ue bot icon

Leadership Thought #445 – How We Transition…

August 19, 2013

Free Person holding hardcover book with blank cover Stock Photo

As my kids begin another school year this morning, it is always interesting to watch how both the children and parents deal with the transition. In some cases, either the kids and/or parents will be a bit anxious or nervous, unsure of what is to come.  In other cases, there is almost giddy excitement about the new challenges.  Old friends will greet each other joyfully, while the new children and parents will be feeling their way on how to best fit in.  Some children will walk to school alone, while others will have both parents with them and be accompanied all the way to their new classroom.  Many of the teachers will carry themselves with an air of confidence and enthusiasm, while others will be a bit more reticent and laid back.

We never know what life is going to put in our path along the way.  Sometimes our transitions are predictable, such as moving on to the next year in school.  Other times, a transition can happen without much warning, such as an unseen layoff or big promotion at work.   How we and others around us act during these situations can make all the difference.    Obviously, some transitions, especially those that involve personal tragedy, will require some time for grieving and healing, however even in these circumstances, there are a few universal lessons we can follow:

  • Attitude, as they say, is everything.  It’s not what happens to us that defines us in life, but how we react to it.   All transition involves some level of change, we can either embrace it or hide from it, but change is inevitable.
  • It helps to have a support network around you and to be part of someone else’s support network, because transitioning alone is more difficult.  And, when you see someone who is alone, acknowledge their situation and do your best to offer some kind words of support.
  • When dealing with others who are transitioning, realize that everyone doesn’t react to things in the same way.  Meet your family members, friends, and colleagues where they are emotionally, not where you think they should be.
  • When leading others through change, do your best to assume a confident, caring, and reassuring posture.  In times of change, people need to feel their leaders are a guiding light amidst the unsettling backdrop of uncertainty.

I have a slight case of unease in my stomach this morning.  Interesting, how as a parent, the feelings of worry we experience are often more pronounced for our children.  Maybe it’s because we have the benefit of life experience and know that things don’t always turn out as planned.  I had great teacher experiences and not so great teacher experiences as a child.  Some years were great socially, while others were more challenging from a friend and peer standpoint.  When you transition there is certainly an element of uncertainty.  You are not completely sure how it will end.

What I wish for you is that whatever the change you are navigating, you don’t feel you have to go it alone: seek guidance and support when needed.  Do your best to keep a positive perspective and realize that for all of us, there are ups and downs.  The gift that change offers us is the potential to grow as a person, to be a positive role model for others around us and to embrace the opportunity of new doors opening in our lives.  How we transition matters. Move forward and stay positive!