"When I Do Better, We All Do Better" - Sony Thomas
A simple but a very powerful thought, and definitely a very difficult proposition. It is easier to ask someone else to get better, than work on ourselves to get better.
This fact of life is evident in the quality of a relationship, be it professional, personal or social. I learnt this fact of celebrating life the hard way, that is, I graduated from the 'school of hard knocks'.
There was a point in time in my life, I believed I had got everything figured out and even worse, I thought my worldview was right and others had to come to my point of view, because I believed mine was better. This internal script of mine would sabotage my effectiveness and impact my various professional relationships, my leadership, my friendship, and even in my marriage.
I was always a person who believed in learning, but back then, my focus was only on developing my HR skills, to be a better Trainer and a HR consultant. I would read books and listen to people only in this area because I believed that if I master my skills, I could make the world a better place.
Oh boy! Was I wrong? It was when I realized that there are flaws and cracks in my internal schema, did I start to see the real world around me and the importance of changing myself. Later I discovered that, competency (that includes knowledge and skill) is only one of the four component in personal growth.
Once I understood the other areas of personal growth, I made it a practice to intentionally and periodically review, assess and modify my worldview, so that it is aligned with my reality and my mission, that is to 'help people celebrate life'.
Ever since I became more observant about my worldviews and the world around me, things have gotten much more efficient, effortless and effective, especially in my professional relationship, my leadership, my friendship and definitely in my marriage.
In my earlier HR consulting role, I was leading a team and as part of a organization restructure, a new staff was assigned to me. I immediately noticed that she did not have the skills and the knowledge for the job. Therefore, me being a trainer at heart, I would lay out the skills required and help her get better in those skills, so she can deliver at least an average performance.
However, she would show very little progress and went on to make the same mistakes over. She was becoming a liability for the team; it was effecting the team dynamics and the results. Surprisingly, seeing my effort to help her, other members of the team tried to help her as well, but with little results.
In the course of time, we discovered that she had an underlining belief issue towards the job, she believed she was in the wrong place, and therefore wouldn't commit to improve her skills. Imagine how the team performance would have improved had she improved her skills by overcoming her belief problem. It is unfortunate, how people get hung up on 'what must be' and miss out on seeing 'what is possible' , to the extent of being a liability to others.
A common incident I have noticed in organisations is how great individual/team contributors fail miserably when given the promotion to be a manager. They fail, because, they do not improve their ability to influence others. Many managers use their old toolkit of connecting with colleagues in their new role as managers. They are in a leadership role with the skills, knowledge and thoughts of an individual/team contributor. Imagine how they would all do better, if the manager changes himself/herself to being a person of influence.
Definitely, skill development is critical in making things better, be it as simple as making a cup of coffee for your loved one or as complex as completing a turnkey highly critical and highly specialized project on time. It is a fact that people become dead weights in their social, personal, professional context if they do not update their skills or our knowledge about the changing trends or meeting the changing expectations. But competency alone can not guarantee success and definitely not significance.
Self awareness is the key that unlocks our vision into who we are, and who we are will always trump what can do. That is the reason so many highly competent individual fall from grace into obscurity.
The truth is, there lurks a danger of destroying ourselves because we do not know about ourselves. Historically this observation is validated, because everything great the human race as achieved began with Self Awareness, without which we are just the sum total of our ID & EGO, which surely will lead you down the path to self destruction.
Unless we learn to know ourselves we run the danger of destroying ourselves - Ja A jahannes
Your skill will definitely make the difference in the result, but weather the excellent coffee will bring you closer or not, depends on how much you have worked on yourself. The same goes for the turnkey project, weather you are a great manager/ technical wizard or a leader who inspires your team to follow you, depends on the work you have done on growing yourself. To be a leader who inspires, you have to get better on the inside, it is not only a skill thing, but also a self-awareness matter.
Remember, your leadership influence, your teams dynamics, your family time, your marriage bliss, your friendships, they all get better when you get better first!