Successful Leaders Shed Their Bias for Action

Every leader realizes that the world around them has changed – and is changing at an ever-increasing pace. The demands on a leader’s time and energy are on an upward trend, and show no signs of leveling off.

What’s worse, it may even seem that the skills and perspectives that were effective for past success may now have become a liability for future productivity. With so much going on, it’s almost  impossible to stay focused.

It’s time for new strategies and tactics to cope with the shifting ground of missed opportunities and unexpected threats in today’s ever-changing environment. 

 What if the leadership practices we’ve worked so hard to master are now getting in the way? In fact, what if they are actually holding us down and preventing us from leading for growth and innovation? Forget “what if.” It’s happening

THE QUICK SUMMARY – Leadership Unchained by Sarah Canaday

In Leadership Unchained, Sara Canaday offers a unique perspective that helps modern leaders break free from the chains of conventional wisdom and blaze new trails toward even greater success. If you’re a current or future leader, this book can become your game-changing guide to the new era of evolutionary leadership – the kind that’s no longer tethered to standard operating procedures in our chaotic, digitally overwhelmed world. You’ll learn when to apply classic principles. And when to boldly defy them.

Don’t allow the thoughts and habits that were pivotal in your past to become the chains that hold you down in the future. Let go of your dependence on the old rules, and break free. Leadership Unchained can show you how.


We humans are wired to get things done. The natural bias for action is in our DNA, strongly valued by our society, and heavily reinforced by prominent leaders.

This perception tells the story. People who take action are seen as strong, disciplined, respected, and successful. Those who don’t are quickly classified as lazy or lacking in drive and ambition.

The message comes through, loud and clear: If we want to succeed, we need to act.

This natural tendency for action has been unnaturally elevated in today’s fast-paced environment at home, work, and even in our “play” spaces.

However, action for the sake of action doesn’t produce results. While constant motion might look like success on the outside, it could actually be undermining our leadership efforts in enormous ways.

Successful leaders in the modern era seem to have adopted a new habit – an unexpected one that involves pushing back against the deeply rooted bias for action.

Modern leaders have perfected the strategic pause.

Instead of making action the default for every challenge, these leaders are pairing that alternative with an opposite response. It’s not about replacing action, which we know is a necessary leadership ingredient. We still need to reach our goals, meet deadlines, and produces results. This is different.

They think of it as developing a companion habit that celebrates BEING rather than DOING. It involves a strategic pause. A mental time-out. Space for their brains to percolate. Whatever we call it, this new habit requires consistently taking some time away form the chaos of business to let ourselves think.

We need time to mentally breathe. To plan and reflect. To give our brains a chance to process all of the knowledge we’ve been packing in. Pausing allows us to connect the dots between information in different ways and look at challenged from a fresh angle that we simply can’t do when we’re in constant motion.

Sarah Canaday, Leadership Unchained


According to author Sarah Canaday, leaders who can shake off the age-old bias for action and perfect the unconventional art of the strategic pause will reap a multitude of benefits.

Try the following suggestions by Canaday:

Deliberately hit “pause.”

Set time every day (or at least every week) to give yourself the mental space you need to become more productive. Allow time for creativity. For the neurons in your brain to connect in unusual ways. It can help you gain remarkable clarity and think about challenges on a bigger, broader level.

Model this practice.

You already know that “doing nothing” has developed a bad reputation, so you can become one of the trailblazers who changes that perception. Remember: your team members are closely watching how you act and react to every situation.

Encourage your team to pause.

As a leader, you have the power and influence to help your team members develop new habits that can make them more productive. Make sure they also have time in their schedules to stop and think. That’s tricky when deadlines are tight, but the long-time benefits will be worth it. Give them the calendar space that encourages them to give it a try, then find a way to reward them for doing so. After all, what is rewarded gets repeated!

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 139, released February 2020.

Part of a weekly series on 27gen, entitled Wednesday Weekly Reader

Regular daily reading of books is an important part of my life. It even extends to my vocation, where as Vision Room Curator for Auxano I am responsible for publishing SUMS Remix, a biweekly book “excerpt” for church leaders. Each Wednesday on 27gen I will be taking a look back at previous issues of SUMS Remix and publishing an excerpt.

>> Learn about and purchase SUMS Remix here<<

>> Learn about and purchase prior issues of SUMS Remix here <<


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