What's Your Shadow Like?
I was with a great group of leaders last week facilitating a leadership training session. We were talking about different kinds of leaders we've all worked with in the past. It was pretty easy to identify both good ones and bad ones. When I asked the participants to describe in more detail what those differences were like, one of the people said, "I worked with a supervisor once who created fear every time they walked into the building, and I was always having to go around and clean up after they left." Scary!
I believe that each one of us, regardless of our position or leadership "status" is actually creating and making an impact with our presence whether we want to be or not! In many ways, it's like casting a shadow. We can't turn our shadow off whenever we want, it's just a reality that follows us everywhere (I realize we can turn off our shadow by turning off the lights, but then we wouldn't be able to see to get anything done, so not really an option).
During this month of October we tend to welcome things that are scary, but I'm not sure this is one of the things we want to welcome - a shadow that casts a negative presence everywhere we go. Instead, it seems like we want our shadows to be something people are grateful to have been in. We want others to be glad when we've been around and maybe even look forward to when we walk into their space!
So, what kind of a shadow do you think you are casting? What could you do to make your shadow less scary and more pleasant? How could you pay attention to the people around you in a way that left them feeling grateful you were there, instead of needing to recover from your visit? Are there approaches you could take, even when you have to engage in hard conversations with others, that would help them feel like you were being fair and kind, despite the difficulty of the situation? How could you cast a pleasant shadow, rather than a scary one?
Here's to being intentional about the shadows we are casting!
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