I’ve heard my mother say many times, “It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.”
I suppose that anyone with an ounce of niceness would agree. But a recent incident had me thinking about those famous words. What does it say about leadership?
It was just after the recent elections and two winning candidates were giving their acceptance speeches. One was very gracious to the person who had challenged them. They spoke highly and gave tremendous credit to their opponent. They were very kind in thought and words and did not say one bad word against the challenger, except to say it was time for a change.
The other’s acceptance was much more painful. It was accusatory and said that the resulting vote was an indictment of the other candidate’s opinions and actions. They fell just short of calling names, but the accusations inferred plenty. Their comments were polemic and divisive.
Both of these people are now in important positions, but one was nice and the other was not. The warm comments and congratulatory nature was heartwarming and felt genuine. The accusatory speech also seemed genuine, but was hateful and derisive.
Neither of these people are from the location where I vote. Both were from the same political party. One would make me glad to be associated with that party, the other would make me ashamed. But I would much rather give my support to a nice person than one that isn’t, regardless of party affiliations.
I think nice is a habit that comes from a series of previous choices to be nice. It develops and becomes the natural order of things. When we refer to a person as being nice, it is because their habits, built from their past choices, has led them in that direction. So their behavior reflects those nice things that they have thought and done.
To be a leader does not mean to be nice. You can be promoted, elected, etc. into the position; but great leaders know to be nice is more important than just being important.
Nice first, important someplace after that.
I learned a long time ago about sowing and reaping; three truths… what you saw is what you reap. You reap after you sow. You reap more than you sow. These three truths have been in my heart as I am constantly reminded, and need to be reminded, to be careful what I sow. I usually think of this in the context of my activity, that is my sowing and subsequent reaping.
But today I had a different, perhaps paradoxical thought. God has sown things in me and He expects to reap. 2 Corinthians 5 says that we have been reconciled and so given the ministry of reconciliation. He sowed our new relationship with Him through Jesus, and expects us to share with others that opportunity. So what else has been sown in me that needs to produce a harvest?
He has given me love that I didn’t deserve, joy I can’t understand, peace that satisfies, patience beyond my own ability, kindness when I deserved judgment, goodness when I haven’t been, faithfulness that is like a mighty tree, gentleness that holds me, and self-control to abide in me. He has sown these in me, what will He reap?
Everything I learn about God, about what He has done, and His desires for me, is the planting of those virtues into my soul. If I take them to heart, plant them within the fertile ground of my being, they will produce a harvest in my character and activities…
Maybe that’s why they’re called fruit. (Galatians 5:23)
Copyright 2014 LeadersBridge
“I know I’m the No. 1 quarterback for the Washington Redskins, and that’s all that matters in my heart. That’s all I wanted. I wanted a team that wanted me, and I found that.”
Robert Griffin III
To want to be wanted is normal; but to actually be wanted is a great psychological advantage. Teams that want each other’s success as much as their own have a terrific advantage. CSW
“If that many people recognize how hard I go every night and what I put into my game, to make myself and my team better, it means a lot to me. I’m fortunate; I’m blessed to be in the situation that I’m in right now.”
The great situation is to work hard, be recognized, and to make the entire team better. CSW
“I think we have got the wood on South Africa, but that does not mean they are not a good team. They intimidate a lot of teams but we intimidate them. There is no disrespect for South Africa; they are a very good team.”
It’s the team, not a player, but the team as a whole. CSW
“Culture is very important to the Mavs. Your best player has to be a fit for what you want the culture of the team to be. He has to be someone who leads by example. Someone who sets the tone in the locker room and on the court. It isn’t about who talks the most or the loudest. It is about the demeanor and attitude he brings.”
Individual effort always takes last place over every other team concern. Individuals must be evaluated not as an individual, but how they contribute to the team effort. CSW
“I think our leadership team is a highly accountable leadership team.”
Accountability is easy on a correctly functioning team. Easy because each member wants and needs it that way. CSW
Copyright 2014 LeadersBridge
I have a client that is a great repeat customer. I deal primarily with two different people from this organization. They are interesting in that they are very different. One will promise and promise and then put things off, be slow to respond, and generally be undependable concerning information and timing. When problems arise they are very apologetic and then promise to do what is necessary to correct the situation.
The other is very nice and always follows up and follows through. This person doesn’t make promises, but just does what is expected and then some.
Both are nice and I enjoy working with each of them. But over time I have come to have a level of expectations based on prior experience. Those expectations help me to handle situations when they arise without being surprised, disappointed or overwhelmed. I know what to expect no matter which calls and initiates a program.
You may be thinking that I would say one is a better leader than the other, but that’s not my point. But rather part of leadership is managing expectations. The one person is much easier to work with and takes less time and effort. But knowing how they each work helps me manage my stress when issues arise with the second.
Certainly expectations can cause problems if handled incorrectly, or if they color one’s ability to engage. But learning to manage expectations gives leads a definite advantage in dealing with people is a genuine, sincere manner. Managing expectation is a key to self-leadership.
A few months ago our neighbors across the street suffered a house fire. It was an alarming and scary time. Since then there has been a succession of people working on the house to get it back to a livable condition. It has been almost totally rebuilt.
It has been interesting to see the different people involved in working on the house. Many different trucks, different types of trucks and a lot of different people; all with different skills and abilities coming to work to make the house ready for the family to move back in. The house appears to be approaching completion.
When I think about my life I see that there have been so many influences that have contributed to who I am. So many people come and make contributions to who I am and who I am becoming; they are involved in building, or rebuilding me. The interesting this is that some are invited and some aren’t, but the influence is still there.
This past week I was thinking about the influences that have been strong in the past couple years. There is one who has challenged me, worried me and contributed more than any other to my growth and development. My wonderful and beautiful daughter, Annie, is one of the most influential people in my life. She is a professor of sociology at a local college and always brings a fresh perspective, a creative challenge and humorous insight. She amazes me.
Isaiah 59:21 says that our offspring shall have the Spirit and words of the Lord. Most assuredly my children are my teachers.
Seems like I am always evaluating my life, and I don’t always get good grades. But I am getting better, I know because Annie is in my life.
Copyright 2014 LeadersBridge