Monday Quick Tip ~ Don’t Become a Dull Person

Image courtesy of Apolonia/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Apolonia/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Fans of writer Stephen King will remember one of his main characters in The Shining repeatedly typing the phrase, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”  It’s a phrase that serves as a good reminder to us in our “get to work” world.

We struggle with “work-life” balance as leaders.  The people we lead struggle with it too.

If we don’t take some regular time off for rest, renewal and recreation, we will become boring and bored.  Life is more than a one dimensional existence.

Do you have some outside interests that restore your depleted energy?  When we take time to recreate our creativity is “re-created.” Our energy is renewed.

I recently attended the funeral of a 90 year old man.  His was a life well lived.  On the altar at the front of the church his family placed some personal mementos that symbolized his life.  A Pittsburgh Steelers cap, an American flag and a worn tennis racquet stood as gentle reminders that there was more to his life than the 9 to 5.

For people in the United States, today is the celebration of Veteran’s Day.  It’s a great day on many levels, the greatest of which we celebrate and remember the millions who have preserved our freedom in America. One of those freedoms is the pursuit of happiness.

We won’t take today for granted. If you are fortunate enough to have the day off we’ll use it to do something fun and remember the price that was paid to allow us to do it.

Monday Quick Tip ~ Silence is Golden

Man with tape

Image courtesy of Stockimages/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Silence is golden and I want to be rich” was my teacher’s way of getting us 2nd graders to be quiet and listen.  The phrase, “silence is golden” has been around for centuries.

Wise leaders know when to speak up and when to give their tongues a rest.  It is no secret that our mouth gets us into trouble. That’s not only true about our work life, but all of life.

Jacqueline Whitmore, an etiquette expert, writes about getting along with the significant people in our life.  I love the three questions that she says we need to ask ourselves before we speak our mind:

  • Does this need to be said?
  • Does this need to be said by me?
  • Does this need to be said by me right now

“If the answer is yes to each one then it’s time to sit down and have a reasonable discussion. If it’s no then let it go.” (Check out Jacqueline’s post here)

We encounter circumstances daily when it is best to say nothing.

Silence is golden when:

Speaking will not help the situation but may make it worse.

We need to think clearly about an issue or problem we are facing.

We need to pray.  Prayer is not always talking, but about listening for the “still small voice.”

We need to focus and get undistracted quality work done.

We need sleep.  Noisy neighbors and barking dogs can make sleep a challenge.

This week there are opportunities for us to “be rich.”

Take time to enjoy the benefits of silence.

Monday Quick Tip: Do it Well!

Glass Blowing

Image courtesy of worradmu/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“If a job is worth doing, it is worth doing well.” ~ English proverb

This past weekend, I got to attend my first Renaissance Festival (http://renaissancefest.com/).  There were jousting demonstrations, comedy and danger shows and lots of opportunities for shopping.  One of the highlights for me was watching a glassblowing demonstration.

The glassblower formed a beautiful tumbler using a few simple elements: air, heat, a metal pipe, water, and molten glass. What was not simple was the amount of skill he used to accomplish his art.

He made it look easy, but it took him countless hours to perfect his craft. He mentioned during the demonstration that he started glassblowing in 1968.  He was poetry in motion as he combined the right amount of air, timing and centrifugal force to create his masterpiece.  He explained that the incorrect temperature or the wrong timing could shatter the glass.

Developing our craft as leaders takes time.  There is an art to leadership that can’t be acquired in a book.  It is learned through years of well-focused practice.  Leadership as art is not accomplished by the quick fix.

This week, focus on doing leadership well by getting better at just one thing.

What is it for you?

What is the one thing that you could get better at this week with a little focused practice?

A lot has been made about the 10,000 hour rule. That is overwhelming.

Masterpieces are formed an hour at a time here and there. We can do that.

Do it well. It’s worth it.

Do it with excellence, because “good enough” only leads to shattered glass.

 

What will you get better at doing this week? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Monday Quick Tip: Give Credit Where Credit is Due

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This seems like common sense, but sometimes leaders get a “big head” and forget that there is no such thing as a solo leader.

These types of bosses are “glory hogs” who act as if their team’s contributions don’t matter.

When it comes time for praise or evaluations, they take credit for the good things the team has accomplished. They are selfish and insecure. They practice “3D Leadership” that demotivates, demoralizes and demeans their team members.

Not surprisingly, their followers don’t stick around. Who wants to be on a team where our contributions are ignored or where credit is taken by the leader as if it was their own?

This week, pay attention to the people you lead.

How are they doing?

What contributions have they made that you are overlooking?

Thank them for being a part of your team. Reward them for their contributions.

Don’t be a glory hog. Instead, do what your mother taught you: give credit where credit is due.