My wife is a busy woman. She’s the type of person who will build daily to do lists, much like many of us. For me those lists are separated into compartments called days – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday… And those points of separation work well for me. On Monday, I’m not thinking about Tuesday or Wednesday – most of the time. For Amy, her to do lists, though written by day, work more like a river – all flowing together. When she’s working on Monday’s list, she has a “tab” open for Tuesday, Wednesday, and even one or two things from next month’s list! Needless to say, to me, this is a very stressful way to mentally manage tasks and priorities, but Amy says it’s just how she is wired. And, while we can all change, I agree with her. Plus, she’s remarkably productive this way. And more, this article is not about that!
I’ve said all this to set up the lesson. Let’s face it, in similar ways we are all likely very busy and often very stressed – endlessly trying to be better, do more, and accomplish more. Whether at home or in your career, lots of things are happening at once, all amidst your own personal priority focus.
Well, the other day for Amy was very much like what I described. Add in the additional Christmas preparation, planning and priorities. When Amy was in the kitchen, working through her list and thinking about all the open tabs in her mind, Mitchell came bounding down the stairs. He sees his mom, takes notice of the situation immediately, and says,
“Mom, have you ever had one of those days when you woke up feeling like you're going to be incredibly productive?”
Amy replies, “I guess so, why?”
Mitchell says, “Well, that's how I feel today! So what do you need done?!”
Man, I love that type of observation, initiative and devotion!
The point. Amy has buy in from Mitchell. He doesn’t just offer his help out of obligation, but out of a sincere interest to help, to serve and make a positive difference in her day. Now, in truth, I can’t say he bounds down the stairs every day in the same way. But he did this time.
If we don’t find our team, kids or even our spouse typically running to our side and offering to help, perhaps the buy in isn’t there like it could and should be.
As leaders, we’ll have far greater success when our team has bought into us – and that typically starts with our actions and attitudes. It’s comes from how we treat them, how we respect, appreciate and value them. It comes from a sense of compassion – we care; a foundation of trust – we always do what we say we’ll do; and a confidence of stability – we’re there for them, always.
Take the time to proactively invest in the relationships that matter. It’s far easier to lead a team that wants to win with you than one that has to win with you.