This year I’ve come to enjoy the show Undercover Boss (thanks Netflix!!!). Perhaps I’m late to the party – since its been on for a few years – but it has a lot of relevancy towards leadership and management.
If you haven’t seen this reality show, the plotline is usually very similar: A CEO puts on a disguise and works for a week in the different entry level positions in their company. There will often be a similar collection of examples they’ll encounter: an employee overcoming hardship, an epiphany of a thing or person who shouldn’t be in the position they’re in, and some positive employees working to further the brand of their company. It’s pretty entertaining and I’d recommend it, even if it does feel a little propaganda-ish sometimes.
I was thinking about it today and I realized something: Each of these CEO’s are well-intentioned and probably good people, but they’re disconnected. It’ s not any mystery why; these high-ranking leaders control so many things at once on a daily basis and their responsibilities are plentiful. Being as extremely solution-oriented as I am, I began to ask the question “what can I do to ensure I do not become disconnected, especially as I am in my management job longer – or find myself in an even higher level position in the future?” I came up with a few ideas:
1. Engagement is a daily walk, not a monthly check-in. I need to be present in the lives of those around me, present in their careers, and to let them be present in my life as well.
2. When I am in a position where there are just too many people to know everything about, I will need to ensure my leaders beneath me can be my hands and feet, living out these engagement principles and communicating with me regularly.
3. The focus of any business or role I am ever involved in always must be largely people-based. Whether I’m selling tents at REI or stickers at my previous job at Graphicsland, everything comes back to people. As long as I am genuinely committed to facilitating a culture of excellence in everyone around me, customers will come, sales will be made, and employees will be productive and connected to the business purpose.
These 3 things I pledge. Let this be my contract 🙂
If you’re reading this website, you’re most likely a leader, a person who wants to be a leader, or lost. Let’s hope it’s the former rather than the latter 🙂 Leaders expend a lot of energy and effort… but that can also render a leader tired. Here are 6 ways that a leader can recharge their batteries.
1. Laugh The best leaders laugh at situations and themselves, as President Obama aptly did here. Laughing lightens the mood and can de-escalate many situations. Learn to laugh.
2. Take a siesta Every week I try to go for at least one long hike, bike ride, or other exhilirating outdoor adventure. I always go with close, drama-free friends or by myself. After every trip, I come back feeling detoxed and ready to conquer the world again. Rest is essential to a leader.
3. Boundaries A siesta is one thing. There is also something to be said for punching the “off” button on the timeclock, however. When your shift is over at work, let it be over. This does not make you a bad employee or non-committed; instead, it means that you will maintain a healthy work-life balance and you will be that much more of a superstar when you are on the clock!
4. Find happy vices I love foot massages. They’re not overly expensive if you go to the right places. However, that’s my stress-relieving vice. Maybe watching a series on Netflix or Hulu is your vice. Maybe eating some sweet Chicago-style pizza is your vice. Whatever. Know your healthy vice and reward yourself with it sometimes.
5. Sleep Sleep is incredibly important and yet, as a busy Western culture, it is our first thing that we compromise. Get your 8 or 9 hours of sleep a night to recharge yourself. Do not compromise this! It is essential to continued success and wellness!
6. Proactively recharge The best leaders never run out of battery power. Think of a car battery: It puts out a lot of power but it has an alternator to simultaneously recharge. Leaders need an alternator! Find the things that intrinsically motivate you – growth opportunities, little successes, rewards, whatever – and hold onto those things! Enjoy what you do and it’ll be that much harder to run out of batteries!
So…what say you? What is missing from this list? What else helps you recharge?