A Little all Over

How we respond during a crisis, challenging, stressful situation absolutely makes all the difference. It helps to initially set the tone, atmosphere. There is a way to express urgency, seriousness without inciting panic. Of course as leaders, we cannot control how people subsequently react, respond but I think if you are a leader, you can help first by bringing calm, stability. This goes for anyone who has people "under" their care - it's parents, teachers, babysitters. I am no leader expert. I actually share from a place of someone who has been on both sides of having good leaders and poor leaders. I have also learned I know nothing about de-escalating a 4 year old's tantrum!

Good leaders acknowledge, state the facts truthfully with appropriate emotion as the situation warrants without overreacting, exaggerating. Leaders report truthfully and authentically. As they consistently do so, trust is built over time. Once I can trust them with the facts, I then feel safe to trust them with my emotions. Leaders help us make sense of our emotions, and in a way, validate what emotions we can or should be feeling. They help to re-frame the moment for us and give perspective. They draw us back in and give us bite-size actions, steps to help us move forward in navigating the changes, new normal. Tall order, right!?!

Of course having an appropriate level of competence, expertise and education is needed depending on the tasks. I certainly don't want a kindhearted well meaning cable installer performing heart surgery! However, credentials alone in my opinion is never enough to "lead" people well. It requires heart. It requires caring for the person while keeping the goal of the organization (the big picture) in my mind. It's about leading people not only in accomplishing a task, project but simultaneously coaching, supporting and guiding them. A leader who is authentic, consistent, offers support, provides resources, encourages innovation and delegates well has a greater chance of longevity and effectiveness in their career. Well at the very least, I think they will be remembered and spoken well of as a good leader for years to come. And in my opinion, that's a success! 

Having said all of that, gosh, there is no perfect leader (or person) for that matter. Period. So do we just throw in the towel? Is it all hopeless? No. I say for both sides of the coin, we offer grace and more grace. Patience and more patience. Understanding and humility. Most importantly, prayers and more prayers. We're all going to make mistakes. Not one person has it all together or all of the solutions. Constantly pointing out flaws, failures and what's wrong does not move people or the situation any further than where it initially started. We must dig deep and find the common ground. In an already complicated complex crisis filled with uncertainty for today, tomorrow and the future, let's pause and make sure we are not adding more fuel to the fire. Let's not put unrealistic and unspoken demands, pressures, expectations on one another. If you'd just figure out your part and do it well, and I figure out mine and do it well, we'll find our way out of this.  

The mark of a good leader is not someone who is always gentle, soft spoken, polished and always uses the politically correct words. A good leader is not the one who always has the solutions, fixes or answers. Or never points out wrongs or faults. A good leader is not only the person that can sit for hours letting their employees or those under their care vent. Leaders come in all different shapes, sizes, personalities and practices. However, I think there is one characteristic that a leader needs to have- and continually learn and grow in. Self-Less. Jesus the greatest leader.  Servant leadership. He was a very good shepherd. I am so grateful He is still in control. 

At the risk of sounding cliche, I think we'd make greater progress if we would reserve being critical for thinking, finding solutions versus criticizing one another. A critical spirit benefits no one. We are not one another's enemy. A post about marriage, leadership or just being a good human? A little all over. 

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