I talked to a leader yesterday who was so excited that they had reconnected with a previous colleague. You may not think this is a big deal. However, in this case, the leader wasn’t sure their past colleague would favorably view the call. While both worked at a somewhat toxic company previously, this leader had let this person go in a job elimination process. 

The leader had since left that toxic company and moved on to another position. They now found themselves in need of this previous colleague’s skills. With nothing to lose, they reached out to see if a conversation was a possibility. 

As it turns out, the past colleague welcomed the conversation. Both discovered they were in better positions professionally and much happier. Because the leader had been the utmost professional and always treated people with respect and dignity, relationships were successfully maintained, even surviving difficult situations. Moreover, they both found a way to work together again in their new positions.

You’re too nice 

In the past, this leader received 360 feedback from their peers that they were “too nice” as a leader. The company’s culture required leaders to be tough, pragmatic, and somewhat detached from their team members. These characteristics allowed most leaders to be able to remove themselves from the human element of leadership. Everything was a business decision, and leaders didn’t routinely contemplate the human consequences. This leader chose just the opposite. They always considered the human element in every part of their leadership. When staff reduction decisions were made, this leader treated everyone affected with dignity, respect, and authentic caring. I called this their Leadership Superpower.

I think it’s a Leadership Superpower when people you fired years ago come back to you for advice and connection.

It’s a Leadership Superpower when people say you’re the best leader they ever had because you showed you cared.

I think it’s a Leadership Superpower to treat people the right way and never burn a bridge. 

I think it’s a gift.

What’s your Leadership Superpower?

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Lynn Zettler is an Executive and Leadership Coach specializing in helping to create amazing leaders with excellent communication skills, exemplary accountability cultures, and impactful strategic plans.

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