Thursday, December 3

Giving Thanks for Courageous Leaders

I’ve learned that many client groups have a busy season.  Bakeries and ballet companies are entering their crazy-busy seasons now, while I am just wrapping up mine.  Many of my nonprofit clients have a “back-to-school” ethic, returning from summer vacation full of determination to live and lead better, thus driving my “busy season” from October through the first weeks of December.  (Of course, a whole other batch will get itchy in January and plan retreats for February and March.)  As I momentarily paused last weekend to break for Thanksgiving after returning from several back-to-back client meetings and events, I had time to reflect on all the clients in my life for which I am grateful.

I can describe them in one word: WOW! 

I can’t believe how fortunate I am to have the opportunity to work with such amazingly caring and talented people—from neuroscience nurses to bakery owners to national service leaders.  As I processed my experiences while traveling between groups, I concluded that perhaps the most valuable quality that nurtures such remarkable success for each group is the leadership in each organization/ association.  In particular, each of these groups have a leader who seeks hard feedback.  Not only do these leaders not flinch when they receive it—they actually WANT it!  And they listen without defensiveness, seeking to first understand, and then to explore positive alternatives.  I continue to learn so much about courage from these leaders, who have become partners and friends in our shared journeys. 

As you ramp up during the upcoming holidays, make sure you give yourself time to reflect, ask for feedback on how you’re doing, and express your appreciation to those who provide it.  Growth is nearly impossible without feedback on performance. As much as we all want to hear the good stuff, sometimes all it takes for a colleague to let go of a negative feeling or opinion is the chance to verbalize it and feel heard.  Thanks to the wonderful, courageous leaders who have modeled this behavior with their colleagues and with me.  You inspire me and I am grateful!

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