Personal Growth

I recently spoke at a SHRM conference on EQ in the workplace and decided to do something different. At one point in the speech, I asked the following: Raise your hand if you wake up every morning and wish for negative experiences to happen to you. I got a chuckle out of that as, obviously, no one raised their hands. I then asked: Raise your hand if you have negative experiences every day from something as mundane as traffic on your way to work to more complex experiences like finding out that your spouse just got laid off. And this time, everyone raised their hands.

My point was that no one willingly makes the choice to be challenged, to have to look within and explore our IQ, EQ, and values. Life simply does that for us – it presents us with opportunities to grow and learn. The old adage is that some of us learn from our experiences and others never recover. Personal growth is about embracing those challenges that occur every day and practicing things you have heard, your have read about, you have been trained on, you want to be better at… Think of all the experiences each day that you can personally grow from by simply exploring the situation in this curious manner. The personal growth you will experience will be dramatic compared to those who choose to do what most of do – ignoring challenges and simply moving on to the next challenge, only to ignore that too (from a learning perspective).

Later I asked the audience whose responsibility it would be if YOU had just experienced a negative experience and knew that your subsequent performance would be compromised as a result. The answer again is obvious – it is your responsibility. But what if you are a leader or manager and you see someone on your team experiencing a negative state? As a leader, are you to leave it to that person to sort through it by himself or herself? I would argue NO. Instead, ask yourself how you can dilute the situation by inducing positivity when an employee or even an entire team seems to be stuck in a negative state.  How can you transform the moment into a positive one so that both the employee and your organization can perform better? This proactive leadership is never more important than now, when there seems to be so many negative experiences, either implicit or explicit, in our daily lives.

As a leader, this week I urge you to be proactive – pay close emotional attention to people and note their states. Make attempts to proactively transform your environment – even if it’s just for the moment or just for the day. These positive experiences will pile up and be a great source of strength, credibility, and success tomorrow and in the future.


4 responses to “Personal Growth

  1. Pingback: EPowerment « Professional Development

  2. I enjoy the clarity of your post. As a professional, who has worked with many companies over the years, it has been my experience that when a leader is not proactive they will experience that there is a cost. Very often the cost of not taking the emotional pulse of your employees will be less efficient use of their time, mistakes, interpersonal problems with other workers. Learning the skills to be proactive is an important part of being a successful leader. Sheila Radha

  3. Thanks for sharing your words. I completely follow your clear words and have the same experiences in choosing for own responsibility and growth. Only in being a leader I struggle with how to turn the destructive choices of others into positive choices. I do the following: I connect to my own growth and choices in that specific matter so they can relate to that in themselves. And if they stay in the destruction I ignore that comment, tell them them perfect and turn a positive comment on someone else.
    Any tips on this are always welcome. Frank van Eck.

  4. For me, the important aspect is to become aware how I feel when someone is destructive. What does it bring up for me. I must know that in order to be in integrity about how I am impacted by their behavior. If some part of me feels uncomfortable I want to explore this to see what that person has trigger in me, that I may not have been aware of. I would want to state my truth about how I am impacted. This would allow the other to feel accepted where they are and share how I am affected by their negative behavior.

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