I love this time of year! I love everything about Christmas and the holiday season …. the decorations, the smell of cookies baking in the oven, the music and merriment! It’s the time of year where we are all children at heart: in it’s simplest form, it’s a celebration of the child within us!
For many, it can also be the most stressful time of year. We create unrealistic expectations and build it up to be more than it really needs to be. The holiday season becomes a check-list of tasks and “chores” that we need to tick off, and we get so caught up in our “to do” lists that we lose touch of the child-like wonderment of the season and the true meaning of Christmas.
The same is true for leadership …. We often overcomplicate what it truly means to be a leader!
One of my favourite TedxTalk on leadership is Drew Dudley’s “Leading with Lollipops” (in fact, this video is one of the inspirations behind this blog series and my own perspective on leadership). In the TedxTalk, Drew shares a funny story from his life, and calls on all of us to celebrate leadership as an everyday act of improving each other’s lives.
We all have the ability to lead and inspire others through simple every day “random acts of kindness”. When we over-complicate what it is to be a leader, we give ourselves an excuse not to expect it every day from ourselves and from others.
In the words of Colin Powell:
“Being kind doesn’t mean being soft or a wuss. Kindness is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of confidence. If you have developed a reputation for kindness and consideration then even the most unpleasant decisions will go down easier because everyone will understand why you are doing what you are doing. They realize your decisions must be necessary and is not arbitrary or without empathy.”
As we head into the chaos of the holiday season and embark on the new year ahead, let’s redefine leadership and Pay-It-Forward for 2018: Make time in our every day for simple, every-day random acts of kindness, and also take the time to seek out and tell others when they’ve inspired us!