Here you are, thinking to step up and apply for a new role. You want to lead people. Maybe you’re already a natural leader. You discovered the power of synergy, you found that helping others to achieve bigger goals is so satisfying. You are ready. It is excellent and probably every industry our there is in need for good people leaders. In the end, it is the same experience as parents have when they help their kids to grow: unparalleled satisfaction, sense of accomplishment and legacy that every one of us wants to leave behind ourselves. Similarly to parenting, becoming a manager comes with a full package. Some things are not so glamorous, will make you occasionally frustrated and will test your decision of becoming the people leader almost every day.
We all have plenty of things to do every day. We need to work, and we want to cultivate our hobbies. Our families and friends require a quality time from us. It is interesting for those lucky ones who can work remotely. In theory, we have more time. Reality is – there are too many things to do every day. Unfortunately, staying fit is usually the first thing we give up when we try to decide on how to divide our precious time. The results could be fatal, so the question of how to stay fit when working remotely should be essential.
Do you know what the opposite of love is? Most people’s answer would be “hate” or “dislike”. The truth, however, is that the opposite of love is fear. If we fear someone, we will not be able to love this person. If we are afraid of something, it will consume all our energy and drain our thoughts towards the subject of our fears. In extreme cases, it will prevent us from thinking about anything else. It will paralyse our ability to move forward, loving other people or, in severe cases, live our lives to the full. Can we learn how to conquer our fears?
My younger daughter, who was “just” born, will start school this calendar year. I’ve been recently pondering on the fact that our kids grow fast. They don’t only grow but also learn a lot. However, we – parents – also grow with them. Every member of the family, despite the age, level of growth and development, they always give something to others. What parents and leaders can learn from children?
Some projects go pretty smooth. We see progress and reaching a goal is just a matter of well define time. Some plans are being dragged for months or even years. We don’t know where this thing is going, and what’s more, why we even bothered to start it. Usually, it is not because of the complexity, lack of resources or time. In these cases, we should look closer to the people who plan them and perform the execution of tasks. A few years back, I did an annual review and planning for the first time. I wanted to buy bicycles for my family. Easy? Well, It took me almost two years. Sip your coffee while I am going to share what happened.
It was during my one-on-one meeting with one of my engineers when the external screen went black. Then I realised I lost the audio too. I was already blaming technology, clicking various things on my laptop, when I spotted that more things were off. It was a power blackout in my home office. Obviously my laptop was still working thanks to battery, so it took me a while to realise that nothing else works. Work from home and power outage. What a combo!
It was early afternoon on Sunday. Typical British weather – sunny but quite chilly at the same time. We were just entering stairs leading to the footpath bridge connecting two big shopping centres. We were tired, annoyed and indeed exhausted physically and mentally. In halfway through the bridge, my wife told me that she couldn’t carry on. I thought she meant physical exhaustion, but it was something much bigger.
Natalie was in a fantastic mood. She woke up early morning and was doing her stretch routine. She ate a small breakfast and drove to the registration point. It was her dream. She had been preparing for this competition for a long time. She dreamed to be a professional rock climber. And here she was. She completed all admin routine and stood in front of the high hill where competition took place. Next, she went through her checklist for the last time, breathed deeply fresh air and started climbing. She didn’t know, she wasn’t going to finish this wall and in fact she would need to stop her career as a professional climber.
It was 2010. I was sitting in a quiet coffee shop in the main square in Gdańsk. The main purpose of the visit was to attend a workshop about how to be an effective leader in local communities. I was sipping coffee and reviewing my notes. At the time, almost everything was a revelation to me, especially the part on being heroic leader:
- be a protagonist – a person who creates reality
- it is so easy to be an antagonist
- a person who is in the best scenario – a passive observer of life,
- in the worst-case scenario – actively disturbing actions of the protagonist
- be a leader – everyone can be a leader – even on a very small area of influence
- do not wait for golden opportunity that are given you on a silver plate – make sure you extract the gold from casual situations
- read more on “Heroic Leadership” by Chris Lowney.
I was just holding the recommended book and reading the first chapter. The book that changed my approach to many things. It also shaped my choices in my life, in both: professional and private domains.