I once attended a retreat where we sat in rows. At the start of the event, we were asked to find out a few things about the person seated next to us and then introduce them to the group. While the activity was a good way to break the ice, the “row” effect minimized the impact of our bonding together. Making one small change – that of changing the seating arrangement from rows to a circle made all the difference in the activity.
As we sat in a circle, we were able to see the person’s face and their expressions as they spoke. We were better able to get a feel for those in the group because we could make eye contact and smile at them as they shared. Taking the time to connect is critical both in the work environment and in life.
Great leaders connect with those that they lead. They take the time to get to know their people and take an interest in their lives. Leadership is often lonely, but it doesn’t have to be. As a leader, if you suffer from “it’s lonely at the top”, you may need to make some adjustments.
Those you lead must know that you care. When you care about those you work with, you can make a difference in their life as well as a make a difference in your work environment. When the members of your organization care about each other, they are willing to work together in cooperation for the benefit of the organization.
The same is true about life. None of us needs to or should go through life alone. The one phrase that I remember from taking Latin in high school is “Vita est Dura”; Life is Hard. We will all have bumps in this journey called life and often the bumps send us falling! It is then that we find support in our faith and in those around us.
I have a group of friends that I meet with at my house twice a month. This spring, we lost a member of our group very suddenly and very unexpectedly. He was in the prime of his life and his youngest child had just graduated from high school several days before his death. To say the least, our group was devastated. As crushed as each of us were, I know that our feelings paled in comparison to the feelings of his family losing a son, a husband and a father.
I proudly watched this group of friends rally together at the time of his death to try and support the family and again on Monday as a van was loaded and items were transported to a different city for his daughter’s freshman year in college. “No man is an island…no one stands alone.”
In today's world, we strive so hard to be independent and in control of our lives that we may sacrifice building friendships and developing relationships with others. However, this should be one of our top priorities. If you had a crisis, who would be stepping up to help you? If you can’t come up with a good solid list, it is time to step out of your row and into a circle!
Begin to invest in others. In the book, The Purpose Driven Life, the first sentence of the book is, “It’s not about you.” Life becomes more meaningful when you concern yourself with the welfare of others. I am hopeful that we will take the time this week to check in with someone who may be hurting, or to share with others if we are the one hurting. Rejoice with others who are rejoicing. Weep with those who are weeping. Just as a flower needs nourishment to grow, our relationships require time and effort to grow and nurture them. This week – take some time to invest in others, you’ll be glad you did!