While driving home yesterday my wife called asking where I was. I assumed she wanted me to pick up something at the store but soon heard a different story.
This weekend our oldest daughter is visiting with her three children and to make a long story short her mommy-van needed a boost. She left the lights on and you know the rest.
After flipping the phone closed, I had a conversation with myself that began one way and ended another.
My first thought was boy that’s irresponsible. Heck, when she was 7 yrs. old she spilled a glass of milk on the floor. Now, 25 years later, nothing has changed. She still doesn’t pay attention. (an exaggeration to illustrate my point) By the way, the lights automatically turn off in my truck. This of course gives me the moral high ground and protects my dignity.
My second thought was dang I feel like a dope when I call my wife to bring in the spare keys because mine “got” locked in the truck…again. (Or I do some other stupid-human-trick.) I know my responsible, mature daughter doesn’t want to inconvenience others.
I’ve said I want to live a life of positive impact. However, I want to do it at convenient times and in ways that don’t disrupt my routines or otherwise delay dinner. Hmmm? Doesn’t leave much room for positive impact does it?
I’ve seen leaders working to make their own lives convenient. However, great leaders live for others not for themselves. They choose inconvenience.
In reality, an inconvenience may be an opportunity. Ken Blanchard rightly says, “Remember that life is about helping and serving, it’s not about you.”
How might feeling inconvenienced hinder leaders?
Truth is, every inconvenience isn’t opportunity.
How/when can leaders choose to inconvenience themselves?
When is it appropriate for leaders to inconvenience others?
Ihis is a golden opportunity to demonstrate leadership with the ones we love. Added bonus think what a super hero you will for the grand kids. Every day at work I am constantly looking for ways to reach out and say ” I am here how can I help?” What presents itself as “golden” moments on the job we meaning me so easily take for granted on the home front. I read something recently which struck a nerve with me regarding my time. I can’t at this moment remember the author but easily is applicable to both work and home situations and it went something like this: ” Time is the coin of life. It is yours to spend as you see fit. Spend it wisely lest others spend it for you.” what better way to spend sometime helping others knowing the reward will only germinate more goodwill by all concerned. Princess Di once beckoned everyone to do a random act of kindness to a perfect stranger without expecting anything in return and that someday somewhere someone woul do the same for you. The least important variable in doing a charitable act is the reason for it since the inevitable recompense will always be there. So go forward Dan and be the leader and hero for your family today and on Monday you can go back to the office and be ready to help, lead and thank your troops for giving you the opportunity to serve them and allow you to make a difference. Is that not what life is all about, making a difference? Namaste. ……Al
Love your sentence “I am here, how can I help.” it’s both challenging and encouraging.
I’m going to use..”I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve.” regularly with the nonprofit I lead! Again, challenging and comforting.
Congratulations Dan. You are human.
As parents, as spouses, as bosses, and as leaders, we constantly are faced with ‘inconveniences’ large and small. Often they are unplanned interruptions caused by circumstance, the needs of others, or the world around us. They may be the unplanned dead battery or the nuisance activity that is simply annoying, or the situation that we did not plan, did not cause, yet still must stop what WE are doing to deal with. The occasional flash of “Oh, for Pete’s sake” is human. It is our choice to deal with it graciously as a leader or to let that annoyance show. (And depending on the circumstance, either of those choices may be appropriate.) An occasional inconveniece, like you described, is an opportunitity to serve, just as a pattern of inconvience caused by a person or a process is something a leader must address.
It has been said that “to err is human, to forgive is divine.” Using the same contrasts it might be said that “A flash of annoyance is human, dealing with appropriately is leadership.”
It’s always a delight to see that you’ve dropped in to share your experiences, perspective and insights.
Thanks for the capital “WE.” Oh boy, that sure is it.
