There’s an Italian Proverb that says
“At the end of the game, the king and the pawn go back in the same box.”
I’ve been supervising and leading people for almost two decades and today I went for a walk with one of my young troops who has faced a very difficult season in his young life. I’ve probably taken hundreds of similar walks with my troops and peers over the years and Lord knows I’ve been taken on some walks as well. These walks are always a chance to help others help themselves. During these walks I do a lot of listening and as a Midwest girl who loves to talk…these walks help me to slow down, be present for my troops and offer them wisdom from my life experiences. I’ve learned so much about the human condition during these walks with my troops. I’ve found all too often these walks meant to help them, end up helping me as well.
We all face struggles in life. We have fears, we make mistakes, we get rejected, face illness…we get knocked down. But as I told my young Airman today, we must always get up because the other side of the struggle is where the real peace and growth is found. The Italians got it right because no matter what our rank, position, or social status is, we are human first and we are all the same at the core. We want to love and be loved, we want to be a successful man, woman, leader, friend…we want to make a difference.
Leadership is a heart game and we either have the heart to take a walk with our followers when they need us…or we walk on by. Don’t be the leader who walks on by when your followers are struggling. Pay them a visit at their job, their house, take them for a walk, listen and share your experiences with them. Encourage them, be present when they need you, and have faith that your walks with them will make a difference. Because…
Leadership walks at my current assignment by my cop supervisors, crisis intervention trained Airmen, unit mental health counselors have saved 32 Airmen from suicide and that’s simply by walking around, talking to them, sharing how we overcame our own struggles and sought healing. I’m proud to be their leader because I see them caring for each other, taking those walks and most importantly sharing how they overcame the punches thrown their way.
The truth is we all face struggles yet we are all exactly the same at our soul’s core.
Keep taking those walks and if you haven’t tried a walk yet, go for it! It’s the best leadership tool you’ll ever employ because you’ll connect with your people and fortify trust faster than any ten-minute office session could ever give you.
Love & Leadership,