We don't ever want to burn bridges in any profession, to be honest.
What goes around comes around and how we do anything is how we do everything.
What I want to know the answer to, when my head hits the pillow at the end of the day is, have I done good? Did I show up? Was I respectful, and did I do my best?
Burning bridges occurs when we take things personally. It's when we make it all about us. It's when we have a short-term, reactive response, and it shows up. People notice, people see; it magnifies on its own.
Often, it can spread like a rumor. It can become its own animal. I've seen some really good leaders create conflict in moments of not being resourceful. The ramifications of that can stick around for a long time.
I encourage, certainly our leaders, and anyone listening, because I do this for myself; take pause. Ask a better question. Think about, “What's my outcome here? What's really my outcome? Can I influence this? Can I truly change this? Am I focused on my business, other people's business?…”
In these moments, usually, my answer will be, “I'm trying to influence or control someone else's business.”
When I can make that distinction, I can get out of my mind, I can take a step back, and think about “gosh, I'm taking this personally right now. I'm believing my own thoughts, that I'm losing something here.”
In leadership, we want to take pause. We want to create a bit of meaning for ourselves. Give yourself time to get out of reaction and fear and get back to the business of serving and creating a long-term vision.
I can honestly say some of my greatest mentors really showed me what it was like to be a servant leader in this way. That right from the get go there was not any kind of financial benefit for them to help me, but they helped me regardless.
For me, early on, when I wasn't really creating a lot in this business, I was so pleasantly surprised and still to this day so grateful for some of my early mentors that had no financial interest to help me because I didn't even know at the time, that existed.
That is what I really believe is one of the most precious gifts of this profession that makes us so very unique in that people are here to serve.
People are here to be mission-driven. The many gifts that this profession has given them, they want to selflessly give back to others. That's the flip side – the benefit of what goes around comes around.
Burning bridges will mean we drop below the line. That's where there will be poaching. That's where people won't do the right thing. When it comes to you, or a relationship, they won't want to be ethical. When they see an opportunity to maybe influence someone to come over to them, it just can get really messy.
I encourage you to think about what kind of leader you want to be? To me, this is an identity question.
How do I want people to feel? How do I want them to think about me? How do I want to be seen, and how do I want them to feel about our relationship?
Some of the best, most influential leaders in the world are those who have an open heart and an open mind, and are very balanced and very fair, not reactive.
So keep building those bridges, don’t burn them!