Tag Archives: Personal Impact

Leadership Perspective

“What resides within finds its way out.” MGF

Our experiences – all of them—impact our hearts in profound ways. Whether dancing joys or weighty despair, each uniquely writes a storyline within us that can become the basis for our view of life. Here’s the thing…if the storyline written is the same or even somewhat similar across many experiences, we at some point can take it on as personal truth even when not accurate. Was the experience real? Yes. Is the truth from it accurate? Not necessarily. A brief story may help.

Grace started her new job with cautious excitement. Cautious because for most of her young life of 23 years, those closest to her spoke more of her mistakes and how big they were, more than encouraging her over her innate and unique gifts and strengths. In her heart, she believed that if her family and friends felt this way about her life, what would strangers at a new job feel? She expected more of the same and likely without any filter. So, she began her role waiting for the judgement to come, and even more so from leaders. However, to her bewildering surprise, her supervisor Jenna was different. From the first interaction, Jenna was endearing and encouraging, leaving Grace feeling seen and heard with great value. Over time, her experience at work began challenging the truth she had arrived with, namely, that her life was the sum total of her failures. Instead, she was beginning to believe that her real self was much more beautiful and wonderful, and that others thought so too. Jenna’s impact on Grace was profound all because a leader saw her for who she truly was and then acted on it with her words and actions. Jenna’s perspective became the cause of how she led Grace.

As leaders, we all have these kinds of perspectives which become the basis of our actions. We can say all we want, but the true revealer of what perspectives we hold, especially about our leadership role and intent, always comes out in how we use our role with those we lead. Stripped down to the core, leadership is about leading, and leading is about others. We don’t lead projects. We don’t lead goals. We certainly don’t lead outcomes. We lead people.

The question and answer are ours, every day, with every circumstance and with every person we encounter. What perspective do we want to define ourselves? It begins with first understanding our present perspective. To discover it absolutely requires honest assessment beyond just our own. Asking others frank questions about their experiences with us remains crucial. Use all of it, especially that which reflects failures and mistakes.

Once we have some honest clarity of our present perspective, where do we want to go from here? Remember, if we want to change, we must first believe something different and then do something different. Action without a heart change will be short-lived. We live from our internal world that we value.

As a leader, we can focus our energy, attention and power on drawing out the real truth of others despite their experiences. That’s the honor we have before us. But to do that and do it consistently means that we understand our own value and worth of how we matter. Our innate worth and value is more real than all the experiences we have combined. Let’s have that perspective as leaders and help each other believe that as we work together and serve each other.

The Reflective Pause

Do you take regular reflective pauses?

Our ability to take a pause and reflect at any point in our daily routine or crisis circumstances
serves as an impactful indicator of both a growth mindset for our journey, and an enlarging
capacity for handling complex details. The more we normalize and value this response
internally, the greater our positive effect on our spheres of influence.

What is a “reflective pause”? Simply, it is a practiced discipline of moving from reaction to
responding after a deliberate pause to examine the truthful and provable details being
encountered. Many times, reactive behaviors spring forward quickly as a release of our
emotional state in the moment. Emotions are important to process and do have a role. In and
of themselves, however, they are the least effectual reason to base our responsive behavior
upon. Instead, responses based on what is true and real in circumstances will create the
greatest opportunity for appropriate, reasonable, and potentially helpful attitudes and
behaviors that can lead to positive interactions. The ability to ascertain what is both true and
real needs some level of examination beyond the actual moment. Pausing and reflecting on
these details can provide this outlook.

Why is this quality important, especially for relational leaders? For one, a leader who values
those they lead desires to build relationship based on truth. Discovery of what is true and real is
more important than even the expression of their own perspective or opinion. Two, these same
leaders also understand that a leadership lifestyle demands personal growth as part of the
journey. Otherwise, one’s capacity to be others-centered will eventually diminish as they fight
only for their own opinions. And lastly, relational leaders are well acquainted with the fact that
life experiences, especially with others, is rarely simple and straightforward, but rather complex
and messy. They desire an enlarging “capacity” within themselves to be able to handle more
and more complexity and messiness. Reactive living, as determined mostly by emotions and
limited understanding, diminishes each of these three areas over time. In doing so, leadership
impact shifts from serving and growing others to becoming more controlling and self-centered.

How can we grow this quality within us? Here are a few tips:

  1. Make it Important to You – Personal change begins with an internal shift of priorities
    and values. Choosing this quality as important reflects that first step.
  2. Practice in Routine – Make it a point to practice your pause and reflect during a normal
    day that has no particular crisis. That which you practice in times of normalcy will
    become a part of your life expression, especially in times of crisis.
  3. Explore Actions for Your personality – For some, their ability to pause and reflect can
    happen internally, no matter whose around. For others, they need to remove
    themselves and get alone to do so. Regardless of the manner, it will require both some
    time (pause) and critical evaluation (reflect) of the details. Create action based on how
    best you can do that right now.
  4. Follow up Questions – Be proactive to follow up with additional, clarifying questions to
    ascertain with greater confidence the truth and reality of the circumstances. Asking
    instead of assuming is the mark of a truth-seeker.
  5. Make a Decision – Depending on the events, a decision is needed, whether to remain
    quiet, offer counsel or direction, or even enter a type of conflict resolution process. As a
    leader, act on in some manner the outcome of your pause and reflection. Doing so
    reinforces its value for you personally.

