Here’s the email I sent to leaders in our community this past Monday:
Last week, we thought about football, acts of leadership and managing self. This week, I want to think about managing self by “knowing your strengths, vulnerabilities and triggers.” What led me to think about this was a meeting I was in organizing a board meeting in our community and something was said that “triggered” a response from an individual. I didn’t think anything of it, but this person came to me later apologizing for how their reaction had affected the meeting. I reassured them that I didn’t think it was an issue, but it did get me thinking about leadership and responses in our community.
I wonder how many acts of leadership are hijacked in our community because we don’t know our triggers and manage ourselves. Again, an illustration from my life was how a major trigger for me was when we would seem to be making progress on an issue and one person would say, “Let me play the devil’s advocate.” I would get very irritated at this and sometimes even quip back, “Remember whose team you’re on when you advocate something the devil would like us to think about.” I thought this was clever and especially loaded to get my way in the church context I work in. The only problem was it didn’t help our leadership team make progress on the issues we care about. My inability to manage myself and deal with my trigger(s) was hindering my leadership capabilities. Thankfully, I’ve been able to make some progress on this issue by admitting it’s a trigger to those I serve with and, having reassurance that we are united on purpose, have been able to see the benefit of “having the other side of an issue presented.”
So, what is that trigger for you? Name it. Admit it to those you serve with. And, begin to manage yourself by realizing that you are a most effective leader when your triggers are acknowledged. Hoping that you see much benefit in this approach this week…