Driving Energy – Release the Past

Friends, 

I’ve enjoyed talking to all sorts of groups about my book Everyday Leadership: Getting Results in Business, Politics and Life.  It’s confirmed for me that there is a certain consistency about leadership principles.  In just the last two weeks I’ve had engaging conversations with a very diverse group of audiences — architects and Rotarians, cyber-educators and energy providers.  Most fun for me, each audience teaches me.  I was surprised at a point the architects amplified last week.  

I talked to them about energy and how to unleash it.  I came to a point I usually touch upon quickly:  Release the past!  I speculated that everyone in that room had someone on their team who had messed up something, and that each one of my listeners was to some degree holding onto that past.  What surprised me was their response when I asked the admittedly leading question: “Don’t you think that when you’re still holding on — disappointed or angry with them — that they will know it – whether you think you’re communicating it or not?”  The overwhelming response was, “of course.”  If I’d had a meter to gauge their level of agreement with the question it would have touched on 85%.  Sometimes I say things that I think I know intuitively.  Sometimes audience response tells me, “You have something there . . . but not much.”  This time, I clearly hit something . . . and then some. 

So let me finish the point, and please comment on this blog about the degree to which I am on to something.  People make (what we think are) mistakes.  When we don’t engage them, or we engage but still feel unresolved, we tend to carry the indictment, frustration, even anger.  And then we communicate it in smirks, avoidances, preferences for other players on the team, sarcasm, or defeatingly low expectations of the offender. 

And the prescription is . . . ?  If there’s something to say, say it.  Get as much resolution as you can, take appropriate action.  AND MOVE ON.  If you hold onto negative feelings and expectations, you will unconsciously and perhaps consciously, create more of the same.  You have to be prepared for and expect their best if you hope to, 

Lead with your best self, 

Dan