“I wish I didn’t care so much.” I had to catch my breath before I could respond to this comment. My first reaction was to pick my heart up off the floor. My client was suffering from a standard set too high for the comfort level of his peers. It was causing tension. While he didn’t want to lower his standards, he felt it was his only option. Yet how do you lower your standard and still feel whole? That’s what led to his next statement.
“I wish I didn’t care so much; it sure would be easier.”
So how does a leader balance the challenges of holding a high standard while a growing trend of complacency settles in all around? Here are five tips.
Give your standard a reality check. Challenge your standard! Is it worth the stress? Will it alienate you? Is it worth falling on your sword for? Double check your standard and make sure you aren’t being too rigid.
Speak your peace. Don’t hide your thoughts, but be mature and wise about when to back off. It’s good to let others know your stance. Make sure your standard is to the benefit of the company and not just beneficial to you. Volunteer to be responsible for carrying the banner. After that, don’t force it anymore. If your leader doesn’t want you to proceed, then drop it. He knows where you stand.
Seek a listening ear that will provide logic and advice. If you have a business coach, make sure you seek their guidance in how to handle this challenge. Everything in life is about balance. How can you balance your standard yet not alienate your peers? You may be too close to the situation to have an unbiased perspective, so a coach could be beneficial.
Take it one person at a time, one day at a time. Don’t try to change the world today. Instead, focus on impacting people one person at a time. Also, move in a day-by-day or week-by-week fashion. Don’t worry so much about the long-term picture right now. This season may take a shorter view of the future.
View this time as a season of growth. Frustration and worry will get the best of you, so be patient. This might be a season when you need to learn how to relax a bit. Concentrate on learning.
Finally, don’t get discouraged! I’ve learned over the years that our most challenging times often turn out to be some of our most defining times. We learn more about ourselves, and we learn how we can better lead and influence others.