I have read my fair share of leadership books. I have also read my fair share of biographies. I also do my best to understand people and what makes them succeed and tick. I have concluded that there are some random things that go into one succeeding. These are the things outside of a person’s control (the chance meeting, the right market condition, an inheritance, etc.). That said, there are a lot of very similar habits and traits of those that seem to deliver at a high level. I am certainly not the first to notice this. There are a zillion books written on this.
I want to focus on one of those key habits/ skills. It relates to the continued desire to be teachable and grow. The people I seem to admire most almost always are looking for ways to improve what they do. They evaluate. They review. They practice. But here is a big thing I see. These people invite people into their world for feedback. It sounds simple, but it is huge. They invite criticism. They invite compliments. They invite rebuke. They invite challenge. Simply put, they invite others to speak into their lives.
Are you able to let others speak into your life? Can your boss? Kids? Spouse? Friends? Do you invite people to help you? Are you teachable to others and their perception of you? I know I am asking myself these questions (in fact this is the catalyst for writing this). How about the other side? Are you honest with those you love? Do you speak into their lives?
How would your work improve if you invited colleagues to speak into your life? What about your marriage if your spouse could really open up to you? What is people had the freedom to discuss our parenting? Our friendships? Our financial decision making? Etc. Are you open to others help and do you help others?
This one is tough. I love to learn, and am always a student at heart. I want to be better at everything. But, when people comment on personal issues – I can be touchy. This stems from only wanting to give my best to everything and being upset with myself that someone found something less than good. I try to listen to everyone, but have to admit that some people have more power when they speak into my life than others. The thing I struggle with the most though, is fear of being the person that is complaining about the undesireable trait they possess themselves. Someone once said that if there is a quality you really dislike in someone – you should examine yourself because many times a quality that really urks you is one that you posess. This seems to be true part of the time, but not all of the time. I have settled on listening to every comment and then considering whether it is something that I need to act on or something that I just need to accept as that person’s oppinion.
Thinking that I was being unfairly “criticized” by a dear friend, when I believe they really meant well and wanted my best, nearly cost me a valued friendship. We can learn not to react defensively when confronted, but rather seek God’s grace as we pray that he will reveal what in us might be a detriment to our spiritual well-being.