Leadership Lessons: Confessions of the “Older Child”

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Leadership Lessons: Confessions of the “Older Child”

Chancletas and Leadership

I have a confession to make, I’m an older child! Yes, one of those annoying siblings that utterly hates when their stuff is touched, and even worse, when it’s misplaced from its designated location. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, it’s story time! I was reminded of this ridiculous complex this past weekend when my wife borrowed my beloved house sandals! Yes, I said my house sandals. I recalled her asking me the day before if I knew where HER sandals were, which I did not, and therefore as a punishment (I can only assume) the alternative was to abandon locating her own sandals and borrow mine instead. Now, I will pause here for a moment and point out the fact that I don’t mind my sandals being borrowed, in fact, I encourage it as I am utterly opposed to barefoot walking of any kind in our garage. My only request is that when you have finished borrowing…put them back! You can take them to the store, down the street to the mailbox, to the moon, and back for all I care, my only request is that once you are finished borrowing, kindly return them to the place where you found them. A simple request, right?

So you can imagine my displeasure the following day when I decided to take out the trash, (tying one of the best trash bows you’ve ever seen in your life might I add!) only to arrive at the garage door, where I usually leave my beloved sandals, only to discover that they were no longer there! [Insert angry older child spaz here please!] Where were they you might ask? Upstairs, totally misplaced beside the bed. I began murmuring under my breath (because you never quite know when your wife is within an earshot, take note fellas), how hard is it to put things back where you got them from?! On and on I griped, which made for a really therapeutic walk to the mailbox by the way. However, as I worked through all the ways to send my wife a photo of my misplaced sandals lol, that’s when it hit me!

Part of what makes a great leader is their ability to preserve the bigger picture, leading beyond their preferences. Sometimes that greater picture is the relationship at risk, preserving your emotional energy, your time, the chemistry of the team, and more! You see, although it may be difficult at times, taking our eyes off our preferences allows us to discover growth opportunities as leaders that will advance our influence. At the core of any transformational leader is someone who has had to perfect the art of pushing past their preferences. We all prefer to be happy, and we all prefer life not to come with so many challenging moments, or challenging people (some refer to this species as idiots), but the truth is, the more we perfect the ability to say “you know what, this isn’t what I prefer, but I’m going to lead anyway!”

That’s when we embark on a new level of leadership that will grant us new grounds of influence. So, the next time you find yourself suffering from that “older child” complex, or you feel like blowing up on that one person that gets under your skin. Reject that useless cycle even if you have the right to gripe, and instead, focus on mastering those nagging preferences with humility, compassion, and discipline. All because you have the bigger picture,  and the greater leader, in mind.

That’s the mentality of a Leader!

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