“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated.
We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny.
Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
The hardest thing to do in business (and personally) is to stay connected when you are not in agreement with another or out of your own personal integrity. The human desire to fight or flight gets kicked in to gear with both of these scenarios. Do not get seduced into thinking it wise to disconnect to “think about it some more” or “come up with a better way”.
To lead you often have to do what is counter-intuitive or uncomfortable in relationships. As a leader if you don’t work to build bridges while others are abandoning them then who will?
When you are not in agreement with another, focus on the following:
- What elements are most important to both of you in the discussion? Validate them with the other.
- Share your truth — this is easy to say and hard to do because often it leaves people in a perceived vulnerable position. This perception is not true, speaking your truth makes it much easier for you to navigate in a conversation. You don’t have to have the answers, you just have to find the answers that best support you and the other.
- Be comfortable with the ambiguity and the unknown. Maybe both of you can’t see a next step. Be willing to take a break and agree on a date and time to come back to the discussion (relatively soon, aka a day or two). Ask for help and add a few others into the discussion.
- If you are still at a stalemate, be clear about what you do agree on and what are the sticking points. Define how you both want to go forward given the current information.
- Follow up regularly to make sure the decisions and agreements you have made are taking hold in a way that best supports each other, your team and your company.
There is no pillow so soft as a clear conscience. -French Proverb
When you are out of your personal integrity, use the following to reconnect to others:
- Identify what is causing you to disconnect
- Reconnect with others -regardless if it does not feel comfortable.
- Identify what is out of your personal integrity and talk about it with a trusted mentor
- Define what you need to do to be back in your own personal integrity
- Act on what you need to do to be back in your personal integrity
“Love is our true destiny.
We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another.” Thomas Merton
In leadership it is about doing what must be done to create a positive path forward for all. It is not easy and it is highly rewarding for you personally.
Be the bridge,