I love summer! And I am grateful that I can spend a good chunk of time at our cottage located in the Canadian Shield close to Kenora, ON. It’s a great change for someone from the Prairies and Regina. Here in the shield, trees get in the way of our view, unlike the poplar bluffs at home that still allow one to see for miles and miles. I love the rock, the beach, the pristine water and the wildlife. The hummingbirds, squirrels and occasional other wildlife provide our entertainment. The peace of this place is great for the soul and allows me to rejuvenate, remember what’s really important and begin to plan for another fall and winter season.
I had to clean the eave troughs in July and I do that job right on top of the roof. While I was up there, I took some time to just sit and ponder the beauty of our place. (And take a few pictures) From my perch, I could see and hear squirrels running up and down the trees, a nest of flickers, a nest of crows, and a nest with a noisy pileated woodpecker. My son also took off in the boat attempting to catch a lake trout for dinner.
I couldn’t help but think metaphorically. As a leader, at the top of an organization, sitting on the roof of that cabin was much the same. I could see the ‘busy-ness’ of the ‘employees’ all around me, going about their daily activities, keeping our organization running. The squirrel was nattering about the lack of peanuts, but soon someone came along and replenished the supply on his feeder. No different from someone in the office going to the photocopier and finding it out of paper. Soon enough the paper tray is filled.
Good leaders recognize that their employees have a variety of strengths to do the job and they give them the opportunities to use those strengths. Everyone’s strengths are different and yes, it takes some time and work on the leader’s part to have conversations with and observe staff to learn about their strengths and passions. I could easily pick up what that squirrel wanted to do when I was up on that roof! But once staff knows the vision of the organization and are able to do their job, the organization runs pretty smoothly. Give employees some say in their work, empower them to make choices and not only does the organization run smoothly, but also the staff is happy! The leader can ‘sit on top of that roof’, accomplish their own duties and think about the next steps towards the organization’s vision. Yes, he or she has to interact and challenge individuals, but that’s a topic for another blog!