Challenge: each person has a different culture and saying you’re sorry is a pretty universal word. You don’t need to be a pushover, but when it comes to making things right, don’t hesitate be first to the playing field
A story from my daughter while working with a nonprofit in Greece:
I was living on a borrowed roof. I didn’t know it at the time, but the apartment rooftop I slept on, because the volunteer apartment was full, wasn’t actually a communal space, it belonged to our Russian neighbor.
It was a fortunate situation that I spoke Russian because after a hot and humid day of work I had dropped everyone off and was finally ready to call it a day. As I went to open the heavy metal door to the roof was bolted locked. One thing led to another and I was directed to the owner of the roof.
A sweet Russian woman opened the door. I asked her in Russian if it would be possible to have the key so I could go to sleep. Her husband quickly intervened and harshly confronted the fact that the roof was a complete mess and it was a mistake for him to have ever let anyone use it.
I quickly apologized for its “misuse” and proceeded to ask for the key so I could at least clean the roof before leaving. He consented and after scrubbing the “messy roof” which was mostly scattered with pigeon droppings, I went back downstairs to give him the key. He’d clearly cooled off and upon surveying the roof was so pleased that he entrusted the key to me and only me.
The roof continued to be my uninterrupted sanctuary for my last four weeks of volunteering that summer. The roof was not really a mess, but that man saw it differently. It was a small thing for me to smooth the waters. A small thing that ended in a great situation for me.
As a leader you have gotten to where you are through a lot of effort. The last thing you want to feel like is a pushover. If you haven’t already, you are going to have miscommunications that leave you stunned.
Much like my daughter who got reamed out by a Russian stranger, you’ll have moments that leave you stunned, and often angry, because “what did you do wrong?”
As I said at the first each person has a different culture, and saying you’re sorry is a pretty universal word. You don’t need to be a pushover, but when it comes to making things right, leaders should be the first ones to the playing field.
Your challenge is to be the first one to the playing field this week in making things right.
If there’s been a failure to communicate, an offense taken or made, be the first one to make reparations.
Leadership isn’t about being right, it’s about getting the right thing done. The right thing is always fixing and moving forward when an offense is made or taken.
Good luck this week!