A private school in Texas recently faced a unique problem. A number of 12-year-old girls were beginning to use lipstick, and to avoid parental detection they waited until arriving at school to put it on in the bathroom.
That was fine, but after they put on their lipstick, they would press their lips to the mirror leaving dozens of little lip prints. Every night, the maintenance man would remove them and the next day, the girls would put them back.
Finally, the principal decided to do something. She called all the girls to the bathroom and met them there with the maintenance man.
She explained that all these lip prints were causing a major problem for the custodian who had to spend an abundance of his time cleaning the mirrors every night.
To demonstrate how difficult it had been to clean the mirrors, she asked the maintenance man to show the girls how much effort was required.
He took out a long-handled squeegee, dipped it in the toilet, and cleaned the mirror with it. Since then, there have been no lip prints on the mirror.
There are teachers, and then there are educators!
Monday Morning Perspective
“If I am walking with two other men, each of them will serve as my teacher. I will pick out the good points of the one and imitate them, and the bad points of the other and correct them in myself.” –Confucius
The qualities of a great educator are very similar to those of a great leader.
Frequently we hear about positional leaders who deliver an edict from a boardroom that fails to be implemented to the lowest level in their organization, and somehow these leaders are shocked by the lack of buy-in and overall execution of their subordinates.
Demonstrative Leaders rarely have this problem. In the military, it is expected that people be on time for everything- formations, meetings, training events, end of day accountability, etc. When the highest-ranking individual tells everyone what time they plan to arrive, there is typically a domino effect down the ranks.
For instance, when the battalion commander (Lt. Colonel) tells the company commanders (Captains) that he/she will arrive at 9am, the company commanders mentally plan to arrive at 8:30am and tell their platoon leaders (Lieutenants) as much. The Lieutenants tell their platoon sergeants (Sergeants First Class) to be ready to go by 8am. Those platoon sergeants communicate to their squad leaders (Staff Sergeants) and Team Leaders (Sergeants/Corporals) to be ready by 7:45am. Therefore all of their Soldiers are expected to arrive no later than 7:30am.
So that’s how 1500 people can arrive “on time” for an event with just one leader setting an example. Demonstrating standards in the military is the equivalent of educating your people on what the expectations for performance are in corporate industry.
If you will show your people what the expectations are, you’ll be amazed at how they will magically meet them- usually well before the “drop-dead” date. But if you’re standing back scratching your head wondering where it went sideways, I suggest you ask yourself if you are just teaching or truly educating those you are responsible for leading.
Have a wonderfully educational week!