Leadership Mints Series Sampler on Spotlighting Others

Are you standing in someone’s light or lighting someone’s stand?

Leaders light someone’s stand. Leaders are like impresarios, those behind-the-scenes producers who organize and often finance concerts, plays, or operas, according to John Sculley, the former Chief Executive Officer at Apple writing in his book Odyssey.

Impresarios – supersized stagehands — ensure that the resources are available, and that the setting and stages are reviewed and updated regularly to enhance performance.

Consider the following ditty in THINKING Like a Leader by Peter Jeff to help you focus on your Impresario duties as a leader:

CLEARING THE WAY

A leader may use just the right words
to cage the brightest and best of birds.

Those birds may sing throughout the day,
creating greater productivity
 in every way.

But suddenly their creative spirit is no longer free
when the birds are caught in their own debris.

Then leaders step in to clear the way so the birds
 can again sing away.

For more ideas on spotlighting others to nurture a creative thinking culture, consider purchasing a copy of THINKING Like a Leader, a 296-page book filled with 77 examples from business, sports and politics from Amazon.com. THINKING Like a Leader is part of the Leadership Mints Series that also includes a 300-page book on empathy filled with 77 more Leadership Mints-LOVING Like a Leader– and a 300-page book filled with 52 more Leadership Mints on civility titled SPEAKING Like a Leader. All three books in The Leadership Mints Series are designed for busy leaders seeking to refresh their feeling for leading in 5-minutes or less — the average reading time of a Leadership Mint.

The 3-books
in The Leadership Mints Series
available on Amazon.com
in print and e-book

What is a Leadership Mint?

Consumed like a breath mint — quick and on-the-go — a Leadership Mint is a short story that energizes leadership behaviors and personalizes leadership principles so they are more easily remembered, more readily acted upon and more fully applied.

Leadership Mints Series Sampler On Leading Meetings

Your brainstorming session has suddenly gone awry, flooding the participants with too many extraneous ideas and gumming up the works with too many not-so-hidden agendas.

What can a leader do to stoke the flame of creativity without getting burned in the process? How can you stay in control without being controlling?

Could you stir the creative pot with your fingers?

Could you develop a sign language of sorts with your team to keep their collective ideas bubbling up CREATIVELY instead of bubbling over CHAOTICALLY.

To stimulate your thinking on how developing your own sign language of sorts could enhance your future brainstorming sessions in particular and strategic decision making meetings in general, let’s take a peek into the classroom of an innovative middle school teacher.

She stirs the engaged learning process with her fingers in a thoughtfully-conceived, comprehensively embraced and fully shared system of hand signals designed to thwart interruptions and focus on the mission.

 “Mid-sentence, she would point two fingers at her eyes, bat down an imaginary fly with two quick swipes , or with no explanation, briefly clasp her hands before her in prayer,” observed Elizabeth Green, author of Building a Better Teacher.  

During a 5-minute vocabulary learning session (on the meaning of the word scarce), the teacher issued 15 of those specifically designed signals—one every 20 seconds. Green identified three distinct hands signals:

1. Two fingers to the eyes means track the speaker.

2. Fly-swat toward a student raising his or her hand means no questions right now.

3. Prayer sign reminds students to stay focused and attentive.

Each of the three signals is strategically significant in engaging participants in a collective and collaborative effort without out losing control of the ultimate purpose.

For example the first signal to track the speaker helps participants not only to stay focused but also to listen for understanding to their peers, spreading the learning horizontally with less dependence on the teacher (or leader in a team meeting).

The fly swat used to defer questions is an efficient method to reinforce the expected behavior to listen fully to the person who currently has the floor.

The fly swat also encourages students to pose their questions after they have evaluated what they just heard. Then when the teacher (leader) conducts a Q&A session or discussion the questions are more targeted and the learning more meaningful and the ensuing understanding more applicable.

And the prayer sign is a visual reminder that the students body language speaks long before their voices do. To listen, learn and think better students first have to sit up the way the teacher taught them on their first class.

Setting expectations and gaining agreement from day one is critical. That’s what this middle school teacher did. At the beginning of the school year Colleen Driggs taught the three hand signals “explicitly and for the first few week of the year every time she used one she would say its name too, “ Green noted.

“The practically invisible corrections explained her ‘magical’ command of the classroom.  By nipping interruptions in the bud, she kept everyone in the room on task.”

For more ideas on spotlighting others to nurture a creative thinking culture, consider purchasing a copy of THINKING Like a Leader, a 296-page book filled with 77 examples from business, sports and politics from Amazon.com. THINKING Like a Leader is part of the Leadership Mints Series that also includes a 300-page book on empathy filled with 77 more Leadership Mints-LOVING Like a Leader– and a 300-page book filled with 52 more Leadership Mints on civility titled SPEAKING Like a Leader. All three books in The Leadership Mints Series are designed for busy leaders seeking to refresh their feeling for leading in 5-minutes or less — the average reading time of a Leadership Mint.

The 3-books
in The Leadership Mints Series
available on Amazon.com
in print and e-book

What is a Leadership Mint?

