We are currently working abroad. In Rhodes, in fact. We had allocated time out for our regular planning week and this time we decided to remove ourselves from the normal day to day distractions of households, computer systems that go phut (apparently we have the fastest broadband but it regularly goes so slow I could walk faster…) and the other normal business demands, so that we could fully concentrate on our business’s plans and focus on our work with our coach.
So here we are and we thought we’d work by the pool. OK. I’m not showing off – honestly – but it IS great being able to work ‘virtually’ at times. Anyway, back to the story.
You know that thing where people put their towels on the sun beds at very silly o’clock in the morning to reserve ‘their’ beds? Sounds logical. Kinda. Ok well it doesn’t really. And especially not when those people then leave those towels on empty sun-beds for hours and don’t show up. Unfair.
And if there’s something we Brits like it is fairness. And, on top of that, it is also against the rules of the hotel, who are trying to stop the phenomenon of swathes of towels on empty sun-beds for hours on end whilst others wander aimlessly around looking for somewhere to sit.
It’s not that you want to be all officious and righteous. It’s very annoying when people start quoting policies and rules at you. Especially on holiday! And, actually, if people had just quickly popped for a comfort break or a light lunch you wouldn’t mind but when they “bags” those sun-beds for more than 3 hours and don’t show up it begins to grate a bit. At least it did for us.
So, we decided to do something about it and we respectfully removed their sun-beds into another spot and put ours in their spot which was nicely shaded and by the pool. A further hour or so later they turned up and there was a ‘chat’ about this being their spot.
We explained our position and one partner accepted it, the other was a little more huffy. We were very polite and still stuck by our guns. In the end, they both accepted what was and that they had bent the rules and come unstuck.
And that’s part of leadership isn’t it.
People are watching us as leaders all the time, even when it doesn’t appear like that. If we don’t care and don’t do things right then neither will they. If we don’t call people out for poor behaviour then neither will anyone else, and it will just continue.
Sometimes we have to do a thing which is uncomfortable – even a bit scary – and we know that there’ll be some kind of confrontation but, if we are to ‘model the way’ to those who follow us and set the tone of our company’s culture, then the tough thing has to be done.
Is there something tough in your business that you have had to do recently – or you need to do and need a bit of support with? We’d love to know. Email me at [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