Timing may not be everything, but it’s SOME thing. If I had paid attention to timing…oh, if I could take back the advice I gave to a boss, my wife, or a child of mine at moments when they were incapable of hearing it as positive…If I had only have taken the risk to disclose something when there was a moment of unique trust and shared vulnerability…If I could have said what I was thinking when the topic was ripe and not at the following meeting when the water had flowed miles beneath the bridge…
Most times those moments are highly individual and unique. But occasionally the timing is broadly shared. The moment is cultural and not just personal. Like, um, right now. People are seeking to give and get something nicer at this moment, something more human. For example, I was caught by surprise last week when my very new assistant gave me a beautiful Cross pen set…and gave me the gift of saying that she enjoyed working with me. The season hands us the wrapping paper to give the thanks and appreciation we should be giving all the time.
Back in the day, you might give your teacher one of those great snow globes; or maybe an ornament or a candle, maybe some cookies to recognize and thank her…or the mailman…the milkman…your secretary. Today we seem to have less time for these little things, but on the other hand we do have these remarkable e-tools – emails, Facebook pages, etc. Mid-December’s a marvelous time to let people know that you have a pretty “wonderful life,” and they may be vitally important to making it so.
From a leadership standpoint – whether you’re leading up, down or across – it’s especially important to celebrate the accomplishments, contributions and values that matter in the worlds that you care about. Give thanks and celebration to your children, staff, boss, students or teachers especially for those things that make a difference and make things better.
And if this last bit of advice sounds too instrumental, utilitarian, or manipulative, well then, it never hurts to just share the love, as you
Lead with your best self!
P.S. Reading for Leading takes a brief hiatus for Christmas and New Year. I’ll be thinking about making 2012 my best ever year. Expect a message on goals, when we return the first week of January!