The led should influence the lead

If you are a leader, this is for you. If you have a leader, this is for you.

At the end of my yoga class this morning, my teacher finished the class with; “Thank you for allowing me to teach, and to be taught”. I love this phrase.  “… allowing me to teach AND to be taught”. I have heard it many times at the end of a class. They are our teacher and we, the students are theirs. I have thought about this often.

They recognise that the learning is two way. It is an exchange.

I wonder whether we see everyday opportunities as an exchange. 

Do we see ourselves learning from our children as well as teaching? 

Do we see this exchange with our parents? 

Do we learn from our customers as well as adding value to them?

I teach them and they teach me. The older and wiser I get the more this is true… should I choose to see it this way. And of course, the same applies to leadership. Whether you lead people, teams or ideas. We all typically lead something. Do we lead by telling, or are we leading others by looking for the exchange of learning for ourselves?

I was so inspired by my friend and colleague, Dr Amy Silver’s blog; I know you better than you do. Amy reminds us that others will often know us better than ourselves in a few ways; our face, our expressions, our mannerisms. She says;

I don’t think many people know my intention as well as I do, but they probably know the impact that I have had more than me”.

 I love this. We are not watching ourselves in a mirror all day, but others are. They are experiencing us. They are measuring it very differently. They are measuring the impact.

We are considering our intent.

One way to measure our health as a leader could be our openness to learning. We can do this in attitude, but that will only get us so far. We need to put some actions in place to make sure we capture our learning’s and don’t miss opportunities for our ‘exchange’;

  • Ask our leaders for feedback and/or ask our team for their perspective
  • Set up powerful one on one’s to ensure it becomes systematic
  • Capture and act on those ‘nip it in the bud’ moments to give feedback in the moment

Your intent is for you. Your impact is what they experience.

A good leader will recognise that their team will help shape how they lead. A good team member will recognise that giving their leaders thoughtful and planned feedback honours them. It’s a gift. It helps them become a better version of themselves. Whether to choose to use it or not is your call. It’s a gift that should be shared and one that should be received with as much graciousness.

What do you need to action to honour someone you work with?

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