Do You Have A Leadership Lifeline?

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Leadership Lifelines

It’s 10:25 a.m. on a Thursday.  Your calendar indicates that you have a meeting with your boss at 10:30 in her office to update her on an important company project.  You grab a pen, your notepad, and a printout outlining the status of each open item.

Walking into her office, you immediately realize that the meeting agenda will be different.  Sitting next to your boss is the Human Resources Director.  Your boss says, “Sit down. There’s no easy way to say this, but your position has been eliminated.”

You’re not sure whether they see you gasp for air.  The sharp breath you take is to try to slow yourself down.  You feel heat rushing up into your face like lava erupting from a volcano.  Your heartbeat feels like you are running as it begins to pound faster.

You don’t even hear the rest of the dialogue. You stare blankly as your boss exits the room, and you are left with HR and a stack of paper.

 

“Facing your fears robs them of their power.” -Mark Burnett

 

What are you going to do?

 

The Stress of Losing a Job

Losing your job rates as one of life’s biggest stressors.  That stress ratchets up dramatically if you have little or no savings.  But it’s not just about money.  For many, it’s also about identity.  Losing friends and colleagues, and feeling ostracized, are also contributing factors.

And in most cases it is a blow to self-esteem.  Often your higher-level thinking will lose out to emotions. Change is hard, especially when you don’t control it.

 

“You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this and you will find strength.” -Marcus Aurelius

 

After you lose your employment, experts quickly tell you that you need to network.  Because, they will say, the way to a new job is through your network.

  • “Who do you know?”
  • “Who is in a position to help you?”
  • “Who are the most influential people in your network?”
  • “Who will you ask to be references?”

I have been both the recipient and the originator of networking calls. If you are looking for a job, you are inevitably going to call everyone you can.

Because I have a large network, most months I receive several calls or emails from people looking for work.  I truly feel for these people. I understand the challenge.  It’s stressful. Earlier on, I tried to help everyone.  Now, though I try, I just don’t have the time or bandwidth to help most people. That’s difficult for me because I want to help every person that I possibly can in these difficult situations.

 

“It’s not stress that kills us, it’s our reaction to it.” -Hans Seyle

 

Common and Uncommon Advice

Advice you will often hear: Network. Build your connections. Meet people at industry events. Become an expert in your field.

Here’s the advice you don’t often hear:

Face your fears before you need to.  Starting the networking process after a job loss is too late.

 

Career Tip: Networking after a job loss is often too late.

 

You save for retirement. You have insurance for disasters. Why not prepare in advance?

Look at the questions again:

  • “Who do you know?”
  • “Who is in a position to help you?”
  • “Who are the most influential people in your network?”
  • “Who will you ask to be references?”

Answer them now when you don’t need to.

Write down these names.  Now, go to work on a plan to continue relationships with them. Send them updates on what’s going on in your life and career. Even more importantly, think about how you can add value to that person.

 

“The key to winning is poise under stress.” -Paul Brown

 

“Hey, Bill, I just read the article about you in Forbes. Congratulations on your success!”

“Susan, I saw the article you shared on Twitter. You may also want to read this article that I read last week on the same subject.”

“Mike, just saw your update on LinkedIn. That’s a huge promotion. I want to buy you lunch to celebrate.”

The point is this: If you have someone who you one day need as a reference or someone who is influential or someone who would be important to a job search, don’t wait.  That person will be much more responsive and inclined to help if you have developed a relationship.  Don’t rely on the fact you had a great relationship years ago.  Make it current.  Because you never know when that relationship will be your lifeline to something new.

 

“Yesterday’s relationship could be tomorrow’s lifeline.” -Skip Prichard

 

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