Okay, I may come across as a little bit of a fuddy-duddy, but hear me out. Better yet, take a look around. No matter where you are; in a restaurant, waiting in line, sitting at the BMV, eating dinner at home…everyone around you is on their phones. Typically the younger the crowd the higher percentage of those who’s faces are hauntingly lit by the blue or white glow of their screens.
Much of what we are doing on our phones is ‘communicating’ with others. However, that communication is sterile, bereft of human contact or facial cognition of the little nuances and inflections when people talk. Those things tip the intent listener to at least a sliver of the motivation behind the words being spoken; joy, sorrow, sarcasm, pain, et al. Because of this emoji’s were developed, little icons meant to depict the emotion we are feeling at the moment to those we are texting, snapping, facebooking, and whatever other new thing is out there. We do this because we don’t want what we are typing to be misinterpreted. Sometimes we are honest, sometimes we simply saying something nasty and plaster a yellow teethy smiley face to cover up our ugliness,
All of this has led to a decreased ability for the average person to have a conversation with someone else, in real life, and ‘read’ their face correctly. It has also lead to an increased lack of etiquette and courteousness. Our texting patterns have lead to one word answers; okay, yes, no, later, maybe, which come out as cold, uncaring, and simply rude. For the average person, this isn’t good, for a leader its suicidal.
A leader is an influencer. Your conversations, attitude, demeanor, tone, looks, mood, influence either positively or negatively those around you. If you don’t look people in the eye, if you walk into a room and don’t greet people with a smile, if your answers are one word, clipped responses your being a bad leader…period!
I know, I can hear the pushback as I write this, ‘What if I’m having a bad day…I’m not a outgoing person…I don’t want to be fake…’
- First, everyone has an off day every now and then. I have off days, and if I blow it by being moody, cranky, or short with someone, I have to go an apologize to them, because I didn’t do my job well that day.
- Second, you don’t need to be ‘bubbly’ but you do need to be outgoing as a leader. By that I mean you can’t wait for others to approach you, your the LEADER for crying out loud! As a leader you are probably a little intimidating, even if not physically, more than likely in your persona. Ive NEVER considered myself scary or intimidating, but guess what, people (even my own family) tell me that I am, especially if people don’t know me. So, I can’t just sit back and wait for others to engage me, it allows negativity to breed and questions to brew, which undermines your cause.
- Third, I am so tired of hearing this garbage about being fake. You don’t have to pretend that everything in your life is peachy keen, but how about showing the joy of Christ on your face? How about the command, “Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.”? (Phil 4:4) How about you getting over yourself, pulling up your big boy/girl pants and start being the leader that God’s called you to be?
You see as a leader your job is to help people be better, do better, to build them up. If you are so absorbed in your own personal issues that you cannot do that, then you need to stop pretending you’re a leader, your not. You are a dragger (my own made up word, followed by my own made up definition). A dragger is someone who is like a weight in a room. When they walk into the office everyone clenches waiting to see what ‘mood’ they are in that day. They are so concerned and consumed with themselves that they can’t or really won’t take the time to make those around them feel like they matter, that they are special. They discourage people without saying a word. I feel like this verse is written directly to the draggers out there masquerading as leaders:
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. – Philippians 2:3-4 ESV
It’s so easy to show appreciation, gratitude, and kindness. To say hello, thank you, nice to see you…these are easy simple things. If you are a leader and you don’t do these things…you’re not a leader, your just some guy/girl with a title or position. Great leaders show and do these things, they intentionally make others feel important. Selfish, self-absorbed people don’t, they are too concerned with protecting or projecting their own perceived self-importance.
So, to all the leaders out there, take a page out of the life of Christ (He’s a pretty good example to check out), He walked slowly through our world for 33 years. He talked to the lowest of the low and the highest of the high. Everyone mattered, even those who hated him, hurt him, and conspired against him. He looked people in the eye, and asked people to look him in the eye. He never allowed his personal stuff to be an excuse to abdicate his role. Lead like Jesus this week!!!