Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Leadership Lessons at Home

A couple weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending Catalyst with 3,500 other people (25 of us from South Bay). Catalyst is a Christian leadership conference that combines amazing teaching and a really fun time.

Marcus Buckingham taught one of the sessions and, although his talk was about leadership, it gave me a new perspective on my role as a mom (I guess I am the leader of my kids, after all).

Marcus was sharing about qualities, discovered through extensive research, that distinguish a highly productive team from a low yield team. One of the qualities of a highly productive team that differed from the low yields teams is that the leader/manager of a highly productive team makes sure that every team member is able to do what he/she does best every day

Every day seems like a lot.We all have responsibilities that have to get done that are not our favorites or what we're best at. It seems like getting to do what we're best at once a week, or even once a month, would be reasonable enough. But Marcus said that if you remove the phrase "every day" the principle does not remain true.

I began thinking about what that would look like for the team that I manage...namely a 5 year old and a 3 year old. What would that look like for my kids to do what they do best every day? That question led me to make a list of what each of my boys are good at and what they enjoy. While there is some overlap, the lists look quite different for each child.

This was such a great exercise for me. It helped me to clearly identify what I see as budding strengths in their young lives. I believe that a parent should be their child's ultimate strength finder. We can help them see things in themselves that perhaps they're too young to recognize. We can cheer them on and give them opportunities to excel in areas where they are gifted or enjoy. I'm not talking about pushing or being a "Tiger Mom" but rather helping our kids blossom into all that God has created them to be.

The other thing that stood out from Marcus' talk was a story he told about a Best Buy store in South Florida that was failing. They got a new manager and he was able to turn the store around and it became a highly profitable store. When Marcus met with the manager to see what he was doing, the manager said, "I gave everyone a whistle."


The manager went on to say that whenever an employee saw another employee doing something that was right or good in the store, they were supposed to blow their whistle and the whole store would stop to take notice. At first there weren't too many whistles blowing. But over the course of time, more and more whistles began to sound.

Marcus acknowledged that we did not need to all go out and buy whistles for our organizations. (I may or may not throw whistles away every time they find their way into our home.) He explained that the transferable principle is that a good leader catches moments of greatness and reflects it back to the organization. 

When he said that I thought, "YES! That is exactly what I need to be doing with my boys!"

There are days around here that very little "whistle blowing" would be taking place. None of us are creating moments of greatness worth celebrating. But it is on those days, perhaps more than any other, that we need to intentionally look for something (ANYTHING!) worthy of praise. Catch the moment. Call everyone over to see and bask in it. Remember that we are, in fact, capable of great things...even if it's just that Sammy didn't get pee-pee on the toilet seat this time! 

No comments: