I’ve recently reconnected with a former client who is now a colleague – in six weeks or so we’ll be announcing the launch of our podcast ‘Monday Morning Mojo’. We both coach in positive leadership and have a passion to get the word out to customer focused leaders everywhere.
It’s been so much fun catching up and learning more about each other. When I met Deb and began working for her years ago she was already quite an upbeat customer focused leader, but what I didn’t know until yesterday was how one moment of awakening early in her career set her out on that path.
One of her employees made a mistake, a fairly big one. Her boss was upset and let loose on Deb. Not knowing any better at the time, Deb in turn, let loose on her employee. The young woman was distressed and remorseful and so started hovering around Deb in “How can I fix this?” mode. That made everything worse.
Deb, being aware that she’d already made one mistake, didn’t want to make another. She gave herself a timeout in her office with the door closed and her mouth shut.
She glance over to a picture of her two young children. She thought about them around the dinner table that night. It was the family custom to say something about their day. Would she be able to say something she could be proud of? Or was she on the road to become the kind of leader she always hated?
She knew she was faced with an important choice.
That day she realized that being a leader is not so much about “what” you do as it is “how” you do it. She sought out the employee, called her into the office, apologized for how she had treated her and proceeded to work with her – and the rest of her staff – from that day forward with kindness, understanding and thoughtfulness. She took the high road.
She reframed it and started asking herself a question daily that organized her thinking, as questions do. “Is today a day I can tell my children about and have them be proud of me?”
That single question, which she still asks, got her thinking and acting differently. She shared her insight and her question with her people, making herself accountable to them.
It worked. Deb is a shining example of a “Positive Energizer.” She went on to expand her company’s capacity for delivering positive experiences to customers and co-workers alike.
Deb’s experience tells us that becoming a more positive – and more productive leader is only one choice away.
What question might you ask yourself that would reframe your thinking about leadership?
All the best,