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Monday, June 18, 2012

Pot, Meet Kettle

Have you ever heard the expression,  "Well that's like the pot calling the kettle black"?   It is used to express the idea that we are often prone to point out the flaws in others that we have in ourselves.

In my last post, I mentioned how one of my clients had a revelation tied to this idea in passing judgement.  She said to me, "I was angry at all these self righteous, judgmental people and then I realized I was just as bad because I was constantly judging them!"  

I had another person just this week tell me of heated encounter he had with someone.  The person yelled at them,  "Until you learn to control your temper, I don't want to see you here again!"  He said he wanted to ask,  "Well doesn't that mean you have to leave too?!"

As leaders, being aware of what irritates us to say the least and infuriates us to say the most in others can turn into a self-reflection exercise in improving our own capabilities.   I had this revelation in my self awareness exercise when someone stated that one of my flaws involved negativity.  I have always said that I hate negative people, but really what I probably hate most is when I see negativity in myself.

So what can we do to keep from calling the kettle black?

1. Identify what bothers you the most in others.  It may be their temper, their judgement, their negativity, you decide.

2. Once you've identified these things, make of list of when you have been guilty of the same things, and identify what situations or people make you more prone to act that way.

3.  Next,  keep these things in your mind, and avoid falling victim to them.  This may involve removing yourself from certain situations (or people) or it may just be having the conscious awareness to avoid the behavior.

I think you will see a change in the behaviors of those around you when you change your own.  Many people imitate the behaviors of their leaders because they subconsciously think that by being like the boss, they one day may get to be the boss.   If you cut out the behaviors that bother you the most, you'll be more likely to eliminate them not only from yourself, but from those that follow your example.

Tell us about a pot and kettle moment you've had!

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