By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to stimulate productivity. Reading time: 3:46
“All the world is a stage,” said William Shakespeare. If so then the most effective leaders must really be leading stagehands.
Think about it. You can’t have a performance if you don’t have the right lighting, the right environment, the right working conditions.
The stagehands—the leaders—are vital to the performance. They can engineer, design and develop an environment that makes a performance exhilarating or exasperating.
Are you creating an environment that your staff needs to flourish? Or are you too focused on your own comfort and security, your own job requirements?
Too often the two work environments are mutually exclusive and productively falls as quickly as morale. The stage play closes. Abruptly. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Consider becoming a stagehand like Dr. Albert Schweitzer.
He wanted the African natives to feel at home in his hospital in the jungle. So he built his first hospital with no electricity or other modern improvements he knew the natives would not be accustomed to. He created a working environment for his workers to be most productive.
If Schweitzer were not a leader, not a stagehand, he would have installed the electricity as a convenience for himself. But stagehands—a.k.a. effective leaders—are always supporting others, even at the expense of themselves. Leaders set the stage.
As stagehands, loving leaders find it easy to leave their egos outside the stage door. When they walk on stage, they do not step into the spotlight. In fact they get behind the spot to shine the light on others.
Consider Alexander the Great. As a leading stage hand, he visited Diogenes and asked whether he could do anything for the famed teacher. Diogenes said “Only stand out of my light.” He did. Leaders set the stage for others to star in the play.
Reality check. Are you standing in someone’s light or lighting someone’s stand? Leaders know they are more potent when they are not in the spotlight or even onstage. In fact, “The real test of leadership is when management isn’t present –which is about 70 percent of the time,” observes author Ken Blanchard.
Leaders set the stage for others to star.
What’s the payoff in setting the stage for others to perform more productively? Take it from a former head of GE’s research department who said “The right environment alone can raise productivity 75 to 100 percent.
Another stagehand –John Sculley, then CEO at Apple– said leaders are like impresarios. In his book Odyssey, he noted that impresarios ensure that the setting and stages are conducive to the production. They remove all the hierarchical obstacles and they ensure that the resources are available.
Effective leaders know the stage must be periodically reset to reinvigorate the scene and stimulate a loving performance. Consider the following ditty I created to note the critical importance of continually setting and resetting the stage for greater productivity and profitability. It’s called:
A leader may use just the right words
To cage the brightest and best of birds.
And those birds may sing throughout the day
Creating greater productivity in every way.
But suddenly the creative spirit is no longer free
When the birds are caught in their own debris
Take your leadership to the next stage.
Don’t forget to clean and clear the cage.
Be the leader who sets the stage.
For the show!
And you will surely be a leading
Create a productive work environment to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.
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