I’ve noticed a few people around me who claim to be leaders in their given field display an amazing lack of self-discipline.
The details are irrelevant. What is relevant is the behaviour. What I was noticing were these self-professed leadership experts pointing fingers, placing blame, and complaining until they got their way. I just wanted to jump in and say, “Grow Up!”
It is easy to allow yourself the freedom to just say what you want in the spirit of “speaking your mind” and letting your thoughts be known. It takes self-discipline to notice not complain. It takes self-control to focus on what is going right rather than what is going wrong. It takes leadership to allow other people to make a mistake, learn from it, and help them get back up and try again.
When you are in a leadership role, studies indicate that you need to motivate six times more often with positive “well done” type of statements than corrective feedback. It takes self-discipline not to say what you really want to say and instead focus on practicing saying what isn’t so easy to say, “well-done”. Or just practicing the art of noticing, without comment and letting people learn and grow at their own pace and time.
For leaders, I suggest a 10 minute break. When you want to present your wisdom of corrective feedback onto someone in your team, wait ten minutes and ask yourself, “What could I say that would reinforce something positive?” Remember, feedback “sandwiches” don’t work so don’t disguise your corrective feedback in a loop of “well-done” phrases. If after 10 minutes you still need to say something negative, go ahead and say it. At least you practiced self-control.
Or just wait the ten minutes and don’t say anything. If no one is going to die and your business isn’t going to lose next quarter’s profits, then maybe it’s best for the person to learn a lesson. Who knows, maybe it will be you who learns the lesson.
And, remember, your family, friends, associations, etc are all part of your team as well.
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