(Editor's note: Just below are some words from a reader named Susan. She asked me to form her letter into a web page and share it at books-empower.com if I thought it might help someone. I think it will. "Dave" is my friend who wrote "A Leadership Story" that was featured in the blog lineup a few days ago.)
"I'd like to start off by thanking "Dave." I don't know him, but I appreciate that he was willing to do what I've wanted to do for quite a while. I wanted to share part of my story. Not to brag. If anything, I'm far too hard on myself. I'm truly my own biggest critic.
After reading Dave's comments, I felt like I might have something important to contribute. Hopefully some of you will find a little bit of inspiration from my story.
Like Dave, I was asked to manage a group of people in a small business. This was actually one division within this company. For whatever reason, they seemed to have a hard time getting things done. They were nice enough individually, but as a working group it just wasn't clicking.
At first I became so frustrated that I just went home and cried every night after work. I was trying to put out fires in every corner of that office. But it seemed as though I hit a wall every time it looked like there might be a breakthrough. I've taken on challenges before and had success, but this time I just couldn't gain any traction.
I finally went back to an old book that has helped me at home and at work. I re-read "Fish." It's a small book but it has some great messages. I don't consider my workplace to be as bad as the "toxic dump" in that story, but we did need to change things. (Editor's note: "Fish" is written by Stephen Lundin, Harry Paul and John Christensen. We've highlighted this excellent edition in other pages at books-empower.com.)
I'll leave the specifics for you to read and apply to your situation. But for me, the key was to create a new energy within a group that quite frankly was set in their ways and very bored. It seemed as though not much was expected of them and they were more than willing to live down to those expectations.
I decided that I had nothing to lose by setting the example. If they didn't follow me, the production wouldn't get worse. It really couldn't get much worse. But if I could just get a few of them to catch some enthusiasm, maybe I could bring the entire group to a new level.
Dave was right. If you stay the course, stick to your core beliefs and be the example of what you'd like to see in your group, your team or your workforce, many will follow you. Not all of them, but enough to sway those who like to follow but need to be sure it is safe to leap.
I'm proud to say that our team is getting better everyday. I give most of the credit to the few brave souls who stepped out on faith and followed my lead and direction. It made it easier for others to do the same.
You can do it too. Believe me when I say that if I can drive positive changes, all of you can do it even better. And maybe you'll be a little bit bolder and won't hesitate to tell your story."
Thanks to Susan for sharing her thoughts. I'd say she is plenty bold and is a great example.
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