How to Forget Like a Leader
Lousy leaders remember what they should forget and forget what they should remember.
The power of the past is the permission you give it to influence the present.
You expected someone to step up but they fell short.
- “They’re really good, but ….” (Insert negative experience.)
- “He gets things done. But Oh! The drama.”
- “She’s a nitpicker.”
- “He drifts.”
- “She smiles, nods, and then does it her way.”
- “He always has to be right.”
- “She won’t act without permission.”
Lousy leaders weigh events and tag people with negatives. Bad is more memorable than good.
When someone persistently fails, after clear direction and equipping, they have the wrong responsibilities. Your ignorance of someone’s capacity combined with their sincere desire to do well are a bubbling fiasco.
Lousy leaders create anxiety and doubt when they circle a negative past.
5 ways to forget:
- Don’t try to forget. Active forgetting is recall. The more you try to forget something, the more you establish the memory.
- Overcome the magnetism of fixing people. The pursuit of excellence is pressing forward while forgiving the past.
- Reassign people. Patterns of failure in sincere people are about competence. They’re doing the wrong things.
- Don’t use patterns of failure to motivate. “You always screw this up,” doesn’t inspire.
- Judge people by what they could do, not what they didn’t – their future, not their past.
5 things to remember:
- Lessons learned. In your one-on-ones, ask people what they’re learning.
- Commitments made. Clarify what matters.
- Strengths exercised. “You’re at your best when ….”
- Desired outcomes. The end is near when memories overshadow dreams.
- Hard work, even if results disappointed.
Leaders never succeed by magnifying, fixing, or rejecting the past.
Successful leaders make the past a platform, not an anchor.
How might leaders remember things that propel teams/people into the future, not the past?