When it comes to work, many of us have drawn a line as to how much of our true self we let come out on a daily basis. Walking into our office, we check our personal lives at the door and become our business-like selves. Imagine we stopped doing this. Imagine we let go a bit and we let more of what makes up our full self in during the business day.
I had the pleasure of listening to Chris Heeter, a wilderness guide and founder of the Wild Institute, speak while I was attending the 2017 Boomer Technology Summit. During Chris’ key note address, she drew upon the stories, experience and knowledge that she gained from her sled dog team, which she has raised and trained. In describing her sled dogs, it was apparent that all of them were unique and brought different talents to the team. Unlike humans, dogs do not check their true selves at the door. They let their wild side show confidently and unabashedly. They rely on their trainer to gain the necessary insight into their personality and figure out their proper place on the team, which is exactly what Chris did. Many of you may already be scratching your head saying “What does this have to do with a room full of accountants and IT professionals?’ Well, here are my take-aways:
- Everybody has gifts: Every employee at your firm is his/her own wild self. We all have personalities beyond work. It’s time to break down that imaginary wall and “bring the gift of who you are to what you do.” As leaders, we need to take the time to truly know and understand our employees and the unique gifts they have to offer our team.
- Motivation and needs change: What an employee needed 10 years ago, may not be the same thing now. As a leader, you need to understand what makes your employee tick, knowing that it will not and should not be the same for everyone and that these needs will change pending on what’s going on outside of the office.
- It’s always worth it to care: Compassion is not a bad thing, even at the workplace. Knowing that one’s firm and especially one’s boss thinks of you and treats you as a person and not just someone getting the work done, goes a long way.
- The importance of what we say is lost or found pending on how we say it: Our body language, tone and inflection speak volumes!!!
- Leaders must be on the same path: In dog sledding, the two lead dogs are connected by a very short rope. Why? Imagine if a tree is in the path and the two lead dogs don’t go in the same direction? The same concept applies for leaders in a firm tackling a problem.
- Teach them. Trust them. Let them go: Take the time to train your employees and then trust that they have the necessary tools and skill set to let them go and watch them soar!
For more about Chris Heeter and The Wild Institute please go to www.thewildinstitute.com