The last few weeks I have observed a few thought patterns of my own that are worth sharing. I am constantly reflecting on my attitudes, thoughts and beliefs because they all shape my character as a person and a leader. Frankly, as I write these words I feel tired, agitated, and in need of some rest.
The first thought pattern that I have been pondering is more of a question that I am asking myself. The question is whether I (really) believe in leadership development? I know the correct answer. But, we recently have had a team member leave to pursue their dream job. And, I have to be honest, it is a dream job in many respects. I am admittedly happy for this person. Yes, happy. My happiness is genuine and not B.S. At the same time, however, I also feel a sense of loss and sadness. I love this person. I have seen them grow, develop, and what they are going to do is going to be absolutely awesome. But, I am sad because they won’t be doing it here. At least not yet. I have heard some of the naysayers tell me things like, “this is what happens with young people,” and that comment infuriates me. It makes me want to go Mike Ditka on a wall (punch a hole in the wall) because it is demonstrative that we have people in our organization that do not get leadership development. Have I mentioned that I am agitated? And no, I have not hit anything. I have only worked out a little harder lately…
Going back to the question which I seem to be dodging …………… Do I believe in leadership development? I have come to realize that the sadness I am feeling is part of the journey. It is inevitable. But yes, I believe in leadership development. Yes, I will keep investing in building into our people. Yes, that will lead to more loss. Yes, it is worth the risk. So, as I say often, onward.
Next, I have to confess that I have been annoyed with people problems lately. While our business results are really good (praise be to God), I would not characterize our culture as healthy. I suppose I am not supposed to put that in writing, but I am not going to get fired by doing so. The biggest problem with the culture is me. I have the wherewithal to not put up with the griping, side-swiping and gossip. So do my sisters. While our problems are not major league in comparison to some of the other leaders I chat with, they are annoying enough to produce frustration. Perhaps, frustration is inevitable after twenty months of changing health guidelines, political divisiveness, supply chain madness, and no one applying for jobs. (Given that list, it IS frustrating!) But, leaders are not the kind of people that become victims to their external circumstances. So, I am not going to.
I am going to start with me. My job is to show up and work with people. Period. That’s the basic level of leadership. My job is to also set clear expectations and hold people accountable to those expectations. At the risk of getting defensive, I feel like I have done that with the business (i.e., results indicate we are healthy and improving). In regard to culture, however, I have not done as good of a job in 2021. I will step up this part of my game. This reflection is helpful in getting started.
I know some people from our team read my posts, so I will say one more thing. We are one family. Let’s start expecting the best of each other again. We don’t need a major course correction, but we do need a little one. It starts with all of us expecting the best in others. It starts with us helping, serving, and unashamedly loving (doing for others what we would have done to ourselves). I will start with me because that is the only thing I can somewhat control, but I need your help.
Finally, I want to confess my anxiety. I can’t even put a finger on why I feel anxious. In fact, I have talked with my doctor about it and the only thing I can point to is what I refer to as the “collective residue of all the crap of the last twenty months.” I have no idea why I put that in quotes. Then again, my golfing buddies call me Doc these days because the kid in the halfway house at the golf course mistakenly called me Dr. Hoffer for half of the summer. So, maybe I am one?
Kidding aside, my (real) doctor says there is a lot of that going on. By “that,” she is referring to a collective build up of stress.
Unfortunately, I do not have some magic pill to offer, or any new advice to give, but, I am acknowledging it publicly because I am not hiding from its reality.
In fact, one of the Biblical principles that has aided me is bringing internal struggles to the light (i.e., talking about them with others, writing about them, and not allowing them to wallow inside). It seems as though they become less powerful when they are brought out into the light. So, there you go….my anxiety for the world to see. It is there, I feel it, and I am learning to live with it. Now, the question is what do I do next? Since I have acknowledged it, I no longer have to wallow in it. Onward again.
Ironically, after writing all of this I feel different. Thank you for being my sounding board.
I do not write these posts to be popular, or get a book deal. I probably started out four years ago with the intention of doing both, but I don’t care anymore. I don’t mean that negatively, I’m just trying to keep it real. To that end, expect more of this going forward. And, do me a favor, gently call me out when you feel like I am faking or being inauthentic. Call me out when you think my writing is showing off, or making things sound either better, or worse, than they really are. My goal here is to keep it real.
No real good way to end this, so I’ll wrap up with this:
Make it a great day! Choose for the day to be great.
It is the Doc’s orders.