leadership weekly workout Sep 09, 2022

In the numerous lists I read conveying the qualities of effective leadership, I rarely if ever find “acceptance” mentioned.

I believe that unless and until you are truly able to accept a situation or person any other leadership quality you engage in will be considerably less effective.

In working with leadership coaching clients and also during my leadership immersion retreat, people tend to struggle with the concept of acceptance.

So often what causes this struggle is that they confuse acceptance with agreement. These two words have completely different and distinct meanings.

To accept something means that you are able to clearly understand and acknowledge the situation or person exactly as it is.

Accepting a situation or person does not require your agreement and in fact, agreement has absolutely no impact on the reality of the situation. Acceptance is an “after the fact” behavior so it does not matter if you agree with what happened…it already happened.

When you fail to accept a situation or person you are no longer dealing with the situation, but rather dealing with your reaction to the situation. Instead of using your mind's power, energy, and clarity to determine and activate the next best step you become locked in a battle with reality.

Reality ALWAYS wins!

In working with clients this is often where I see them getting stuck. When they start to use language like “this shouldn’t have happened, or I cannot believe this,” I know they are at least temporarily caught up in a battle with reality.

Complaining is another clear indication that you are caught up in resistance vs. acceptance. While there appears to be numerous causes of complaining at a foundation level the cause stems from a lack of acceptance.

I am not suggesting that you not having feelings and related emotions about a situation or person. In fact, not acknowledging how you feel can also render you unable to accept the reality of the situation or person.

Instead, I am inviting you to become more self-aware and to recognize when you are resisting the reality of the situation vs. when you have actually accepted the reality of the situation.

Decisiveness is an important characteristic of leadership. But in order to be extraordinary as a leader, the decisiveness must be based upon the reality of the situation as it stands, rather than decisions being made as a reaction to an inability to accept the situation.

This week practice noticing and identifying the difference between your resisting and your accepting.

Notice when you are using terms like some of those described earlier in this article. Also, notice your propensity to complain. What is the purpose of complaining? What do you hope or intend to derive from complaining? Has that worked in the past?

Think about a leader you truly admire and consider how you would perceive them if they engaged in complaining as a frequent practice.

Just a reminder that we are not observing our resistant language and behavior to self-criticize. Instead, as a way to move from our habitual way of being into developing the qualities we want to exhibit in our role as an exceptional leader.


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