If you haven’t seen this advert for Carlsberg beer, take a minute to watch it.
Beer’s not my preferred tipple, but I do think this a really clever twist on the way that preconceptions keep us in their thrall (as well as a good ad for lager.)
A series of couples are sold tickets to see a movie. However once inside, they realise that their seats are the last two in the middle of the theatre. And that every other seat is occupied by a Hell’s Angels biker, covered in tattoos.
It’s widely recognised that the most effective leaders and the best managers are those who consider and understand the impact of what they say and do, on other people.
Who hasn’t been in a meeting where somebody senior has absolutely crushed someone else – often without even realising the effect that might have had on that person’s motivation and wellbeing? Many of us have had the “boss from hell” – the one that bullies or cajoles or frightens others into submission.
In my experience the best bosses are those who lead without taking power from others. They are the people who lead by example, who instil respect and loyalty, and who make others feel empowered to do their jobs well.
“We want to forge new ties and greater understanding between the young people in this young country” were the impressionable words President Barack Obama left with the students on November 10, 2010 when he visited the University of Indonesia in Jakarta. Fifteen months later, Cisco partners with the Networking Academy and the university to host a weeklong hands-on technical training and soft skill development event on the same campus, where it almost seems Obama’s vision was coming to life, literally.
I’ve always been interested in the human desire to belong to groups and how we adapt our appearance to show which ‘group’ we’re in. Even in our teenage years when many of us believe the way we dress is non-conformist in truth we’re aligning ourselves to a sub-group that exists out there.
A friend of mine in her first year at university always wore Levi 501s and walked to her English lectures with an Eighteenth century novel poking out of her right back pocket and a pack of Marlboro cigarettes in her left. The signals she hoped she gave off then make her cringe beyond belief today!
Because that’s what happens, the identity we choose to present to the outside world changes over time. Many of us become less concerned about rebelling, or we gain confidence about our identity and the way we choose to transmit it.
“Do you ever feel like a plastic bag drifting through the wind, wanting to start again?” Where do you get the energy to make that fresh start? How well do you really know you and your work colleagues and really know each other? Do your colleagues know the real you and if not why not ? Do you feel comfortable opening up? Considering the amount of hours we spend with each other I still disappoint myself with the lack of “quality” time I give to my colleagues, really getting to know them. It is easy to forget they have interesting and sometimes even surprising lives outside of work. Qualities are often hidden. We often hold back from each other but we can all recall changes in our working relationships when the real person has been revealed.
Imagine with have 4 energies swirling around our bodies: intellectual, physical, emotional and spiritual ( Steve Radcliffe – Leadership Plain and Simple) . Some of us have more dominant energies present than others and yes, we need all of them. I would suggest the one we’re most reluctant to unleash at work is emotional energy. Emotional energy is the precondition for everything we care about. Dreams die when we lack the emotional energy to hold on to them in the face of obstacles. The magnetic nature of emotional energy can be a powerful force in the workplace but, many of us are most comfortable displaying our intellectual and physical energy. Providing a culture and environment to encourage the release of emotional energy is crucial to success and allows colleagues to shine and be their real selves.
If we only could take the time to really get to know each other and to look beyond our exterior make up/facades. Katy Perry ‘s recent hit “ Baby you’re a firework” succinctly describes the potential in all of us regardless of how senior we are , our age or our background. Unlike physical energy, emotional energy does not decline as we get older. Emotional energy increases the more you learn about what works best for you. Business and self development books talk about playing to our strengths. Firstly we have to really understand our strengths and secondly we need the confidence to act on them.
“Baby you’re a firework come on, let your colours burst.”
“ You just gotta ignite the light and let it shine .”
A colleague on my team recently shared with me his personal story of his road to success to date and laid out what he wanted to do next. He lit his firework and it was a fantastic explosion of colour. It made me realise that I do not know many of the members in my team well ( it is a large team 40+ ), and I mean really know them ! But at least I had provided the environment for this person to have the courage to step forward out of the shadows and shine. There will be so many more personal stories of how people have seized opportunities , have created opportunities for themselves , how they have moved countries and started from scratch and are on their way to be very successful and fulfilled .
If you can’t do what you want to do in life or if it feels very hard to do, you are probably lacking emotional energy, not physical energy. Try something new to get things re-started. Remember “ Baby you’re a firework” .