If you’re in a leadership position within an organization, it doesn’t stop at the office. The most effective leaders are leaders both in and out of work. As painful as it is to admit, I’m nowhere near the leader or person I hope to be. I’ve recently had three different interactions with friends in which my actions were disappointing, and with less than desirable outcomes. What did they have in common? My “ME FIRST” attitude—I acted on “ME first,” because my thoughts were of “ME first.” I was focused on my agendas without listening to, understanding, or considering the wants and needs of others. Yep, I was pretty disappointed in myself. So after apologizing and wallowing in self-pity, I decided to do something about it. I need to improve on putting others first—do you?
My listening skills are challenged at best. To put others first, I’m concentrating on what they have to say, not so much about what I want to say. Asking open-ended questions helps.
Be More Considerate
These words are so common, I think they’ve lost their meaning. Being considerate means considering what others want and need, and how my actions may affect their desires.
Think Past the Moment
What may seem appropriate for the moment, may not be, when viewed through a wider lens. I ask myself, “how important is this now?” What are the consequences of my actions?
Set Ego Aside
This is my Achilles heel. It’s the big one. I want things to go my way because… I’m special. I want to share information and show how knowledgeable I am, even if it hurts others; I seldom hesitate to disparage others if I think it will get ME a laugh. I’m working on setting my ego aside; besides… self-deprecation is in-style, isn’t it?
When your actions are thoughtless and hurtful, an apology never brings back the time lost in regret; by the time you realize what you’ve done, it can be too late. It would be unrealistic to think I’ll never put myself in this position again—I will. But I can work towards reducing it, can’t I? In the long run, putting others first is in my best interest, AND theirs. Leaders put others first. Be a leader 24/7.