Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Dear Kitten Leadership Lessons

As I ponder leadership and lessons, for some reason this video popped into my head.  The older cat has found himself in a leadership role when the new kitten enters the household. I wondered if there would be some way work a leadership lesson around this video.  I will hold a staff meeting next month and wanted to start with something lighthearted but meaningful.  Since the staff knows about my trials and tribulations of living with the two Diva Boys--they will find added humor to the Dear Kitten video.  Clearly cats, narcissistic by nature, are not cut out to be great leaders--so we can explore both his positive and negative aspects of being a leader.
In the opening, we see that that our Tom is a reluctant leader.  He attempted to make the kitten feel unwelcome for hissing at him the requisite number of time before taking on the mantle.  Like our Tom, most of us don't realize that at anytime we may find ourselves in a leadership position.  Any employee in any position can take on a leadership role, either temporarily or permanently.  As we know, not all leaders have a title. So it is best for those of us in leadership positions to prepare everyone to lead.
From this video, we learn that he is only following tradition set down by his mentor, Rest In Peace--when he hisses at the kitten.  Traditions are important to building a culture--but some traditions may work toward building the sort of culture, we do not want.  For an enlightened collaborative culture this tradition would  be best dropped.
Some of the positive leadership skills demonstrated are:
1) Orienting the kitten to his new environment
2) Giving the kitten information to keep himself safe
3) Providing information for future development and the value for that development (letting the kitten know there are growth opportunities)
4) Sharing his vision of the world and providing explantations for how the world works (transparency)
5) Praising the kitten for a job well done
6) Despite a voiced fear that the kitten may usurp him, he still provides leadership.

Overall, not a bad leader this cat.  After few bumps he seems to be adjusting to his role fairly well.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Awake at Work

For about a year now I have had the intention to read Awake at Work: 35 Practical Buddhist Principles for Discovering Clarity and Balance in the Midst of Work's Chaos by Michael Carroll. The book came in as a donation to the Friends of the Library, as I was sorting through to see if anything was suitable for the library, the title caught my eye.  I added my dollar to the Friends' money box and added it to my book shelf.  First it was at work for several months, then it came home.  I was sorting through my books a couple of months ago to take to the Friends and added the book to the Take Pile.  Then when I was getting the books out, I decided that really I wanted to read the Awake at Work.  So I  left it in the back of my car.
Finally, last week, I needed to go to Urgent Care.  I knew it  was going to be a wait so I grab the book.  I reasoned that since I was taking sick time from work, I should probably spend that time doing something somewhat work related.  So I read while I waited and waited and waited.
I found the book entirely relevant to my situation now.  The book suggested using sitting mediation to help keep your life in balance.  Before I picked up the book, I have felt that this is something that I should do.  Last month, I downloaded Insight Timer a meditation app for my iPhone.  
I wondered why I had put off reading the book for so long when I found I didn't want to put it down.  All I can say is that, this is the time that I needed to read the book.  I don't want to sound so touchy feely.  But I do believe in serendipity and that things do come to you when you need them if you are open to them.  Most of my jobs have come to me through serendipity--circumstances lining up perfectly to lead me to the next step.  And since most of my jobs have involved moving from one country to another, I take serendipity fairly seriously.
Michael Carroll worked as a human resource professional holding a number of executive positions after his guru told him to go into the world rather than become a monk.  He is now the founding director of Awake at Work Associates.
I want to explore this book further. I intend the next several posts to cover several of the principles as they relate to me and my life.  The first principle that caught my attention was Welcome the Tyrant. When I read the title, I laughed out loud at how entirely appropriate this book is.  So Welcome  the Tyrant will be the first theme for me to explore in an upcoming post.
In the meantime, I will handle my work day with the suggestion to be curious whenever I feel stressed or overwhelmed.