It is easier to sit and wait for a situation to change because of external circumstances, than it is to do the hard work of failing.
It is easier.
- Just like it is easier to ignore conflicts in your midst and act like nothing is going wrong inside of your organization, your family, your neighborhood, or even your country.
- Just like it is easier to shrug your shoulders and let “someone else” do the hard work of confronting, challenging and changing your world (in the social sciences we call this the Bystander Effect).
- Just like it is easier to put your metaphorical head down, plow forward and only look up when the week is over, the client/customer seems “satisfied” or the “job is done.”
The hard emotionally challenging work of trying and potentially failing is not for the faint of heart. It requires commitment, perseverance, grit, resiliency, accountability and a sense of responsibility to the people, the process, the change and the outcome.
Leaders in organizations that honor this hard, emotional labor flourish. Those in organizations that don’t, falter and eventually quit—quite trying, quit failing, even quit caring.
In our most recent presentation to a corporate group, we encouraged the leaders in the room to lead and to take up the mantle of failure in three ways:
- Understand yourself first—We keep going back to it, but from understanding conflict, to understanding leadership, to understanding communication: physician heal thyself.
- Care about the process—People don’t lead who don’t care about people, relationships, or processes. This is a tough realization and a man in the presentation came up to us and said “I realize after you said that people don’t lead who don’t care, that I often tell people that I don’t care and that ‘it takes a lot to offend me, so don’t even try.’ Maybe I should change that.”
- Build relationships—In any organization, whether it’s a family, a neighborhood or a company, we can only successfully lead through building relationships with people, not processes. People change before things.
One last point: Commitment, ethics, integrity and character in challenging the process must be in place before leadership through challenging the process can truly begin. Teach and nurture commitment and leadership will follow.
-Peace Be With You All-
Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: email@example.com