By Scott Mutchler

Leadership requires many things of us. This often includes foresight and vision, fortitude, a sense for what is ahead, and the skills to prepare, plan, and effectively execute what needs to be done. These are essential skills, of course, but not necessarily sufficient for peak leadership.

Sometimes leadership requires looking not only outside of ourselves, but inside as well. If we’re completely candid with ourselves, this can feel unsettling. Take a deep breath and be grateful for your fortitude. Trust that it will be there for you when you need it.

Here’s the main topic today: In what ways have your filters influenced your perceptions and your decisions? We all have filters, of course. They are part of us, part of what makes us who we are. As leaders, we are not immune to them but we can take steps to become aware of them. In that awareness, we can choose to adjust, choose to allow for openness to new possibilities and outcomes as we work through a leadership challenge in which we find our filters have triggered. Know that once they fire, we may be limiting our options for best outcomes. They are called filters for a reason.

To illustrate, here’s a humorous example from my own life. In 1996, CBS launched a new TV series called “Everybody Loves Raymond”. It ran for nine seasons, which suggests enough viewers in fact loved Raymond to sustain the show for a long and successful run. As for me, I promptly squared off for battle. That’s right. No one from CBS was going to tell me what I would love. How could they? They didn’t know me at all, didn’t know what I loved, what I hoped, what inspired me. So no, I *don’t* love Raymond and you can’t make me love him, either.

After nine years, once the show went into syndication, I finally decided I could at least try the show. You already know what happened. I watched it and I laughed. It was funny. Now, while I won’t go so far as to say that I loved Raymond, I had to admit I kind of liked it.

With help from the real people in my life (not the fictional TV characters in “Raymond”), I came up face to face with my filters. I realized, with some clarity, that I really don’t like other people to tell me what I will love. That phrase apparently triggered something inside of me to prepare for battle. As it was, I closed myself off to the possibility that it might actually be a Sitcom that was, well, actually funny.

As a person in a leadership role, what layer of your inner self have you unfolded and examined lately? Not sure? Next time you’re in a meeting and feeling tense, stop right there and notice it.

What is coming up for you? Treat it as the gift that it is. Look at it and what it might be telling you. If you can let the feeling pass, see what more there is to learn in the situation. You just might be amazed at what new possibilities present themselves to you.

To your growing success,


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