After forty years of speaking to audiences and writing more than seventy books, John Maxwell is widely acknowledged to be a leadership guru. He makes us believe that we too can become leaders.
What’s even more exciting is that his message isn’t directed solely at managers and executives. It is applicable to each of us regardless of our starting point or whether we occupy a box on some org chart. His success strategy message is accessible to all of us. His website offers a combination of free and paid resources and includes a blog. A quick reading of some of his quotes reveals an open acknowledgement of the role of God in his life and how it guides his actions.
His words for us are both aspirational and inspirational. Cynics may think that the words we tell ourselves are neutral. The truth is they can either help or harm us. Who among us hasn’t been knocked flat by some of the destructive or inaccurate crap we tell ourselves, often on an endless loop or in stereo 24/7?
Maxwell says, “Learn to say no to the good so you can say yes to the best,” “A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them and strong enough to correct them,” and “successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary on their desires to reach their potential.”
Another quote (not Maxwell?s) asks how we can soar with the eagles when we’re surrounded by turkeys. Perhaps Maxwell’s questions when someone doesn’t perform well are kinder and more useful in the long term. Maybe when we feel like eagles we need to ask whether our co-worker/friend/partner:
– Is out of their league, and not up to the job or responsibility?
– Is out of position, in the wrong job?
– Is out of their comfort zone, in a bad environment?
– Is beyond their understanding, not properly trained?
Maybe then we can be more compassionate or direct resources to help both the person and the situation. Trust me, I know this isn’t easy. Most of us have enough trouble getting through the day and our own responsibilities. How can we invest time and positive energy into helping someone else who is mightily ticking us off? It’s easier and perhaps more satisfying to complain, gossip about it, point fingers, and wring our hands. We need to resist the urge.
We need to be as honest as we can. We need to try to get help for the organization and ourselves. We need to “work the system” and follow protocol and chain of command. We need to give it our best shot.
Only then can we decide if saving ourselves is the only answer. That may mean leaving the company or relationship. Not all situations can be salvaged. Sometimes for our own health and sanity we need to cut our losses and move on. Even Maxwell would understand, from where I sit.
Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites..