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There is a part of leadership that is hardly ever taught or talked about; that is the personal side. You see at the core of every leader is a person. A flesh and blood, emotional, sensitive, prideful person. Now I know what you are thinking, “Duh.”

There are tons of books on leadership that discuss everything from team building to communication, however after all of the books are read and the skills are taught, behind it all is a person.

I have always admired the way that the military teaches young soldiers to react when they are in battle type situations. Through combat exercises, these soldiers are trained to react without thought, just on instinct. It is through numerous repetitive exercises that these actions become a natural reaction.

We as leaders try to do the same thing when it comes to leadership. We read books, go to leadership classes, and sometimes even practice leadership exercises. All with the hopes that when faced with that same type of situation, we will react in the manner in which we were taught.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case. You see, we are all human, we have natural tendencies that sometimes contradict the leadership skills we are trying to replicate. I describe this as when the pendulum begins to swing away from leadership skills, and instead it swings over to the side of personal tendencies .

While I know that I could provide you with many examples, I am only going to mention a few so you can get the picture.

All of us have a natural tendency to defend our ideas and our vision. When we present our ideas to the group, and someone from the team pushes back and provides us with the problems of the idea, if we are not careful we can take it personal. We start to think that their criticism is directed as a personal attack. If this starts to happen with you, stop it. Quit taking things so personal.

Another example is when someone else on the team has an idea that does not go along with your idea. Or when others on the team like their idea better than yours. Sometimes this causes you to think that the team is choosing sides, and they might like the leadership style of someone else better than yours. If this starts to happen with you, stop it. Quit taking things so personal.

One last example is when the team begins to gel and work well together. The team begins to be creative and productive…. without you being present. It is like they are working so well that you are not even necessary. You then start to feel left out. You start thinking that they have formed a group without you. Self-pity becomes a part of your thought process. After all, we are relational human beings, and they are not relational. If this starts to happen with you, stop it. Quit taking things so personal.

In one of my business classes, I learned a key negotiation tactic. The instant that you make it personal, the other person has won the negotiation. When it becomes personal, rational thinking has left the process.

This week’s experiment: Are you taking things too personal? If so, if this starts to happen with you, stop it. Quit taking things so personal.

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