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The relentless torture of the unknown
On Iunie 31, 2010, in Total leadership, by Neculai Fantanaru

Hide well your anxieties and frustrations, in order not to induce the same state to your team.

On September 20, 1519, Fernando Magellan's has been departed from the shore. Only God knows through how many passed this sobresaliente, the anonymous soldier, in order to procure all the things necessary to initiate this difficult mission, whose duration has not been determined.

It is etter the sad truth than the eternal doubt. For months, Magellan's fleet headed to an unknown point on the map. He often deviated from the established track. He sometimes rotated in a circle. However, there was no trace of any strait. The members of the five boats became increasingly worried, especially that Magellan was more and more quiet, cool and distant.

Before starting this journey, Magellan came into possession of an inaccurate map of the famous cosmographer Martin Behaim, which indicated the place where the strait was supposed to be. However, it was only then, after nearly a year of navigation adrift, afloat, he realized that he fell victim of a terrible confusion. That moment, of the truth, was the worst for Magellan's heart. How fake proved to be his route. The data from that map and that report were completely wrong, fanciful. He went in the search of an illusion. The strait was certainly not there where it was indicated on the map.

Are you navigating adrift ? Is your enthusiasm for success a waste of time? Can you afford to overlook the reality?

Leadership: Are you the slave of your own word?

He gave his word, he swore that he would find the strait, but now he doubted of himself. His troubled mind kept telling him that, and his fervent heart kept repeating it to him, that he will never be able to accomplish his mission. Day and night, Magellan was tortured by the thought of guilt, and also by the thought that his crew, who was agonizing of cold, hunger, fatigue and hardship would start a revolt. What will he tell people, what excuse will he invent to support his guiltlessness? To continue his journey, by still claiming that he will achieve his purpose, after all this time when they found nothing, would be a foolishness. Because only a man who does not realize his folly can claim that he can accomplish things beyond his powers.

For people was not difficult to read on the Magellan's face what it was happening in his heart. Because this man, so passionate at first, so confident in the success of the mission that he alone chose and assumed, was increasingly depressed. He kept feeling the need to be alone.

Your attitude, coupled with the atmosphere from your team can encourage people to great achievements? Your performances generate their momentum towards achieving the pursued goals? Do you have to create momentum before asking them to change themselves? Do you always put in readiness all the necessary resources for their proper operation?

When the unknown dramatically makes its appearance, restlessness takes possession of the human soul

It is a real torture, a real hell to run for years after something and not to find it. Magellan knew that his fleet was drifting, that it was lost, lost in the unknown. His sharp senses and his instinct were increasingly sensing the danger. The unknown he balked to explore stopped attracting him, did no longer impress him, but started to frighten him, threaten and intimidate him. The unknown invaded his whole being and forced him to discourage himself, to feel anxious and helpless. Magellan was on the verge to give up to the pressure exerted by the members of his crew.

Are the results that you obtain stimulating your confidence? Are they stimulating the collegiality among the members of your team? What change you must perform in order to create a better climate?

Only danger reveals a man's hidden qualities

The Australian writer, Stefan Zweig, the author of the famous biography of Magellan, has stated a great truth: “One never gets to know a person's character better than by watching his behavior during decisive moments.

Magellan has not left the clock to peacefully follow his path. In a way, God protected him, giving him the strength to overcome that emotional leap. Though overshadowed by a deep sadness, he did not let himself downed.

Everybody bows with resignation before a persevering man. Magellan managed to hold in his crew, he kept down a revolt, and after he sailed adrift for a long time, he eventually managed to find the strait that nowadays still bears his name. He proved who he is, the material he's cut from - a hard, very resistant material. His inner confidence and firmness did not give him up in times of need, but erupted when he had more need of them.

Conclusion: The great “unknown” which occurs unexpectedly even in the life of a leader, should not have devastating effects upon him, especially when there is a strong motivation, especially when working with people becomes difficult. A leader must hide well his anxieties and his frustrations in order not to induce the same state to the team. On the contrary, a “pro-active”, but tempered attitude is indicated, together with sharing the real situation.

 

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