Life is full of disappointment, especially for those who take on leadership roles. Two phrases come to my mind as I think about this idea: 1) leadership is about people; and 2) people disappoint. If both of those statements are true (and I believe they are), then leadership will have its share of disappointment and most of that will be around people and the decisions they make. Disappointment occurs when:
- someone you recently hired turns out to be a non-performer
- someone you mentor and put your energy into takes a job at another company
- someone you trust shares a confidence after you have asked them not to
- someone who has promised to change their behavior engages in the same manner over and over again
- someone whom you promote to a position of greater responsibility does not live up to your expectations
- someone who has the ability and authority to complete a given task fails to do
- someone who has been in a position for a long time has a lapse of judgement and acts in an unethical manner
Disappointments are a given...how one deals with them is the true test of leadership. Do you run around blaming others? Do you act as if the sky is falling? Do you immediately try to fix it without getting at the root cause of the problem? Do you fly off the handle, yelling and screaming at others? Do you retreat into your office and hide?
OR...do you accept disappointments as part of the job? Do you stop and think about what might have caused the issue? Do you deal with it head on, making appropriate decisions? Do you go and talk directly with the person, believing the best rather than assuming the worst? Do you stay even-keel so that others see you understand the situation? Do you act quickly when needed, so that others see you understand the situation? Do you do a follow up so that you and others learn from what happened?
AND...do you continue to have HOPE that things will be better tomorrow? Do you continue to have HOPE that people really want to do their bests at all times? Do you have HOPE that the organization is strong enough to withstand this disappointment? Do you have HOPE that you and your team have enough fortitude to weather this moment?
"...and HOPE does not disappoint us." (Romans 5:5)