October 21, 2015
How do you know you are making the right decisions and influencing others in a way that inspires genuine follower-ship? What can you do to avoid demanding compliance, which ultimately encourages disengagement? I offer two ideas. First, know what you should avoid doing; and second, implement a positive alternative in order to keep you and your audience on the meaningful leadership path.
Instead of depending solely on your own self-view, you would be well-served to ask others for honest feedback to the following three questions, and consider the tips that follow:
- Do I allow and even encourage dissent and freedom of expression? Smart leaders encourage and embrace opposing views without getting defensive or offended. A sign of a mature and emotionally intelligent person is having the ability to interpret and deal with interpersonal conflict as an interesting and unavoidable occurrence that can have a positive solution. On the other hand, a sign of an immature and emotionally underdeveloped personality is making the attribution that others’ diverse views are meant as a personal attack or an affront. A smart person prevents and deescalates conflict. The lesson is “Embrace diversity.”
We should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions we loathe. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr
For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged, by better information or fuller consideration, to change opinions, even on important subjects, which I once thought right but found to be otherwise. ~ Benjamin Franklin
- Do I have the ability and emotional fortitude to accept others’ shortcomings and
limitations or do I lash out at the first sign of incompetence and vulnerability? Sadly, too frequently I have witness individuals reprimand, mock and bully others because their targets had momentary lapses, showed incompetence, or because they had a different style or approach to situations. Rather than showing respect for self and for those in a vulnerable position the meaningless choice of demeaning others takes hold. Not only does the bully diminish his or her standing before others, he or she also sets a tone of hostility that makes cooperation and transcendence difficult. The lesson goes back to the Golden Rule: “Treat others as you would like to be treated.”
The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions ~ Leonardo da Vinci
When you disarm the people, you commence to offend them and show that you distrust them either through cowardice or lack of confidence, and both of these opinions generate hatred. ~ Niccolo Machiavelli
- Is your default approach “my way or the highway”? Could you be so self-absorbed with your “truth” that it incapacitates you from being fully present with others? This does not mean we have to always agree; but it does require listening with empathy, with respect, and with an attitude that strives toward a shared truth and meaning. I explained in my book:
We learned that a meaning that is not verified would be a private interpretation and not a shared meaning.
Mathers adds, “my meaning and purpose are no one else’s.” [i] In other words, a meaning is not “my” meaning because someone else, in the form of a projection, says so. Also, my meaning is not “your” meaning until you can understand and validate mine. This means that when engaging with another individual, each person has the duty to be “responsible for giving the right answer to a question, for finding the true meaning of a situation.” [ii] Said differently, it is impossible to “be on the same page” with another person unless honest answers are given.”[iii]
To act in a meaningful way we would need to study, to embrace, and to practice humility; to deepen our understanding of what is meaningful behavior, and to be able to discern when one is deviating from the meaningful path. As a rule, anger, anxiety and frustration are good sensory alarms to let you know that there are choices between following what is meaningful and what is not. These feelings are great opportunities to help us raise up to the occasion to show our best rather than allowing ourselves to be mean, disruptive, and disrespectful.
Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one’s own beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others. ~ John F. Kennedy
As all human beings are, in my view, creatures of God’s design, we must respect all other human beings. That does not mean I have to agree with their choices or agree with their opinions, but indeed respect them as human beings. ~ Stockwell Day
A sign of a great leader is having the character and ability to bring the best in others regardless of circumstances, and without exception and excuses. This means encouraging diverse and even contradictory opinions and views; having the humility to help others save face and maintain their self-esteem when they stumble; and patiently showing the value of a meaningful path rather than imposing one’s will on others and on one’s terms — even when being correct.
Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power. ~ Abraham Lincoln
No man is good enough to govern another man without the other’s consent. ~ Abraham Lincoln
Our Meaningful Purpose Leadership Series are designed to build a leadership brand and competencies that work. You are encouraged to contact the author to learn how you and your company can lead with meaningful purpose for people and for profit.
[i] Mathers, Dale, Meaning and Purpose in Analytical Psychology, Philadelphia: Taylor and Francis, Inc., 2001. p. 27.
[ii] Frankl, Viktor, The Will to Meaning, New York: Meridian, 1988. p. 62
[iii] Marrero, Luis A., The Path to a Meaningful Purpose, Bloomington: IUniverse. P. 71
Reference Articles: Managing as if Leading and Leadership Déjà Vu