Leadership: Be a Guest
I lived as a stateless refugee, sometimes homeless, until I became a U.S. citizen in 2011. I was a man without a country.
A key insight gleaned from my parents, who themselves were forced to leave their home in Palestine, is that when you are in a place that is not your own, you act like a visitor or a guest.
What does that mean? A lot.
You may or may not like what the people who are citizens of the land or residents of the home do, but it is inappropriate to hurt or insult them, because you are a guest in their home and their country.
That insight allowed me to think about being extra cautious with the words I use when interacting with people who may look or behave differently than me — accepting who they are and appreciating what they do or how they look at things, while not necessarily agreeing with their actions or words.
I also learned to be an explorer by asking questions such as: That’s interesting — why do you do it this way?
Questions allowed me to have a bigger and deeper understanding of culture and human interaction — knowledge that is important in building community.
I share this because as we continue to grow into this new global era starting with questions will help us discover new things rather than rejecting them right away, helping us to better understand and then to share.
Be a guest next time you interact with a potential client, employee, neighbor or competitor. At the end of the day, we are all guests on this earth.
BEFORE YOU GO
We see our blogs as opportunities for dialogue. Please share your thoughts as comments.
- What would being a guest allow you to do — or not do — in your workplace?
- How would being a guest allow you to explore what you couldn’t as a resident or citizen?
- What other tools do you use to be comfortable where you are?
Faris Alami is Founder and CEO of International Strategic Management, Inc. (ISM). He works internationally, presenting Exploring Entrepreneurship Workshops and other entrepreneurial ecosystem — related ventures.
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