My daughter, Antonella, is going to start 5th grade tomorrow. Every year for the first day of school we take a picture. We stand in front of the same tree, holding the same sign. Well, obviously the grade on the sign changes; but other than that, we stick to the system.
It is now 7:47 PM, 12 hours before the 5th grade commences, and more importantly our masterpiece photo is taken. And, BOOM, she comes in and drops the bombshell of all bombshells. My beautiful Antonella has decided she wants to make her own sign. Yes, her OWN sign. Oh, and in case you haven’t figured out what this means, allow me to bring it home for you. It means the 5th grade sign will not match all the other signs!
What. The. Hell? The continuity of lovely matching signage for every first day of school, is now ruined forever. When I add the picture to my Facebook collage EVERYONE is going to see it doesn’t match. Doesn’t she know this is crazy? If I post on Instagram, at least people can’t zoom in. Maybe they won’t notice. But what if they snapshot and then zoom in? This can’t really be happening.
Thankfully, I have learned to pause when agitated (I don’t always do that, but here’s a testament to my growth). Instead of insanely yelling how crazy this idea is, and that there is no possible way we can have a 5th grade sign that doesn’t match, I instead took a deep breath, paused, and asked how I could help. Turns out, I can’t help either. No matching sign and I am not allowed to help. This is madness.
As a boss, I am continually working on letting go. I am a work in progress when it comes to accepting that other people may have a different way of accomplishing the same goal. Their style, language and approach may be different. I am consistently resisting the impulse to tweak or change EVERY SINGLE THING someone does. Believe it or not, I make a conscious decision each day to do this – my main goal is growth, if I close the door to new ideas and opinions, the employee will never grow and nether will I.
Don’t get me wrong, I still jump in a lot. There are certain things I will always be maniacal about. I am doing everyone a favor by making sure they have funny stuff to talk about at my funeral someday. I do feel this has also been my biggest area of improvement over the last few years. The people who have worked with me long enough can attest, that I have grown immensely from where I started. Now, before I jump, I implement the following list in my head (and being me, it comes into use over a dozen times per day.)
- Is the task and/or objective ultimately being achieved?
- Is the employee (or friend, daughter, husband etc.) getting it done in the appropriate time frame?
- Can others that need to, understand the process and the result?
- Are we meeting the budgets?
- What ways can I coach and help support the individual as opposed to just dictate?
- How do I give feedback when the first pass isn’t so great and not just take the task back?
- Could their way be better? Can I learn something new?
- Is there an opportunity for me to enhance or collaborate?
- Am I going to die of embarrassment? – Ok, this one is more about the sign, but it does apply to marketing stuff too.
As a leader it is essential for me to understand where my areas of improvement are. I make an effort to surround myself with the people, in and out of the office, that will (respectfully) tell me where I can be a better me. I am a student first; I never want to stop learning. Growth is one of the most exciting aspects of my journey. I never want plateau or prevent a chance to be a better me for myself, my family or my business. If I get to that point, I need to find a better challenge. Or just have someone kick me in the ass.
Holy Bombshell. During the course of writing this BLOG it has also come to my attention that Antonella will not be wearing the black skirt. She will be wearing the blue one – AND WITH SNEAKERS. Not the new ones, the old ones. I may actually die.