Punch in the Gut Leadership

When you get punched in the gut… it HURTS!

boxing glove

When was the last time someone you know said something to you that hurt?  I mean they called you out on something you could not defend, nor argue about.  If this hasn’t happened to you, get ready because one day it will.  I wrote about several instances in our city and in my own home, which did just that in today’s edition of The Jackson Sun(Find it here)

These instances give us the opportunity to lead.  Great leaders must have thick skin, but they must also have a soft heart.  When those closest to us have something to say which could be perceived as negative, we also need to have good ears.  We need to hear it.  We will definitely feel it…because it HURTS!

When this happens to us, we have three choices.

1. Ostrich – How easy is it to simply ignore what you heard?  Often this is the most likely response.  If we can simply get out of the uncomfortable conversation, our mind can quickly twist what was said into something that was “meant”.  This can be a very dangerous position to be in and one which will not allow us to grow as leaders.

2. Denial – They’re crazy.  It’s none of their business and they don’t even have enough information to even say that.  The interactions typically involve us getting mad and immediately shutting down the other person.  Because we are so defensive, our ears close and we can’t even hear some of the valuable information someone is sharing with us.

3. Listener – Finally, we could simply listen to what they are saying and engage in the conversation.  This would include asking clarifying questions to learn more.  How often do you have the opportunity to get this type of feedback.  Often, these scenarios come from a break down in conversation, or at the least, it occurs when we didn’t even realize what was going on.

BEWARE – Some people are simply jerks.  Jon Acuff recently posted about how to deal with them.  (Read post here.)  I am not talking about these people.  I am talking about people you love and/or respect.  Those who have added value to your life and can now speak truth to you.

Have you ever been punched in the gut?  How did you respond? (Please leave your comment below.)

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