Christmas Leadership Lessons – Who knew that was under the tree?

For so many people the holiday’s are a tough time of year. Why is that?  

I am one of those people that struggle with the holidays, and admittedly feel they are just something I need to survive. I do have memories of enjoying them, looking forward to them and really feeling joyful during them. So what changed?

Well, one thing is that I have more responsibilities now. I have a blended family, so that usually means a fractured Christmas because we either have our Christmas with the children two days before or the day of and then they leave the following day. This year due to some work and travel schedules we had one Christmas on the 22nd, one on the 25th and our last one last night the 28th. That’s a lot of Christmas. They were all different, and of varying degrees of celebration. And today I’m done, no more Christmas until next Christmas. 

My biggest ‘thing’ with Christmas is that I have experienced what I would call a good Christmas full of good conversation, yummy food, laughter and love and joy. Its like how your favourite food becomes your favourite food. It creates an experience that is delectable. So when you have it again and it doesn’t meet that delicious expectation it is disappointing and it is confusing, especially if you followed the same recipe. 

My disappointment is my attachment to what was and what I believe could be – and my intolerance to change. It is disjointed because I like change professionally but I struggle with  change personally. And if I were to really look at what doesn’t meet my expectation I would realize that if I were to change along side our holiday changes and widen my level of acceptance for what is ‘our’ Christmas it would stand to reason that I would be less disappointed. 

How does that tie into leadership? Well, if you consider what your vision is for your company or department knowing your leadership style coupled with the team you have and list out your current disappointments and frustrations – how many of them have to do with your resistance to change? How many of them are directly linked to your inability to change your view on what ‘is’ rather than what you believe can be? How much of your disappointment is you?  How much of it is a lack of acceptance for the current reality?

What I think, and definitely hope, that I learned this holiday season if that if I can manage to comprehend the reality of the current situation I will be far closer to accepting what is and then will have the opportunity to set my own expectations. Which, if my math is correct, should equate to less disappointment. 

I think we all have things we hold on to that are not necessarily the real situation. Relationships we have or want, promotions, finances, houses, cars, vacations, team performances, sales metrics and holiday gatherings. My list is not exhaustive. 

I encourage you to take a look at what your current leadership reality is and compare it against your frustration and disappointment, that will identify your gap. Then you can move to building block one – the status quo. Then you  build your foundation by assessing where you want to get to and what talent on your team aligns with that goals. Look for motivation in your team to move beyond the current state, involve them in the structure equation with deliberate task assignment. Next is to produce a timeline to meet that goal and  then you do it again for each goal you set out. The hard part is being fluid as you move along the timeline to adjust and modify as required and still meet your goal based on what the current reality is – because as luck would have it, that current reality changes.

What we want to occur can only actually occur once we accept the reality of what is. If your foundation is built on unrealistic perceptions then disappointment is inevitable.

People are people are people are people. I resolve to try less to make the next holiday season what everyone wants based on the falsehood of what I believe is possible. I resolve to try harder to relax into it based on what I am capable of with the time I have available and with the personalities involved. I resolve to let go of my disappointments and instead learn from them so that I can set proper boundaries and put my energy in things that bring me joy and light. 

I resolve to have a Christmas that is possible. Will you resolve to be the leader that is possible for you? Will you resolve to take a good look at your team and release your frustrations and disappointments? Will you resolve to take a deep breath and step back to realign your ‘what is’ with ‘what talent, motivation and time you have’?

What I read the other day was ‘if we don’t learn the lesson then its a decision’. What will you learn and what will you decide?

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