We are all leaders. I am not talking about being a lead hand, supervisor, manager, executive or c-suite level person at work. I mean that we all set the agenda for others around us in absolutely everything that we do. In doing what we do, we are “directing “ others to do what we want them to do.
Please give yourself a short break today to think a little bit about what you are about to read. Schedule it. Ten minutes – no distractions.
What is it that sets our approach to any situation? In work settings we tend to focus our approach to match the outcome that we want. Even if we are having a bad day or are annoyed at the cafeteria for getting our order wrong a short while ago, we adjust our mood and approach in order to have an interaction that has a better chance to get us to the result we want. Usually that mood and approach will be calm, pleasant and co-operative. If we “loose it” the outcome won’t be good.
Any time we are interacting with others our mood and approach will hugely affect the outcome. If I rant at a driver who does something that I think is stupid, the outcome is a feeling of rage that is just internal to me! The idiot does not correct his/her stupid move. But when I get to my destination and park, I may take out a bit of my “rage” on some innocent person I come in contact with. That is not good leadership. It is the same in any situation that sets me on a path of anger. Similarly, if something has disappointed me or made me feel despondent I will probably “act out” in some way.
Good leaders learn fairly early on to control their own emotions and interact with others with the end in mind. Sort of sounds manipulative but it isn’t really. It puts the interaction first. What about our personal interactions? Do we do the same? Can we? Will we feel better?
Notice the key is keeping the end in mind. It’s like we have been told many times – count to ten! Think before you leap. What is the outcome you want? Will what I am just about to do lead to that outcome? Of course, we need to immediately adjust our mood and approach. Lashing out gets only negatives. Contempt gets only negatives. Anger only begets anger.
Naturally we all feel the whole range of emotions in our everyday lives. Think for just a minute about what happens when you see someone doing something amazingly helpful. When you see something crazy funny. When something just works out in your favour through no actions on your part. Your mood and feelings immediately switch, even just for a moment. We can achieve this change of mood and approach at will. Just choose. Just for the interaction with that person, choose. And then, when you walk away from that interaction, you will feel good because it was positive.
As I said earlier, set aside a few minutes to give this some thought on a very personal level. What sort of “leader” do you want to be? Keep in mind that we are all leaders all the time. Our actions impact absolutely everyone we come in contact with. And, finally, keep in mind that how we act and interact has a huge impact on how we feel. Act good, calm, reasonable, interactive, pleasant, and happy. That will then be how you feel.
Live well, love always and laugh out loud every day.