I Make the Rules

Make More Rules

I’ve always prided myself as a rule follower. Somewhat to the extreme.

I have trouble crossing the street when the walk sign is off. Even if there are no cars around.

Here’s my thinking. The idea of breaking a rule that’s been put in place to protect me, to keep traffic flowing (pre-COVID-19 you had places to be on time, right?), and—big-picture thinking—to help us all get along, well, that would be wrong.

On the sidewalk, I was that person, standing as others looked both ways (or not) and kept moving to their designations. I was waiting for the light to change. Waiting for it to be clear. Waiting for permission.

I see obeying the crosswalk as a rule that helps me. It’s a rule that works for me. It makes me feel safe, it makes me feel in control of my environment.

As a human, you don’t have to follow my rule.

But, as a leader, I think you need more rules.

You need rules to help you consider what work you do and how you do that work.

These rules can be ones you establish and use to guide you alone. Or, they can be part of a user guide you share with your team.

This is a user guide to you. It’s information you share about how you operate.

One of the first activities I do with new coaching clients is to create their user guides, and we discuss scenarios like these:

  • This is what I need to work well: the setting, environment, timing, schedule, etc. that help me get stuff done
  • This is what doesn’t work (or “I want to share what doesn’t work as well”)
  • My schedule: the hours for meeting; the hours for work
  • Situations when I need to have a phone conversation vs. tackle something over email
  • How I want to be communicated with
  • Things I struggle with (and it’s helpful for you to understand)
  • How to best give me feedback

What are some of your rules?

Once you know what your rules are, you can choose to use them or not. You can choose to look both ways and cross the street.

What do you think? Email me your thoughts.

Free SHRM.org Webinar this Thursday, September 10

Join me for a SHRM.org webinar on facilitating collaboration from a distance on September 10 at 9 am PDT/12 noon EST.

I will discuss:

  • How to assess the current state of relationships (Do you know which ones need some care and feeding?)
  • What approachability in the era of COVID-19 means
  • Mistakes to avoid when building new relationships—and how your clients may be thinking too much about “waiting” to develop relationships

This SHRM.org (Society for Human Resource Management) webinar is free and open to non-SHRM members. Register here.

Awesome Leader Coloring Book & Paris

And if you’re looking for a mental break while you’re trying to balance work and remote teaching, grab the Awesome Leader coloring book and zone out.

While coloring, you can pretend you’re in Paris . . . that is what I have been doing in my free (huh?) time.

Barring 2020, I’ve been flying between 75,000-100,000 miles a year for almost a decade.

I love planes. I love hotels. I love food. I love being in different places with different people. Travel is the best, and I’m doing none of it now.

What I am living vicariously through the French show, “Call My Agent.”

These agents are managing the personalities and quirks of famous actors, and they are eating in lovely restaurants, lounging in huge marble tubs at plush hotels, jumping in taxis after a night at the theatre, riding the Metro, and sharing a dessert or stealing a sip of someone’s wine (What?! Share?!). Escape. Check it out. It’s fun.

Moving to Action

Final note: back to crosswalks.

The East German crosswalk symbol for walk and don’t walk, according to research and a traffic psychologist (OK, that’s a cool job) moves people to action faster than his skinnier Euro version.

Here’s why: “the pronounced stride and steadfast stance made the quirky figure from the East more effective than his svelte Western comrade.”

He’s called the Ampelmännchen.

I love it.

It’s things like this that make waiting for the crosswalk worth it. Read more about the Ampelmännchen if you need an escape to another place (yes, a crosswalk, but one in Berlin!).

Lead with ease,