In 1970, Simon and Garfunkel released an iconic song titled, “bridge over troubled waters.” It won 13 awards, including song of the year and record of the year. This is one of those songs that endures through the generations, and when we hear it, we know it. Especially right now, as we navigate troubled waters.
This is a skill that is indispensable to our companies and to those we lead. In fact, building a bridge impacts relationships, productivity, growth, teamwork, purpose, and conflict resolution. This is what all companies want and yet for it to happen, there must be people who will build a bridge.
However, this is easier said than done, because in many ways, it’s not our first inclination.
When there are different opinions, we gravitate to those who agree with us. When it comes to friends, we want to be with those who agree with our position. In politics, the other party is the enemy. In conflict, it’s the other person’s fault. And in teamwork, the other people are making it hard. In truth, this is our inclination, which is why, being a bridge builder, requires intentionality and growth as a person.
So, where do we start?
From a biblical standpoint, I believe it’s being a Peacemaker!
This is a big deal because we’re called to make the peace, versus keeping the peace. Furthermore, being a peacemaker is a part of being, a child of God.
Matthew 5:9 says it this way,
“Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.”
When we make the peace, we actively navigate different opinions, conflict, big picture goals, and reaching for unity, more than conformity.
This is the leaders we need right now, because more than ever, we’re losing the ability to agree to disagree. With this, we don’t work together and unite over a big goal. This is disastrous in many ways because, when we lose this, society becomes cult-like in division and strife. These troubled waters are real, but building a bridge helps us make a difference!
When we are leaders that build a bridge, we not only help businesses be better, we help people be better. This is leadership that leaves a legacy, because we give who we are, way more than what we do.
So here are three thoughts to help us, make the peace and build a bridge.
First, come to the highest point of unity. It’s important that leaders find this in any relationship. On a scale from one to ten, if the unity is at a one, then go there. If it is at a 10, then go there. The main thing is, lead to the highest point of unity, and build from there.
Second, focus on the common goals and interests. It’s important that we, as leaders, consistently lift people to common goals and interests. This keeps our eyes focused on something higher than our agenda, and it requires teamwork for it to happen. One person can do great things, but it takes a team to do amazing things!
Third, seek to understand others. This speaks to a genuine interest in what makes people motivated and why they do what they do. Great leaders study people and then connect with them in a way that speaks their language. I’ve enjoyed this process of getting to know teammates and learning who they are and why they are the way they are. When we know these things, we’re able to speak their language, as we move forward together.
So I encourage you, please make the decision to build a bridge by being a peacemaker. We need leaders like you more than ever as we navigate the troubled waters around us. It’s my belief, God has positioned us to be in this moment of time, because he believes we can do it.
May God bless you and the best is yet to come,