I’m not trying to sell you a bear, a bouquet or a bottle of wine. I’m trying to sell you an idea.
And admittedly, the love I am speaking of isn’t the sort that takes place in front of a roaring fire or across from a flickering flame of a candle. But make no mistake; it is love we are talking about.
To be a great (or, as we would say, Remarkable) leader, there are things you must care about deeply, embrace, and even love. A simple understanding of, awareness of, and resignation for these things won’t do if you want to lead in transformational and powerful ways.
I love my wife; she has a list of wonderful traits, attributes and abilities longer than I could list. And yet, if I am honest with you (and now I’m sharing it with the entire internet), there are things about her that frustrate and challenge me. For my love to be full though, I must recognize and embrace those things as a part of the total package of who she is.
In a similar way, the list of things leaders must love comes with a dark side too. In general, I think five of the ideas I am about to share with you will make sense and you will nod your head to, but the items on the flipside might be harder to swallow. Yet, like those “other” things about my wife, to embrace one side requires compassion for the other side as well.
Let’s get started.
Leaders must love their purpose and their goal; and so leaders must embrace mistakes.
You can’t be dedicated to the work of leadership without a passion for the reason the work matters. When there is passion for the purpose and a strong belief in the goals you are trying to achieve, you will be more focused, more diligent, more energetic – and all of those traits will be noticed by and emulated by the team you lead. Leaders must love the pursuit of meaningful goals.
And with that pursuit come mistakes. Not every effort will be perfect. Not every try will work. If we love the goal we must embrace the mistakes that naturally will occur. If we don’t embrace mistakes we will either play it too safe, or not share mistakes as a learning opportunity.
Leaders must love their team members; and so leaders must embrace conflict.
Your team is the engine that moves you forward. If you don’t love that engine, it can never operate at top performance. Think of the best leader you have ever personally observed. How did they feel about their team? Their loyalty and belief in them showed, right? In other words, they loved their team.
And they are people, so they won’t always get along with us, or each other. If there were never any quibbling or conflict you would have groupthink and your engine would sputter. Embrace conflict so that you will deal with it appropriately and early enough so it can be helpful, not counterproductive.
Leaders must love developing others; and so leaders must embrace learning.
No team is perfect, no skill set complete. So leaders must relish their role as a coach in order to nurture and help the team members that they love to be as successful as possible. If we don’t love this role it will get put off until you “aren’t so busy.” And how often does that time come?
Coaching is all about learning. If we want to help others learn, we must be a learner ourselves. After all the best way to influence people is through our example.
Leaders must love Customers; and so they must embrace questions.
Call them Customers, Clients, Students, Patients or whatever you call them in your business. If you don’t love them, you can’t serve them as fully as they deserve. Why must we love them, even though they can be difficult and challenging at times? Because they are the source of your paycheck. Being clear about this helps you create that love of Customers with your team too.
When we love our Customers, we must be willing to ask them questions to understand their concerns, correct problems and errors and to deliver what they haven’t even thought of asking for yet. Questions are powerful means of relationship building and communication – both of which we need to do with Customers every day.
Leaders must love change; and so they must embrace resistance.
Here is the fact: the status quo requires no leadership. If you are leading, you are moving people past “the way things are” to something new, better, and different. Change is an integral part of your job. Hard as it might be to love sometimes, that is what we need to do.
With all change comes resistance, as surely as night follows day. And it isn’t all bad anyway. After all, would you rather face resistance or apathy? I thought so.
The surprising items on the back half of each statement connect with their pair, but they also impact far more of our professional work. When we are learners, it positively influences every part of our work as a leader. When we embrace resistance it helps us with Customers, with our teams, as a coach and much more. As you embrace the hard things we will get better results in many parts of our work and life. (Tweet That)
Sinatra sang of Love and Marriage and said that you can’t have one without the other. That is my point for you today. You can’t have change without resistance, you can’t have coaching without learning, and you can’t have a team of people without at least occasional conflict. Trying to love one without embracing the other doesn’t work.
Ask yourself how many of these things you love and what you can do to embrace those you don’t more fully starting today.
Consider it a Valentine’s Day gift to yourself.