Saturday’s running crash (see yesterday’s blog) was not simply due to a lack of fuel.  Perhaps just as big a factor was the heat.

When I started the 7 miler, it was 95 degrees.  I know, I know, most of you think I am insane.  Maybe I am?

Research shows that when a person is exercising, he or she should add 20 degrees to the temperature to gain an idea of the “perceived” temperature.  Actually, I am not sure that is enough.  After a couple of miles, it felt a lot hotter than 115 to me.  The “crash” should have been expected.

Leaders often crash because of “heat” as well.

Heat for a leader can take on many different forms.  Failure to develop the skills to handle these situations can be destructive.

Consider the following:

1. Conflict.  A lack of emotional intelligence, when it comes to conflict, can wreck your influence.  Conflict is inevitable.  Combat doesn’t have to be.  There are times as a leader when you need to mine for conflict and times when you need to avoid it.  Learning to recognize the difference takes wisdom and experience.

2. Debt.  Mishandling resources can do you in.  Spend less than you make and leverage your resources toward generosity.  Overspend and watch how hot it gets and how quickly you crash.

3.  Incompetence.  Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you are and empower them to do what they do best.  Learn to admit that there are areas where you are not competent.  This has nothing to do with intelligence.  In fact, some of the most intelligent people I know are the ones who are able to admit their weaknesses.

4.  Misalignment.  Learning to recognize strengths in others and helping them align those strengths to accomplish the mission is one of the most important things a leader can do.  Like a car out of alignment that continually pulls off course, a team member who is misaligned will eventually drag your organization into the ditch.

5.  Timing.  Truthfully, one of the reasons for my heat crash was because I chose to run at the wrong time of the day.  I had other options, but I chose inferno o’clock.  It was a matter of timing.  Likewise, leaders who ignore timing will feel the heat.  There is a time to start and a time to stop.  A time to change and a time to maintain.  Pay close attention to timing when you make your decisions.

There is no doubt that you will face “leadership heat” and it can cause you to crash.  Learn to recognize and deal with it and you can survive.  Unless of course, like me, you violate crash factor #3.

I will tell you about that on Friday.



Are there other places where you have felt the heat as a leader?