I know the idea of resolutions is not particularly effective or motivational. As a matter of fact, many of us do not even want to hear the word resolution used around this time of the year because it has been abused and misused.
Too many leaders, when facing opposition, leave their responsibilities and move on to a place of less opposition. In some cases, this is because they are not prepared to deal with the hardships that come with being a leader. Some leaders believe that leading should be easy and without opposition because they have the authority and power to lead and make decisions; they believe people should follow them, not oppose them.
As a leader your use of words is by far the most influential tool you have to impact those you lead. Your words define the culture of the organization. The question is not whether your organization has a culture, but what kind of culture you have created and continue to build?
Let us look at some ways in which your words help create the culture of your organization.
I recall a time in my life as a leader when I bought into that myth. I was on call 24/7 and felt I was needed; that gave me a sense of value. In the process, I neglected my family, my health, and my spiritual and psychological well-being.
What are some signs that you may be doing too much?
Imagine the head of an organization who is sharp, intelligent and articulate but most people can’t seem to get along with her. She does not connect well with people and she does not see it as her lack of ability, but thinks that others do not “get” her.
Daniel Goleman, in his groundbreaking work Emotional Intelligence, has raised awareness of the importance of leaders having emotional intelligence if they are to be successful.
What comes to mind when you read that question? I imagine you are thinking about your name, age, your family background and your career. Usually when asked that question, someone wants to know something along those lines.
The same question can be asked but with deeper meaning. This time think of the question in the context of the person you are inside that affects who you are on the outside.
Recently, as I coached a leader, we discussed how difficult life had been over the past year but was now on the upswing. I then asked her to reflect on what had made the last year so tough and why was the present different?
The leader is involved currently in something that is very new and exciting, and she is passionate about it. So I asked the question, “How much of a difference is your improved situation tied to your involvement in something that you’re passionate about and is new and exciting?” The leader was quick to point out that although this new and exciting thing did help, it was not as big a reason as one might think.
Have you ever had the experience of being in a team meeting and felt the need to speak up but decided against it because you felt you would appear unsupportive of the leader or the team? With your desire of maintaining harmony and avoiding conflict, you decided to hold your piece. That my friend is your run-in with groupthink.
I am the kind of person who enjoys being in the presence of people who see life from my point of view. When I am with these people, I am happy, calm and in control. No tension or emotion is rising because all our conversations are agreeable. I don’t have to think outside my box because everyone is in the box with me, no disagreements. I like living like that. I suspect the same is true for you.
But if I want to grow as a person, and more so as a leader, I cannot afford to surround myself with only those who see things like I do. I must have some people around me who see things differently. People who can challenge me in my ways of thinking and doing things. This can be uncomfortable, painful and difficult. But this is necessary if you are going to grow and develop.