As a small child, my daughter learned a variety of bad words, and one of them was related to ‘yielding.’ One day, at three years old she came home quoting her father…”$#!%* drivers!” Apparently her dad was expressing his frustrations with the yield sign on the local highway bypass. While this kind of ‘yielding’ had a more immediate and negative consequence, there really are many more (positive) opportunities to yield during any given day; but they are sometimes harder to see, and even harder than merging onto the bypass.
Sometimes we need to yield our strong resolve about being right, and in those moments we just might discover a better solution; one that is faster and leaves people feeling better about themselves, and as a result—better able to serve others. Oh boy, when we get introspective— we start to see that sometimes our old methodology was pretty flawed. When yielding in any situation, we must be willing to first listen and open ourselves to trying other ways.
At one point in my professional career, the agency where I worked decided to transform into something community oriented, and the old sheltered workshop model would be replaced. We asked one of the parents, Mary, to serve on the planning committee. Mary more-or-less joined the committee to try and stop the process; the workshop was a safe place for her son Anthony. She confessed that she believed when she validated why the workshop needed to stay, that the agency would change its mind. Mary told her son Anthony that she joined the committee, but left out why. Anthony thanked her, and shared that he was very excited about the change. He really wanted to get a job. Mary was shocked. Anthony had worked previously and quit— upset over people who had been mean to him; but he was ready to give it another try. Mary yielded; if Anthony wanted to try again, she would be his leading supporter.
Sometimes we need to yield and let those we have taught and trained, take their new skills for a spin. Let them practice and let them fail— even if that’s what it takes to promote learning. We need to give people a chance to succeed and be prepared to help them again if they get stuck; or celebrate with them when things goes well.
We also need to sometimes yield the floor to those who need recognition, even when we may be equally or even more deserving of praise or recognition. In those situations, we may need to step back to allow someone else to shine. Every opportunity to yield involves a selfless motive and a willingness to wait. As you look to the year ahead —ask yourself do I have to have my way all the time? Are you willing to yield?