Today is Shrove Tuesday. It is the traditional feast day before the start of Lent. Lent is the 40 days leading up to Easter. This was traditionally a period of fasting and on Shrove Tuesday, Anglo-Saxon Christians went to confession and were ‘Shriven’ (absolved from their sins). Lent is also a time when people commit to giving up certain luxuries – hence the question “What are you giving up for Lent?” As you can see, I know today’s feast day as ‘Pancake Day’. And my plan is to give up pancakes for a year – until Shrove Tuesday comes around again in 2021.
Once again I have to remind myself this is a leadership blog, not a culinary one. So what can leaders give up for Lent? Maybe the ‘luxuries’ of error, laziness and omission. For inspiration I looked back at recent articles from our merry band of Guest Authors and came up with five negative traits leaders might consider giving up for Lent.
5 Things Leaders could give up for Lent
1. Disrespectful Body Language.
Make sure your body language is congruent with your intentions. In his article The Politics of Space, Guest Author Charlie Walker-Wise points out how disrespectful body posture can not only gives out the wrong messages it can also, in the example he uses, mean a leader drops their energy level and is not in a suitable state of readiness to make a positive impact on others. Charlie summarizes: “The way we sit should say ‘I’m ready’. Readiness means we can respond from a confident and assertive place and maximize our personal impact”.
2. Confusing Movement with Progress
I just loved the title, the graphic and the sentiment of Guest Author Frank Clayton’s article Movement or Progress. As Frank said, “A rocking horse moves. Ask yourself: are you going to choose the path you walk, or be blown by the winds of circumstance?” How should a leader approach this? Franks says with the magic number three. Three things a leader can do to create an environment that cultivates a feeling of progress: Autonomy; Mastery; Purpose. Read his article to discover more.
3. Not Being Accountable
Guest Author David Physick recently published three excellent articles under the title of An ABC of Leadership and Management; Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. In the first part of his epic alphabetic journey he chose Accountable for the letter ‘A’. His challenge to leaders was “If you have direct reports, you are accountable for their performance. As a manager, you can’t bask in the glory of any exceptional outcomes they achieve and shy away from them should performance slip”. He asks: Do things happen because of you, or do things happen to you?
4. Leaving Leadership Transitions to Chance
I just know Guest Author James Wroe speaks from the heart when he says in his article Active Leadership Onboarding, “Leaving a new employee to work things out out alone – whether they are new to the company or an internal mover – leaves far too much to chance”. James offers six key factors to ensure a new colleague’s successful leadership transition. Taking an active approach to onboarding improves the chances of them being successful sooner, and reduces the downside risks.
5. Giving up at the First Setback
I’ve left this one to last. This refers to an all-time favourite and most read article on this Blog: I never lose. I either win or learn! Guest Author Domingos Silva says: “The beauty of a great experience is how we face and learn from it. Whatever has made us feel disappointed or even fail, has certainly given opportunities which, sometimes, we may have otherwise not seen. So, with some effort and reflection, you will certainly be able to see different angles to the same event.” So, what will you do the next time you face a setback or temporary failure?
But Don’t Give up Pancakes!
Happy fasting and happy giving up for Lent. I’m going back for some more of my wife’s delicious pancakes. She has been making them for me every Shrove Tuesday for many years – but doesn’t like them herself. Yum yum. All the more for me!