Monday, June 23, 2014

Leadership And Holding The Door Open

Do you hold the door open for others?  If you do, why do you do it?

Do you want to think that you hold doors open for anyone who happens to be behind you because you are a kind hearted and giving person, and then feel a little insulted when you don’t get a ‘thank you’?

Do you, like me for much of my life, hold the door open for others and then say a sarcastic ‘you’re welcome’ (at least in our heads) when they don’t say thank you? 

Or do you feel insulted (again, like me) when they slip through the door without touching it, forcing you to either let it close on them or continue to hold it open until they are through (which means, unless you are a complete ass, you simply have to hold it open until they are through)?

Why did you really hold the door open in the first place?

Did you hold it open in order to get a ‘thank you’?

If you felt anything other than happy that you were able to do something nice for another human being, even if they didn’t even acknowledge you at all, then you held the door open for the wrong reasons.

I want to suggest that we could view Leadership in the same way. 

I believe that our reasons for taking action will affect the outcome of that action, so the motivation for our behavior towards those who work for us is the key to getting positive outcomes.  I talked about that here...

Ask yourself the following questions.  You don’t have to share your answers with anyone else, so you can be completely honest with yourself.

What is your motivation for wanting to be a ‘Leader’?

Why did you apply for, or accept this role?

What is your motivation for developing relationships with others?

Do you have an agenda that you keep from your team?

Are you completely transparent with your team, sharing your true goals and motivations?

Are you truly honest with your team members when giving them feedback?  Do you tell them what they need to hear, rather than those convenient remarks that don’t really give them anything to work with?

And this is a tough one… Think of someone you really respected and who has passed on (perhaps a parent, teacher, or mentor)… what if they were actually looking down on you, watching your every move, knowing your thoughts… would they be proud of you?

As Leaders, we ‘judge’ the work performance of our team members, as well as their motivations, and we make decisions that affect the future of other people every day.

How often do we take an honest look at our own actions, and our motivations, to make the needed course corrections to put us back on track and aligned with our true values?

We could all benefit from having partner, a mentor, or a coach to help us keep our actions aligned with our true selves.  Failing that, we need to find the courage to take an honest look at our own actions, and see if we are remaining true to what we each believe is the ‘right’ way to live our lives.

Being human we will all continue to make mistakes.  And through an honest assessment of our actions, taken on a regular basis, we can keep ourselves on track to be the Leaders we aspire to be.

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