We all have people in our lives that we have had experiences with that challenge our ability to like them. Maybe someone didn't do exactly what they told you they would do. Maybe that person just flat lied to your face. Maybe that someone humiliated you in front of a group of people. Or maybe that someone did something wrong "towards you" and they don't even know it. We all have people around us each day that for some reason or another, life events make us not forget about those "wrongdoings", and we act like a human and can't "get over it".
And as we think about those people deeper, how can we ask ourselves to move forward, move on from the past, have empathy for them, and actually like of love them again? To me, it all begins with empathy. Empathy means that we put ourselves in their shoes for just a minute, analyze the event(s), and their life from their perspective, to allow ourselves to gain more knowledge of how and why they act like they do and do what they do. Empathy is very powerful, and darn sure something I was very very poor at in Dr. Nels version 1.0! But we must have some level of empathy. That also doesn't mean that we allow the empathy to give the other person excuses or a get out of jail free card. But it does allow us to dig deep within our being and have some level of comfort for them, and begin to work towards "liking" them or even extending love and grace towards them. Without empathy, we continue down the same road of feelings of disgust and even hate and anger. And in the end, often holding senseless grudges that only hurt us and those around us.
Often times these people we are around every day, because the more time you spend with people, the more likely it is to happen to make you upset over one reason or another. And it is in these close quarters or frequent contact relationships, where we must work the hardest to like or love someone we like the least. And if someone has the maturity and deeper level of leadership and understanding to do this, I promise, that other person will begin to feel that, and that relationship will begin to change. We must realize, that person that we don't like, they are no dummy, and the "feel" that dislike. They know we don't like them because we unknowingly give them signals each day to prove it, and even some show their dislike outright. But, again, if we work extremely hard to show that person an elevated level of kindness, we show them we care about them and will help them however we can, the tides will begin to change, and that very person will begin to return the favor, through their feelings and behavior. Now, if you are a leader, this is a must, and there is no one on your team that no matter how much a member of your tribe annoys you, you must extend to them a deep level of care, compassion, and love. If you don't, you have "lost" them, whether they unrelentingly remain on your team or they quit you. They won't fight for you. They won't walk through fire for you. But if you work with extreme diligence to love someone you like the least in your organization, I promise, that person will "do a 180", and their level of performance will at minimum double, and they will begin carrying out your vision and help to positively influence your culture.
The ability to love someone that annoys you, that has "done you wrong", or has failed your expectations is very very challenging, but if you can dig deep within your soul to have empathy, extend love and grace (even in the work place even if that is "weird"), we will all be much more successful!
A little bit of empathy from all sides, in Great Bend, would go a long ways right now... even if you don't agree with them... Happy Leadership Thursday amigos!