As we discussed last week, superb lessons can be learned from all places. The adventures on the ostrich farm continue. Let’s turn in over to the co-author, Emma.
It’s not that I’m not a morning person. I just dislike human interaction before 11am. I don’t want the readers of this blog to think I am anti-social. I actually love people. I just don’t handle all the situations life throws at me through the lens of all the leadership material my father has me read.
Josh, the volunteer from Mississippi made the split decision to have me help on top of the hill with the feeding and morning chores of the adult ostriches.
Josh and I work wonderfully together. But for some reason, today was an exception. Every way he explained, or failed to explain, the morning routine of feeding and set up bothered me. Couldn’t he see that I was completely lost? And tired!?
Irritations built up on both ends.
I snapped at him and he snapped at me. What was supposed to be the beginning of a great shift spiraled down to working on opposite sides of the corral fixing fence. I could tell he hated the tension and he knew I did too.
Finally, I walked the length of the ostrich corral to Josh and said, “Look. I was out of sorts this morning. I’m not sure why. So I’m really sorry.”
He quickly accepted the apology and said, “Yeah. I’d never taught anyone how to do morning routine and set up. So I’m sorry if I didn’t explain things.”
It was almost magical how the tension and stepped-on feelings melted away.
We didn’t get all chummy all at once-remember it was still morning- but the rest of the day working together was super. I hate eating crow. But I love the after-effect.
I share this story, to present a very real situation that inevitably happens to each one of us.
If you’re not a morning person, easily ‘hangry’, frustrated by a situation at home, or just human, then this post is for you.
Whether or not we mean to, all of us have said something we regret, snapped at someone we shouldn’t have snapped at, and stepped on toes we regretted stepping on.
Our society and social media puts leaders on untouchable pedestals. As current and future leaders, it might be easy to feel the pressure that our society puts on you. A pressure that seems to require perfection.
Every celebrated leader seems perfect. Anyone short of the daunting mark of perfection is plastered on society’s unforgiving wall of failures.
With those high bars of expectation, eating crow — being the first to extend the hand of apology– is hard. Apology as a leader can be excruciating. Because not only do you feel weak as a person, but you feel weak as a leader. Your mistake is not seen only by you and the offended, but as a leader your mistakes may seem to spread like wildfire.
However, do not forget! A leader built on the foundation of false perfection, inevitably falls. A leader built on a reality of making mistakes and being strong enough to extend the first hand, becomes ironclad.
So your challenge this week:
Be the first to eat crow.
You can almost make a game of it. As soon as you snap, cool down for a second and say you’re sorry. Even if they provoked it and you’re biting back what you actually want to say. Now this doesn’t give you the right to keep making the same mistakes with the same people and expecting them to keep accepting the apologies. That does not work. But letting people know you are working on getting better at this exercise of leadership and involving them in your process will render significant results.
As you develop the reputation as a leader of eating crow, your team members will see that it’s not poisonous. They will see your example as time goes by and realize they can be the first to raise the olive branch of peace and put down their pride. It’s up to you to show them that humility and character comes before pride and status.
Good luck this week!
Written by Karl and Emma Pister