JOIN THE COMMUNITY using the box to the right (-->) and welcome!