Autopilot Leadership?

Your boss doesn’t know he’s acting like an idiot. Your business partner doesn’t realize she’s grumpy.

They’re on autopilot. You probably are too sometimes…

It’s natural.

All activities can be put on automatic after awhile.  Even leadership.

I drive around in my truck eating, tweeting, singing, and watching out for cops…all at the same time.

Those skills are on autopilot.   The same goes with talking, typing, thinking, and reading while on a conference call.   Even complex skills like leadership can become automatic with enough repetition. That’s why only perfect practice makes perfect.  Every repetition matters.

After a certain number of days, emails, calls or meetings, people are wired to autopilot the activities they’ve mastered.   That’s sometimes a good thing.  Sometimes not.

It depends if you’ve been practicing perfectly or not.

If you’re angry for a long period of time, anger is natural.  If you’re growing, growth is natural.  If you’re respectful, respect is natural.   It’s all in how you train your autopilot.

Are you thinking about your leadership?

Are you letting anger or frustration define you slowly?  Are you letting a bad situation change you?  It’s not worth the autopilot anger.  Every day matters.  The slope is slippery.  The risks are real.

This autopilot leadership problem is exactly why I like social media and blogging so much. It wakes me up.  Sends me alerts.  Slaps me in the face sometimes.

I’m learning a lot from my fellow 8pm Warriors.  Thank you.

Have a perfect practice night!


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Published by Aaron Biebert

I'm a director, film/video exec producer, leader & 8pm Warrior. I am passionately chasing my goals at all times. I'm listening. Let's talk!

6 comments on “Autopilot Leadership?”

  1. I agree Aaron…going through life on auto pilot can make us complacent and cause us to not pay attention to what is going on around us…and, in business, we cant afford to let that happen. We need to put our drive back on manual. Interestingly, in photography, if I set my camera on auto, I know I can get fairly predictable photos fairly consistently….but there is rarely any distinctive personality to the results. When I set my camera to manual, I have to pay attention to my surroundings, to my lighting, to my timing and…the results are far more interesting and creative. And, so it is with life. Another great post Aaron…thank you.
    BTW…is that YOUR truck that I get stuck behind on Thursdays when I am driving home from Milwaukee? “eating, tweeting, singing and watching for cops” LOL….Yikes!!

    1. Claudia, thanks for the comment. Apparently this topic must be too serious for the week before Labor Day. :-)

      Your teachable point of view with the camera is fascinating. I find the same thing with social media tools. I like manually posting/reading/etc. versus using other apps that post on more than one platform at a time.

      Oh, and yes. That is my in the silver vehicle in front of you. Have a great weekend Claudia!

  2. I can honestly say that leadership is something that I think about every day. I think you have to. Because leadership does not come naturally to me (for example, I’m really bad at giving praise), I consider each day a new opportunity to do it better.

    Thanks for the great post, Aaron.

    1. Kenna, that would explain your success. Some say that many of the best leaders are those that have to work at it.

      I believe that is because they aren’t on autopilot.

      Glad you enjoyed this one. Thanks for the thoughts.

  3. Good words as usual, Aaron. Auto pilot is not what I have ever been. It’s a good analogy related to the many personality profile assessments. I would guess on the DISC profiles for example most of the high D & I’s are not auto-pilots. Thoughts?

    Thanks for reminding me to put in on over drive this weekend :)

    1. Thanks for the encouragement Pam. It is an honor to have you weigh in on this one.

      Thanks for helping me refine this idea further. I need to clarify that this idea of autopilot isn’t an all-the-time thing that applies to all things, but is more of a phase where people subconsciously put some activities (like leadership) into an autopilot mode while they focus on other things.

      I meant this post to be a call to action for anyone that might have slipped into a poor autopilot leader mode. I believe it does happen to us all in one part of our life or another, even the D’s and I’s. Pam, have you ever found yourself putting some activities on autopilot while focusing on something else?

      Thanks for helping me refine my thoughts and refresh on the DISC profiles. Great stuff!

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