My office window provides a beautiful panoramic view of a perfect winter day: azure skies, lacy trees and puffy white clouds. A light dusting of snow on the ground decorates the grass for the upcoming holiday, and bright red cardinals on the feeder are the perfect ornaments to dress it all up.
It’s easy to feel very grateful as I sit very still and watch the breathtaking scene in front of me.
It’s much harder (yet so much more impactful) to consider the people around me that drive me crazy AND still feel grateful for them with all of their perceived flaws.
Like you perhaps, I have friends, family, colleagues, and coworkers who’ve grown distant this year because they annoyed me. I avoid the uncomfortable and move away from those I don’t appreciate. It takes vigilance to reconnect and to be grateful for all of them.
Now is the time to consider relationships holistically; to be grateful for everything about others – the good and the flawed. It’s not easy, but it’s essential to effective leadership.
Because you see, a leader develops, repairs and sustains relationships. Without healthy relationships, there is no leadership.
Be grateful for what’s good in them. Everyone has some good in them but it can sometimes get clouded over by our negative judgments (more about that later). What is it that you can appreciate in those you’ve grown distant from? If you can discover it, you may discover the key to being grateful for them, transcending the flaws you see.
Be grateful for what’s flawed in them. We tend to move away from what we perceive as flawed human beings. Funny thing is, we are imperfect too, but we find it difficult to see our own weaknesses. What can you learn from other’s imperfections about yourself? Those flaws we observe in others often have something to teach us.
Forgive them. When you don’t forgive, the distance grows wider and you lose the very people who are there to support and nourish your leadership. What will it take for you to absolve others of the transgressions you believe they’ve caused? When you forgive, you can move forward in your relationships.
Stay open to their potential. People change and grow. There is potential in everyone, even those you’ve written off. They can change. What is the potential in those you’ve grown distant from that you’ve not seen before? If you’ve allowed yourself to become clouded and negative about them, watch for their latent potential to emerge.
Be vigilant about your judgments of others. Pay attention to the judgments you make about others. They will keep your relationships distant if you let them. When negative judgments arise, replace them with positivity. What is it that you are grateful for in that person?
Reach out. The hardest thing of all may be for you to take the first step to reach out and reconnect. A leader would do that. What’s holding you back?
Now is the time to consider being grateful for everyone around you. Who have you distanced yourself from? What will you do to begin to heal your relationship?