Thanks also for the other side of this conversation. Repetitive “inconveniences” by those capable of more … means someone needs a kick in the butt. Either the leader for tolerating mediocrity or the lazy person who refuses to improve. I’m opting for them not me. 🙂
It seems as though you were reading my mind Dan. Just the other day inconveniences were requested of me. May I be completely honest? I didn’t want to comply. I began complaining to myself…you know the murmuring kind that none of us likes to admit. But in my murmuring I, like you, had moments and scenes flash before my eyes of times others had submitted to inconvenience for me. I remembered just how special and loved and humbled I felt by their service. Then flashes of times past when I willingly had complied with inconveniences out of a pure heart and the level of satisfaction was like nothing else. So in an instant, my wrong was righted and my heart turned and it was another opportunity to serve and love my neighbor. And true to form, the ‘reward’ was beyond what I could ever have hoped or dreamed.
There is a part in me that doesn’t want to pray this prayer, but then another part takes over…the prayer is… Lord, please inconvenience me today to serve your family and teach me YOUR way. You really do know best.
Thank you for your candor Dan. It has truly inspired me and confirmed in me the way to go today!
Thank you for sharing your own experiences with me.
I’m not sure I’m up for the prayer you mention. 🙂 You have real faith.
One of the pleasures of writing Leadership Freak are those moments when something hits someone at the right moment. I love the emails and in this case your comment. You encourage me.
Best to you,
Inconvenience forces you to be organised and being organised means you are ready to face challenges, you are more focussed and half of the problems are overcome. Management is planning, organising, leading and controling and finally be successful. So, when a person is organised, it is a positive symptom that he is ready for next step. Leaders should feel inconvenience when they are not organised and it is a positive indicator and they should also make others inconvenience when others are not organised or focussed. However, making unconvenience to self or others on routine basis is disturbing and may diminish your potential and divert your goal.
I interpret the statement by John Koerber in this way- To err repetetively is inhuman and forgiving that is sin. And believing this is failed leadership. So, leader has to learn from the mistakes and those who always forgive for same mistakes actually encourage the person to make even bigger mistake. So, in this sense the forgiver is more culprit than the one who repetes its mistakes.
Thanks for mentioning organization. My next comment is a bit off topic but I’m encountering several overwhelming opportunities and one place I’m finding solace is in trying to get organized. In some cases that means trusting others by delegating. (Just wanted to mention that)
You along with Joan rightly mention that repetitive forgiveness is a problem. I’ll add here what I did on my reply to Joan. We are all assuming that the person repeating is capable of more.
Thanks for consistently adding value,
Ajay is a featured contributor of Leadership Freak. Read his bio at:
Oh so very true — an inconvenience, a mistake, a blip on the screen — can all bring unforeseen opportunities. Leaders really are there to serve others in infinite ways.
Keep these posts coming Dan. You and I have one thing very much in common — out daily experiences help others (and us) to grow as we blog them and share with others.
I will RT this post for it has many subtle connections to customer service and teamwork — not just leadership.
Thanks for the good word and your encouragement. Its one of the ways you keep giving back to the community.
Kate is a featured blogger for Leadership Freak. Read her bio at:
Inconveniences in personal life are different than in professional life. Leaders just ignore inconveniences or bring quick solutions to march ahead in their planned journey of success. They go to the extent of removing hurdles including people who pose as blocks to their charted path. Contingency plans are part of solutions to the assumed inconveniences that may occur and would act as brakes.
Leaders have a burning desire to achieve and break their own success records. Success will bring further success and inconveniences do not have any role to stop the enthusiasm and spirit of leaders.
The example sighted by you is part of our family or persoanl life. Such thing can’t be compared with a professional life of successful leaders.
Thanks for consistently stopping in.
I think we’ll disagree on this one. Although, I definitely agree there are differences between work life and family life.
Here’s where we may disagree. If we aren’t careful, the drive to succeed may cause us to walk over those who we really should stop and help.
