What does it take for us to look deep within?
One way I’ve discovered is to ask these questions. What do you think you have to own in order to be OK? What do you think you need to look like to others for you to feel OK about yourself? What do you consider most valuable in life?
Sometimes it takes a face to face contact with another person’s reality to help answer those questions. I recently joined my husband in delivering meals to vulnerable seniors, many of whom are in their eighties and nineties.
Frankly, I was shocked by the poor living conditions, repelled by the unwashed stench, the forgotten trash and dirty clothing, the over-all neglect in evidence around some. Yet each one at some point in their lives contributed to our world in some way. Perhaps it was through parenting, a career, being a volunteer, or just being a friendly neighbor.
After contemplating all this, I was deeply struck by the utter and complete dependence on others that their generally enfeebled condition required. Each one of us will probably face that same level of dependence at some point in our life.
One of the most important – perhaps the most important — leadership characteristic one can learn is that each one of us is dependent on others. We live in an inter-dependent world, especially in the workplace. Taking that realization deep inside is critical to our growth as people and as leaders. Living this insight will have longstanding personal benefits. Taking that same realization of interdependence to your job as a humble leader serving others benefits your entire organization.