Leadership lessons can be found anywhere. Read about what Colleen took out of a messy situation.
“We will need all hands on deck.”
It was an email from our son’s high school baseball coach. He didn’t communicate with parents often. I promptly clicked it open.
In the note, he explained the weather forecast for the evening threatened to make the ballpark unplayable for the big playoff game scheduled for noon the next day. He needed help getting the field ready. ”We have plenty of rakes and shovels. Bring some mops, squeegees and buckets and show up at the field at 8 am”.
The next morning, a mob of parents showed up. We recognized each other from the stands, but in many cases that was about it. We worked on the fields and through it, we learned each others’ names, laughed together at the enormity of the task, and then marveled at some of the tactics that worked to make the ball field playable. Did you know pillows were good for soaking up water?
Four hours later, it was hugely satisfying to our rag-tag band of workers when we heard the umpire yell “Let’s play ball.”
Leaders, when you have a challenge that’s time sensitive, requires some ingenuity and lots of hands on deck, don’t hesitate to engage those who have a stake in the game. They will come and be ready for work. Be ready to lead them.
Engagement Tips for Leaders
- Explain what’s needed and why – Even if you don’t have the specifics, give stakeholders notice that you may need their help, why you need it and ask them to standby.
- Explain when, where and how to engage – Once you have confirmed a need, communicate it promptly and provide specifics.
- Be there to direct and encourage – Be the first person there, have a plan. Make the rounds and acknowledge each person.
- Provide parameters and room for creativity – Share your plan and be open to suggestions. If you see something is working, tell others and replicate.
- Express your gratitude – Reach out with your thank you the same way you reached out with your request for help. If you used email, use email. If it was a blog on your intranet, post a follow-up blog. Be timely with it.
- Tell the story – Reflect on the experience and make it a story that you tell often.