“The beatings will continue until morale improves.” Heard that before? How often have you worked for a boss who operated that way? It’s not fun. Actually, it’s a horrible environment to suffer. Yet, work we must, and sometimes it comes out this way.
Despite all of the great teachings about leadership, the effective demonstration of it comes down to two simple realities. As a leader, we can either shine light on our world or we cast darkness.
[shareable cite=”Parker J. Palmer, PhD.”]A leader is someone with the power to project either shadow [darkness] or light onto some part of the world and onto the lives of the people who dwell there.[/shareable]
Think about the simplicity of this idea. Darkness or light. Which do you choose? This is an age old question, yet it is one that is renewed and reenacted daily by managers and leaders everywhere.
You can be having the proverbial ‘bad day’ and inflict great darkness on those around you. Whether your bad day started as an argument with the spouse or significant other, or perhaps the clerk at the coffee shop, it doesn’t matter. Your team doesn’t deserve the darkness your misfortune might cause.
As leaders we have to be ever-mindful of the significance of our duty. Rather than letting a darkness creep into out world, we have to fight that urge and produce light.
Light helps things grow (unless you are working with a bunch of mushrooms planted in you-know-what). We use the phrase “well that sheds a new light doesn’t it” to describe taking a new view. Vision works in light. It doesn’t take that much. After all a simple small candle can light a whole room of pitch darkness.
A critical consideration is whether you have a propensity to generate darkness due to some deep inner matter left unresolved. Is your look at the world skewed? Do you even have the ability to generate light? Is there an inner darkness that can be triggered at will?
You have to combat the urge to spew darkness when light is preferred. Please refer back to my missive on “bitter or better” for further insight.
Shine Only Happens with Light
The sparkle and glimmer we see coming from nice, pretty objects is only a function of light being reflected. Does your team sparkle because of light you give them? Yes, a leader has that ability, to help others shine.
You an offer “light” for your team by giving praise where praise is due. Give grace to those who need it (mistakes do happen). Encourage the team member who needs encouraging. Teach the person who needs to know a little more.
None of those actions include belittling, condescending thoughts, or criticism. Reverse psychology is a cruel tool for a leader to rely upon. It’s just too easy for it to be taken the wrong way.
Communicate freely and keep others connected. Build trust to amplify the light you are spreading.
Its Your Choice
It is your choice. Think about the quip you feel the need to say. Filter it. If it doesn’t produce light, it probably is dark. Leave it alone.
Find the ways you can harness the power of light in your world.
So you want to be a difference maker? Check yourself for the levels of light coming from your leadership efforts these days.
Light makes might! Go for it!