What story are you spreading?

December 19th, 2008

Everything communicates. That is particularly true in the top-down business world. What we say. What we wear. What we do. Even, what we don’t do.


In December’s Inc. magazine, Joel Spolsky writes about how leaders communicate. And what better time than now to focus on leadership? Joel’s point? Get your hands dirty:


“Here’s how you clean a toilet,” he said. And he got down on his knees in front of the porcelain bowl – in his pressed-starched-spotless dress uniform – and scrubbed it with his bare hands until it shined.


That’s how Joel learned leadership. He served under a high-ranking sergeant major in the Israeli Army. In the column, Joel describes his “servant-leadership” style and title of Fog Creek as “co-founder, CEO and Lord High Everything Else – including, apparently, of window treatments.” That’s because Joel spent two afternoons hanging curtains to block the sun from baking the backs of his employees and reducing the glare on their monitors.


Scrubbing toilets and hanging window treatments are cute stories. But they’re more—they’re examples of a leader’s real job. A true leader communicates that purpose every day. It’s a bottom-up approach. It’s one most of us aren’t comfortable with.


So, here’s a challenge: What can you do today to make someone better able to do their job? What obstacle is in their path that you can improve?


That’s a leadership mindset.

Posted Under: Storytelling
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