If you are familiar with Christian lingo, you may have heard the abbreviations WWJD and WWJS. They stand for, what What Would Jesus Do, and What Would Jesus Say. These are noble attempts by many Christians to help themselves speak and act in a way that is commensurate with what Jesus would have done.
I must confess that I have personally never been a fan of WWJD and WWJS. However, recently, I discovered a new and personally more helpful application of the idea. I am fortunate to have some of the best leaders right now. I love my job and think my leaders are amazing. Yet, I sometimes still find myself having what T.D. Jakes describes as a corner mentality vs. a central mentality. The idea is that my boss has many of us to take care of. Each of us has our own corners, our own space within the organization where we operate. That space has a population of one, me. Because of that, I tend to have a corner mentality. But my boss has a lot of us to care for PLUS she has to deal with the laws and regulations of the outside world that affect and impact the way our organization operates. She has a center mentality. And she makes decisions using that mentality. And that is absolutely the right thing for her to do.
The truth is that for me to understand my boss better, be more helpful to her, be more helpful to our organization, help the people we serve more, grow personally and professionally, I need to develop a center mentality. I need to learn to think and act the way my boss does. I need to be able to vicariously put myself in my boss’ shoes and see the world through the glasses that she does so that I can better understand and appreciate her contribution and the sacrifices she must make to keep our team going forward.
As I was trying to come up with a way to get myself to think and act like my boss more, that’s when I thought about WWJD and WWJS.
And I go one step further, I add Why?
My boss’ name is Dr. K. So I would ask myself, “what would Dr. K. do, and why?” or “what would Dr. K. say, and why?” The why is key. Understanding why she sees the world the way she does will help me grow tremendously and appreciate her more. Otherwise, guess what human nature tends to do? Complain, grumble, drag my feet to obey instead of obeying quickly, completely, and cheerfully. Doing that helps me see more clearly that in every decision she makes, she has “OUR” (not just “my”) best interest at heart.
I am finding that this is a really good way to understand my boss. It’s so simple, yet very helpful and applicable to practically every relationship. I see that this has the potential to strengthen every relationship and help people connect better and appreciate others more.
I have a few people that I sort of lead from a distance, ;). Everyone has a boss! I have begun to teach them to do what I’m doing with my boss in our relationship. Instead of them coming to ask me what to do, I want them to put themselves in my shoes and answer their own questions as I would and tell me why they think I would act that way. Then I would edit their responses if necessary. We are seeing that this is helping them grow to the point where I am getting more and more confident in their ability to make similar decisions autonomously.