Consumed like a breath mint — quick and on-the-go — a Leadership Mint is a short story that energizes leadership behaviors and personalizes leadership principles so they are more easily remembered, more readily acted upon and more fully applied.

Leadership Mints Series Sampler On Enforcing Company Policy

Miffed, the customer shook his head in disgust as he continued to load his can goods and cereal boxes in the checkout lane. Then he got mad and glared at the cashier in exasperation.

The cashier had just informed the customer of the grocery store’s policy: one package of toilet paper per customer during the Coronavirus crisis.

The customer was determined to thwart the store’s policy. He passed the second package of toilet paper to his 6-year-old daughter at the end of the lane and told her to start walking down to the self-serve checkout area. The customer ignored the cashier’s protest.

The irate customer paid for his groceries including one package of toilet paper. And then he hightailed it down to the self serve checkout. The cashier notified the manager. And the manager confronted the customer standing in line at the self-serve checkout with a second package of toilet paper.

If you were the store manager in this situation, how would you have enforced the company’s one-to-a-customer policy?

Do you intervene commando style, grabbing the pilfered product and making sure the offending customer gets the message with your authoritative voice and  demanding demeanor?

Or do you hop on your guilt-ridden horse and try to embarrass the offending customer into submission?

Or do you intervene with a softer collegial style that tries to reason with the offending customer with your pleading, puppy-dog  eyes?

Or do you do something completely different like this manager did with her rigid body language, stiff neck and an even a stiffer spine?

The manager’s stern, beady eyes projected a hard-nosed, bull-headed posture that seemed to defy her 5-foot-2-inch stature.

She stood an-arm’s length away from him, virtually in his face. And stared UP at him for longer than the 3.3 seconds that research shows creeps people out.

Finally her Medusa-like stare — a stare that could turn others into stone, according to Greek mythology — caught his attention. He looked DOWN to her.

They were locked in a staring contest for what seemed like another creepy 3.3 seconds. Their staring contest seemed to evince the gritty fortitude of attentive soldiers standing guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers. Neither would budge. Or blink.

Finally, the manager spoke softly and confidently (although later she admitted that she had to masked her shaking hands and minimize her fear).

“You know I can’t let you have that package on THIS SHOPPING trip.” She stood firm and silent. Her stern eyes seemed like so many daggers digging into his eyes as she counted to herself 1001, 1002, 1003. Finally the offending customer blinked. He said simply: “I know.”

He handed the package of toilet paper to her and left with his dignity still in tact.

And the manager left with her authority recognized. Her stern look had enforced her company’s policy without causing a scene that would make other shoppers feel less than secure and jeopardize future revenues. Her stern eyes –like so many shining stars — had shed some light on the darkest hour of that customer confrontation.

So the next time you are about to get into a shouting match with a customer, defer to your eyes as so many stars to speak for you as the situation darkens, tempers flare and nerves fray.

Be stern —serious, unsmiling, frowning, poker-faced, severe, forbidding, grim, unfriendly, sombre, grave, sober, austere, dour, stony, flinty, steely, unrelenting, unyielding and unforgiving —as the dictionary defines stern. And become a managerial star in your own right. After all, the German word for star is stern.

For more tips on leveraging body language to persuade others, consider purchasing a copy of SPEAKING Like a Leader, the 300-page book now available on Amazon.com.

SPEAKING Like a Leader is part of the Leadership Mints Series that also includes a book  on creativity —THINKING Like a Leader , a 296-page book filled with 77 Leadership Mints and a 300-page book on empathy filled with 77 more Leadership Mints-LOVING Like a Leader.

All three books in The Leadership Mints Series are designed for busy leaders seeking to refresh their feeling for leading in 5-minutes or less — the average reading of a Leadership Mint.

The 3-books
in The Leadership Mints Series
available on Amazon.com
in print and e-book

What is a Leadership Mint?

Consumed like a breath mint — quick and on-the-go — a Leadership Mint is a short story that energizes leadership behaviors and personalizes leadership principles so they are more easily remembered, more readily acted upon and more fully applied.

Leadership Mints Series Sampler On Becoming a Teacher

What if you are suddenly thrust into the role of a teacher, either home-schooling your children in these days of staying at home in the fight against the coronavirus crisis or filling in for a quarantined colleague? What’s the first thing you need know to lead others as a teacher?

Yourself.

At least that’s the insight of Parker J. Palmer writing in his book The Courage to Teach. Effective teaching like effective leading is rooted in the identity and integrity of the teacher/leader.

“Knowing myself is as crucial to good teaching as knowing my students and my subject. Good teaching requires self-knowledge,” Palmer says.

Here are 3 questions that  Harvard professor Thomas DeLong poses in his book Teaching By Heart to get to really know yourself as a teacher:

How do you experience other people?

How do other people experience you?

How do others experience themselves
when they are with you?

Veteran teachers — and leaders –know only too well that their emotional intelligence, their ability to sense the feelings of themselves and others around them –is critical to their ultimate outcome: learning something new or leading others toward a new way of thinking.

