Make room for those who’ve let you down.

Chances are, you have a collection of those! If you’ve lived long enough, some people will have let you down in one way or another. Not that they mean to, but unless you have absolutely NO expectations for the people around you (A rare thing in the people I’ve come across in my lifetime!), you know exactly what I am talking about here.

Take my client this morning. She was complaining that one of the individuals on her team – exactly her nominee for “most likely to succeed” – just acted in a dishonest way that made her question what was going on. She felt hurt and “took it to heart”, she said. Feeling let down, she was considering never trusting this particular colleague again. So much for her hopes for the future of this person’s carreer! It was a dumb move to make and an awkward subject for both of them to discuss.  In a way, it seemed she might be covering up for someone else. It reminded me of the incident in Scent of a Woman (see my post at LeadChange Group later this week for more on that) and how I was unsure if the kid’s sense of loyalty was well placed. Still, he was acting according to what he thought was right, and just. He was simply being the kind of person he wanted to be in the first place. You have to respect that.

Otheresteem is all about acceptance. About moving past incidents where things are not exactly as they should be. How can this be done? For all the heartache and anger and fear that people bring out in each of us when they let us down, we still have a choice. We can accept what is. Protect ourselves only of what we need to and not throw out the baby with the bathwater. Is there no place for appreciation of someone who has proved less than perfect? Someone who did not live up to what we had expected?

Make room for those who have let you down. Be generous, if you may. Be kind, if you need to distance yourself from them. But always learn a lesson. Understand why that particular thing was so important to you. And if you can move beyond the fear, talk about it.

I told my client this morning that if she wanted to move forward and continue to build her collaborator’s potential as she had originally intended, she needed to do a few things.

First, set the record straight. Tell your truth. Listen to hers. Get the facts in line and the feelings on the table. Explain why this is important to you and tell her how you feel.

Then, lay out the groundwork for a different future. It can be something like: “This is NOT the way I want us to relate.” or “I really want this to work.” or “I will do everything I can to get this relationship back on track, and I would like you to do the same.”. There are many creative ways to set great expectations. The fallout is a wonderful time to practice the third aspect of otheresteem.

And last but not least, remember: Trust is yours to give. It is always an act of generosity and a risk to take. There is payoff for giving it as there is for retaining it. Choose wisely, but don’t fool yourself into believing that it is up to them to earn your trust. In the end, it’s about losing your own fear that things will go terribly wrong.


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Just How Much Inspiration?

I am sitting here asking myself that. Just how much inspiration can I get from sharing this idea with others? It seems to be limitless! I am inspired by people making the four practices their own and finding ways of engaging others in what they are doing. I am inspired by Susan Mazza who has my book on her night table and opens it up serendipitously every day to explore a different aspect to apply. I am inspired by the responses to the tip of the day and to #OtherEsteem Wednesday on Twitter. I am inspired by Mary Jo Asmus‘ blog post today and by Becky Robinson‘s heart!  By the sweet, loving presence of Randall Krause.  By Mark Hundley and his appreciation jars! By my friend, Socorro Muñoz and the women of the Junior League Mexico. By Lolly Daskal who first called it a movement. By Mike Henry Sr. and all the fellow instigators at LeadChange Group and by Jack King of Northfork Center for Servant Leadership who are bringing otheresteem into the lives of so many present and emerging leaders. By so many of my Twitter tribe, LinkedIN contacts, Facebook friends!  By my fellow Human Element practitioners. By each and every one of my clients and associates that so openly share their experiences with me. By my loving friends and family.

I could go on and on. The great thing is, I am also allowing myself to be inspired by people that I had not been able to understand before. By the very people whom I found difficult to appreciate in the past. Now that I am making a conscious effort to appreciate the good them I can see beyond what I used to criticize, into inspiring ways of thinking, of coping with hard choices, into creative solutions for their lives and mine.

Maybe its just that I am feeling so GOOD about yesterday’s airing of my interview with Roy Saunders and S. Max Brown of Real Recognition Radio! (You can catch it HERE). I am inspired to go on. To keep exploring ways to value others more and means to get other on board practicing the very same thing.

If we can touch each other this way, there is hope for the future. There is so much to look forward to. Can you feel it? Value others more and you will surely be inspired, too!

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Otheresteem for Leaders

Last week I had the great opportunity of attending Leaderpalooza! So many valuable people were there! Some that I have admired and appreciated for some time now, and some new to me and great to meet. A lot of what we were discussing, related to Character-based Leadership had to do with the notion that a great leader values people consistently! How else can a leader build more leaders if not by taking otheresteem from practice to art? So today, I want to explore a few ideas fitting for leaders of any sort, in any context. And yes, that means you! I know that some of you will question whether everyone is a leader (and we could definitely get into that someday), but consider this: if nothing else, be a leader at otheresteem and see where it takes you.

Here are a few practices true leaders engage in:

Upmost respect for their fellow human. Disrespect and mistreatment of others are not a part of leadership: not a necessary evil, and not a desireable trait. Leaders that understand this have a strong conviction that dignity is always to be protected. That means that they are mindful of how they challenge others to perform, how they treat people that they are letting go, how they face difficulties, how they stand up for what they believe in and how they confront bad behavior.

Actively appreciating people near and far to their core work. Leaders that go out of their way to thank people and make it a point of appreciating the things that people put in daily to their cause generate an honest, committed  and sincere following.

Expecting the best is exciting instead of coercive. Great leaders will expect the very highest of standards from others and themselves. They will see people as the potential they possess and entice them to reach their highest goals. They expect nothing less of people, but do so in a way that is consistent with their belief that it is others that will materialize their vision. When faced with shortcomings, they will take them as learning experiences on the path to greatness, and they will show others to do the same.

Deep Gratitude. Great leaders are grateful every day, every hour, every minute for the people around them and the opportunity to build things together. They know in their heart that nothing would be possible without their relationship to them. They treasure it and understand the power it brings to be shared and sacred.

That’s the spin I have seen leaders take to the four practices. I have witnessed each of these in admirable people I have had the privilege of knowing through my work and my life. What about you? Do you know leaders that experience others like this? Did I miss anything? I would love to hear your comments on this one!

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