Published by Matt Church – Founder on 7 April 2022
Next time you find yourself thinking you carry a certain ‘negative’ trait, you might like to see it as a strength.
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Cultural Anthropologist Michael Henderson spent a year in residence with us at Thought Leaders back in 2008 getting clear on the culture that I wished to create. It was an honour and privilege to spend that time together. During that time as a founder CEO, I had strong ideas on what I thought our community needed but I also needed some gloves off mentoring on how to be a Chief. Michael had a way of coaching me, without diminishing me. I learnt a lot about what it means to lead a culture worth belonging to during that year.
One of the most powerful lessons I learnt from Michael was how Chiefs ‘forgive with ease’ and the mantra that went with that quality was ‘Strong, Not Wrong’. I use that mantra every day in my personal and professional life. This is the basis of the positive performance frameworks like Strengths Finder or Appreciative Inquiry that drive people-centred top-performing cultures. They are built on core ideals such as encouragement over criticism, people over process, and above versus below the line leadership.
Next time you find yourself thinking you carry a certain ‘negative’ trait, you might like to see it as a strength. Perhaps your arrogance is boldness, your bullying is directness, and your emotional temperament is your passion being expressed. It is if you turn up as the best version of that in your life and work. This takes good self-awareness and extraordinary compassion, whether the subject of attention is you or someone else.
This requires you to be equal parts empowered and humbled by the fact that much of your strengths as a thought leader are built from your shadows. I see this ability to judge discerningly and compassionately in our Chief (CEO) Lisa O’Neill. She has had her fair share of success and adversity and yet she continues to see the possibilities in others.
I love this leadership lesson and am myself a ‘work in progress (thanks Will Smith).
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