Do you know, I used to think it was just OUR postman? I mean, some summer some winter, he was always in shorts and I thought maybe it was a bit of a foible on his part. But no!
Having spoken to many people it seems that postmen typically wear shorts – rain or shine, summer or winter. And I wondered why! I have that sort of mind – I like to know the reason behind things, don’t you?
Having investigated this somewhat (I know I’m obsessed!) there are a number of answers that come up. Some people thought it was a kind of bravado thing – which postie can put up with the cold weather the longest.
Others thought it was because having to walk maybe 10 miles a day made them too hot – in any kind of weather. And yet others said it was because walking a long way in wet trousers was uncomfortable and causes chaffing – and legs are easier to dry than trousers.
And it made me think. We might think the postman is being a ‘hero’ wearing shorts in the middle of winter, but you don’t have to be climbing Mount Everest to be a hero. And that’s a bit like business.
There are things that you do in your business because you have worked out that they work better than what other people might think is ‘the norm’. Just like the postman who is wearing shorts to keep cool – or dry – and not to ‘be a hero’, you might be doing things in your business because it works better and you are just getting on with it.
You don’t feel like you are being ‘a hero’, but perhaps other people do. And that can be a good thing – people admire and look up to hero’s – but it can also be a bad thing. Just like if someone sees a postie in the snow in shorts and thinks – “God, I could never do THAT” – in your business there might be people looking at what YOU do and thinking they could never emulate you.
The answer to this – of course – like pretty much everything else in business – is communication. If you explain to people that the reason you are in very early every day this week – is NOT because you are ‘being a hero’, ‘trying to impress someone’ or ‘being a martyr’ but actually because you are on a project where you need head space to think, and you get that early when no-one else is in, and that you are going home early on Friday to compensate – then people understand.
They will understand that you don’t expect them to ‘be a hero’, just to do their job to the best of their ability and in a way that plays to their strengths and preferred ways of working. They will know that you are not “wearing shorts” to impress or be cool, or be better than everyone else. You are just being the best you can be in a way that works for you.
Sometimes it takes a bit of unravelling to understand where people are coming from and what they really think of you as the Leader. If you need an outside look in on your workplace or team situation – drop me an email anytime to [email protected]
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Jan Sargent is co-Director with Julie Hutchison of Transforming Performance, a consultancy which provides businesses with expert support in Leadership Coaching, Team Development and Performance Coaching, Executive Coaching, Mentoring, Training and Behavioural Profiling and help in getting the best from you and your people. If you’d like to have a chat and a coffee to discuss how we can help you, we’d love to talk. Call us on:
07947 823842 or 01722 484155