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Leading with Character: Advent Values Part Two

Last week I took advantage of this being the Christmas season to talk about the Advent themes of hope and love. Each of the four weeks in Advent is marked by a theme designed to help Christians prepare for Christmas. But the Advent themes of hope, joy, peace, and love are also principles that can guide character-centered leaders of any faith. This week I’ll share my thoughts on how leaders of character can harness the power of joy and peace.

Leading with Advent Values
Joy and peace are motivational, uplifting words. Let’s dig deeper to explore the nuances of these powerful values, and how leaders of character can tap them to foster a positive workplace environment where everyone feels good about themselves and what they’re doing.

Let There Be Peace on Earth
It seems to me joy and peace are two sides of the same coin. They fit well together, and both are very spiritual, which to me means they come from within. When I think of the word peace, my mind goes back to my childhood. I fondly recall the internationally acclaimed song, Let There be Peace on Earth, penned in 1955 by Jill Jackson-Miller and Sy Miller. The beloved song has become a Christmas season favorite, and it’s easy to see why:

Let there be peace on Earth
And let it begin with me.
Let there be peace on Earth
The peace that was meant to be.

With God as our Father
Brothers all are we.
Let me walk with my brother
In perfect harmony.

Let peace begin with me
Let this be the moment now.

With ev’ry step I take
Let this be my solemn vow.

To take each moment and live
Each moment in peace eternally.
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me.

I love this song because it goes to the heart of leading oneself. In our increasingly divided society, it seems people are being conditioned by certain forces to look outside of themselves for personal fulfillment like peace and joy. They’re told it’s someone else’s job – perhaps their boss’s job – to make them happy and content. And they’re told someone else is to blame for their problems. It’s a shift away from personal responsibility to a blame game. But people who seek to blame others for their discontent only become unhappier, as evidenced by the social unrest all around us. Peace is personal. To find it, each of us must look inside ourself. That is the art of leading oneself.

How Joy Facilitates Peace
Although individuals have the responsibility to look within to find peace and joy, there is much leaders can do to help employees achieve a state of contentment. Leaders of character understand it’s their responsibility to foster a workplace climate that includes joy.

How can they do that? They can start by creating opportunities to celebrate the small, often overlooked day-to-day successes of their employees. In the office, this might be walking around to “catch someone doing something good” and recognize that person publicly, on-the-spot. In a virtual setting, it might mean calling out someone quiet and commending him or her on a job well done. Another option is for leaders to find ways to tie each person in the office to the team’s or organization’s mission and purpose. Employees who feel connected to the outcomes will take joy in helping achieve them.

Be creative. Discover your own ways to bring peace and joy to your workplace!

Look in the mirror. As a leader, are you creating conditions in the office that help people find inner peace and joy at work?

Please join me again next week for more on Leading with Character.

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