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Don’t Shoot the Second Arrow


Recently I received an email from the Integrator of one of my client companies. She reached out to me to discuss an unexpected “bombshell” (her word) she received. We scheduled an online meeting, and admittedly my curiosity wondered what could possibly have occurred that merited the term “bombshell”.

The answer: a Leadership Team member announced in their weekly Level-10 Meeting™ that he had decided to leave the company—tomorrow. The individual had not raised any issues previously, had not had a discussion with the Integrator about this plan, and had not exhibited any behaviors that suggested displeasure with anyone or anything.

As a process facilitator, my inclination was to IDS™ the issue with the Integrator. It struck me that there may well have been multiple root causes to the individual’s sudden resignation.

That isn’t where we started, however. Instead, the Integrator started yelling about the person’s decision – how unfair it was to the Leadership Team, the company, the person’s department, customers, etc. I gave the Integrator the space to vent and release what I expect was a significant amount of frustration and emotional energy that she could not release in the company.

When her venting did not appear to be slowing down, I asked a question: “Do you really need to shoot the second arrow?” The question brought the yelling to a stop, and the person asked what I meant by that.

When we shoot the second arrow, we react rather than focusing on understanding what happened and determining how best to respond. So, how do you avoid shooting the second arrow?

Notice the first arrow. Recognize the anger, the emotions, and feel the sensations. It’s a normal response that makes us human. Find someone with whom you can share your emotions.

Catch your impulse to add another arrow. It is easy to yell at someone or look for someone to blame. These are reactions. We are better served when we take a deep breath and determine how best to respond to a situation.

Pat yourself on the back for not adding another arrow. Learning to respond to situations frees up more energy to address what is within your control.

Understanding situations with this perspective can help not only your business, but also yourself. As entrepreneurial leaders, we will undoubtedly be thrown into circumstances that engage our emotions. What makes us a strong leader is our response. 

Want to learn more strategies around responding instead of reacting? As a professionally trained EOS Implementer™, I can help you cultivate systems within your business to catch situations before they arise, and resolve them if or when they do. 

Please use the consult form below to schedule a free, no obligation consultation with me. Let’s start a conversation about how I can support your business—and help you keep a tight grip on that second arrow. 





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