Want to lead? Listen to me (and her, and him, and…)

By Daryl Geffken/SpokaneFAVS.com

I broke my own principle yesterday. And as a result, my relationship with one of my sons spiraled into a deep pit of frustration and combat.

Some of you know these days: the cumulative effect of numerous buttons pushed, where punitive consequences are doled out by the minute for the myriad of “bad choices” displayed. By the end of the day, you can get so nitpicky of your child’s behavior that you’re actually looking for them to cross the line.

Unfortunately, I abandoned a practice that generally helps me in moments like these.

“Help me understand” is a trigger phrase that I have grown to appreciate over time. Some people know if I start a question with the words, “Help me understand…,” that I’m genuinely and deeply ticked off. In such moments, I need something that can help me redirect my anger, and hopefully help me approach the situation in a more transformative way. The phrase “help me understand” carries the reminder that I don’t possess all knowledge; that I am a learner and that I hope to be a servant of people.

The idea of the leader as servant is rooted in the far-reaching ideal that people have inherent worth, a dignity not only to be strived for, but beneath this, a dignity irrevocably connected to the reality of being human. Great leaders care for and genuinely empathize with those around them. They see their value and treat them with humility and hope.Margaret Wheatley lauded leaders who are servants first as unique in their ability to respect “what it means to be human.” Servant leaders identify with others: their aim is to have empathy for the lives of people.

 Read full post here.
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