The best leaders I’ve worked with are the ones that know when to wait. Early on in my career, I tended to respond to things quickly—especially when I was angry or upset. This is the exact opposite of what the leaders I respected did.
Mature leaders know that some problems go away if they are ignored. There are some leaders who try to take this to an extreme and never deal with anything. The correct balance is somewhere in the middle. There are very few times where putting off sending a scathing email or administering a harsh verbal rebuke will give you cause for regret. On the other hand, it is pretty frequent that haste to respond to a loaded situation will make you wish you had taken more time to think about it.
There are times where a situation calls for immediate attention. The skilled leader will keep an eye out for those types of situations before they happen and make a decision about what to do ahead of time. This allows you to respond quickly, but not be reactive—you’ve spent the time in prudent thought ahead of time, so you are not acting on impulse.
Some of the situations where a swift response would probably be necessary are extreme insubordination, breach of ethics, etc. Sometimes a delayed response will send the wrong signal to your team. Most of the time, delaying in order to act wisely will be to your advantage.
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