Warning: This post is raw and authentic, so if these two things don’t mix with business for you, then go right ahead and skip this one. :0)
I am sad. I lost my first team member. I will be without someone who made me laugh. I will miss her loyalty and dependability. I am mad at myself for my leadership mistakes through this difficult breakup. I embrace the messiness that sometimes comes with leadership and running a business. And I grieve the loss, even though I made the choice.
I read about emotional intelligence all the time, and how important it is for leaders. I am genuinely compassionate the majority of the time. I am sensitive to people’s feelings – sometimes I feel too much empathy. Some would say this is a downfall as a leader. I choose to believe it is an asset. And still, I make mistakes.
Why? When I know better?
Because I am an imperfect human being!
I am sad. I shed a few tears. Breakups suck! Writing this down and acknowledging it is cathartic.
I talk to business leaders every day, often in very intimate conversations. I know I’m not alone. I hear these messages…
- I’ve made a mistake.
- I should have…
- I could have done this better. I own it.
- I am mad at myself for…
- I saw the signs but I ignored them.
- I wish I would have X.
- This pisses me off.
- I feel terrible…
- This is difficult for me to talk about, but…
- I learned my lesson.
Yes. Leadership is sometimes #messy. We are all imperfect leaders. That is why we have articles, courses, and coaches that teach leadership development skills. Even they make leadership bloopers.
This is what my bloopers have taught me…
I am beautifully imperfect.
Despite my mistakes and imperfections, I am still a beautiful leader. I have heart. I have strength and confidence in my decisions. People and their feelings are extremely important to me and I express my appreciation often. I guide. I mentor. I am not afraid to talk about the tough stuff. Yes, sometimes I am too direct and it comes across in ways I don’t intend. I am busy and will at times glide right past the fluffy way to communicate. But I am self-aware. And I am committed to growing every day of my life. I am always doing the best that I can until I know how to do better.
Business must be balanced with personal.
Old school leaders would say don’t mix business with personal. Keep that distance between a person’s professional life and personal life. I call bullshit on this. How can I have compassion for people if I don’t know them personally? How can I build a relationship with someone if I don’t know what makes them tick? I am close to my clients and my team, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Does it make it hard if we part ways? Absolutely! I mix love and business and that is who I am. I love people, and I work hard at my relationships. At the same time, I make tough business decisions if I have to. In business, it is about the bottom line. And it is also about the relationship.
Embrace the constructive feedback.
Some people won’t tell you what you need to hear, but others will. Listen to those that provide constructive feedback. You don’t have to agree with everything a person tells you, but keep an open mind. I believe we all have blind spots. We don’t always see everything about ourselves. Our rose-colored glasses are someone else’s blue-colored glasses. Approach feedback with curiosity. I received feedback from my former team member. It wasn’t easy to hear, but I choose to see it as a gift she gave me. When I opened my mind to listening, I could choose what resonated with me and what didn’t.
Beat yourself up, and then STOP!
All too frequently, well-intentioned people will tell you not to beat yourself up. Well I happen to believe that is part of human nature. When we make mistakes, we are often hard on ourselves. It is an important phase we need to go through to take ownership of what needs to change. Endless mental bashing, however, is not effective. There is no need to spend hours and days eroding away your self-esteem. Give yourself some love through this process as well. Scold yourself and then forgive yourself. Treat yourself the way you would treat any human being asking for forgiveness.
Take ownership and course correct.
With any leadership mistakes I make, I own it! Even if the situation is not completely my doing, I own my part. I think ownership opens the door to change. Taking ownership builds trust. It provides the lessons we need to make different choices in the future. I have replayed this scenario with my team member over and over in my head. I have made mental notes on how I could have done things differently. I have apologized for my mistakes. Should the situation ever arise again, I have a list of new approaches I need to take to ensure a smoother outcome.
Change is constant.
Captain Obvious speaking here! Nothing stays the same forever. Life is full of ebbs and flows, ups and downs. People change. Relationships end. Situations arise that require a new direction. Some of us embrace change better than others. It doesn’t matter because energy keeps flowing. Life keeps moving. Our ability to adapt to this change and come out stronger is what makes us better leaders.
So today I move forward. I learn. I live. I love.
Lori Young is the founder of Amazing OBM, a full service digital marketing agency that supports heart-centered coaches in their business growth. Beautifully imperfect, we embrace the hearts and businesses of our clients just like our own.
Sometimes Leadership is #MESSY
November 12, 2019