Rescuing the pigeon
Last month I was playing soccer in the park with my daughters, Emily and Nicola.
Just as we were finishing up our session, a woman approached me and asked me if I knew anything about dealing with animals in distress.
There was a very sick pigeon at the park. It was lying on the ground and could barely flap one of it’s wings.
My daughters asked me what I was going to do about it. Now between you and me, if I hadn’t have been with my kids I probably would have been concerned, but done nothing.
As any parent knows you are always on show when you are out with your children. They said, “dad what are we going to do about the sick bird?”
My hands were tied. What could I do?. We had to rescue that bird. How could I not with my children with me.
We went home, made a call to Romi, the mobile vet and using her advice returned to the park with a small cardboard box. We carefully placed the bird in the box and then took it to the nearest vet.
The girls presented the bird to the vet, who thanked them for their concern.
I’m sure you would have done the same. Would you have done the same thing though if you were not in front of your children?
When I speak about leadership one of the themes I drill in to is your words are worth so little in front of your team. Your actions count for everything. You are always on show.
Have a little think about some of the things you do every day and the message they send out to your team.
- Do you have a lunch break?
- Who do you have your lunch with?
- What sort of hours are you working and what message does that send out?
- How much time do you invest each year in your professional development?
- How conscious are you of adapting your behavioural style for your staff?
- Are you actively listening each day or are you pretending to listen?
- What is your non- verbal message saying about you as a leader?
- Do you provide more positive feedback than negative feedback?
- How’s your wardrobe looking?
- Do you speak like a leader or do you speak like someone who is trying to impress others?
Leadership will never be a popularity contest. Strong leaders are constantly making decisions. They get some right, they get some wrong. They are willing to make decisions, every day.
“This may not be a popular decision but it’s a decision that I need to make.”
“This is a difficult discussion to have, however it’s better we have it now rather than later.”
Johny Wilkinson the UK rugby great once said that he imagines that every day he’s at training there’s a video camera filming him. Imagine approaching your role as a leader like that. With every conversation, every interaction with a colleague, every moment at your desk on camera. It could be a scary thought.
Don’t try to be perfect as a leader, but please try to be better. You owe it to your people.
I’m glad that my girls helped me rescue the pigeon. In a small way it has made me stronger. Walking away was the easy choice.
Leadership will never be about making easy choices. It’s about making the right decision at the right time