Max Dupree says, “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.” This is a great quote and understanding to live by. I would add- “The challenge of a leader is to gain perspective”. If a leader must define reality- they will have to enlist mechanisms for gaining perspective. I believe that carries through to thanking the individual as well- How can we discover who to thank- if we don’t have a broad perspective?
Today I am going to continue discussing the challenge of gaining perspective. You may have heard the old adage- “How do you eat an elephant? Answer- One bite at a time”. Perspective is an elephant that must be discovered a piece at a time through various feedback avenues. (See last my last post: “Gaining Perspective- You Need This Tool” for more).
Have you ever got your seat on a plane and thought or even prayed- “please don’t let a baby be beside me”? I must admit for years I thought and even prayed this because I was tired and didn’t want to experience a crying baby! My perspective has been changed on this now- in fact I try to smile at people carrying babies and even encourage them when their baby cries. You may ask, “How in the world did that happen?” Thanks for asking!
My daughter and son-in-law (Ashley and Sam) recently gave us our first grandbaby, Ella. Because she is a bright 10 week old baby (probably goes without saying)- she asked to come and see grandpa- actually she can’t talk yet so she wrote a note! So Ashley flew down to see us 2 weeks ago with Ella in her arms. Many of you know air pressure changes affect the ears and can cause pain and babies will often scream out. Ashley had done all the research on how to help your baby fly- but it happened Ella began to scream! Here is Ashley’s experience (if you are offended by the word poop- you need to stop reading here)-
“Ella initiated me into mommy-hood yesterday when she pooped on the descent into LYH. She was crying like crazy and poop was all over me, her, her bottle, and the floor. The man next to me calmly got the diaper bag to help clean up…he even picked up the pile of poop from the floor. I wrapped Ella in a blanket and cleaned her up after we got off the plane. The man seated beside me kept encouraging me the last few min of the flight and he told Sam I deserved an award when he met him in the lobby. What an adventure! The lady next to me said the episode could only have been topped if Ella had thrown up too! Thank God for nice people and the ability to stay calm and laugh at yourself!”
My perspective has enlarged because of the experience of 2 people I love dearly and now my behavior has changed.
I believe if we gain perspective on life, leadership and value we can change and help bring change to an organization.
Do you have a story of gaining perspective? I would love to hear it- just leave a comment!