Thursday, 20 April 2017
A eulogy for the living.
From time to time I reflect on my career, its successes and failures, and I am reminded of all the people whose support, wisdom, counsel and example have helped to shape the type of person and leader that I became. The truth of the matter is that regardless of our personality; regardless of our intellectual capabilities; regardless of our good fortune; regardless of our merit, none of us has come to the role that we currently hold without an abundance of influence from others.
Sometimes it was the example of a superior. Other times it was the encouragement of a peer. And at other times it was the efforts of our direct reports. We can look back and see how every contact was important in some way and has sculpted us. Even when that point of contact was difficult, learning to persevere and grow meant that the contact had purpose.
Viewed through this lens, those in leadership ought to have an expression of thanks and appreciation towards others…an attitude of gratitude!
To that end I encourage you to reach out and genuinely thank those who have made your journey more successful; your load lighter; and your experiences more pleasant. Take the time to write a ‘eulogy for the living’ and express some thoughts that you might have been holding back.
Consider what you would want to say at their funeral. How this word or that example impacted your future behaviour. How a kindness paid forward changed an attitude or opened your mind to new possibilities.
Expressing appreciation is good for both the giver and the recipient. For the giver, it helps to keep you grounded and focused. The recipient is strengthened through gratitude and encouraged to continue building into others.
I confess that I am preaching to myself and that I have not followed this advice as frequently as I have cause to do. But know that I will take some time – not in a broadcast email – to address this oversight.
Leaders are the beneficiaries of others efforts, input and opinions. Make sure that they know how much you appreciate the contributions that were made to your success.