I came face to face with one of my leadership and interpersonal flaws this week.
When I find myself faced with an issue I’d rather duck, the issue suddenly becomes, “What will I do?” As I reflect a bit further, it becomes clear that the “What will I do about it?” becomes the next really big issue.
I suppose fear and flight are the first very human responses.
After fear and flight: deny, delay, obfuscate, and just plain duck come up as likely candidates for inclusion in an action plan. I’m far enough along in my emotional journey to realize that “no decision” is actually a decision. That realization leads to the stark realization that I am called to actually make a decision - in fact, to change.
During the exchange with a friend that brought the issue to light, we did agree fairly quickly about one thing: If you are too old to learn and change you are already dead - you just have not found your way to “the box” yet. Pretty harsh realization yet foundational to living a life with meaning. As I am on the upper end of the age spectrum, this way to approach life has daily application and significant ongoing impact.
As leaders, we each have flaws for sure. After Googling “leadership flaws”, I found an article in a 2009 issue of The Harvard Business Review. They said the worst leaders:
- Lack energy and enthusiasm
- Accept their own mediocre performance
- Lack clear vision and direction
- Have poor judgment
- Don’t collaborate
- Don’t walk the talk
- Resist new ideas
- Don’t learn from mistakes
- Lack interpersonal skills
- Fail to develop others.
OUCH. Which of those hit home for you?
If I focus on “lack interpersonal skills," I remember a recent conversation with Judy and how she directed me to an issue of Fortune magazine where the sub-headline read: “The Three Skills You Need to Survive in the New Workplace." The article asked the somewhat new and challenging question: “How will we humans add value?” (Because technology will, is, replacing so much of the repetitive, clerical and somewhat administrative tasks). The bottom line to a number of articles identified the skill of creating and maintaining relationships and being empathetic as the keys to keeping humans relevant.
From one perspective that connects totally with my Christian values and the ongoing commitment to “Live like Jesus." From a more introspective perspective, I am challenged to examine those flaws listed above and, in my case, the specific issue facing me now. Again, each of us will be helped by choosing to go through this introspective, very personal dialogue, even with ourselves.
So, you have been wondering what the issue I’m facing and whether or not I’m going to put it out front. One of the questions asked as part of a survey in that same Fortune issue is this: “How comfortable are you in talking publicly about yourself and your experiences?” Frankly, by writing this blog, I’m exploring that question for myself.
Well here goes:
When I am faced with a discussion that is either not going anywhere or is entering the “round and round” phase, an internal tension quickly shows up. My internal tension is evidenced by the characteristics and actions that can be described as “impatient." That impatience often evidences itself in ways that are neither empathetic or relationship building. Sometimes it borders on rude and sometimes even more off-putting.
Pretty sobering realization.
When I go to my spiritual, Biblical, resources and look for guidance, a couple of items show up:
Proverbs 19:11: A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.
Ecclesiastes 7:8: The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.
Romans 15:5: May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other as Jesus did.
Ephesians 4:2: Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
These guidelines certainly talk to the issue as I struggle to come to grips with what is true. It is not hard to see the rightness of those truths. That having been said, the question still remains:
How will I choose to respond, change and create some new neural pathways, and find new ways of responding?
I don’t yet have all the answers. Maybe you have already been down this path and can share the solutions of your journey.
I saw the following affirmation from a man who God took on an amazing life journey: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as your trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. His name was Paul.
Be blessed as you journey through this coming week.
With Trusted Advice Along The Way,