By: Dale A. Hicks, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist, Certified CEO Effectiveness Executive Coach
In reading Bill’s post on National Good Neighbor Day, it occurred to me that everything he posited as important in being a good neighbor applies as well to all of our other communities. Our immediate and extended families come to mind, as do our workplaces, church groups, clubs, professional organizations, friendship groups, and even our Facebook communities. In each of these contexts, we have ongoing opportunities to stretch ourselves and to have a direct or indirect impact on others.
While CEO Effectiveness emphasizes leadership self-knowledge as the key to greater business success, a founding motivation also was the recognition that leadership self-knowledge, in addition to benefiting the ‘bottom line,’ is a highly efficient and effective approach to bringing a greater quality of life to the many others who are impacted by the leader’s beliefs, behaviors and decisions. For most of us, the workplace is where we spend the majority of our time. The day-to-day and ongoing experiences that we have there can have a profound influence on how we feel about ourselves and what we bring to all of our other relationships and ‘neighborhoods.’ Likewise, the experiences we have in each of our other communities or neighborhoods can have a significant impact on our own sense of well-being, self-worth and life satisfaction.
While the pursuit of self-knowledge is a gift we can give to ourselves, it is also a gift we bring to everyone with whom we interact. Understanding and gaining a greater mastery over our own beliefs and behaviors, including how we interact with others, offers the greatest opportunity to provide others with positive experiences and to assist in their journey toward self-knowledge and getting in touch with their own truer selves.
If we are to ‘treat our neighbors as we would have them treat us,’ most of us likely would agree that taking the time and making the effort to listen to them carefully and to consider their perspectives, seeking to understand their beliefs and feelings, and treating others with compassion would go a long way toward fostering mutually respectful and positive relationships. Other behaviors that would contribute not only to good neighborly relations, but also to one’s own growth and that of others include approaching others with an open mind, not hastily judging or blaming others without exploring their true intent, questioning your own certainty, seeking disconfirming evidence for our own assumptions and beliefs, owning up to mistakes, working on our ability to forgive, keeping promises and commitments, genuinely caring for others, and cultivating mutual trust through showing empathy.
In the spirit of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine,’ if everyone tried to be the best neighbor they could be in each of their communities,that would be something to celebrate!