I listened to an interesting and timely sermon this past Sunday that revolved around enjoying the people in your life. Oy Vey! It started with a quote from leadership guru Peter Drucker, who said that the number one characteristic of CEOs, of leaders, is that they enjoy other people. This immediately made me laugh because I can clearly remember my father stating that anyone who says they love working with people is an idiot, a liar, or someone who didn’t work with the “types” of people he did! But I understood the point.
Let’s just say I’ve struggled with patience in developing people my whole career. I still do. I even got counseled in the military for making decisions too quickly for people to follow. Can you believe it!?! Now couple this with the fact that several of my employees are also family members. Double jeopardy!! But when we become impatient, we are really reflecting our failure as a leader. Are we confident that the work we started in our team members, managers, and individual contributors will come to a fulfilling finish? Are we not, ourselves, an endless work in progress?
I am a business person through and through. I was trained in the military and top Fortune 500 companies. But I’ve consistently come to the realization that if the people I’ve been entrusted to lead, coach, discipline and encourage are not on my heart, they will get on my nerves. That’s the root of why marriages fail so frequently. One, or both, members look at the other with their heads and call out all the ways the other person irritates and falls short of meeting their standards. Surely they deserve better! They stopped looking at each other with their hearts.
It’s tough striking this balance, especially in business. It’s one thing when you’ve made a pact before God and witnesses to stay together ‘til death do you part. It’s another when you’re dealing with getting the right people in place who will ensure you at least meet your monthly revenue targets. But if there is one piece of advice I can give leaders it would be this: anytime someone is getting on your nerves, or doing something you do not agree with, or not meeting their goals, sit them down yourself and find out if they are aware of the situation and hear what they have to say about it. You will be surprised at what is really at the root of the behavior and I guarantee that whatever the outcome, you will sleep well at night knowing you did everything you could as a leader to remedy the situation.
Very interesting comments Mike. I look forward to reading that book. It’s an interesting paradox that we have to be compassionately decisive in our actions. It’s hard to see them as the same. And I think the analogy of the Shepherd as the leader has the most personal impact for me. Thanks for your endless encouragement!
I like this introspective look at leadership. Makes it more personal when your reader is feeling/thinking the same things. I think you’d enjoy reading “The Way of the Shepherd” by Lehman. First read John Chapter 10. I believe that Jesus saw Himself as a Shepherd not a Servant Leader. Blessings Tracey…keep writin’
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