IT'S A BIRD, IT'S A PLANE...NO, IT'S SUPER DOG!
Super Dog appeared in school this week and the kids were ECSTATIC! We pick up our first student, Jackson, at the busiest time in the school hallways. All the kids are returning from P.E. or lunch and waiting in bathroom lines and moving towards their classrooms. It is a true testament to Church’s, I mean Super Dog’s, patience and therapy gift. As we walked down the hall and Super Dog’s cape flapped in the breeze, kids yelled “Look, It’s Super Dog!” How did they even know he was Super Dog?! Super Dog is something Eli made up for Church! They were just so intuitive…a dog, with a cape, and a big S D on the back…he must be SUPER DOG! Cuteness overload.
Church has some really neat Super Powers that I think every leader could benefit from harnessing. In my opinion, Church’s greatest Super Powers are: patience, trust, and discernment.
He is so patient with me, with Airy, with children. As the children in the hallways rushed towards him this week, he stayed patient. Even as 10 tiny little hands attacked his face (why do they always have to reach right for the face?) he stood calm. He was incredibly patient and I was impressed and proud. He never flinched, or tried to run, he stayed calm and patient.
Effective leaders are patient with their teams and with themselves. It may seem like a huge waste of time to let one of your employees struggle through a process that you know you could accomplish better and faster, but leaders are patient. They allow their team members the time to make mistakes (without judgment) and learn processes on their own.
Church trusts me so much that it allows him to be patient. He trusts that every day I will feed him, and I will return from work. He isn’t worried the whole time I am gone, because he trusts I will take care of him. He trusts me to do my job. Imagine having to trust some lady for everything you need in life. The same lady that leaves every single day. It would be easy to trust if there were no unknowns, but that's not the case! Dogs are able to learn, but they don’t remember the actual learning. He has learned that I will return, but he doesn’t remember it ever actually happening. He turns his fears into trust.
Effective leaders trust their team members. They do not assume the worst. They give everyone the benefit of the doubt and fill the unknown gap with trust. Effective leaders do not micromanage their team members; they communicate expectations and trust their employees to follow through. To build trust, leaders should also embrace humility, acknowledge errors and apologize for mistakes. Trust creates employee empowerment and builds confidence, further contributing to the success of the team and company.
Church knows when he’s around the kids to be gentle. He also knows that when he’s around Airy at home, he can play rough. He can tell when I’m sad and need consoling, and he also senses when I’m upset and just need to be left alone.
Effective leaders know when to conceal their strengths and when they need to let them show. They know when it’s time to get down to business, and when they need to leave their work phone at the office. They know when to use the gentle Clark Kent approach, and when to show up as Superman. They know the difference between good and evil, between greed and graciousness.
Let’s leverage our Super Powers and stop focusing on our weaknesses. Why do we do that? Why do we tell ourselves and our employees to work to improve weaknesses when we need to be focusing on perfecting our unique strengths and gifts? Why do we downplay our Super Power to try and get better at someone else’s? I don’t think we need to be great at everything; I want to be the BEST at one thing.
If you're a leader - work to find out what unique strengths your employees bring to the business. Then, use that information to look for opportunities where you could encourage your employees to leverage and develop those abilities (not their weaknesses)!
If you're an individual contributor - work to find out what YOUR unique Super Powers are! Discuss with your supervisor if they agree on your unique strength, then talk about how you can better develop and leverage your unique Super Power to improve productivity.
Share with me in the comments below!
- What is your greatest Super Power?!
- What Super Power do you think all leaders need?