As the quote from W.H. Auden reflects, it is common knowledge that doing evil to others begets more evil action. Those that are wronged, wrong in return... and not just to those that have wronged them. Children who are abused are much more likely to be abusive parents, and many other examples of this principle can be demonstrated. But at the heart of most religion and self-actualization mindsets there is a desire to break away from such predictable cycles and to return good for evil. Even still, most of us have regular interactions wherein we find ourselves struggling with negative emotions, even if we maintain outward composure. This has been as true for me as for anyone else. I saw myself as strong because I would not reveal outwardly what I was feeling inwardly, and even when I had grown to have a very forgiving heart the inward emotion that was most often left after conflict with others (especially my wife) was the feeling of rejection and sadness.
Relationships improve dramatically for us when we take ownership over our emotions and actions. In other words, I am responsible for how I feel. This is especially true during conflict. No, my children do not "make" me angry. My spouse does not "force" me to raise my voice. My feelings and behaviors are no one's fault but my own. That does NOT mean that others are always right in what they do, it is simply that I must take ownership of myself.
Beyond that, the feelings that I have are teaching me something about myself. In particular, they are often revealing an issue inside of me that needs to be addressed. Thinking in this way can revolutionize your relationships at home, among friends, and in the workplace. But the transformation that this thinking can help facilitate does not come quickly or easily. If you are committed to reclaiming ownership of your actions AND emotions, that's great! You are on your way to becoming a much better person.
But phase two is even more difficult. And it is essential for loving leadership.
Begin striving to see past the conflict at hand in order to find out what others are revealing about themselves during conflict... and love them enough to help them develop past those weaknesses.
What are my children revealing about their own personality weaknesses when they are clashing with me or one another?
What is my spouse revealing about his/herself during conflict?
What is my employee revealing about their own struggles during disagreement?
AND... How can I lovingly help them address those personal issues?
Love in Leadership is a place for loving leaders across the spectrum to discuss leadership principles relating to self-development and aiding others in their personal growth journey. I encourage you to register on the blog and interact as we build a community of likeminded leaders who seek to make their world, communities, churches, families, etc. a better place for everyone!
Businesses, non-profits, religious organizations, political organizations, governments, and any other group made up of people, can be strengthened by adopting a servant mindset and loving leadership approach.
What if you could improve employee retention rates, increase productivity, improve moral, and have a more positive impact on the world, simply by changing the approach to leadership in your organization?
As long as we live we are growing and evolving. Grow well.
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