Cultivating a reflective pause into our daily routines positions our hearts and minds to embrace
life and all its circumstance. Doing so gives us the constant opportunity to grow stronger,
deepen our courage and enlarge our outlook that life and relationship, even in crisis, remains a
gift of beauty, goodness, and wondrous expectation. Our world desperately needs this outlook.
In fact, each of us needs the encouragement of others like this too. Let’s do our part to be that
for others. You have permission – take your reflective pause. It will make all the difference.

Our Lingering Presence

“The words, attitudes and actions we express become our presence in others when we are not around.” MGF

Consider a leader of your past that you hold with honor for their positive impact on your life. What do you feel about them? I suspect if you were to see them again today, these same feelings would spring to the forefront as you interact with them. In effect, even though years may have passed, their “presence” has remained with you through how they treated you in the past. That presence defines their life to you and how you would re-engage with them now.

Whether we are leaders or not, we all create this kind of “lingering presence” in every other human we interact with, whether intentionally or not. As such, the importance of paying attention to how we interact cannot be understated. Consistency of our attitudes/actions/words plays a key role in that which lingers as well as the frequency of our interaction. The more we interact, the more we reinforce the kind of presence we create.

As leaders, our lingering presence with those we serve becomes even more pronounced and impactful. Time together, expectations for results, conflict potential, and leadership styles all contribute to increased impact over time in a leadership environment. Realizing the outcomes of our leadership in the lives of others, in particular the kind of presence it creates, is in one way, our responsibility. I would hope we actually make it something greater — a willing priority out of respect for ourselves and for those we serve.

Determining this presence doesn’t have to be an unknown. We all have choices to help create and establish that which lingers in the perspectives of others. Here are a few choices we can make as part of our leadership journey to create the presence we want:

  • Identify Key Values – What are those qualities that are most important to you for defining your life and connecting with others?
  • Practice towards Consistency – Prioritize and drive your attitudes, actions and words with your key values.
  • Esteem Feedback – Ask regularly about what others are believing about you as outcomes of your leadership interactions.
  • Adjust Often – Be quick to own mistakes or failures and then make a change, as needed, to connect more accurately to your key values.

We all create lives that touch others. That which lingers as presence in those we lead depends on what we offer day in and day out. When a positive priority, leadership becomes a joyful encouragement in the lives of others. That’s a legacy worth the effort!

Negative Feedback as a Growth Gift?

Responses, or personal feedback, to our attitudes and actions come daily to all of us. While we all enjoy the positive ones, we can be less welcoming of those that come with disappointment, pain, questions or even anger. However, if we value personal growth at any level, cultivating our skills to find a “growth nugget” from any feedback encounter, regardless of how it comes or from whom, enhances our capacity for positive and helpful change. The ability to do this consistently means practicing the art of discoveryseparation and embracement for feedback responses, even the hard ones. I know what you may be thinking — do all responses have meaningful nuggets I can grow from? I would suggest most do, depending on how we handle the feedback. Keep reading to see what I mean.

Initially, we must first believe in the presence of and then search for a specific meaning in the core content of a response. What attitudes or actions in me are they reacting to and why? Connecting that back to our own role in the matter reflects discovery. Once identified, you now have a personal “growth” purpose for the response beyond how it was offered. What can I change? How can I do it different? These and other key questions can serve you with specifics towards improvement or change.

Now realizing a discovered meaning, separating this meaning from the way a response comes becomes important. It’s easy to dismiss feedback based on accompanying emotions, how its offered, or even who it comes from. Easy, but perhaps wasteful. How so? A response offered to inflict some negative impact on you does so if you judge it solely on this intent. However, if you find meaning despite this intent, rather than being diminished by the negative, you are rather enhanced by a greater opportunity to grow and change. In essence, you transform a negative intent to a positive outcome. Now comes the final action – Embrace.

Having a capacity to embrace a “growth nugget” in whatever form it comes creates a perspective within you to see and experience life differently. Certainly pain, disfunction, and brokenness surround all of us in many forms. But, we decide their defining impact upon our own hearts, minds and attitudes every day. Choosing to embrace a new way of seeing myself through these discovered nuggets for growth puts the emphasis on my personal change rather than the response itself. I then can emerge strengthened, encouraged and transformed for the better. And maybe, just maybe, I also can come to see others for the treasure they possess despite their present condition. Would we not want the same consideration?

Discoveringseparating and then embracing a deeper personal truth in feedback is a choosing to see myself through the eyes of others so that I can increase my self-awareness and make changes in my life AND for the benefit of others. Applying this skill values my personal growth as well as contributes to positively impacting the “others” in my life, friend or foe. What a gift I can give myself and to others!  Is that a personal legacy you want to build? If so, value feedback for what it can be – a gift!

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