I have a theory. My theory is that there is an inverse relationship between status/power/rank and open demonstrations of good will. (When I was an engineer we spoke gleefully about inverse relationships as if they were the best kind to have.) In short, the higher we climb in life (status, power, rank) the less we see open kindness within that “elite” community. Life becomes more dog eat dog, me versus you, and good will between competitors (those other leaders in the corporate, non-profit, sports world, or anyone deemed as “on the opposing team”) can be difficult to find. Good will may look like weakness to some, but of course, the opposite is true. However, this notion of weakness can make it more difficult for our young people to understand that good will can be part of a viable success strategy. Plus, it’s free. Doesn’t cost you a dime.
Recently I was asked by Clint Carlos of Soar.com to tell my “best strengths story” about how I help teams reach their full potential. But I don’t want to talk about strengths. I want to talk about how I build a home for my teams – a place for them to thrive and grow. And, I want to convince you to build a home for your team, too.
Channel surfing can have its serendipitous moments, and I was the benefit of two of them this week. Each had strikingly different content. One of them showcased the best of our American society; the other, the worst (yes, it feels like we’ve seen a lot of that lately). What follows below is the tale of two leaders. Despite the stark differences, I believe there is reason for hope, and we can all participate!
Kinship. Noun. “The feeling of being connected to other people.” Our performance, and even our survival, depends on the feeling of kinship we have with others. To underscore its importance, I will share two stories of two very people, from two very different parts of the world, whose lives were transformed by kinship. Both were problem children; nobody benefits more from kinship than a problem child. Why? Because others often turn against them, leaving them feeling isolated, undervalued, and beleaguered. In such circumstances, kinship can be a lifesaver.
So, whatever you’re doing right now – right this minute – I want you stop. Just stop. There. Have you hit the pause button? Now, I want you to remember what it was like when you didn’t know how to do what you were just doing.