We've all heard it, "that's some bad Karma"
Kyle McAfee, CFM, EFO,CFE, BS
Fire Chief / Fire Marshal
Selma Fire Department (TX)
As a Firefighter, Company Officer, and Fire Chief responding to emergencies for over 30 years, I’ve even said it. Many of us associate Karma with negative outcomes; though in reality, Karma is not intended to be a punishment, but a set of “laws” which we should consider in our efforts to be good at whatever we do.
The Law of Humility is Karma’s third rule—One must accept something in order to change it. This can be applied to leadership, supporting the practice of regular reflection of our actions. In the book, The Coaching Manager (2011), authors James Hunt and Joseph Weintraub make a great point when they say, “Most of us have a tendency to believe our skills are superior. Many of us learn, painfully, that not all of our skills are so superior.” The fact of the matter is, if a person is to become not only a better leader and manager, but a better person, they need to do some intense reflection and make a conscious effort to improve. Just like the third law, we must understand (accept) what we see before we can begin to improve.
We must be willing and able to see where and how we are contributing to a given situation. I once had a colleague approach me and ask what he needed to do to place himself in the best position to compete for an upcoming promotion. I advised him the best thing he could do is to really take a hard and critical look at himself, know and understand the influence his actions have on situations. This applies not just to his views and beliefs, but he needed to have a clear picture of how others viewed him and the influence those views could potentially have as he stepped into a senior leadership role. Throughout the process he stumbled simply because he had not expanded his beliefs to include what others thought of him. Simply put, he had a blind spot, and the bad thing about blind spots is we can’t see them; this also means we are unaware they need attention or improvement.
We should remember Karma’s third Law of Humility and be willing to accept what we find as we look critically at ourselves, for we cannot improve unless we accept what we find is real and legitimate.