By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to help you find the silver lining in your clouds. Reading time: 3:25.
What do you do when you have a boring job filling pot holes? Fill ’em with something more than just dirt.
Fill ’em with your sense of humor and with your sense of creativity and make your job something more than just filling. Make it even more fulfilling. That’s what a New York City roads repair supervisor did. He turned pot holes into pot luck.
Sometimes he’d fill the pot holes with lettuce, accessorized with a salt and pepper shaker props that turned the pot hole into a quasi salad bowl and added a touch of levity just before beginning another day on the job.
Then on his own time he would take a photo of his creation just before officially launching his workday and supervising his road crew to fill the pot hole in the traditional manner. With a shovel full of dirt more than a shovel full of mirth.
The pot -hole -filler- turned creative photographer is an example of how leaders make the best of their circumstances and add value to their work and quality to their work environment.
No wonder others like to be around them and work more productively because of them. After all, leaders are quick to find the silver lining in every cloud. No matter how frightened, no matter how frustrated or no matter how forlorn they are.
Frightened? The man squirmed in the dentist chair at the sound of the whirring drill. Suddenly the patient grimaced in pain. He shrieked. The dentist stopped drilling abruptly saying, “At least we know you won’t be needing a root canal there,” the dentist beamed. “Those nerves are very good, very, very good!”
Indeed the dentist struck more than a nerve. The dentist struck a leadership pose with his prose. His words took the sting out of the pain. And made the experience more manageable than moan-able.
Frustrated? Consider the airline ticket agent who had no more aisle or window seats available He told the passenger who would be hemmed into the middle-seat that “you will have a friend to your right and another friend to your left.”
Forlorn? When Ray Meyer, former DePaul University basketball coach lost his first game in 29 wins, he said: “great now we can start concentrating on winning —not on not losing.” And when the 1959 Los Angeles Dodgers lost the first game of the World Series, 11-0 to the Chicago White Sox, they were laughing in the Dodger locker room. Pitcher Don Drysdale said: “They could not do any more to us that what they did today. We know we could beat them.” The Dodgers won the Series in six games.
Finding the Silver Lining In Every Cloud
When leaders find themselves struggling, they focus on the positive.
Charles Darwin’s grandfather Erasmus spoke with a stammer. He said it gave him time for reflection and saved him from asking impertinent questions.
Likewise when Author Jules Verne was deaf in one ear at the age of 75, he noted: “I am now in no danger of hearing half the stupid and wicked things that people say.” Inventor Thomas Edison had a similar reaction to his deafness. He said he didn’t have to listen to small talk.
And during World War II, for example, at The Battle of Bulge, General Creighton Abrams was completely surrounded by the enemy. No problem, he surmised, because now his army could “now attack the enemy in ANY direction.”
Leaders can’t afford to wear rose-colored glasses. They can’t be Pollyanna. They can’t try to click their heels three times to get their businesses out of doldrums of confusing yellow brick roads
Leaders can’t joke like motivational guru Zig Ziglar used that he is so optimistic he would go after Moby Dick in a row-boat and take the tartar sauce with him. And they can’t be so imbued with affirmations to blindly say “everyday and in every way I am getting better and better “ in echoing the father of affirmations, Emile Coule.
But leaders can turn their pot holes into pot luck.
Rework your circumstances to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.
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