Are You Down to Earth?
Those folks we all know and love who embody the aspect of being down to earth have a firm grip on reality and know how to make projects manageable. People who are good at this are so valuable to a team because they are the ones who can dissect projects into smaller pieces and focus on the details. This ability to focus on the details makes them very good at the getting things done and doing these things well! Those wonderful colleagues of ours who are down to earth can assess things in the light of their experience and prefer to use approaches that have worked for them in the past. They can be very level headed and careful when accepting change initiatives and are likely to have a reputation for being more traditional in their methods.
Like all of the human qualities, when person is coming from their underlying or everyday persona, the aspect will show up as a wonderful quality. In the case of the down to earth aspect, these qualities are practicality, evidence based and cautious.
However, when a person is over extended, the quality will reveal its shadow side.
In the case of the down to earth aspect, over extension shows it ugly head as resistance to change. People who are well loved for being down to earth can appear narrow minded and can dismiss the creative side of things. This can mean that they ignorer opportunities to improve and innovate because they are clinging to what has worked before. They ca be quick to focus on the details of what works now without considering alternatives. Being caught in the details came make them look like perfectionists in their quest for accuracy and we know that perfectionism leads to wasted time, energy and resources. Not only that, they will avoid things that they are less comfortable with and may well even miss the bigger picture all together!
As a leader, you have got to keep your eyes and ears open to be able to spot these signs and then intervene. If you are over extended, be honest with yourself and take a good hard look at how your energy is affecting, may be even debilitating your workforce. If you spot it in a direct report you have got to talk to this person and together, figure out what is causing the over extension and what can be done to resolve it. In the state of over extension the ability to deliver results and contribute to the success of organizational goals will naturally be extremely limited.
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