Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Keeping Your Cool

We have all done it before, your kids spill their juice on your new carpet, or even worse, they’ve decided that your living room walls needed a bit more colour! You start screaming “What were you thinking?”…Uttering comments under your breath that normally would never come out of your mouth.  Afterwards you think, or someone points out, you could have handled that better.  The immediate reaction is never one that wants to be remembered but sadly, often is.

Similarly at work, a situation arises.  My immediate reaction is to yell, scream and demand better while pounding my fist on the desk.  Yes, I will probably get a reaction from these types of actions.  But does this empower anyone to do better?  Not really, they are just reacting to my reaction.

Whereas if I look at the situation from all the angles, investigate, talk to all the people involved then get them together and talk about what happened.  We can create a solution as a team. By involving all parties, you help ensure that the solution is followed through with and everyone is aware of the consequences if it is not. 

Empowerment is a term that many people use without truly understanding it.  It is a process that challenges people to think about what can and should be done.  It helps foster creativity, teamwork and success.  When you empower those around you, you ultimately give them the power to change something instead of demanding it. Empowering the people around you shows that you value their opinion; they contribute to the group on a larger scale.  Allowing people to take action and gain control of their own problems.  People work better as a team.  Given the opportunity most people will rise to the occasion. 

One thing to keep in mind is that although the team may have come up with a solution, it might be different from what you (the leader) thinks is the “right” solution. Remember, you have are looking to them to solve the problem.   You have empowered them to do so.

As a leader, I need to remind myself that joy is not found in completing an activity but by doing it.  As long as we meet the goal, find a solution and exceed our expectations – the journey of getting there is worth more than the destination itself.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Halloween Memories

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to see Stuart McLean in Stratford. My husband and I are huge fans. During one of his stories he posed a question to the audience, giving us all a little something to think about; what was your first memory of Halloween, and what is your most memorable Halloween.

As a kid, Halloween was so much fun. It was one night that I could do what kids do best! Have fun, dress up in a weird, strange, or make believe costume, run around and act silly...all while collecting candy. What else could be better?

Stuart McLean certainly made me think! I seem to have a hard time pin pointing what my first memory of Halloween really was - aside from the ones displayed in my parent s photo albums. But I do have a most memorable Halloween!

There were so many great ones to choose from. Was it the year I was a princess, or a rock star? Or was it the year my children finally understood the concept of Halloween and had a blast dressing up? I've had some pretty cool moments for sure! But the one Halloween that seems to stick out the most is the first year that I went out for Halloween without my parents. It was 1979, and my youngest brother had just been born. He had to stay in the hospital a little bit longer than expected, so my other brother and I got to spend Halloween with my grandparents. What stood out the most, and made this year memorable, was that my Poppa was more of a hands off , than hands on type of a grandparent. But this was the year he had to come up with the costumes for my brother and I. He decided on a robot for my brother, (made of boxes), and I was a witch (my hat was made of cardboard). Both products were readily available in the warehouse! I wasn't thrilled to be a witch and looking back I hope that I wasn t too hard on them for that. I remember how proud he was to take us out in his neighbourhood. We walked up and down the street well we ran around like lunatics gathering our loot! It was absolute blast! I don t think it was a record year in candy collection for either me or my brother and I remember missing my parents and wanting to see them. But most of all I remember how happy I truly was. When you are kid Halloween is about dressing up, and having fun for a day.

Everyone has a Halloween memory. What was your most memorable Halloween?