And to know others well, you first have to know yourself as philosopher a Lao-Tsu noted: He who knows much about others may be learned but he who knows himself is more intelligent.

For more ideas on enriching the lives of others with empathy, purchase a 300-page book available on Amazon.com filled with 77 examples from business, sports and politics.

It’s titled:   LOVING Like a Leader with Empathy– one of three books in The Leadership Mints Series designed to help leaders refresh their feeling for leading.

And as a bonus, the postscript titled– BUSINESS: A HUMAN EXPERIENCE — shares the impetus for this book on empathy impacting the bottom line. The two other books in The Leadership Mints Series -now available on Amazon.com — include THINKING Like a Leader with Clarity and SPEAKING Like a Leader with Civility.

All three books in The Leadership Mints Series are designed for busy leaders seeking to refresh their feeling for leading in 5-minutes or less — the average reading time of a Leadership Mint.

The 3-books
in The Leadership Mints Series
available on Amazon.com
in print and e-book

What is a Leadership Mint?

Consumed like a breath mint — quick and on-the-go — a Leadership Mint is a short story that energizes leadership behaviors and personalizes leadership principles so they are more easily remembered, more readily acted upon and more fully applied.

Leadership Mints Series Sampler On Enriching Others

Awesome, grinned the 5-year-old girl reaching for the small box of crayons the waitress placed on the table while her parents perused the menu in this family dining restaurant. The little girl quickly discovered the interesting shapes and engaging puzzles on the place mat that seemed to captivate her creativity.

But then the little girl served up something that was not on the menu, something her parents found even more nourishing: their youngest child’s empathy for someone other than her immediate family.

“Momma, see that grandpa over there? She pointed to a balding 77-year-old man eating alone in the family restaurant. “How come he’s not together with his family right now like us?

Her mom shrugged her shoulders as if to say that she didn’t know.  “I don’t like it when I am all alone,” the little girl said.

“Well what if you drew something for him?” her dad suggested as she continued drawing and coloring.

The little girl almost immediately began drawing a bright yellow sun on a napkin and wrote in her best lettering HAVE A GREAT DAY!

The dad smiled and enjoyed the goosebumps dancing on his back. He looked across the table at his beaming wife enjoying her own dance with the goosebumps while the girl’s older brother scoffed at how “stupid” his little sister was acting.

“Dad, could I give that grandpa my drawing?” she asked.

 Impulsively, the dad called the waitress over. “Do you see that older man in the corner eating alone? Can you put his tab on ours?

The waitress nodded in the affirmative. “And one more thing, ” the dad added, “could you give him my daughter’s drawing? After all, we all need a little sunshine in our lives.”

         The waitress felt those same goosebumps as she presented the girl’s drawing to the elderly man and notified him that the little girl’s family was paying for his dinner.

He looked at the little girl’s drawing of a sun beaming this sunny messageHave a Great Day! in various colors: blue, orange, green and yellow on a white paper napkin.

He smiled across the restaurant — a smile that lit the faces of that young family in general, a smile that the little girl felt warmer than the sunshine in her drawing. He waved his appreciation and later stopped by their table to personally say thank you.

       Three hours later, the elderly man was still beaming. He felt compelled to share his experience of empathy and joy with a random acquaintance — a cashier — as he finished buying groceries. He pulled the napkin out of his jacket pocket and unfolded its bright sun and even a brighter message. Someone cared.

Have a Great Day

      The little girl’s gesture seemed momentarily to ease the pain of losing his wife of 54 years to cancer a few months before. And the dad’s gesture of paying the “grandpa’s” tab seemed more comforting at that moment to the 77-year-old former business executive than even the comfort of the financial security blanket that kept him warm and secure, a security blanket still filled with hundreds of thousands of dollars in his various bank and brokerage accounts. The elderly man was already a rich man when he walked into the restaurant. He left the restaurant even richer.

         Enriching the lives of others with empathy is a key leadership skill whether with random acts of kindness or well-planned, thoughtfully executed skill development and recognition.

For more ideas on enriching the lives of others with empathy, purchase a 300-page book available on Amazon.com filled with 77 examples from business, sports and politics.

It’s titled:   LOVING Like a Leader with Empathy– one of three books in The Leadership Mints Series designed to help leaders refresh their feeling for leading.

And as a bonus, the postscript titled– BUSINESS: A HUMAN EXPERIENCE — shares the impetus for this book on empathy impacting the bottom line. The two other books in The Leadership Mints Series -now available on Amazon.com — include THINKING Like a Leader with Clarity and SPEAKING Like a Leader with Civility.

All three books in The Leadership Mints Series are designed for busy leaders seeking to refresh their feeling for leading in 5-minutes or less — the average reading time of a Leadership Mint.

The 3-books
in The Leadership Mints Series
available on Amazon.com
in print and e-book

What is a Leadership Mint?

Consumed like a breath mint — quick and on-the-go — a Leadership Mint is a short story that energizes leadership behaviors and personalizes leadership principles so they are more easily remembered, more readily acted upon and more fully applied.