Be the Iron on the Ironing Board - Envision a hot iron gliding down the ironing board, silently removing wrinkles from an article of clothing. As leaders, it is our responsibility to ‘be that iron’ by identifying and removing impediments to our teammates’ best effort. Find the policies, procedures, methods, tools, etc. that are getting in the way, keeping people from doing their best work, and change or remove them. Making this a part of your daily regimen will earn a lot of discretionary effort from a grateful team.
Smile! - One morning, while facilitating a 4 day wilderness-based team development session in the wilds of SW Colorado, with two helmet-clad participants atop a very wobbly rope 5 feet in the air, and 16 of their co-workers spotting their imminent involuntary departure from the rope, my client, a smart, classy female executive leaned in and whispered into my ear, “You need to smile more.” What?! It’s 5 degrees below zero, I’m freezing my a$$ off while trying to teach these people something and keep them safe at a critical juncture, and you’re worried about style points for the cameras?
I talked with our client, Judith Rogala later that evening about her comment. As it turned out, she was right, as usual. Her advice to me: “The cameras I’m speaking of, and the ones you need to be concerned with are the ones astride the noses of each of these people. When they see you scowling or grimacing, it scares them, which causes them to pull back right at the time when you’re asking them to go places they’ve never been before.”
Leading a team can be tough, and some days are definitely better than others, but a smile can open hearts, minds, and doors. Every one of us can do it. It’s not too much to ask. Wax on, wax off.
If you would like to hear more about this topic in a one-on-one coaching session, keynote speech, or seminar, we would love to hear from you.