Tag Archives: Creating Future

Rising Above Adversity

As I read all the information about the life on Nelson Mandela one thing that struck me was his ability to forgive and move forward.  After spending years in prison he emerged and embraced his oppressors when he was elected to office.  He went out of his way to bring the two sides of South Africa together to create a new unified future for that country.  His legacy will live forever.

The lesson for us as leaders is that we can rise above adversity by being willing to let go of the hurt and bitterness.  There will be people who oppose our ideas and actions.  This leads to arguments and heated battles.  Often these workplace battles leave people hurt and bitter.  As leaders we must repair these rifts and heal the pain.  When we set aside our own pain we can move forward to create new opportunities.  By working with our opponents to find a new ways to work together we create a better and stronger future for our organizations.

The challenge is finding ways to build a bridge that will allow you to collaborate in the future.  Here are some ways to take those first steps forward:

  • Let go of bitterness:  Hanging onto your anger, hatred or bitterness will keep you stuck in that ugly place of hostility.  Let it go to open the doors for a better tomorrow.
  • Look for common ground:  There are things that you and people who oppose you have in common.  Find those items to start building a future that benefits both.
  • Acknowledge their perspective:  You don’t have to agree with or even like other’s perspectives on issues; however they have a right to their feelings and opinions.  Be willing to acknowledge their thoughts without accepting them as yours.  A great phrase is “I can see you feel strongly about….”  That shows your willingness to listen to them.
  • Extend the olive branch:  Be first to reach out to others to mend rifts and resolve disagreements.  Your willingness to find a way to move forward can help them open up to you.
  • Be sincere:  Make sure that in all you do you are sincere in your efforts to build a better future.  Doing it just to look good will be obvious.  When you sincerely want to improve the situation it will ring true and people will be more willing to work with you.

The key to all of this is to be true to yourself and your ideals while honoring and accepting the ideals of others.  When you embrace your opponents you can create a new environment where everyone feels included and will work towards the same goals.  By consistently and sincerely reaching out to others you become someone everyone admires, even when they don’t agree with everything you say or do.  You show you are working towards the good of all, not just a few.  Nelson Mandela changed the world by doing just that quietly, consistently and sincerely.  He held firm to his beliefs and welcomed those who opposed and oppressed him resulting in a stronger and better society.

What could you accomplish if you rise above adversity and embrace your opponents?

As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison. ~ Nelson Mandela


Filed under Leadership, Personal Development

Developing the Team Sets the Stage for the Future

Do you want your team to be more productive, deliver better products, and increase profitability?  Sure most of us want that from our team, so how are you going about getting there?  One often overlooked tool is to provide training and development to your team.  Provide development opportunities for everyone and the company will benefit and be set to grow.

Many of the typical training and development programs are focused on task related skills which help the employee do their tasks better and often has very visible results in their performance.  Reducing mistakes and rework, or increasing through put are tangible benefits of training.  However, the developing of people is a bit less tangible but equally valuable to the organization.  Here’s why:

  1. Increase employee loyalty.  People who have been given the opportunity to grow within their current organization are more likely to feel a deeper connection and will be more loyal to the company.
  2. Improves work environment.  When people feel valued at work they are happier to be there and the workplace becomes more positive in atmosphere.  This in turn increases employee satisfaction with their jobs.
  3. Increases innovation.  Innovation comes from new ideas and when people feel valued and that their input is important they will be more engaged in finding new ways to do things – spurring innovation.
  4. Improves organizational flexibility.  If employees are given the opportunity to improve their skills, both technical and interpersonal, then they will be more capable when new opportunities require them to do new things.  This will help the organization adapt more quickly in a changing world.

Some of these can be hard to measure but will show up in employee turnover, customer and employee satisfaction survey results.  When employees are excited about being there they will get more done, with better quality, and they will stay within the company reducing the need to hire and train new people regularly.

One important piece of making this really work is as a leader you must be personally engaged in training and development.  Not only development of your employees, but of yourself.  It is critical that people seeing the senior members of the company learning new skills, new technology, or whatever will help your organization grow.  This sets the tone that yours is a learning culture and everyone benefits by learning.  Nothing is more discouraging than the message that “employees” need developing not “managers”. 

Times are still tough and yet there is the start of a positive turn in business.  To take advantage of this, companies need to be flexible and quickly adapt to new opportunities.  Preparing your team by providing training and development will help them meet the new challenges the future brings.

How have you developed your team?  What have you done to develop your own skills and abilities?


Filed under Leadership, Team Building