Hello from Petaling Jaya in Malaysia. I’m here for a week delivering self-leadership workshops.
Sitting in the restaurant at breakfast my eyes cast up and over to the decorative glass bubbles hanging from the ceiling. They look delightful, delicate and interesting.
I admired the creativity of the artwork / decoration and within seconds my mind, not so much drifted, but clunked quickly and heavily into deliberations of cleaning, maintenance, and dusting.
Someone walked past my table and seemed to notice that I was looking at the bubbles and this broke my chain of thought. I then caught myself!
I’m a quite pragmatic person. That in itself is not a negative trait but sitting there looking at something that was to be decorative, enjoyable, to be a contribution to my pleasure, or having a positive dining experience, I skipped past the pleasure really quickly.
As a leader, this could …
- be helpful to point out more practical ways to get work done; and
- be demotivating if team members wanted to simply celebrate an event or achievement.
It was a good reminder that the more you know yourself the more you can catch yourself in a natural, habitual, state that may not be so helpful in the moment when leading others.
If my team were wanting to share a win and I didn’t spend much time sharing that joy and acknowledging them, and quickly shifted to asking questions about the practicalities, I would run the risk of giving the impression that I didn’t care about the wins or the effort they gave for the win. As a leader, my team’s success is my success so it would be wise to read the situation from their point of view, not just my unconscious, habitual view point.
Have you ever caught yourself, realised you do something that needs a bit more of your presence of mind, to ramp it up or dull it down for the situation at hand, ? I’d love to know.
Tomorrow, I will simply enjoy the bubbles!