Growing Leadership Attitudes
As the rain falls this spring, it reminds me that during the month of April, there seems to be a special beauty in what we see each day in our personal and business landscaped gardens. Flowers such as daffodils, tulips, crocuses, and hyacinths abound, that is, if we have plenty of water, a little warm weather and we planted the bulbs correctly. It reminds me of the year, as a young budding gardener when my spring flowers I planted the last fall didn’t bloom. I called my mom (a master gardener in her day) for some tips. She asked me if I perhaps planted them upside down. “Really?”, I say to myself, “did I make a mistake?” How could I not correctly put them in, after all, I planted flowers alongside my mom for years. I just couldn’t accept that I would do something so stupid. So that weekend I got out the shovel, started digging all over my gardens, and discovered that I had indeed put all the tulip and daffodil bulbs in upside down. I can laugh about this now, but I was so upset at myself. In fact, I was disappointed that I didn’t do something correctly and had to start all over again the next fall. As a young funeral director, I was a perfectionist and always wanted everything to be seamless for the families we served. I remember going into work that Monday morning after digging up what seemed to be my whole yard and I was not in a good mood. I was tired and exhausted as I was up all night with four new death calls that I personally handled. On top of that, my entire yard was a mess right before Easter as I had to tear out a few hundred upside-down flower bulbs. Ever have days/weeks like this, where nothing seems to go right in your world?
I was not at my best that next day and as I entered the funeral home. I was short and irritable toward everyone I worked with. My manager took me aside in the middle of the day and in a private conversation asked if I was ok. I immediately burst into tears, I was tired, my garden was a wreck, Easter was the next weekend, and I still had an egg dying event at our home and two days to prepare for the annual Jaycee community-wide egg hunt I oversaw that year. Plus, I had our entire family coming to our new house for brunch after church and I was still upset because my gardens had no blooming spring flowers. We were busy at the funeral home, and I had no idea how I was going to manage the rest of the week and keep my sanity. I was at the end of my patience with everyone. My manager didn’t beat me up, he didn’t give me a “talking to”, he just listened. After I was done, he asked if I felt better letting it all out. I did and I appreciated his listening. He then shared a funny story of something stupid he did once and a hard day that he had. By the time our talk was over, we were laughing about the silly things that upset us. He then shared tips with me on improving how I looked at the day, how I behaved towards fellow team members, and how to not bring “Crabby Lisa” into the workplace. He helped me recognize how my behavior and the poor attitude that I brought to work affected others on the team. “There is only one person who can change your attitude”, my manager shared, “and it’s not me.” He asked that I work on what attitude I brought to work each day and promised to support me on my journey to be becoming a better leader.
I have been forever grateful for his leadership lesson that day and for many years to come. He recognized that I was having a bad day, not that I was a bad person. He listened, he taught me lessons, and he asked for change. He did not judge me nor criticize me, and he shared his expectations for me to do better and promised to help. Leadership lessons like this, I will always remember.
Ask yourself about your attitude in the workplace. What do you choose each day, especially if you are tired and exhausted? How does it affect others and how can you do better? If you are in management or ownership, how does your behavior affect your workplace culture? How can you bring a supportive listening ear, be a storyteller, be patient, and be supportive towards new learners?
In our next podcast episode from Your Funeral Coach Talks, we hear from Leadership Trainer and Coach, Marguerite Ham, who is one of our Collaborative Network Partners. She and I discuss key leadership lessons and she teaches us about the 4 Attitudes of Leadership. We hope you will listen in.
Learning from your mistakes, helping others by bringing your positive attitude to work, being a good listener, and being a supportive teacher/coach/team member, is the key to leading by example and becoming a good leader. All these skills will improve the workplace culture and grow you and your people at all levels as leaders, while at the same time, grow your businesses to become the employer of choice in your market. It all begins with learning a leadership attitude.
Wishing you a happy Spring and the hope that all your bulbs are planted right side up, creating beauty in your yard and life.
Blessings on your week as you support your fellow team members and the families you serve.
My best always,