My un-resume is my list of screw-ups. They are things I am not proud of.
Periodically I share my un-resume with the world. Most people who speak and consult on leadership are sure to present their successes to their clients. I’m doing something different.
Yes, I’ve had success through the years and received awards and recognition as a result. But rarely did my successes teach me as much as my failures. Rest assured, I’ve had plenty of opportunity to learn!
A New Team And A Bad Start
I hate to say it, but I did not do a good job when I took over the last team I led in my corporate life. I ignored many of the lessons I learned from taking over other teams. As a result of my poor leadership, the team struggled to launch.
I had a bad attitude that affected my team. As a result of a corporate restructuring, I had just let go 9 of the 12 people who reported directly to me. I had no voice in who got a pink slip, but I got “the opportunity” to deliver the news. On the day of the layoffs, I also received news of my new team.
3 Ways My Circumstances Affected My Attitude
1. I Avoided Connecting
I was walking with a limp after the lay-offs. As a result, I did not put forth my normal effort to get to know each of my direct reports. Unconsciously, I set up a wall that would allow me to lay people off in the future without the same emotional baggage.
2. I Checked The Boxes
I lacked passion when I met with my new team. I did a lot of the things I’d done in the past to build strong, united Low Maintenance Teams. But, I was just going through the motions and the team could sense that.
3. I Under-Communicated
My communications became very dry and task oriented. Again, my poor attitude prevented me from being as involved as I had in previous teams. I was less open and available to the people I was responsible for leading.
The results were a slow start. I had a team of talented and honorable people who did not get my best. I see now I was being a manager instead of a leader. But worse, I was acting that way out of self-pity. That is a confession I hate making.
The good news is I emerged over time and began leading again. I began to connect with and care about the people I was leading. The individuals started to feel part of a something bigger than themselves and a Low Maintenance Team emerged.
The Bottom Line:
As a leader I cannot allow myself to have a bad attitude. I believe attitudes are a choice. Unfortunately I was choosing to wallow in self-pity. I was thinking of myself instead of leading the people I was to serve.
Each new team is an opportunity to begin again. I didn’t like the way my old team ended, but I was now another team’s leader. I did not have the right to focus on myself. When I became a leader, I gave up that right and gained the obligation to put my team’s needs ahead of my desires or emotions.
As leaders, we will all face circumstances out of our control. They may even leave a scar. I allowed circumstances to control how I led. It is another entry on my un-resume. But, I am making the choice to not let it happen again.
What circumstances did you allow to control your attitude for too long?