Bridging Leadership Lessons from the Workplace and Those Experiences Shaping Today's Youth and Tomorrow's Leaders
Why do you run your race?
The 1999 St. Louis Rams, the Greatest Show on Turf, used to say “you don’t run the race to beat the runner next to you, you run it as fast as you can.” In other words, they didn’t compete against others. They didn’t judge their level of success by comparing themselves to others. They judged their success based upon their internal growth.
Some people need to have an adversary. Someone they can compete with at work or in life. The Miss Perfect mom who likes to post about her perfect kids, spending time with her perfect husband at their perfect house. You know what I’m talking about, the person you compare yourself to on how good of a parent you are to your own kids. Maybe, it’s the person at work who always challenges your suggestions in the meeting. The person who always asks to hear more details, to understand how you did the analysis to reach your conclusion. Your arch nemesis.
But what if they are not?
Many times we go through life creating adversaries and they don’t even know that they have been assigned that role. We use this to gain support/allies while justifying our lack of success based upon the efforts of the adversary to slow us down. A pattern of negativity that we use to fuel a one-sided conflict.
Right or wrong, that person may be unaware of the conflict, the hurt you feel. It could be that they are too much of a narcissistic butthead or it could be that they are simply unaware. Because whatever wrong you felt, it didn’t happen to them. They did not feel the anger, sadness, hurt, embarrassment, inadequacy that you felt.
I realized a few years back that when faced with a disagreement, I would internalize their statement and view it as a personal attack on me instead of a question of my action or perspective. I would get defensive and protective of the team and fail to listen to their message. To combat this tendency, I adopted a simple creed and I have shared with several coworkers:
It may well be that the person is incorrect and is using a bias of their own, but at least now, we have gone through the process of understanding and can answer the questions, clarify the position and help work towards communicating a perspective that can be understood.
Is this something you can relate to as well? Have you found yourself talking to people about “them” and “they” who are negatively impacting your project? What would happen if you spent more time talking to others about the desired outcomes? To make sure they are understood AND valued the same way by them? What if you asked them about their outcomes to make sure you are aligned? That you became more aware of their perspective and how your actions could be viewed by others?
Creating Awareness and Alignment are the two fundamental principles of the weekly Operations meetings we hold at work. They are key to our growth and success in the organization. We stopped viewing each other as separate groups who were obstacles to our success and instead as avenues for growth that will lead to our mutual success. So ask yourself, “why do you run your race?” It’s not to compete with the person next to you but to compete with yourself. That is how you will continue to grow Beyond Today.
Tom Brown - a husband and a father who is simply trying to make a difference. Using my experience as a Manufacturing Executive to connect leadership from the boardroom to the hardwood to help teams grow and develop to make a difference in the lives of others.