Sometimes you find you are doing well and everyone recognizes your achievements, and other times, you have a friend or coworker point out a dumb or counterproductive thing that you are doing. 

Those are opportunities for self-reflection and growth.  Those are chances to ask “what did I get out of my actions,” and “what, in the run up to Bad Decision X should I look for as a red flag, so I don’t make that mistake again.”

The effect of my mistake: A smart, capable, and talented person, that many people know and respect, dislikes me personally because of a mistake that I made (OK, more than one).  I am a passionate believer in some principles, and sometimes that passion gets in the way of speaking with tact, showing respect for others, and simply listening better.

I could say to myself, “Nick, you don’t have to be liked by everyone” and it would be true.  But that’s too easy of a cop out.  No.  I made mistakes.  Mistakes that I can only confront myself for, because this person is not choosing to confront me directly on them.

I wish to start over with this person. Build a relationship of mutual trust and recognition.  It won’t be easy, because I’ve burned a bridge.  I could walk away, but I expect more of myself than that.  I expect integrity, honesty, tact, objectivity, business savvy and professionalism.  In short, I expect myself to model the best behavior of a good leader.

I hold myself to that standard, and I now stand in the light of my own embarassement to admit that I fell short.  I have been told that this person is aware of my blog, so if this person reads this blog entry, please accept my humble and heartfelt apology.

And to all (including myself), I commit to working harder to recognize when a passionate response is not a useful one, and to keep true to this maxim: Respect cannot be demanded.  It must be earned, first by respecting others, and secondly by respecting yourself. 

By Nick Malik

Former CIO and present Strategic Architect, Nick Malik is a Seattle based business and technology advisor with over 30 years of professional experience in management, systems, and technology. He is the co-author of the influential paper "Perspectives on Enterprise Architecture" with Dr. Brian Cameron that effectively defined modern Enterprise Architecture practices, and he is frequent speaker at public gatherings on Enterprise Architecture and related topics. He coauthored a book on Visual Storytelling with Martin Sykes and Mark West titled "Stories That Move Mountains".

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