Lessons from the Presidential election last night…

Today, the morning after, I have had three sessions with leaders who represent the division and polarity of our country. One is an EVP in technology, born in India, whose 14-year old son is afraid to go to school today because he is Muslim. One is a female senior manager in healthcare who voted for Trump even though she sees him as yet-one-more sexist bully in a patriarchal system with a double standard. One is a director at a F100 who does not know how to respond to the rumors in his organization. Notice the fears from each of these leaders?

Consider 3 lessons:

  1. Timing. Coaches focuses on the now and the future, by definition. So when should coaches encourage leaders to act on their convictions? Assume that 50% of the people you meet today are delighted because Trump won, and 50% are sad because Clinton lost. Further assume that within each group 50% are hopeful that the election will lead to a better future, and the other 50% are frightened or uncertain. In short, only 25% of the populace is hopeful because their person won, and 75% are uncertain, sad or fearful. Positive psychology coaching requires that we 1) define a hopeful future state and 2) act toward that hopeful future.

     Possible actions: Celebrate your freedoms, TODAY, with your loved ones. Plant a garden. Pick up your children early from school. Call your loved ones. Model a hopeful future, with others, immediately. Leaders model a better future. Great leaders model a better future more frequently than average leaders. TODAY is the best day to model your leadership capacity.

  1. Precedent. For the first time in U.S. history we have a president elect with no experience in the military, and no experience in political office. Trump will require executive coaching. Experienced leaders will need to teach him how to be a great president. Who will share that expertise? If business leaders or political leaders withhold information, or drive agendas that further their best interests, then history will teach us some negative lessons. The pollsters and Washington, DC-based media underestimated the voters. What does that fact mean? There is no precedent for coaching Trump. His advisors demonstrated mastery with the media and attack ads. Does that fact imply that leaders should tolerate foul language in our families, schools and organizations?

     Possible actions: Take a stand for your core values, whatever they are. Share hope and optimism with others. Discuss the balance of power in the U.S. constitution, and the global influence of decision-making.  Re-read Jefferson’s opinion that revolutions prevent despots from dominating.  Model ethical leadership in your organization, family, or schools.

  1. Embrace change. We just elected another candidate who is thought to represent change. What does that really mean? No one likes to be changed. Yet all leaders like to make changes. At a recent conference I heard a perspective that may be useful. We may complain about the rate of change, especially technologically-driven change that reduces jobs with automation or transparent access to data. However, the rate of change, TODAY, is slower than it will ever be for the rest of your life.   As coaches of leaders, that fact implies that if we embrace change, TODAY, then we will be better prepared to embrace other changes tomorrow. How can it be otherwise?

     Possible actions: Talk to someone from a different racial, economic or political group and listen carefully to their concerns. That is what coaches do. Hire a coach or ask someone to be your mentor. Select a mentor who is younger, or quite different. Then listen carefully. Assess your psychological capital (Psy Cap).  We are a resilient species.  When we embrace change from multiple perspectives then we model a more united states.

So, what are you going to do TODAY?

Contact your coach today. Or your clients.

Then let me know what you choose to do TODAY. Contact Us.

To you, at your best, Doug Gray, PCC, call me at 615.905.1892.

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