LeaderLynx – Who’s Idea Was That?!

by Feb 2, 2012

When working with animals it’s advantageous if the behavior you are trying to get is actually their idea.  Suppose you are walking a tiger on a leash (like you do that daily, right?) and you want to turn to the right, a bit of gentle pressure to the right will likely get you moving in the direction you want  …just enough pressure to get them going the path you desire.  But force the issue, jerk the leash, and you will likely have a tiger jumping on you!  Makes sense, huh?

There is an individual I have spent time with just about every day.  She’s very independent and thinks a lot of her own opinion – actually, sometimes she thinks too much of herself but that’s another story.

I’ve learned over the months to let the path I believe may be best, to let that path be her idea.  I used to lob out my advice on a topic, scheduling her employees for instance, and she would immediately react by telling me why it wouldn’t work.  A bit of rephrasing though almost always gets this tiger moving the direction I want.

Now, instead of telling her I think she should schedule Sally for Saturdays to cover the morning shift I try putting it in the form of a question.  The question in itself presents what I think is the best option but it allows her to make the decision if she so chooses.  A majority of the time she agrees (and who wouldn’t?), and many times she adds a slight twist to make the notion her very own.

A leaders goal is to guide his or her tigers down the best path …and the key word is “guide” – lead, don’t force – and your tigers are likely to cheerfully plod the path you lay before them.  And yeah, it works at home too.  But whatever you do, don’t tell my wife, okay?