Host or Hostage

Host or Hostage

Host or Hostage

Posted by on October 26, 2016 in

By Rick Melmer – Leadership Coach

How often have you heard about the importance of attitude in the workplace? While it may be a term that is used too often when we discuss our approach to our roles as leaders, few of us will argue that how we think about our leadership roles has a lot to do with our effectiveness.

It seems like we have a choice each day when we walk into our offices. Are we a host or a hostage? Think about the role of a host.

  • They welcome you to their location. Do you provide a welcoming environment in your workplace?
  • They ask: “Can I get you anything?” How often do we ask our colleagues if we can help them in anyway?
  • They circulate to ensure that people are engaged and enjoying the experience. How often do you visit with your colleagues on their turf? Do you circulate through your organization and provide support and encouragement?
  • They are happy. Have you ever seen a grumpy host? Neither have I. They are eager for you to have a good experience and they know that SMILING is critical to their role. Do you smile at work?

The other alternative we have each day is to behave as a hostage. What is a hostage – it is someone held against his/her will.  The dictionary states that a hostage is “taken by force”. We live in America and have the freedom of choice, yet some leaders behave more like a hostage.  What defines a hostage?

  • They may complain about their surroundings. After all – being held against your will would not be pleasant. Do you complain about your role as a leader?
  • They grieve the fact that they have no CHOICE. Hostages are captives – they do not get to choose their actions.  Do you have a choice? Who forced you to take your current leadership position?
  • They may be consumed by FEAR. Hostages do not know what will happen to them. Their fear is justifiable. Do you have fears? If so, what are they and why do you have them?

The differences between the behavior of a host and the conditions of a hostage are significant. At the end of the day, we should recognize that as leaders we are not hostages. We have not been taken by force – we are not involuntarily controlled. We have a CHOICE in our vocation and how we approach it every day. What would our organizations be like if we behaved as a host each and every day?

If you found this article helpful, share a comment – or better yet extend the discussion about the comparisons of a host and hostage.


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