Connecting and Performing Uniquely

9 12 2016

“In general, fashion is decorative, it’s protective, it acknowledges that the world does involve conflict, and you might be attacked by assumptions, presumptions, and attitudes.” ~ Margo Jefferson

On this casual Friday, I hope you are wearing your favorite fashions, representing your sports teams, or whatever it is that, during the “business casual” week, might not represent your personality as much as Fridays allow you to.  Don’t be afraid to use your fashion to tell a story, as long as it’s within dress code.  Sure, someone might attack you with assumptions (for example, a Ravens fan might chide at a co-worker in Steelers gear).  Others who are more conservative might make presumptions on more progressive fashion choices.

The point, leaders, is that people are all unique.  Your challenge is to find whatever it is in them that motivates them and that they get energized by.  Use that connection to make their workday better.  Maybe it’s asking about their child.  Maybe it’s congratulating them on their favorite team winning over the weekend.  It could be that you see their car in the parking lot, and it’s looking sparkly after a good detail job – and you know they’re a “car person”.  Whatever it is, they very likely won’t make you have to guess.  They’ll show you pictures of their kid, wear a sports jersey proudly, or otherwise let their passions leak into their conversations.  Listen, note, and get back to it when you get a chance.  That connection will make them pull harder with you when you need that extra effort.

Speaking of decorative stuff…


Rubes cartoons used with permission.


It’s OK to stand out.

2 09 2016

“The flower which is single need not envy the thorns that are numerous.” ~ Rabindranath Tagore

I remember a time in middle school where I was one of the finalists in a school spelling bee.  The girl I was crushing on got the word wrong, and even though I knew the right answer, I also got it wrong on purpose, because I didn’t want her to be mad at me for beating her.  Likewise, in social situations in early life, someone would say something that I knew was factually wrong, and I just smiled and went with it, so as not to contradict them and possibly be made fun of for being an egghead.

Then I joined the military, and started learning a bit about leadership.  There’s nothing wrong with being right, or being the smartest person in the room.  Knowledge is power, and in a leadership vacuum, people will follow the person who knows what’s going on.  I’m not saying anything new when I say that I encourage, and enjoy, when people on my team correct a misconception that I have, or have a different way of looking at a problem, provided the information is delivered respectfully and professionally.  It’s OK to stand out, leaders!  How else can your greatness be recognized?

Speaking of flowers…


Rubes cartoons used with permission.