If you are reading this, chances are you’re driven by a purpose. That purpose has you making things happen. Answering questions, problem solving, strategizing, researching, analyzing, bringing people together. In this process of doing, do you give yourself a chance to ask yourself, who are you being? And, who do you want to be? Productive is nothing without a clear purpose.
Doesn’t it feel sometimes, particularly during uncertainty, that you’re supposed to know all the answers and be in control of everything? Other people are counting on you. They’re looking at you for leadership and strength. And, one of the best ways you can be that strong leader is to admit three things. The willingness to speak these truths make for a leader that young professionals respect and look up to as a role model. Three responses that a lot of people have a hard time delivering. “No”, “I don’t know”, and “I’m sorry.” On the surface “no,” can seem harsh. Saying, “I don’t know,” and “I’m sorry,” might appear weak. These perceptions couldn’t be further from the truth. Because the truth is powerful.
Is building a strong network important for you? Or is it only for those other people? Years ago, I attended a panel and drinks for Williams College alums in New York City, where I live. A graduate, who is a friend, invited me. The panel was on Millennials who had made it in the media world. One of the strategic development executives on the panel said that he rose in the ranks at the large agency he called home, not because he was better qualified or had a better resume, but because of his network and his determination to building strong connections. He was known for being a master networker. If anyone needed anything, he could find it.
As a leader, have you ever considered the value of surrounding yourself with wisdom? It’s smart for your career and particularly now when nothing is stagnant. Additionally, resources and contacts go beyond your career. It also means ways to get medical help or advice, transit and auto information, residential guidance, help with family, spiritual instruction and financial assistance. It’s wise to have an axis of influence, a community you can count on to come through.
Who has contributed to your achievement and shaped who you are today? There’s probably more than one person once you start thinking about this. And they probably supported you in different ways and times throughout your life. Role models, mentors and coaches. Is it still meaningful (or even more meaningful) for you to have someone holding you accountable who sees your potential and supports you to reach your goals?
One-on-one, with no one else interrupting or vying for attention, a phone call or video call can create this warmth. Why? Because you are giving each other 100% of your attention and that kind of connecting is palpable. You pay attention to the other’s tone of voice, their modulations. Appreciate the individual’s laugh, hear the processing of thought, and can be drawn into their excitement and/or determination. And when they question, you can respond or allow them to work through the outcome. The surprises that bubble up from the depth of a “simple” conversation, where both people are fully paying attention and in sync, are open to all kinds of possibility.
Look how far you’ve come. Without mistakes in your past, you couldn’t have the history to bring you to where you are today. You understand humans are imperfect. That’s why we are continual students. When we make mistakes, we learn more – than from doing something right the first time. From failing, we grow and stretch and challenge ourselves. When you make a mistake, would you prefer someone with compassion teach you where you went wrong so you don’t repeat the same thing twice, and you learn? How about when the tables are turned, would you also be as compassionate?
“When employees respect each other and get along in the workplace, it’s amazing how productivity increases, morale increases and employees are more courteous to customers.” ~ Maureen Wild. How does bad behavior affect a team or business? Dissatisfied employees can compromise teamwork, productivity, morale and overall well-being of other people who are dedicated to and engaged with their work and company. A colleague reached out to me recently because of my expertise in Millennials. In his organization he has an unhappy employee, who has complained about other people’s comments, which in turn has spread unhappiness within their department. How can you plan around the potential threat of harmful behavior? If you are a leader, you can be proactive. Here are three tools that offer more control to prevent and dilute challenging situations…
Have you participated in a group event that grabbed you? Where the elementary examples seemed simple but powerful? There was one which was unique for me: it was a discussion of three human resources managers talking about mental health for business leaders. I realized the three tips the Millennial professionals gave, work for anyone in a leadership position. And, not only in human resources and not only for these Covid-19 mental health and wellness circumstances. Coincidentally, my co-author and I also thought these were powerful. These were lessons that our protagonist, Alice, a founder of a tea company in “Leadership in Wonderland” picked up through travels within her business and in experiences working alongside diverse characters. If you’d like to affect change as a leader in today’s world, here they are…
Can a conversation with a grocery store team worker, make you see and experience the joy and encouragement created out of this global pandemic? When life changes because of circumstances beyond your control, you can choose to see it as an opportunity to recalibrate, redefine and rework your plans for the future. The global pandemic connects us all as one people, regardless of age, culture, country and beliefs. Organizations are transitioning, the environment is flourishing, and families are spending quality time together. What do you choose to see and do with this special moment in time?
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