Vigilant Leadership Disables the Snooze Alarm

Vigilant Leadership: Disables the Snooze Alarm & Engages Employees

It went to three alarms before anyone noticed.  The team members were at each others’ throats. Customers were angry. The leaders were shocked and disappointed.  How could this problem happen so suddenly? 

It didn’t happen suddenly. The signs of trouble were there all along. The alarms were ringing repeatedly and no one paid attention. They pressed the snooze alarm instead of using vigilant leadership.

Vigilant Leadership Disables Snooze Alarm

Image by Eric Olson via Flickr Creative Commons License.

What was the situation noted above? It doesn’t matter. It could be any situation in business. It could be the day your company realizes it’s in trouble. It could be a project that is suddenly in shambles.  It could be a customer’s sudden irate outburst.  It could be teams that are suddenly at each other’s throats. None of these moments happen suddenly.

Leaders and employees overlook signs and press the snooze alarm. Why? Fear, lack of knowledge, lack of authority, habit, comfort, conflicts of interest, and group think, to name just a few.

Are you and your teams hitting the snooze alarm and overlooking the signs of developing trouble? The risk is much greater than just being late.

If you miss the cues of customer dissatisfaction, they may be loyal to another company by the time you realize it. If you deny that morale is bad, it may spiral down beyond repair. If you shut out what you don’t want to hear, the competition may capture your market.

Use Vigilant Leadership to Disable the Snooze Alarm!

  1. Keep communication open. Do your direct reports live by the old motto “Make sure your boss never gets a call”? If yes, how do they do it? By being vigilant, foreseeing trouble, and handling it? Or by hitting the snooze button even though they see the issues? Perhaps it’s time to get rid of that old motto and communicate issues and solutions openly.

  2. Pause any time you think “it’s probably nothing”. Then ask “is it?” This is vigilant leadership in action.

  3. Replace defensive explanations with “tell me more”. For example, when customers give negative feedback, resist the temptation to tell them why you haven’t met their expectations. Instead, ask them for more information so you can offer solutions.

  4. Develop a culture of curiosity and discovery. Start by putting “what if” discussions into every meeting. Encourage questions. This is vigilant leadership.

  5. Be open to the intuition of others. Intuition is experience re-applied. It is a form of data that keeps an organization and the leaders vigilant. Some personality types show more of this trait than others. Tapping the perspective of these intuitive types disables the snooze alarm that data craving types keep pressing. With vigilant leadership, foresight wins out over hindsight.

Vigilant leadership engages employees to develop their foresight and critical thinking. It doesn’t label employees who already work this way as worriers. It respects intuition and watchfulness. Vigilant leadership rewards alertness and follow-through across teams. It doesn’t punish for breaking down silos.

How are you using vigilant leadership to achieve success?

From my professional experience to your success
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Post:
Leadership Blocks: Which of These 7 Are Stopping You?

©2016 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.


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~Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

4 Responses to “Vigilant Leadership Disables the Snooze Alarm”

  1. Khalid says:

    What a creative post Kate.

    You made me wonder whether I personally hit the pause button often these days. I had couple of events that I’ll hopefully respond to differently than I used it.

    There is no better cure than being open in communication instead of hitting the snooze button.

    I feel there are occasions when hitting the snooze button is helpful when the time to speak about it is not appropriate (like to prevent a prolong fight). But that same incident should be looked at once the sky is clear to reopen the topic.

    The snooze button shouldn’t be used for the same issue long enough to make it a practice.

    Thanks for the enlightment Kate 🙂


    • Kate Nasser says:

      Hi Khalid,
      I like your contrast between a temporary pause and repeatedly hitting the snooze alarm. When we pause, we are still awake and thinking, reflecting etc… When we snooze, we might be denying or delaying in a harmful way.

      Thanks for your insight,

  2. Skip Bieber says:

    Excellent post Kate! I too liked the contrast between pause and snooze(ing). I would think that the team of a good manager, would never have a need to hit snooze….then again I’ve had many supervisors that were ok with repeated snooze’s.

    We should always remember that vigilant leadership works both upward and downward 🙂

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