There’s an old saying that says, if your only tool is a hammer, you’re going to see every problem as a nail. What is your hammer? What is your nail? What is your default setting when you’re in crisis or under stress?
Some kinds of personality and leadership tests seek to discern in part what your default operating mechanism is. When you go under stress, do you operate differently than you normally do? There’s a lot of pretty good leaders who are good leaders in normal times, but under stress they become tyrants and really controlling and non-collaborative, which is their default setting. Other people kind of withdraw and get quiet.
When it comes to crisis, whether it’s a national/international crisis like the Covid-19, whether it’s in business or in church or a family crisis, the same kind of thing happens. But it’s not necessarily just about our personality; it’s about our skill set. As leaders, we have some skills. We have some things that we’re really good at, which are different for each one of us, that when things go sideways, we might fall back on those skills, whether or not that skill is what is needed at the time. It’s our hammer. It’s our default hammer.
Are you aware of what your default hammer is?