Timing: A Leader’s Tool or a Leader’s Weapon

Team Development

Words have power. Words spoken out of time can hurt regardless of their validity. Words spoken in the right moment can breath life into an individual. The same holds true for actions. Timing is an important.  A great leader has mastered timing.

How can you tell if the timing is right?

  1. In dealing with people, is the person in an emotional state to hear what you have to say?  Do you have enough of a relationship to speak what needs to be spoken?  If the answer is yes to both of these questions then have the conversation.  Let’s be clear, just because you are someone’s manager doesn’t mean you have the relationship to have the conversation. Being someone’s manager gives you the opportunity to build a relationship to have direct, transformative conversations. If you don’t pay the price to build a relationship, no matter how true your words are they will be destructive. Understanding the
  2. In dealing with situations the only question you need ask is:  does it solve the problem?

Timing can only be learned from experience. When you are new leader, step out and make the mistakes.  Put your foot in your mouth a few times and reflect when the outcome didn’t come out as expected. You’ll begin to realize when you are acting to resolve a situation or deal with a person versus reacting emotionally. Your feelings will take you out of proper timing.  Feelings are real and need to be dealt with, but they can cause a shift in perception.

Another side of understanding timing is understanding your gifts, talents, strengths and weaknesses.  The more self aware you are the more your precise your timing. I know I will never be a crisis counselor.  I’m more the person to bring in after the crisis is over and the person wants to rebuild their life. I love studying the lives of successful people. Winston Churchill is considered one of the greatest orators of the 20th century. What’s fascinating to me is between World Wars, he couldn’t keep his mouth shut. This got him in trouble. He was exiled after England’s abdication issue  and shunned by his political party during India’s quest for independence.  But in times where England was in crisis, his words inspired a nation and that is was he is known for.

Timing is your friend and something you should get to know. You must strive to use it as a tool.  If you don’t, timing will be a weapon by default.