Break Through

For leaders, relationships are not always easy.  When people are genuinely striving together, friction happens.  And it often seems that you, the leader, are the cause of the friction.

You push for change.  You push for better.  You push for faster.  In general, you can be associated with discomfort, because most folks are most comfortable where they are today.  And to lead, you're trying to take them to a new place: tomorrow.

In the striving, sometimes distrust develops.  Your people may wonder whether you actually care about them, or see them as simply a means to an end.  This week is a good time to counteract that.

In the US and Canada, we have this handy little holiday called Thanksgiving.  (It's a minor blip that must be a nuisance for retailers hellbent on making the second half of the year into one big Hallow-Christmas.)  But it's the perfect excuse to break through. 

It gives us a reason to talk about things we're thankful for... without seeming too weird.  And what if one of those "things" was a person you work with?  Who works for you?

It's a powerful thing to be told, "Hey, I don't say it much, but I really am grateful for the chance to work with you." And it allows for all kinds of deeper connection without necessarily resolving the friction.

"I know we really can rub each other the wrong way, but I see how much you care about this stuff, and I'm glad for it."

"I was thinking about how much you do that we don't have to worry about, and I'm grateful for that."

"You're pushing me to be better, you're pushing us all to be better.  I'm thankful for that."

If you're elsewhere in the world, there are other days for giving thanks.  Take advantage.  In fact, any day could be the right day to make that connection with someone.  It might just carry you both through the next year of striving.