If you are a country music fan, you may have started humming the Tim McGraw song Humble and Kind, after reading the title of this post. One of the biggest delights of music for me is when I gain inspiration from the tune. I like when the lyrics I sing along to remind me of priorities or present new perspectives.
I have said it on more than one occasion and I will say it again: Everyone is a leader. This series of blogs has been about helping all of us find the courage to lead and become more accomplished leaders. There is a verse in McGraw’s record Humble and Kind I want to highlight:
“Don’t expect a free ride from no one.
Don’t hold a grudge or a chip and here’s why
Bitterness keeps you from flyin’
Always stay humble and kind.”
All leadership begins with each of us being willing to act and not wait. There are lots of reasons why people wait…such as waiting to be told, waiting for permission, and waiting for someone else to go first and be the one to take the risk. In essence, waiting is the same as a free ride. We each need to act on our passion, from our knowledge and our skills to do what is right when it needs to be done. Terrible things can happen while someone waits, both in and outside of the work environment.
All leaders make mistakes. You may be someone who suffered from a mistake. Hopefully most mistakes are small as they tend to be more easily forgiven. All good leaders feel bad when they make a mistake. So let the mistakes go, expect better next time, and express that belief. A chip on your shoulder is a heavy burden for yourself and co-workers. If you are carrying the past or are waiting around, you will be held to the ground. Your giftedness will never fly tethered to the past.
If you believe the best of people, it helps if you forgive yourself when you are the leader who made a mistake. And when you pass on forgiveness to others, they will feel the relief through kindness.
In the book, Turn the Ship Around, David, the captain of the submarine, is clear about his mistakes. He expresses his humility by telling us the truth about them. He needs to step in a few times to change processes which are simply not kind. In changing the way he is viewed as a leader, other leaders excelled. They could fly. Some got promoted and built a career off of what they loved. Those who were once struggling before he arrived achieved more than they could have imagined.
There will always be a destination, outcomes we are accountable to achieve. And we will only do that successfully if we can always be humble and kind.