She was likable and well-regarded, someone perceived as having talent, drive and energy. On the outside things looked pretty good, but inside it was a different story.
She felt like she was constantly flying by the seat of her pants, unable to get her arms around her job, her team or the finances of her branch and, on some level, she was waiting for someone to find out she was a fraud.
She Was Avoiding Her Work.
• Fully understanding the financial aspects of her business (she was never a fan of math)
• Holding people accountable ( they were trying so how could she ask them for more?)
• And dealing with anything resembling conflict (rumor has it she once stared at a sticky note for six months trying to get up the courage to call an upset client. When she finally made the call the client didn’thave a clue what she was talking about. Apparently there had never been a problem.)
The Team Was A Mess
(and we’re using the word “team” loosely).
Without proper leadership, clear expectations or an even remotely inspiring work environment …
• The people in the office became frustrated with their work
• Balls were dropping like flies
• And petty in-fighting was rampant.
Just walking into the office you could feel the tension and see it written on every face. All the while their manager hid in her office wishing they would “stop fighting and do their jobs”, too fearful to confront them and even hesitant to celebrate their few meager successes, convinced that if she came out cheering, band blaring with confetti they would sit rooted, eyebrows raised not buying it for a second.
For our manager, her people and their problems were her greatest frustration and the deepest mystery in her business.
The Numbers Were Down
But everybody’s numbers were down so no one particularly blamed her for her failure. But that didn’t keep her from feeling like one. As the team missed their targets month after month and the chasm between goal and results broadened, the team grew complacent and resigned. They would “try their best” and hope it would all work out; But trying wasn’t going to cut it. “Hope” isn’t a strategy and it wasn’t working out.
Something Needed To Change.
There was no snap solution, no fairy godmother or lottery winnings to save the day but our manager had a quiet, persistent burning in her core that wanted to win, to live up to her potential and to pull out the best in those who looked to her for leadership. No one said it would be easy but deep down she knew there had to be a way.
It Began With A Declaration,
A commitment to being the leader she could be. The leader she needed to be to fulfill on her visions, hopes and dream. She drew a line in the sand and became…
“A fearless leader igniting the sparkle in people’s eyes!”
When the pressure was on and she was tempted by the urge to hide or play small she would ask herself …. WWFLD? (What Would A Fearless Leader Do?) And then, whatever the answer, she did it. Even when it was risky, even when she didn’t know how it was going to turn out and especially when she was scared out of her wits!
The Team Thrived
As people and their problems became a classroom in which to practice her commitment, a chance to ignite the sparkle in their eyes and an opportunity for service. With this renewed attention to their individual growth, happiness and “sparkle” individuals flourished and together they created a cohesive, energized team, who reveled in the thrill of achievement, loved their work and cared about each other.
The Numbers Soared.
Coming from a deficit the office went on to exceed their projections by 47% and trounced the prior year by 446%! They reached for the goals, pushed the envelope and celebrated the success and by the time she left the company their branch was ranked 4th out of hundreds.
They Had A Blast!
They had never been more productive, intentional or successful and they had never had so much fun. As our manager owned her power her natural style shone through. Freed up and fearless she pulled out the stops, taking whatever action necessary to keep the energy of the team optimistic and focused and together they created a really great place to work.
This included but was not limited to:
• Hip hop dance session in the lobby when energy was low
• Mini marshmallow fights when the tension needed releasing
• Contests and theme days when they needed some motivation
• And secret handshakes (just because they’re fun.)
By nurturing her desire to be her best and becoming intensely interested in the development of her people our manager became a great leader. And then that leader became a coach.
In case you hadn’t guessed by now, that leader was me and it is fair to say that I have been among the disempowered, the timid and the lost and I have been a fearless leader igniting the sparkle in people’s eyes.
The insights, tools and accountability that coaching provided put me in the driver’s seat of my own professional life and made me responsible for my behaviors, thoughts, relationships and results.
Before I left my corporate position I was delivering Executive Coaching services to client businesses so other leaders and their teams could harness the power of coaching in their work and lives.
But, What’s This About A Blue Man?
That’s an interesting story. As I was going through this unfolding, I found myself taking risks and expressing myself in new exciting ways.
On one such occasion I decided to paint. I started with broad strokes and felt my way to its completion. When the painting was done I brought it to work and I put it on the wall of my office.
One day I glanced up from my desk to admire my creation when I was hit with a bolt or recognition that left me wide eyed and speechless.
In the next moment I looked down at the letterhead on my desk and there was another blue man, one I was deeply familiar with as he had been on my business cards and collateral for the previous eight years as it was the logo of a little International Company called Manpower Inc..
There was no mistaking it, it was the same little blue man but it was as though I had painted him energized, engaged and REALLY REALLY HAPPY!
My New Blue Man Was On Fire!
The image on my wall illustrated the growth I had experienced and the person I had become. It illustrated my transformation from doing the job but being small to being confident, self-expressed and loving my work and my life.
I called the piece “Joyful Work” and I still have it hanging in my home as a reminder of what life looks like when you own your power and tap into the leader that is within all of us.
So, that’s my story. From playing small and falling behind to bold, self-expressed leadership, professional success and personal satisfaction and I owe it to the empowerment, insight and tools professional coaching provides.
It would be my honor to support you on your own adventure to great leadership and joyful work, so let’s talk and see how coaching can set your life and your business on fire!
Call me at (360) 378-0088 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S. If you liked this you may enjoy hearing about how my team members once said I treated them like “trained monkeys” and how it helped me be a better leader. 😉 Check it out.