A client feels his life and business is under attack. Upon further investigation, there was indeed a curse against the business and his life. His business was becoming quickly commoditized, market share had eroded, costs were escalating, traditional marketing wasn’t generating the expected ROI, employee morale was low, and employees openly expressed doubt, talking negatively about their co-workers, service delivery, and degraded market opportunities. His employees, suppliers, and customers seem to have conspired, cursing his future prospects. This leader had become openly frustrated with his employees, suppliers, and customers and talked negatively about them. He, in effect, cursed his employees. It was an endless cycle of despair resulting in a sequential erosion of a formerly vibrant business.
Negativity, slander, accusation, malicious gossip, triangulation, and words spoken in anger empower a cycle of despair and create a toxic organizational culture. In these situations, leaders fail to discern the oppressing and cascading impact their beliefs, thoughts, words, and actions have on the greater good. These curses have a negative and destructive impact on the organization, the lives they serve, and also have a negative impact on the one who curses.
Great leaders develop defenses against the impact of a curse directed against them and their organizations. They also deeply understand the destructive cycle in cursing others. Cursing others causes a boomerang effect, often causing self-inflicted oppression through your own curse, leaving you more vulnerable to the curses of others. In order to effect change, the leader must break this cycle and lead through example.
The best and most resilient leaders aren’t DEFINED by change, input, feedback, and adversity but are rather REFINED through varied experiences. These leaders reject passivity, accept responsibility, lead courageously, and confidently expect to be rewarded.
Cursed leaders become defined by their circumstances and approach change, adversity, and opportunity with negativity. Breaking the curse requires a paradigm shift in thinking and approaching life through a lens of refinement. When confronted with adversity, change, or (negative) feedback, great leaders ask of themselves (and their teams):
What can I learn from this situation that can help our organization better serve our internal and external customers?
What do I own in this situation and how might I more effectively address the gap between the current and ideal outcome?
Have I fully understood the macro and micro dynamics of the situation and may I be missing something to facilitate a better outcome?
What can I learn from this negative feedback? (Great leaders understand they can learn more from their adversaries, as they’ll receive more candid feedback.)
Did I reflectively listen and state the other parties’ vantage point back to them to confirm a deeper understanding of the issues and concerns they have?
Have I brought the sponsors and stakeholders together to solicit their collective wisdom in creating alternative solutions?
Have I taken the appropriate time to understand the other party’s core decision drivers, communication style, and desired outcomes?
Refining leaders look to improve by making incremental changes in ideas, theories, methods, or behaviors. Refiners look to create innovative solutions to evolve collective thinking and bring things into a finer state of being. Definers get stuck, distracted by the noise surrounding them.
Counter measures must be taken to break the destructive cycles of underlying beliefs. Mahatma Gandhi said, “Beliefs become thoughts, Thoughts become words, Words become actions, Actions become habits, Habits become values, and Values become your destiny.” Great leaders never allow things to define them, always believing in the refining power adversity presents.
To learn more about leadership development and breaking the curse within your organization, contact FLVCP at firstname.lastname@example.org.