People have an amazing ability to wish:
- “I wish my team would listen.”
- “I want to get our product into more people’s hands.”
- “I want a better relationship with my spouse.”
- “I wish everyone would stay focused on results.”
- “I just want less stress.”
- “I wish they cared like I do…”
Do you find yourself wishing along these lines?
If so, I’d like to encourage you!
These things can be real for you…and you have the power to make it happen.
But that’s the problem isn’t it?
At What Cost?
I’ve spoken with many aspiring leaders over the years who express wishes like these, but when faced with their own power, they retreat and leave things as they are.
Because change always requires you to pay a price.
If you want things to be different, you will have to let something go, give up a comfortable but ineffective behavior, and replace it with something that works.
A few examples:
- Want a better relationship with your spouse or team? Give up being heard and being right and replace it with listening.
- Wish your team cared with the same passion you do? Give up using force and begin working with their passions; share consequences related to what matters to them.
- Wish your team would listen? Let go of the way you’ve been doing things and replace it with their input into decisions, clear outcomes, and assignments.
- Wish people would show you more respect? You may have to look at some aspects of your behavior, things that have worked for you until now, let them go, and begin treating people differently.
A Leader’s Work
This can be tough work.
It’s one of the things that make leaders stand out.
When others say “I can’t” you say “I will”.
And then you commit yourself to two essential practices:
1) Learn – observe what is happening, seek wisdom from others, form conclusions, determine a course of action
2) Act – do something with what you’ve learned. Knowledge locked in your head is worthless. Knowing doesn’t change anything. Action does.
Learn some more – what happened when you acted? Learn from it. Go back to observing, reflecting, seeking wisdom from others, then act again.
Learn. Act. Then do it again.
If you really want things to get better, this continual cycle of learning followed by action followed by learning is essential. It is the work of leadership.
Make It So
So how ’bout it? Do you really want things to get better?
What do you need to learn?
What action do you need to take?
You might like:
- Seasonal Truths Every Leader Should Know
- Minimalist Guide to Changing the World
- How Can You Make People Do What You Want?
- Do Your Strengths Hold You Back?
- 5 Ways Angry Birds Will Make You a Better Leader
David M. Dye
(Photo by aussiegal)
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I share twenty years experience teaching, coaching, leading, and managing in youth service, education advocacy, city governance, and faith-based nonprofits. I currently serve as Chief Operating Officer for Colorado UpLift and enjoy helping others discover and realize their own potential.