No Mysteries…Just Trust. By Chip Lutz
I love a good mystery, don’t you? Some of my favorite Sunday afternoons as a kid were spent watching Sherlock Holmes or Charlie Chan use their super sleuth skills to solve the most complex of crimes and, ultimately, save the world from complete annihilation. However great contemplating classic capers has been for me, having a mysterious leader has never been as entertaining. In fact, it can quickly become a horror show. Have you ever worked for a person whose reaction to situations would sway from one extreme to another depending on who was around, which way the wind was blowing, or if they had gotten a prime parking spot that morning? Well, you are not alone because I have had the displeasure of working with (and for) “Bi-polar Bob” and “Wacky Wanda” as well. Working with questions, inconsistency, and conundrums erodes the trust needed to keep morale high, move the team forward, and weather the trials that many of our teams are facing.
When examining relationships, there should be no mystery – at home, work, or play. If you are the last person to know about bad situations or feel like you’re the last resort, there is probably a reason. The question to ask is, “Am I building covenants or breaking them?” A covenant is a relationship of trust. It signifies that, no matter what, you act in accordance with your beliefs and that your teammates can count on that consistency. There are no questions and there is no guessing on how you will sail because you are sure and steady. This starts with your own reflections on what you believe, where you stand, and is manifested in how you behave. To build everyday covenants (and keep the mysteries at a minimum), I continually strive to stay consistent by taking the time to periodically reflect on three things: statements of purpose, statements of intent, and congruency between the two. Although you may not be able to change others around you, you can change your behaviors and reactions to those around you.
What Are My Statements of Purpose?
Statements of purpose manifest from the core of my being. Above all, they are what I value and what “I believe.” For me, I believe in honesty, integrity, family, love, laughter, and the innate goodness of the human spirit. I also believe that each person has been given a purpose on this big, blue, wet ball, and with that purpose a responsibility to ease the burden of others, not to make it heavier. Those values are the rudder by which I live my life. Take a moment to reflect on yours. What are your statements of purpose? What do you believe? Where do you stand? If it’s a mystery to you, then it will surely be a mystery to others!
What Are My Statements of Intent?
Statements of intent are different from things that you “can do” (there are a lot of things that each of us can do). Statements of intent are things that you WILL DO! My statements of intent include that I WILL:
• Treat others with dignity and respect
• Put the needs of the ones I love before my own
• Take myself lightly and find the humor in life
• Be honest with myself and others
When I’ve taken the time to reflect and intentionally write them down, they become my personal “manifesto” on how I will deal with people, situations, and also they become a roadmap of how I will live my life. What are the things that you WILL do? There is great power in knowing what your statements of intent are, writing them down and speaking them out loud. Do yourself that favor!
Are The Two Congruent?
The last thing I reflect on is if my beliefs and actions are congruent with each other. If they are, then there will be NO mystery to anyone on how I will (or would) respond in a situation. If there is, something is amiss. Either I don’t really believe what I’ve stated as my purpose or the intent doesn’t match the belief. I like to equate it to when people say they “want” something. If you want something, that means you are taking steps towards your goal. If you aren’t taking those steps, then you really don’t want it. It’s just a nicety. The same goes with purpose and intent. If you say you believe something but don’t actively live it, you don’t really believe it. The two must be congruent or you’ll be swayed, mysteries will continue and covenants will be broken.
It’s not that I don’t like surprises, I do. I like the spontaneity that keeps relationships fresh, vibrant and how it can propel a team to new possibilities. But, I know I am not alone when I state that I don’t like the mystery of how you’ll react if I come to you with less than favorable news. There are no mysteries within the covenants that are built with others; there is only openness, loyalty, and trust. That’s what is being built every day in relationships – as long as you are living your values and openly sharing them with those within your circle. Step Up and Invest Yourself Today!
Keep Leading, Laughing and Connecting,
LCDR Chip Lutz, USN(Ret), MSEd, CLL, is the President and founder of Covenant Leadership, LLC and has 22 years’ leadership experience.