Two Powerful Principles of Leadership Navigating the Highs and Lows with People
There are many high points in leadership. And the best of these moments involve people: a leader who finally moves up to the next level, a relationship that keeps getting better, or a team who simply gets it.
Likewise, there are many low points in leadership. And the worst of these moments also involve people: a person who is unable to grow, a relationship that just won’t click, or a team who seems impossible to impact.
As we journey through the highs and lows with people, may we remember these two powerful principles…
Don’t Give Up on People
I have. Even when they were on my own team. In my mind I thought, there is no hope here. Or maybe, he is too insecure to hear the truth. Or, they are just too old to change.
But good leaders, just as good parents, never give up on their people. All of us are capable of change and growth. I have waited years sometimes before I finally saw the change that was needed in certain people with me. Sometimes we see something so clearly and simply cannot understand why another person doesn’t see it, doesn’t do it, or doesn’t change. But that circumstance does not speak of the person’s inability to change, rather of our inability to see the potential that lies within their mind and heart.
What should we do?
- Love them.
- Be persistent in trying to help them.
- Believe they can change.
- Be patient until they do.
Don’t Give Up on Yourself
Unfortunately, sometimes I simply give up on my own ability to discover what is needed to reach a person. And I get discouraged. I start feeling incompetent. When I want so much for someone and I just can’t seem to make an impact, I feel deflated.
When this happens, we must acknowledge that we are not God. As long as we are trying to grow; as long as we are guarding our thoughts; as long as we are loving, and encouraging, we must be content with ourselves and in our efforts to reach out to the people alongside us.
Two final points: First, sometimes a relationship must end. When this time comes, have the courage to end it. Until that time, we must attempt to grow our relationships. Second, if we are not careful, we will spend all our time trying to grow those relationships that seem to demand the most attention. Don’t do that. Give the majority of your time and resources to those who are ready to grow, to those you are able to reach. Don’t ignore the rest. Don’t give up on them, but temper the time you have to give.
The highs and lows of leadership happen with people. In our best moments with them, we must be happy. And in our worst moments, we must not give up. Rather we must ready ourselves to persevere and to act.
Next Step: Write down the names of the people in your life that you’ve given up on. Now renew your commitment to see them grow.
Book I Just Read: The Air Force Academy Candidate Book, by Sue Ross
For Further Reading: