In Tom Rath’s Strengths Based Leadership, he outlines what Gallup found most followers want from their leaders:
Yesterday, I facilitated an all day session designed to solve a problem the organization is facing.
That is 180-degrees different from what I usually do with my days. My days are typically filled with helping people seize big opportunities.
The contrast couldn’t be more stark between the two scenarios: fleeing from a problem or running toward an opportunity.
Though both contain people hungry for wins that show them a better tomorrow, many things were different.
The most notable difference was the almost total absence of hope among the attendees.
The absence of hope could be seen via their body language, the way they engaged with the exercises, and their relative lack of creativity when asked what sort of solutions (discrete actions) they wanted to take.
Now, I’ll throw myself under the bus and offer that I could have (and will next time) improve the structure of the day. Yet, all night I tossed and turned because I just knew that wouldn’t be enough.
Next time, I think I must address, name, and describe the difference between fleeing from a problem and running toward an opportunity.
I must allow the attendees to admit the lack of trust, the absence of stability, the denial of hope, and the yearning for compassion. When they do, I must validate that these feelings are real, recognizable, and worth addressing.
Without that recognition and permission to feel they ways they are feeling, I don’t think they’ll be able to see any opportunities or have any energy left to actually seize them.
Thank you to Sara for giving me a chance yesterday to do something well away from my usual routine. The contrast has proven fruitful for my personal learning, and via this blog, I hope been fruitful for the learning of others.
For more information on the day, the learning, and what you might do if you are faced with facilitating a group fleeing from a problem, contact me at email@example.com.