Do you know the one thing that diminishes a leader’s energy more than anything else?
As in, they won’t let us do that . . . they don’t understand . . . they just made our job more difficult. All of these things may be true, however do you feel the depletion of energy, almost like a reverse battery, with each successive “they?” When you focus on they, or them, you give away your power. As a result, you feel ever more confined by the box of something you can’t control.
I’m not suggesting that you should deny the reality of the situation. I am, however, challenging you to shift your focus. “I understand we are being told we can’t do that. And here is how we are going to respond” . . . “There seems to be a lack of understanding about this. How can we help bridge the gap?” Do you feel the difference in energy? They statements are the equivalent to throwing your hands up. They becomes the reason you quit trying. I or we statements are about action. I or we remind you, and everyone on your team, that you have a choice. It may not be an easy choice, or a popular choice, but you have a choice. You can affect the outcome. And that is energizing.
Never make the solution to a challenge something outside your control. Doing so makes you a victim to circumstance . . . feel your energy draining away? “Oh poor me” never accomplished anything important. In fact, it shrinks you down smaller and smaller with each retelling of the tale (and, oh how we like to repeat our tales of woe). If you feel yourself in that spot . . . stop, take an energizing breath, and focus on how we are going to respond. You don’t have to have all the answers, but you can choose to take a step.
Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl noted that, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” In that space lies your energy as a leader. Don’t stop short. Don’t stop at they. Your people need you to get to the we — that is how you grow, and how you expand your influence as a leader and as an organization.
They are always going to be there. Will you let them deplete your energy, or will you step forward and recharge your leadership? The choice is yours.