097 – Pray For Our Leaders #Canada150 #IndependenceDay2017
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There are so many things to celebrate and be grateful for, but are our countries doomed by pessimism, complaining, and a desire for our leaders to fail?
On today’s show, I share 5 points about leadership, responsibility, attitude, and action.
- Our Perspectives Are Limited
- Be Careful What You Wish For
- The Best Case Scenario Is Change (But Perhaps Not What You Think)
- The Bad Leader Could Be You
- What Are You Going To Do About It?
#Canada150 #IndependenceDay2017 #PrayForOurLeaders #YourBestManager
Mentioned During Today’s Episode:
- Free Live Webclass: How Managers Can Use ‘POSITIONING’ to Save Time & Increase Productivity
- Article About Our Influenced Opinions: The Data That Turned the World Upside Down
- An Example of Slanted Media: ‘We already know you hate Alberta’: How Justin Trudeau managed to insult an entire province
Pray For Our Leaders
So, I’m recording this episode right smack in between 2 major holidays in North America. Canada Day was on Saturday, July 1st (as was my 9th wedding anniversary, just so you know) and Tuesday is July 4th, Independence Day for the United States of America.
And while I typically share a leadership lesson each and every Monday on the podcast, I’ve decided to move today’s lesson, on performance management (which is part of the Fundamentals of Management series), to Wednesday this week instead, because I wanted to take a few moments to celebrate these two countries, Canada and the U.S. and share a few thoughts on leadership.
I’ve also decided to do something very rare, which is to bring up both religion and politics on the show today. Both of which can be touchy subjects if not handled properly.
So, before I jump in, let me start by saying, well…
Actually, first of all, to my fellow Canadians, Happy Canada Day!
To my American friends and listeners south of the border, Happy Independence Day!
And to those of you listening in one of the other 70 countries where this podcast is consumed, you should totally come to Canada for a visit sometime, and regardless of these two holidays, the leadership lesson I’m going to be sharing today is something that should be important to you regardless of where you call home.
But what I really want to say before I kick things off is that this is not a political podcast and this is not a religious podcast. And I’m not really going to go into my opinions on anything today, aside from my opinions on leadership, but… I would love to hear from you if you have any questions about my political views or if you’d like more information on my religious views.
I’m super happy to discuss those topics with you.
Anyway, that’s enough of an introduction, let’s jump in.
This morning, my family and I had the privilege to go to church together, without fear. That freedom alone is something I’m grateful for because I am well aware that there are many countries where my faith could get me killed.
I’m starting off here because I want to start with some gratitude. Our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, gave a Canada Day speech yesterday, and when he listed the provinces, he forgot to mention the province in which I live, Alberta.
Well, the entire province appears to be up in arms about this whole thing because this news-worthy slip-up is trending across all social media platforms right now.
But I saw one comment on Facebook earlier today that I think hit the nail on the head.
It read, “Sounds like a first-world problem.”
I agree. If this is the biggest thing we have to worry about here in Canada, I NEED to be grateful.
More on this slip-up in a moment.
So, I’m at church this morning, and one of the pastors prayed very specifically and intentionally for the leaders of our country, our province, and our city. He prayed that our leaders would have wisdom, and that they would have that wisdom even beyond their own abilities.
So I titled this podcast episode, Pray For Our Leaders. I thought about saying Support Our Leaders instead of the word “Pray” but I thought that prayer fits a little better, not just because I am a Christian, but because when you think of praying for something, that something is often outside of our control.
After all, I have very little influence on the decisions that our Prime Minister makes and I have even less influence on the decisions that Donald Trump makes, and without wanting to make a distasteful joke here, it sometimes appears that no one has much of an influence on the decisions that Donald Trump makes… at least, that’s how the media portrays it.
Which is actually a nice lead-in to my first point, our perspective is limited, but I’m not going to go there quite yet.
The other reason I didn’t want to title this episode Support Our Leaders is because supporting implies agreeing… or agreeing to disagree, and that’s not the intent of today’s leadership lesson.
Now, I recognize that you might be thinking right now… what exactly is today’s leadership lesson? And what does it have to do with going to church, praying, and North American politics?
Well, I have 5 related points to share with you today about leadership, responsibility, attitude, and action. I’ll only spend a couple of minutes on each point and I’m hoping that by the end of today’s episode you’ll feel like I do right now. Encouraged and optimistic about a brighter future.
Point #1: Our Perspectives Are Limited.
In fact, it’s not just limited, it’s influenced.
There’s an article that I’ve put in the show notes of this episode that you’ve got to check out. It’s titled, The Data That Turned the World Upside Down, and among the many creepy things that it talks about, the main point is that, if you were on Facebook during the U.S. Presidential Election last year, what you saw in your news feed… so the articles, the Meme’s, the videos, the sponsored & organic posts, were shown to you based on things like where you live, your personal interests, other content you’ve ‘liked’ or commented on, your religious views, your political views, etc.
Meaning that what you saw, read, watched during the election.. is different from what other people saw, read, and watched.
Which begs the question, the same question that’s been asked for years because of how slanted each news broadcasting network is these days, “am I getting the whole story? And how much of my opinions are influenced by my surroundings?”
For example, I’m in Alberta right now. So when our liberal Prime Minister slips-up and forgets to mention our typically conservative province in his Canada Day speech, what kinds of articles and media do you think I am bombarded with?
The kind that reminds me that this isn’t really that big of a deal or the articles that have the headline, ‘We already know you hate Alberta’: How Justin Trudeau managed to insult an entire province
But here’s another thing to consider when it comes to perspective.
Am I privy to the same information, the same vantage point, the same meetings, the same discussions, or the same phone calls that Justin Trudeau is privy to? What about Donald Trump? What about your local mayor? What about your boss?
