Mountains or Molehills

As leaders, we always hear that we need to pick our battles.  The key to being successful, is to know what battles are the ones that need to be fought.

For me, choose to fight those battles that have a direct impact to my team and functional area first, then the ones that impact me second.  The way I look at it, if I have the support of my team and my customers, I will not have to fight as many personal battles. 

There is one belief that I have thought which I follow consistently.  My molehills are others mountains.  In other words, situations that are not that significant to me, may be very significant for others.  As a leader, it is necessary to be a sounding board for others significant issues, even if there is little consequence to me.

Not every discussion needs to be turned into a saga.  Most times, those bringing an issue or a topic up are looking for a sounding board as opposed to receiving a specific action.  It is important that as leaders we provide that sounding feedback and make sure that if we are going to be providing feedback that the person is willing to receive feedback.  Ask permission by saying something like, “If I understand your concern….”  Then follow up by asking, “I have some suggestion on how to handle this, would you like to hear them?”  In doing so, as a leader you have taken the emotion out of the conversation and then are strictly focused on the situation at hand.  Remember, a molehill for you is another persons mountain.

Let your team and your peers know that you are a confidential sounding board for them, and these individuals will move your mountains for you when the time comes.  Remember, your mountains are others molehills.  If you don’t have to climb or move a mountain, then don’t.  Keeping this in mind will create a more productive, trusting, and loyal environment.  As a leader, you can then spend less time fighting fires and more time on improving processes and products.

Your molehills are others mountains.  Keep this in mind over the next week.