By Michael Holland

As a leader, how do you analyze recent events, interactions, situations, encounters?  Do you have a critical eye seeking intelligence regarding how you have behaved and how your behavior impacted others?

Looking closely at what we haven’t completed or improved or how we behaved or could’ve behaved is a good habit.  Deciding where you’re going to “live” with that information is a key decision which will have a direct impact on your leadership habits.  You have to decide if you’re going to be a gapper or a gainer.

  • A Gapper — One who is obsessed with looking back at what happened and seeing what didn’t go well or happen or get accomplished.  They live in the limiting beliefs that it’s too hard to change or that’s just who they are or lead that way because of blah, blah, blah reason.  They live in the “what could’ve been” world.
  • A Gainer — One who looks forward at the opportunity to make something happen or do things better or accomplish a task.  They live in the liberating truths that enable them to open up to new ways of behaving.  They see the gain that is available to them in the next event, interaction, situation or encounter.  They live in the “what could be” world.

The nuance may seem so small but the rub is that there’s an enormous mountain between gappers and gainers.  Most leaders analyze recent events, interactions, situations, encounters with a critical eye seeking intelligence regarding how they have behaved and how their behavior impacted others.

Great leaders then take the next step – and this is a big next step – great leaders look forward.  They package up the old event put duck tape around it and throw it away.  They focus their energy on the wisdom they’ve earned and look forward to how they will behave in the future.  They may even go so far as to practice. . .

  • how they will behave differently in the future
  • how they will orchestrate an interaction
  • how they will articulate a message

And it’s in those moments of practicing new behaviors that the great leaders learn to lead well and their new, improved behaviors become habits.

Coaching Thoughts – For You and Your Peers

  • How do you think you can tell if you’re a gapper or a gainer?  Grab a peer manager or two and talk it through.  Listen closely to their perceptions.
  • Do agree that leaders are either a gapper or a gainer? Why?
  • Think back to the best leaders or mentors you’ve had in your life.  We’re they gappers or gainers?