When to make a withdrawal from that bag of political capital.

7 04 2015

“Don’t be gullible, use life before it uses you.  Understand that there are no free lunches, and for every action you take, there’s a reaction.” ~Sylvester Stallone

As leaders, for every action you take, there is indeed a reaction.  Never forget that your team is looking to you to see how you’ll handle any given situation.  Your motives won’t matter, your actions and the perception of those actions by your team is the reality of what they’ll store away.  Every time you are short with someone, dismiss genuine concerns of your team, or otherwise behave in an un-leader-like way, they’ll store that away.   Conversely, every time you listen intently and give a response that they can understand and appreciate, you’ll gain points (even if that response is “No, and here’s why I can’t say yes…).  Every time you go out of your way to say a kind word, or to help someone who is down they’ll remember that, too.

Now here’s the tricky part:  It’s not a plus-one, minus-one scoring system in the game of leadership.  As my Dad says: “It takes 10 ‘atta-boys’ to overcome one mess-up”.  If you want your team to have your back when you need a little extra from them, you need to store up a whole big bag full of ‘atta-boys’, so that when you have a bad day, and you lose a handful of them, you still have a positive score.  Nobody is perfect.  You’ll have a night where you didn’t sleep too well, and you’ll be short with a team member someday, or you’ll make some other less-than-kind rebuke sometime.  But, if your team knows that you’ve usually got their back, they’re going to be more likely to forgive that slip (especially when you apologize).  So build a great big bag of positive political capital.  Some day you’re going to have to make a withdrawal.

Speaking of Gullible…


Rubes cartoons used with permission. www.rubescartoons.com




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