Thursday, January 31, 2008

People Sometimes Scream at Leaders


Eternal Scream
Originally uploaded by Josh Sommers

You gotta love those people you're responsible for....

Otherwise, you might just scream back...

You know the guy...indignant as hell that you're incompetent, uncaring, unthinking, etc.....because you haven't solved his problem yet. Never mind the fact that you have done more than anyone previously to better his working conditions, to earn respect, to listen to and act on his concerns. He's the guy that is never happy, never satisfied, never considerate of anyone's position but his own. A frustrating, frustrated sort.

Take a breath and, as much as you'd like to, don't poke him in the nose. There is a saying I learned as a young Army officer that I could relate to: "if the private ain't bitchin', the private ain't happy!" Having started my military career as a private at the tender age of 18, wet behind the ears and two months out of high school, I lived that life of frustration and anger at the apparent lack of concern of those appointed to lead. I could have stayed in that whiny place and forever been reactive to a fault, blaming everyone else for my misfortunes. But I did not.

I chose to better my own circumstances by getting an education and learning about leadership, responsibility, and personal accountability. I took charge of my life. I eventually became a compassionate and caring leader, effectively creating organizations centered on trust, respect, hard-work, personal accountability, and compassion. The greatest recognition comes from the ones you lead, whose lives you impact with almost every decision.

So...as you stand there listening to the "private" bitch, take a breath, open your ears and listen intently for the root cause of his frustration. If it's something you can help him with, do it. If it's just a need to bend your ear, let him. If he crosses the line, gently push him back over it.

Listen when it's hardest to do so. Care when you don't want to.

Be a leader.

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