Wow. It’s amazing the impact that one person can have. It’s easy to forget how powerful we all are. Single-handedly, we can take an entire team down in flames, or inspire thousands worldwide to believe in themselves and make a positive difference in their world. This month I have witnessed both ends of the spectrum.
When I first met the “down-in-flames” leader, she didn’t make eye contact with me, her self-consciousness peeking out from behind her I’m-suppose-to-be-tough-exterior. With her team, she’s critical and condescending. When people bring her their ideas she shuts them down right away, without consideration. She doesn’t listen. She doesn’t ask questions. Recognition and appreciation are unheard of. Every person on her team believes to their very soul that she doesn’t care, that she was somehow born without a heart, and that her primary goal in life is to make them miserable. I know this to be untrue, but then again it’s much easier to be understanding and compassionate toward someone when you live in a different state! Senior leaders, for years, have made attempts to coach down-in-flames, to no avail. Team members threaten to leave regularly, but don’t. They stay, she stays, and nothing changes. It’s an openly hostile environment. Productivity? You’ve got to be kidding. Engagement? Ha! Imagine the cost! The impact one person can make is amazing.
Meanwhile, several thousand miles away, there’s a very different kind of impact being made.Read the rest of this entry »