Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face. ~ 12th Century saying
Has another leader ever ticked you off?
I’ll go first.
It happened recently when I called the leader of another organization to ask for a little favor. It was small in my mind, at least.
His negative reaction caught me by surprise. He was unyielding, uncooperative and downright rude in his response. He was unwilling to work with me. I wanted to hang up on him.
I stewed about it and told others on my team what a jerk this leader was and that he was the cause of their inconvenience. (Not my finest hour.) I was frustrated for me and my team. Fortunately, I calmed down and realized why I didn’t tell this leader where to stick it.
I didn’t because, for purely selfish reasons, I may need a bigger favor down the road. In addition, this leader may need a favor from me down the road and I’ll have the upper hand at that point. (Both terrible reasons.)
But then I had a flash of insight that made sense. As leaders, there are times when we have to take the high road for the good of our organization. It is not fun, it’s not our first choice, but nevertheless, it is the road we walk as leaders. The organization we lead comes first. Life has a way of turning the tables. Circumstances change. There may come a day when our two organizations will need to work together. That time may come after I’m already gone. I don’t want to be known as the leader who blew up the bridge between the two.
We’d all rather be known as leaders who built rather than destroyed. So we restrain ourselves and take the high road. Our nose will thank us… and so will our team.