“An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.”
Today as I write this my brother-in-law is in a hospital ICU fighting the fight of his life; leukemia. Now, one could say that he is fighting against cancer, but I say he is fighting for life. I do not think this is an inconsequential distinction in times of crisis or in our day-to-day lives. This mind set can make a powerful difference in the life of a leader. So my question to you, leader, is, “What are you fighting for?”
People – Are you fighting for your people or against your people? To fight for your people means that you are doing all you can to bring out the best in them. You don’t push them because you want to look good or to exercise your arbitrary authority, but rather you push them to access their energy, creativity and drive. Instead of getting frustrated when they do something incorrectly and coming down hard on them, what if you explored what you could do to better to set them up for success? Ask yourself what they need from you as their leader in order to up their performance. Your people want to be led; they want a leader who is fighting for them, not against them.
Effective Conversations – When your team or organization has a breakdown, something goes wrong, what kind of conversations do you have? If you are fighting for something, the conversations will focus on what is possible, and how through this interaction your group can get closer to the outcomes they want. To have conversations that are fighting for something we as leaders must listen, not only to what is said but also to what is not said and to the moods and emotions that are within the message. Leaders should be fighting for positive moods and emotions to emerge from all interactions.
Flow – Those of you who have read previous blogs from me know that I am fanatical about the search for Flow, that state of performance when we are at our best. Research into elite and extreme athletes is proving that in Flow states these athletes are focused on success and their goal, not on how to not fail. They fight for success, not against failure. Within the Flow Cycle there are necessary times of stress called Struggle. But ultimately we do not fight against it – we Release from the Struggle to finally make our way to Flow. So even in the search for Flow we are reaching for the positives – the motivation that sustains our moving forward.
Success vs. Failure – At its core what I am saying here is that as a leader, you can fight for success or you can fight against failure. It is a choice. To fight for something means to focus on what you want (effective performances, conversations, outcomes) or you can push against what you do not want (failure, hurt feelings, bad moods, bad outcomes). As you focus on the positives you might find that over time the negatives begin to fall away on their own. So I challenge you to start finding those positives to fight for, the choice is yours as a leader.
As for me, I am going to do all I can to help my brother-in-law fight for his health…