“Sometimes when we anticipate the worst in people, we destroy what is best.”
I have a tendency to worry. I expect things to go wrong so I look for ways to safeguard against significant systems failing, material mistakes being made, hidden reefs that could rip out the bottom and sink the ship I captain. I have been entrusted with the livelihoods of many people, and with the homes of literally tens of thousands of Customers. It is a fiduciary duty I take very seriously.
Yet, as a leader, I define a major portion of my job as bringing out the best in people. The power of praise is great but I do not want to be the dispenser of false flattery and empty promises. I have seen too many so-called leaders blissfully lead their organizations down blind alleys, into dead ends, off into the desert, and even over the precipice.
So how do I balance these tasks? Protect home, hearth, and paychecks against harm, threats, and disaster including human failure, all the while being a champion of those I lead?
It is a skill I am eternally learning and re-learning: how to be a positive change agent, a messenger of hope and of a better tomorrow, while protecting against the downside.
“Sometimes when we anticipate the worst in people, we destroy what is best.” I saw this phrase and it resonated with me. And I share it with you in part so that I might remember it better and apply it more often, with greater aptitude.
We create our own reality with much greater frequency and power than we may realize. So if we are going to create self-fulfilling prophecies, it behooves us to make them positive. Let us continually call out to the best in others and in ourselves.
This does not mean we allow ourselves to be naive or repeat victims. Rather it means that we believe in people and their ability to adhere to high standards and to fulfill their greatest potential. We do not bottleneck the many for the few. We are cheerleaders!
And I continue to teach what I most want to learn.