Is your life perfect? If so, please stop reading because this article is not for you… Still there? I thought so. Me too. The reason we’re both still reading is that our lives are not perfect. Maybe on the best of days, things seem pretty good. The sky is clear. The sun is out. The humidity is low. Our stock investments are up. We’ve made a good grade or received a great performance evaluation at work. Our favorite team just beat their arch rival. We heard an inspiring message at church. Our spouse surprised us with a neck rub and dinner at our favorite restaurant. O snap, I forgot to mention that we won the lottery to top off our “perfect” day.
In all seriousness, we don’t have lives that are perfect. Things don’t always go our way. Sometimes we miss the mark. Sometimes we fail. Sometimes we suffer. This is true for us as individuals and it is true of organizations as well. The organizations may be a large multi-national corporation or a small family. It doesn’t matter. There are moments, days or seasons of failure when things aren’t going our way.
What do you do when this happens to you (or to your organization)? Do you give in, despair, throw in the towel or quit? Hopefully, this isn’t the case. Hopefully you persevere and keep striving. Hopefully you regain your form and achieve your goals as an organization despite momentary, if real, setbacks.
Something that will help you as an individual (and your organization) is having people around you who demonstrate “leadership sunshine.” These are people (hopefully you’re one of them) encourage others. These are people who maintain a positive outlook in the midst of the storm. These are people who bring positive energy to you and to your organization.
The world is full of naysayers and sourpusses. There are many who will criticize, pull you down and stomp your dreams. If you’re not careful, these pessimists can suck the energy right out of you. Please don’t let them! Keep your focus. Keep your confidence. And make sure your organization has some leaders who are willing to share their sunshine with others, including you.
Be sure to hire, promote, shape and encourage the encouragers. Those who regularly exhibit leadership sunshine are rare and valuable. Agree? … Yes, these leaders may occasionally sing “Kumbaya” but who cares. Even the toughest of us needs love and encouragement. Even the toughest organization needs to have leaders who can bring the sunshine.
Anyone can bring the clouds. Anyone can cause strife and trouble. Anyone can perpetuate peer pressure. Anyone can sow the seeds of doubt. But if you want to stand out, make a difference, be a leader (a hero!) and make a true impact to those around you, spread some sunshine. Encourage others. Support the organization. Don’t gossip about others. Look for the best in your family, your colleagues and your friends. Find positive behaviors to reinforce. Go against the flow when it’s the “right” thing to do. Help others. Smile. Be a friend. Work hard. Give your best to yourself and those around you. Go the extra mile. Don’t cut corners.
Spreading leadership sunshine isn’t just about words. It’s not flattery. It’s not bribery. It’s not insincere. Rather leadership sunshine is looking for things that going right and highlighting those. It’s about working hard to overcome and correct current obstacles while believing a better future state is possible. Leadership sunshine is about being willing to give credit to others and having confidence in yourself. Leadership sunshine doesn’t put others down but rather lifts them up.
Come on now be honest. Who doesn’t want to be the recipient of some leadership sunshine? Who doesn’t like to be genuinely encouraged and supported? If you like to receive these things, then role model them for others. Will every day be perfect? No. But if you and enough others are willing to be courageous and demonstrate leadership sunshine, then on one of your rare bad days, someone can pick you up (and vice-versa). It’s what teamwork is all about.
For me, the sunflower is a symbol of sunshine. It’s colorful. It’s vibrant. It’s alive. This week (or even for the rest of your life), take the sunflower as a symbol of your leadership. As a symbol of how you’ll interact and lead those at home in your family, at work and in the community at large. Good luck. Let me know how it goes.
Are you an encourager? Do you have an encourager in your life? How do you bring leadership sunshine into your organization? Your family? Your marriage? Your community? Your school? Your city?
As always, the floor is open to your comments, suggestions, thoughts, and feedback.
Dr. Robert Gerwig is an agent of change and is able to balance the needs of the business and the needs of people. Dr. Gerwig believes and practices the values of performance and delivery of business metrics while simultaneously developing and growing people into leaders. You can contact him at RobertGerwig[at]LeadStrategic.com.
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