I’ve spent the last week catching up with old friends. Friends from high school, college, and my job in advertising too many years ago. So I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about how lucky I am to have had, and have now, these people in my life – even the ones I don’t talk with often enough.
It makes me realize how important the people around us are. As leaders (and colleagues and parents, siblings, and friends) we get caught up in the challenges of the day, the issues that need to be solved, the office (and family) politics we have to work through, the reports that need to be written and chores that need to be done. And we forget about the people we come into contact with, even though it’s the people that make a difference in the long run. It’s the people that we’ll remember and treasure, and miss when we’re apart.
And I wonder, if we keep in mind how important the people are, would that change the way we lead and the way we interact? Would we be more Thoughtful? More intentional? Would we be nicer and kinder? Would we take a few extra moments to connect?
We teach numerous leadership approaches and scores of management skills. We guide clients through conflict management and constructive conversations. We offer models for feedback, delegation, coaching, and more. But I think the most important skills we can share, at times, are these three:
- Be nice – It doesn’t take much longer to say something nicely, to take someone’s feelings into consideration, or to smile and be kind. And the results we get in return are most often stronger. The relationships we build are definitely stronger.
- Be present – It does, at times, take longer to be really focused in the moment and to resist the urge to multitask. But multitasking is, as a client once shared with me, “multi-ignoring.” We can’t do two things well at once, and we therefore can’t pay full attention to someone when we’re doing something else. If someone matters to me, I have to give them my complete attention and be present with and for them.
- Be appreciative – Each special person I saw this week was a close friend, and I ended each goodbye with an “I love you.” It may not be appropriate to say “I love you” to my work colleagues or team members, but I believe it is important to say “I love you” to the people I can say it to, and to share appreciation for the others around me. To thank people for a good job. To acknowledge their effort and results. To appreciate who they are and what they contribute.
I was lucky to see so many people who have special places in my heart. Leadership is acknowledging those places and making room for more – for the people around us every day.
What leadership lessons have you learned from your old friends?
Please leave a comment to share.
For support in these three most important leadership skills, contact Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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