Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Servant Leadership Practice--Teach Resilience

When I play tennis, it's not unusual that I double-fault in the first game when I serve. I have been known to give away 3 points with double-faults. When it only takes 4 points for the other team to win, this makes quite an uphill battle. However, much to the relief of my doubles partner, I bear down, focus on getting the groove, and win some points. Most of the time, my partner and I manage to put together points to win those games, but it's tough-going.

In business, there can be many similar mistakes: miscalculations on project estimates that cost the company some, or a lot of, money; a bit of inattention that causes a week's worth of materials to be wasted; delays in answering calls that frustrate customers to the point of leaving to the competition. Nobody likes making mistakes. Nobody likes contributing to a failure. Everyone wants to be part of a success. Like many leaders, I believe no one wakes up thinking of ways to sabotage the company. However, many of our employees wake up demoralized at yesterday's mistakes, perhaps even believing that they can't get it right.

When our team is down, that's when we need to dig in and focus on their success. Look for the objective and find the path there. Encourage ourselves to get small victories on the road back to recovery. Celebrate those small victories, building to bigger ones...Reclaim one more customer, solve one little problem, get one more accurate estimate...

Don't let anyone do it alone. Get support for people, support for yourself to build those relationships. Build collaboration networks.

Today, find someone who has failed recently. If he or she is down and doubting their abilities, find something to celebrate. Remind them of their past successes for them to build on.

For C12 and Truth@Work members, the Bible is full of failures, lots of people whom God could have/should have given up on: Abraham, Moses, Aaron, Jacob, David, Jesus' disciples. He stays faithful. And encouraging by putting in front of us our ability, the doing-the-impossible, the promise through our relationship with Him. Pick your favorite failure in the Bible and read how God has redeemed that person to make them our hero.

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