So “Why,” you may ask, “Should I work to receive what is mine so I can give to others?” Well… as we realize that our cultivating our innate talents and abilities (i.e., refining our excellence) is not solely about us, we begin moving towards the answer. To be clear, nobody’s excellence zone is more important than anyone else’s. If you question this, try measuring any executive team’s productivity after two days of a custodian strike when the restroom toilets are backed up. From the most junior to the most senior of positions, we each have a unique role to play in our workplaces. Leaders, in particular, are called to consistently demonstrate appropriate receiving and distribution behavior in all their workplaces. This means that leaders must constantly make choices that may dictate they “not do what they feel like doing” while “doing things they may not feel like doing.”

Oh, did I mention we are all leaders? Whether a leader of many or a leader of one, we each must do our best to become and stay rooted in our commitment to consistently exhibit workplace-appropriate receiving and distribution strategies. In short, because we each are in some form of positional leadership, never can we justify mistreating others, or even ourselves for that matter, via sitting on the sidelines of our lives. We each have also given up our right to “play small” by not fully exercising our talents and abilities any day we are blessed to be alive. For those of you thinking, “But Marilyn, really now, I don’t have direct reports so this doesn’t apply to me. Right?” Wrong. In actuality it may apply to you even more.

Let’s stop for a moment and consider the following scenarios regarding Bob, a senior executive of a Fortune 500 company based in downtown Manhattan, New York, to see if his behavior needs to differ within different “workplaces”.

Scenario One: At 8:30 A.M. Bob walks past his executive assistant and makes a harsh comment about the executive summary she delivered yesterday. Scenario Two: Later that evening around 7:00 P.M. Bob is sitting across from his 16-year-old daughter when he makes another insensitive comment. This time it has to do with the quality of the science project she is working on. In which scenario was Bob’s conduct workplace appropriate? Neither. How can you tell? Because, while individual personalities of each dictate the specific answer, you can imagine the painful effect his words would likely have on both his assistant and daughter. Following this reasoning, which female do you think felt the greatest hurt: Bob’s employee or his daughter? Again, the answer is both. In the end, it does not matter whether we are interacting with a direct report or a loved one, or whether we are at work or home, our words and behavior matter and they have the power to give wings to excellence or send those same budding excellence endeavors straight to the trash compactor.