How to Show Up as Your Best Self Today
Leaders are too concerned about doing everything right.
Focus on showing up as your best self if you aspire to do things right.
Justifications for worst-self leadership:
#1. Burning hair.
You can’t bring your best self when everything’s a crisis and you’re perpetually over-committed.
- Work on getting enough sleep.
- Practice breathing.
- Learn how to prioritize. (That’s code for saying no.)
#2. It’s not my fault.
Lousy leaders figure out who to blame if things go wrong. Evil leaders figure out who to blame BEFORE things go wrong.
Weasel-leaders put others in the spotlight when success is uncertain. But when uncertainty turns to certainty, weasel-leaders step from the shadows.
- Adopt a growth mindset. Read, “Mindset,” by Carol Deweck.
- Ask, “What will we do differently next time?”
- Provide regular progress reports to higher ups.
#3. Poor me.
Short-sighted leaders justify half-heartedness with, “They don’t appreciate me.”
Don’t wait for a pat on the back to bring your best self to work.
- Pat everyone on the back.
- Show gratitude everywhere you go.
#4. It’s not fair.
Generosity – met with stinginess – generates stinginess in half-hearted leaders.
Don’t let others control your life.
- Never let the faults of others be an excuse for half-heartedness.
- An open hand takes you further than a closed fist.
- Read, “Give and Take,” by Adam Grant.
#5. Boo Who.
Someone took advantage of you and you responded with self-protective half-heartedness. You can’t give half-hearted effort and expect whole-hearted results.
- Draw a line in the sand and start again. Bitterness is a short-term strategy.
- Keep good records.
Bring your best self because it’s who you are.
Frame the path forward through the lens of learning, not life or death.
Enthusiasm, curiosity, and optimism matter more than getting everything right, unless you’re a brain surgeon or an airline pilot.
How might leaders bring their best selves to imperfect organizations?
5 Ways to Bring Your Best and Whole Self to Work (RBC)
How to Bring Your Whole Self to Work (Berkeley)
10 Ways to Bring Your Whole Self to Work, Even When You’re Having a Bad Day (Conscious Company)
“Enthusiasm, curiosity, and optimism matter more than getting everything right, unless you’re a brain surgeon or an airline pilot.”
This is going on the office bulletin board at some point! Thanks. Very encouraging.
My pleasure, R Davis.
Assume positive intent
Focus on what’s working
Add value wherever you can
Thanks Paul. You’re more concise than I am!!
“Be Prepared” doing right is knowing what your doing and why you’re doing it. Doing wrong can be that we don’t know as much as we think and need to learn more? Never stop learning!
Learning to make things work for all, not just oneself.
Keeping things simple when possible.
Know yourself and your staff, expectations, capabilities, and limits.
Thinks Tim. Great stuff. You brought back my Boy Scout days with “Be Prepared.” 🙂
The leaders that thrive are constantly learning. Leaders who struggle think they already know.
Is it possible for normal people (i.e. not saints) to meet perpetual ingratitude with continuous generosity? Or is that like trying to put out a fire by adding fuel, and all you will do is increase the expectations of the ungratefully even further?
Thanks Mitch. Wonderful question. No! we can’t thrive apart from gratitude over the long-term. The danger is using the ingratitude of others as an excuse to be ungrateful ourselves. It’s hard to see how foolish this approach it when we feel under-appreciated.
Cultivate a friend who expresses gratitude.
Perhaps ask each other, “What are you proud of?” Respond to someone who shares something they are proud of with, “Congratulations. I see xyz in you as well.”
My best Self tells me that learning IS existential, a matter truly of the quality of life and an appreciation of the possibility of death.
I want my bus driver to bring Sully’s excellence to her routine, and steady hands and nerves at the helm of the mission I’ve committed to. Their curiousity is a given.
Their optimism and enthusiasm is secondary to my trust. Like a fire, these things can get out of hand and pick up too much speed; I need to know where the firebreaks and runaway ramps are.
Excellence and calm are more important to being right and doing the least wrong.
Again, curiousity (about what can go wrong as well) is a given; to leaders, managers and rank and file alike.
Thanks for jumping in Rurbane. Nothing like a time limit to help us stay open to new opportunities.
You may undervalue optimism and enthusiasm. It’s pretty hard to trust an unenthusiastic pessimist. In addition, those types aren’t learners.
I don’t value unenthusiastic pessimists, it’s just that excellence and calm are primary to genuine trust over optimism and enthusiasm, IMHO.
BTW, another scout’s ethic, “Always leave a place better than you found it,” is one that seems to have slipped from common demeanor.
Excellent stuff, I must admit I enjoyed these short advice; though I signed up.
Thanks so much.
Papua New Guinea.
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Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’ve been stuck in a rut of “self-protective half-heartedness”. This was exactly what I needed to read to begin to lift myself out of it.
Best wishes, KO. Thanks for leaving an encouraging note.
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