All the leadership examples I post on my blog come from real life situations – either mine or yours, collected through years of leadership experience.
I get asked frequently, “How do you post about people you know? Don’t they figure out you’re talking about them?”
And, truthfully, sometimes they ask, “Is that post about me?“
The reality is, however, that every situation seems to repeat itself – many times. (There is nothing new under the sun.) In fact, I will seldom post specific details of a specific situation. I wait until I observe it more than once and I keep posts as broad and general as I can.
Many of the situations from which I draw principles come from readers of this blog sharing their stories with me. And I have received lots of them over the years. Some come from other churches with whom I’ve worked. Many of the situations from which I develop leadership principles happened years ago when I was in secular business and management. Sometimes the details are cloudy, but the principles are still quite clear.
I do have a system (informal that is), however, of how I post about current leadership issues, especially those real life to me, where I know the people involved.
Here is my “system”:
I wait until some time has passed – The principles learned will still be good. It could be a month or several years, depending on how easy to discern the details would be. (Evernote is where I mostly keep my notes.)
I also try to make sure I have removed my emotions before I post about a situation. I’ve been burned a few times (and burned others) by posting in anger, so I’ve learned to never post until I’m back on even ground emotionally.
I consider all parties involved – I want to make sure I’m telling the story correctly. The point is trying to capture the facts as they happened, not as someone felt (or I felt) as they were happening. If it’s a personal issue for me, I never share any situation I wouldn’t be comfortable discussing with the people involved.
I especially don’t want people I lead feeling slammed through my blog, so I make sure to address leadership problems outside this blog. Frequently, I mention upcoming posts so they know in advance I’m writing about a certain topic.
Examine what was learned – I always want to learn from experiences; good or bad, so I ask myself how the teams involved are better and how things could improve because of this situation. Again, I try never to post out of personal frustration, but I do try to share that which can benefit others from my experience or the experience of others.
Change details – I never share names, unless I have permission and it’s necessary for the story. Also, I change enough details to keep people guessing as to the characters in the situation.
Post – Eventually I use the story or situation to write about a leadership problem or principle. My theory is that all leadership principles develop somewhere – and there is always a story behind them.
Where did you learn some of your best leadership principles?