As alway you have my best regards,
Dr. Asher is a featured contributor of Leadership Freak and a person who has offered me wise suggestions. You can read his bio at:
Inconvenience inspire the leaders to excel in adverse situation and ignite the passion to tide over the adverse and create the passion for excellency and to remaian on the top , as human they also fail and feel nervous and inconvenience , but they persistently stick to their gun and keep the long term vision intact and keep following it.
Inconenience is an oppotunity to unlearn the wrong learning and keep trying to learn the new lessions.
Inconvenience and failure is the part of the life , one has to accept and learn how to challange and overcome it .
Thanks for another useful comment. You’ve packed a lot in a short space.
Nothing like a problem or a challenge to fire up a leader. The drive to find solutions is very powerful. Great point.
I also appreciate the “unlearning” part of your comment. All leaders fall into wrong thinking and behaviors that actually hinder rather than fuel success. It can be challenging but unlearning is part of that process. I think repeated “inconveniences” may indicates WE not THEY need to adjust.
My boss one time had someone that was frustrated every time she was late to a meeting. It was seen as disrespectful to not be on time.
I knew she was usually busy meeting someone’s emotional needs as well as their leadership needs, which can sometimes be an inconvenience time-wise.
I told her to tell the person “I manage things that are more important that just time.” along with her apology.
Thanks for stopping in and leaving your perspective. You are becoming a regular.
Your real life illustration brings up an inconvenient conundrum for me.
I was recently late for a conference call due to unforeseen circumstances. I passionately hate being late. On the other hand, if an “inconvenience may be an opportunity” … will occasional tardiness occur.
I wonder if meeting a person’s needs can be delayed till after the appointed meeting? I receive crisis call that– in the end, aren’t actually a crisis.
Meetings are among the most expensive things organizations do. Persistent tardiness is problematic. Of course you didn’t say he was persistently tardy in your comment. 🙂
You have my regards,
Very thoughtful Dan, I liked your way of analyzing your thoughts, I am also grateful to LF community of the valuable comments they dropped here.
Maybe the word inconvenience carry multiple perspectives, what comes to me is that leaders may choose to inconvenience themselves, when they serve for higher good, when they are passionate about making a contributing vision true, leaders learn much out of these situations and yes … they grow stronger to handle greater challenges.
Good leaders lead a life of effective impact by creating positive or even negative effect, sometimes people are inspired by happiness and feeling good about themselves, sometimes they may be more effectively inspired feeling the pain! I admit that making others feel the pain is more dangerous, we are not sure what the path of thinking they will take, either they choose to grow or they hold back, maybe one needs to consider the context and the emotional bank account one has built over the years before choosing the kind of impact!
Delighted to see you again. And very thoughtful right back at you.
Bringing up the idea of making others “feel the pain” is another dimension of serving others. Right, it’s more uncomfortable, perhaps its dangers, but it can be necessary. Obviously, repeated failure by those capable of more fits into the “feel the pain” context.
I hope things are going well with you.
We read stories of CEO’s who won’t accept salaries that are more than an arbitrary proportion higher than their lowest paid member. They probably are the ones with offices that have less physical barriers, so that the team can work together and they can remain in touch. These leaders are likely to (in my opinion) understand the inconveniences their staff face daily, and engage in diminishing them. I think it is the CEO’s who are physically separated from their staff, economically separated, and out of touch with the challenges faced in making their orgazations’ product, as well as willing to make a subordinate do tasks that make the leader’s life more “convenient” who are far beyond making opportunities out of inconvenience.
You may not remember…
the inconveniences you caused,
the conflicts you started,
the confusion your words created,
the repeated errors you made.
They will remember…
the amazing patience,
the overwhelming optimism,
the kind the words, the right words,
the positive regard in spite of the situation.
You may not remember,
being totally dependent, (were you not a baby once?)
being discombobulated, (will you be very old some day?)
They will remember,
your being totally there,
your humours, (and humor)
what you do, your energy behind the words,
your saving grace,
you…in those moments.