We can often be very quick to disagree with our leaders, but we sometimes need to recognize that not only is the information we receive likely slanted, but we don’t have the full picture.
And as a manager, you need to empathetic toward your employees in this regard, and understand that your people don’t always know what you know when it comes to how you make decisions. That’s why it’s so important to communicate. That’s also why it’s so important to solicit feedback from not just your people, but from your mentors and your peers.
So that you can be confident that you are leading your people to the best of your abilities and that you are always striving to be a better leader, for your people, than you were the day before.
Point #2: Be Careful What You Wish For
Let me tell you something. I know a lot of people who are not fans of our Alberta Premier, Rachel Notley, or our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. And I’m pretty sure there are at least a couple people in the United States who aren’t the biggest fans of President Donald Trump.
What I find unsettling is how many people want these leaders to fail.
Leading up to the election, people were like, “Rachel better not get in, she’ll ruin our province. Justin better not get in, he hates the West. Donald better not win, he’ll destroy America.”
Then after the election, the comments changed ever so slightly to, “I can’t believe Notley got in, she’s going to ruin our province, you’ll see. I’m so upset that Trudeau was voted in, he’s going to hurt our economy, just wait and see. I’m in shock that Trump won the election, America is doomed, I’m moving to Canada, you watch… I’m right.”
So let me ask you a question, how does your pride feel if Rachel Notley, in Alberta, is successful? How do feel if Justin Trudeau leads Canada into stronger economic times? How much of a fool do you look like, if you’ve been blasting Donald Trump, but he actually winds up delivering on his promise and making America Great Again?
Or let’s make this closer to you, professionally. Maybe you have a boss who has made a decision you don’t agree with and you’ve been outspoken about it. How do you feel if that decision turns out to have been the right decision?
You see, I’ve already mentioned the word pride, but it’s a scary thing. We all want to be right, but what happens when we’re proven right?
There are people who are hoping that Rachel Notley, Justin Trudeau, Donald Trump, and their bad boss will fail, because then everybody will see!
Be careful what you wish for! I mean, think about it. What kind of catastrophes need to happen for our leaders to truly fail? What kinds of hurt and setbacks? What kind of financial disasters? What kind of derailments?
What is the fallout? What happens when our leaders fail?
Point #3: The Best Case Scenario is Change
Let’s flip the script for a moment and start thinking about the best case scenario. Sure, it might seem like the best case scenario, from your perspective…
and to be clear, I’m not saying these leaders are bad leaders, I’m appealing to everyone out there who disagrees with a leader and I’m using these three particular leaders as examples because there is so much divide in support…
But while it may seem like the best case scenario, from your perspective, is for a new leader to come in, there are casualties that come from failure, like I just talked about.
The best case scenario is for our leaders, regardless of how great or poor they might be, the best case scenario in business, in politics, and in every other aspect of our lives, is for our leaders to get better each and every day.
I’ll share here and tell you that I did not vote for Rachel Notley. But she is the Premier of Alberta and I want her to do a great job, because that’s what’s in the best interest of our province.
Point #4: The Bad Leader Could Be You
Think about this for a moment.
Are you perfect?
And whether you lead a team of 2 employees or a company of 10,000, do you think there are times when your people disagree with you? That maybe there are times where your people think that you are a bad leader?
So let me ask you. Would you rather that they hoped and prayed and cheered for you to lead with wisdom or would you rather them be like so many who disagree and hope for failure, just so that they can be proven right?
It’s not even a question. You recognize that your people won’t always agree with you and you don’t expect them to always support your decisions, but you also recognize the encouragement that could come with knowing that your people want nothing more than for you to successfully lead them to a better place.
Which lands us at my last point.
Point #5: What Are You Going To Do About It?
This is my go-to question anytime I hear someone complaining. Now, there are softer ways to say this of course, but the point is, you have no right to complain if you don’t take action.
And if you’ve already taken action, you have no business complaining because it’s not going to make things better.
So if you’re listening today and you believe in the power of prayer, I want you to pray for our leaders. The leaders of our countries, the leaders of our states and provinces, the leaders of our cities, the leaders of our businesses, and the leaders of our homes, yourself included if that applies to you.
But I also want you to exercise your rights and voice your opinion, respectfully, courageously, and through the proper channels.
As I said, this isn’t about supporting someone or some decision that you disagree with… it’s about hoping for a brighter future and hoping for the success of the leaders in your life and career.
However, that’s only half of the message today… because you too are a leader.
So I want you to recognize that you aren’t perfect and I want you to recognize that you need to lead with wisdom. I want you to recognize that leading with wisdom includes soliciting feedback, it includes seeking wisdom from mentors, and it includes committing to your own personal development.
You have an obligation to lead your team to a better place and you have a moral responsibility to be a successful manager.
But be encouraged. For starters, no matter how bad the leaders in your life may appear (and remember that your perspective is limited here), no matter how bad it may seem… we can be grateful for two things.
We can be grateful for the liberties we are afforded in our respective countries and in our respective cities, communities, and even our companies.
And we can be grateful for the people in our life who are hoping and who are praying for our success. And we can be grateful for for those who have given and continue to give us caring feedback so that we can be better leaders.
Let me leave you with this final thought:
What if Rachel Notley made great decisions from here on out? What if Justin Trudeau made great decisions from here on out? What if Donald Trump made great decisions from here on out? What if that other leader in your life, whom you may disagree with, made great decisions from here on out? What if YOU, made great decisions from here on out?
There are so many reasons to celebrate this first weekend in July. Let’s be grateful AND let’s be optimistic for a brighter future.
and when it’s warranted and done respectfully, let’s voice our concerns when we disagree.
But most of all, and let’s pray for our leaders so that the brighter future we all want, can come to fruition.