This is a followup letter to the latest blog post I wrote, A Helpful Letter To The High Achieving Business Leader. I encourage you to read it as well.
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Dear Passionate Follower,
You have done well, and your contribution with your organization has been valuable. You are in good standing in the organization, and your organization is in good standing across the industry. You have spent so much time working hard, it seems you missed the fact that your organization is lapping competitors in the space you run. Your organization is looked up to as an authority by competitors and is “punching above its weight class”.
My challenge to you is, focus on becoming a better leader. Think about how to communicate better, how to be proactive, and how to take responsibility. Prioritize learning, reflecting and growing as a person. Build it into your work rhythms.
Let us lead by example. Model for those who follow us. Focus on ourselves and not others. If we see our leaders not leading the way we believe they ought to be, we ought to be leading in that way ourselves as a model to them and our team. Let the CEO be inspired by the example we set before him, and let us not be disturbed or offended when our accomplishments and activities are challenged or threatened.
This will allow us to fix our own issues before we go to hold others accountable. When conflicts arise, we instinctively want to blame the other party. Let us first take responsibility and grow before we blame others for what are likely our own issues.
Express feedback in a proactive healthy way, not in a reactive defensive way. Be open, dare to disagree
and challenge in a respectful and appropriate way, including the CEO.
Learn to say no and to push back. If we take on every potential idea and project, we will continue to be over committed and drop the balls of our responsibility. When you feel behind, let others know, ask for help and ask the leaders to slow down. Ask to be brought along.
Fight against being compliant, doing what was asked out of obligation or fear. Apathy is a dangerous place to go. Let us serve and do it with a passionate and a committed heart. Let us speak up when we are operating out of compliance as to not contaminate the spirit and culture of those around us.
When I was young there were two ways I would respond to a task my father gave me. One was fully passionate and committed. This passion led to completing the task the best I could. When it was complete, there was excitement to show my father what I had accomplished.
The second way I approached the work was out of compliance. This was when I did not want to do the work and was not committed. Resisting, I worked out of fear or obligation, and when I went to do the work, I left my heart at the door. This method causes bitterness and resentment towards those we serve.
For those we lead, let us lead with a mindset of teaching. We do not perform perfectly, so let us not expect perfection from those who follow us. Let’s have compassion on them when they fail and be willing to step beside them and help carry the burden when they stumble.
Have compassion on your leader. Your CEO is pioneering and is learning as he treks. His heart is in a good place, but he will fail more than you can imagine. It can be very lonely in his role. Instead of tearing him down, lift him up. He needs encouragement more than you might imagine. Be willing to approach him, even when it feels awkward.
On a separate front, I see in you a pattern of being needed. You need to be needed, and this very need is problematic :-) Being needed is ok, but when it becomes something that fills us we can become entrenched. How easily are we willing let go of the organization and go somewhere else? What if we are called to move on? Will we go embracing the idea, or will we resist to the bitter end hurting those around us in the process? Let us learn to let go and finish well.
There is a desire for a clear vision, but be aware of what this request entails. With vision comes an increase of accountability. Expectations arise and clarity is found. We won’t be able to hide when we are vulnerable and open. This can be beautiful, but it can also be scary. It is during this time we learn to let go and move forward.
With our desire for a clear vision, understand vision is not the a silver bullet. It will help alleviate the stress, but the stress is illuminating the true problem. It is illuminating our hearts. We have been humbled and tested during these stressful times to point us to what we truly need.
We need God and we need each other. Take time to develop relationships with God and with each other. Take time to listen and commit to pour into the lives of others around you. Your time at this organization is for a season, and when we look back at that season, let us remember the legacy we left behind in the people we served.
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Thank you Samuel Rasmussen for making this blog post better.