My dog, Fire, had puppies just over 4 weeks ago. Watching her has once again reminded me so much about leadership basics.
- Leadership takes instinct, as well as practice. From the moment the pups were born, Fire’s instinct as a mom took over, and I watched as she learned how to deal with 7 little savages (my nickname for the litter). All leaders have instincts… though more likely we call them “talents”. To me, talents are those things you naturally do well, better than most. You don’t remember learning HOW to do it, but you do it well and others notice. Your signature talents are those 1-2 things you do better than just about anyone! Some examples are connecting with others quickly and engendering trust or an ability to use data to spot trends. I believe all leaders have them. Find yours!
- Leaders need a break. For the first 2 weeks, Fire rarely left the whelping box. But, when she needed it, she jumped out and did her thing. Since COVID, many leaders have had the dedication to their job that is admirable. Most have taken vacations and much needed breaks. If you have not done so yet, you deserve a break today!
- Great leadership requires great care for those you are leading. It is instinctual for Fire to put her pups first, to care for them, attend to their needs. If only humans had that capacity for unconditional love and endless patience. But we don’t. However, leadership requires truly caring for—emotionally and from your soul—the people who follow you. Like Fire’s pups, they whine sometimes; they need you when it is inconvenient. They need feedback and instruction. If people wear you out quickly, if you find yourself running quickly out of patience, being judgmental that employees aren’t just “figuring out what to do”—these are signs you need a break. Or, if this is usually how you feel about people, don’t be a leader!
- Investing time in the front end saves a lot of time in the back end. As time goes on, Fire spends less time with her pups. They learn from each other and from me. They entertain themselves and visitors entertain them. Especially in times of COVID, investing time in new employees, or remembering to “show the love” to those who have been around a while, avoids so many issues of trust down the road. Don’t be stingy with your time –at the right times–when it is time to reconnect or build new relationships. Time and authentic connection matter a lot!
If you need to get back to the basics of your leadership, give me a call; I’d be happy to help. Or, if you just want puppy pictures that will guarantee you to just gasp “AWWWW”, I can send you some!