It is no secret that I am a big movie fan! And yes, I’m the weirdo in the theatre who is quietly typing notes in her phone with the screen on as dimly as possible. Hence, this week’s Monday Moment focused on the Dr. Seuss movie of The Lorax.
Dr. Seuss, as we know him, was a man of wisdom, who couched his beliefs and his guidance in children’s books with whimsical rhymes. The Lorax, both the movie and the character, was no different, but he also shared three powerful leadership lessons that you want to apply to those you have the privilege of leading…even if you’re not something as momentous as the guardian of all the trees.
Things happen at the office and among the team you lead and often it is the attitude of you and the team that makes the difference in how that change is handled, dealt with, and worked through. An irrational sense of Optimism was what the boy had in this movie, thinking he could make a significant change in his town against an evil ruler, a scary exit strategy, and a doting mother who told him not to worry about anything that big. With a little determination and a powerfully contagious attitude, this boy did change things for his entire town, not because he never felt defeated, but because he believed he could. What do you believe you can make a difference in and who do you surround yourself with and what is their attitude?
The Lorax asked the boy, when he became a man, which way a tree fell? He didn’t know the answer and the Lorax told him a tree falls the way it leans, so be careful which way you lean? Which way are you leaning? If what is supporting you is taken out from under you, which way will you fall? If a persuasive opinion or person pushes you, will you fall in the direction of what you believe or are you leaning in a way you’ll regret? Is your team leaning toward collaboration or conflict? Are you pushing them to fall in one direction or another? Be mindful of what you lean toward as it could be your future.
When we conduct corporate leadership training, we devote one section to the concept of people being difficult or different. It is often the simple issue of awareness that changes those labels form one to the other and that change opens up chasms of potential. The Lorax told us it isn’t about what something is, but about what it can become? What could you become with the right skills, desire, and practice? What could members of that team you lead become with your engaged guidance?
Leadership lessons are all around us and often it just takes paying attention to see them. But once you see them, it’s your choice to apply them. Will you lead a team to greatness, or even just high performing productivity because you see their potential? Will you take notice of which way they’re leaning and whether you’re their support or strongest “pusher”? What is your attitude about them? About change? About leading in general? Whatever you choose, your choices, your confidence, your communication and your leadership are all contagious and they will make the difference in whether your work feels fulfilling or frustrating, powerful or powerless, and effective, or merely efficient.
Contagious Leaders take action and continuously learn how to be more effective. What will you do to rise to the occasion?
Have a great Monday, an even better week and of course, stay contagious!
Monica Wofford, MBA, CSP, is an international speaker, trainer, and author who helps managers who were promoted, actually become prepared to lead.