How to Avoid Disappointment as a Leader

When you are a leader of people, you might have times when you are disappointed with the outcome of an event.  Maybe a sales presentation didn’t go well.  Someone on the team might have missed a key deadline for a deliverable.  Here are four tips on how to avoid disappointment as a leader.


Tip 1 – Disappointment is make-believe

Believe that everything turned out as it should have given the constraints.  Perhaps you didn’t allow your team enough practice time for that big presentation.  Maybe you weren’t clear with the expectations for the deliverables on the project.

Perhaps you view employee loyalty and effort through your lens while your employees aren’t as engaged.  Regardless, the outcome of any event should be a learning opportunity. If the outcome wasn’t what you desired, work on improving for the next opportunity.

Tip 2 – Don’t lower expectations

The natural tendency to combat disappointment is to lower your expectations.  “If I don’t expect much from this encounter, I won’t be disappointed.”  “If I lower my expectations of my employees, then I won’t be disappointed if they aren’t successful.”

That is the opposite of what you should do.  Continue to have high expectations.  Expect a lot of yourself and your employees.  Set high visions for the business or department.  Don’t use COVID19 as an excuse to lower your expectations.

Now is the time to capture market share from others who won’t react or pivot.  Expect a lot from yourself and those you lead.

Tip 3 – It won’t be perfect

Expect struggle.  Anticipate hardship when you are a leader.  Understand that every decision you make won’t be perfect.  That’s part of leading.  Understand you will always be perfecting your leadership methods, but you’ll never reach perfection.

Never feel disappointed in handling situations.  Do your best as a leader, search for feedback, and iterate.  Try things again and again.  Innovate and improve.  Get better and better.  When you have an improvement mindset, it’s impossible to be disappointed.

That is why the Deming wheel- Plan, Do, Check, Act is so profound.  It doesn’t allow for disappointment.  You plan for the next opportunity, try something else, and receive feedback.  This leads to the final tip for how to avoid disappointment as a leader.

Tip 4 – Focus on what you’ve learned

Be excited about mastering the skill of leadership.  Like someone who studies martial arts, you will never master everything.  The important part is the journey and what you learn along the way.

Reflect and focus on what you have learned.  Think about when you started as a leader to where you are today.  I’m sure you are light years from when you began, even if it was a few weeks ago.

Having a learning mindset is key to avoid disappoint as a leader.  Be excited every day about gaining mastery and learning!

As always, it is an honor to serve you, and I hope that you and your company are getting better every day!

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