“It’s Christmas Eve! It’s the one night of the year when we all act a little nicer, we smile a little easier, we cheer a little more. For a couple of hours out of the whole year, we are the people that we always hoped we would be.” Bill Murray in Scrooged
Leadership presents you with a wonderful opportunity if you recognize and act on it. When you look back on your working life, here’s betting one thing will stand out: your relationships, particularly your influence on people’s lives. Not your job titles or even how much money you made. You’ll remember the people. Your reflections may bring up memories of how you helped people. Or questions that evoke self-scrutiny – Did I care about them personally, and about their career? Did I give team members candid feedback and help them develop expertise? Was I fair? Did I advocate for my people? Was I supportive of them in times of trouble? In short, was I a positive force in people’s lives?
While the lament – “I could have done more” – is true for anyone who’s honest, you have time to act.
Every holiday season we try to reread Charles Dickens’ short story, A Christmas Carol. You likely know the story well, even if you haven’t read it. At one point in their conversation Scrooge – terrified of the ghost and trying to think of something to say – tells the ghost of Jacob Marley, “You were always a good man of business.” The ghost wails in reply: “Business! Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”
Here’s suggesting, like Marley’s ghost, that as leaders our most meaningful “business” is the difference we can make in people’s careers and lives. Lead today with a sense of what will matter to you tomorrow.
Happy holidays to all from Bob and Nick at Look Out Above!