I was talking with a group of leaders about some of the soft skills that can have a big impact on our work and relationships. At the end of the talk, someone asked me, “This is all great stuff. But when we get back to the office, how do we make sure we actually do it … every day?” It’s a question I’ve been obsessed with for a very long time.
Every day we face those soft skill challenges that get in the way of good work, don’t we?
We know what to do but we don’t do it consistently … even if we’re in the leadership role. I write and speak on it and still miss the mark.
But when the people around us don’t do what they know to do, we get annoyed and don’t understand it.
Seems a little unreasonable, doesn’t it?
If we know what to do and don’t, then why do we get annoyed with others when they know what to do and don’t?
The only logical reason to me is that somehow, somewhere along the way, we elevate ourselves to a point where we feel we’re not as accountable to the soft skills as others should be. We forget our responsibility to our relationships. We let go of Peter Drucker’s reminder that, “Manners are the lubricating oil of an organization.” (Drucker was an iconic management consultant and educator who won a Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work.)
Most of us who’ve been to a few weddings have heard the verses that are often shared…
“Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy. It does not boast. It is not proud. It is not rude or self-serving. It keeps no records of wrongs.”
Sounds beautiful, doesn’t it? (See more below)
We all want this, but I think the challenge for most of us is going first and then sticking with it when others don’t join in. What I mean here is that most of us aren’t willing to jump into this without the commitment of others doing the same thing, right? Because then we’re the only ones doing it … and it won’t be fair … and we’ll be taken advantage of. And none of us are up for that. (And why should we be?)
But, if we really want to change things (to help more people enjoy more of their day … making good things happen … enjoying better relationships, more opportunities, and consequently, better results), we need a layer of leaders (and people) who are willing to Cross The Line and subordinate their egos … truly keeping no records of wrongs … a layer of leaders who will do everything in their power to Lead Simply and model the correct behaviors for their people … no matter what.
And because we’ll have to wean ourselves off the drugs of impatience, entitlement, and “what’s always been”… we know it’ll require perseverance and resilience. It’ll require that our switch finally be flipped and our light always be on for the people around us … even when they themselves aren’t ready to flip that switch.
And there’s the answer, I think.
Be what it is you want everyone else to be. Do what it is you want everyone else to do.