Metabolism is not my friend.
When I was young I could eat or drink anything I wanted. As a matter of fact I tried to gain weight for most of my young adult life. My twenty-year-old son can eat anything and everything, and he often does, without any consequences at all.
Recently my wife and I decided to change our diet… for a while. I went two weeks without eating bread, potatoes, pasta, and desserts. I ate lots of fruits, lots of vegetables, you know, boring food. I lost a few pounds and a few social opportunities. All in all it was fine.
But then a friend of mine who is somewhat of a nutrition nut started
I talk too much.
There, I said it. Most people that know me would probably say that it is about time I admitted it. But realistically most of us have this problem. Even the most introverted among us tend to use way too many words to describe our thoughts and feelings.
One thing I have noticed is that it plays out in how we lead. See if any of these settings strike a chord with you:
- We think out loud. We haven’t taken the time to
Have you ever looked back and realized that pretty much everything has changed?
I have kept a journal for the better of my adult life. The many journals that I have written in over the years are filled with wandering thoughts, prayers, and even the processing of my life. I still have many of them, although I am not sure why. Recently I stumbled upon a couple of journals from about ten years ago. Reading them gave me a values “wake up call” that surprised me.
When I was growing up, one of our annual family gatherings was during the early Spring. We would all arrive at our family farm dressed in long sleeves and sturdy shoes. Each person had some sort of bag hanging from their pocket or fastened to their belt. We would spread out at the entrance of forest and walk in a line about 8-10 feet from each other.
Slowly and carefully we would take each step until someone yelled “FOUND ONE!” Once someone found one, we would all merge together to see exactly what it looked like. We were seasoned experts but we couldn’t resist taking a look to know exactly what we were looking for. What my family was in search of was the mysterious morel mushroom. This was an eagerly sought-out delicacy that our family and others enjoyed.
I was waiting on a call that never came. Have you ever done that?
On another occasion the thing I wanted most was just beyond my reach. I hoped and prayed that it would come my way but it never did.
In yet another situation, it was obvious that things needed to be done differently and yet I sat and wondered what it would take for change to occur.
All three of these scenarios have one thing in common. Can you see what it is? These three situations are all encountered by a passive person… me. It has taken me way too long to learn one of life’s most crucial lessons: When you initiate you win.
When you initiate, you will have the conversations you need to have.
When you go first, you will move toward
We vs. Me. Maybe you’ve heard the phrase, “We is better than me.”
You know, the concept of collaboration, team work, working together vs. doing it all by yourself? It sounds really nice doesn’t it? Easier said then done.
Lately I’ve been thinking that the shared vision and action of a group of people feels very un-American to me. “WE” might be better than “ME” but here in the United States, we have been trained to think and act more about ourselves than the team. I know I have. I have somehow caught that success, real success, is about me excelling.
In some cases succeeding is about competition… I am better than others.
In other situations it becomes about admiration…
Are you meeting one-on-one with your leaders?
Often, when we ask that question, the answers we get are; ‘yes, some’ or ‘kind of’.
When it comes to leading your people you cannot ‘kind of’ lead them. Your team, whether volunteer or paid, is your most valuable asset and although one-on-one meetings can feel small, the impact is huge.
You may be thinking that there are too many challenges getting in the way of establishing one-on-ones in your context.
Maybe you have looked at your schedule and thought that you don’t have enough time to have several individual meetings. You may also think that communicating via email or via announcement is more efficient and time-sensitive.
I was sweating and hoping … almost praying as the agenda to the meeting drew to a conclusion. Not only was I uncharacteristically silent during the meeting but I wanted it to end more than any other meeting that I could remember being in.
It is not that the meeting was boring (although unfortunately all too many of them are). It was because I was unprepared. More accurately, I hadn’t done what I said I would do.
You see, last month I said that I would do something before today’s meeting. But I had completely forgotten about it until this meeting started.
I felt bad.
But not bad enough to bring it up.
I had excuses.
Of course I did.
There are some situations in life that require silence.
When you see a woman who has gained weight and you think she might be pregnant … by all means, say nothing.
When you have boldly predicted that this year is the year for the Chicago Cubs … please shut up!
When the dinner on the table is a creative blend of Tofu and Kale … you might want to stay quiet. Especially if you want to order a pizza instead. I’m just hypothetically saying …
Some situations in life seem to dictate the wisdom of verbal restraint.
Other situations in life keep us silent, not because of wisdom, but because we just have no clue what to say … or do. There is one particular situation in our organizations that often leaves the leader silently shaking their head. What situation is that?
The unspoken challenge of every leader.
Our team’s performance can often leave us wondering silently HOW to lead them better.
Whether it’s under performance, a lack of effort, weak follow-through or an unfocused and distracted team member, improving the performance of our team can be challenging. And many leaders struggle with how to talk about it.
I have struggled with it for years.
Fire is fascinating. It is mesmerizing to sit and stare into a campfire or even a fireplace.
I have lots of memories of fires … controlled fire.
Unfortunately, many fires are not controlled. At least the leadership fires that we face.
The “leadership fire” is a problem we face which threatens to keep us from moving forward.