There is nothing I am good at.
Well, at least nothing that I really excel in, unless you count being able to party until the small hours despite being over 40, as I am awesome at that. Sadly, I can’t see that becoming the most desired attribute in a Linkedin job advert though. So, as an ‘average’ person, when I read articles on social media about people’s life journeys or them sharing their expertise, they often leave me feeling a little worse about myself. I am sure the author’s intention is to inspire and give hope, if I can climb Everest you can too! But the thing is, I don’t want to climb Everest, or run a marathon or ‘find myself’ and I certainly don’t want to feel like I am being preached at for how I live my life.
I would be happy to simply be a little bit, well, better.
If you are looking for someone to tell you how you can change your life, then best stop reading now. That isn’t my place and this isn’t a click bait piece. I don’t know you nor what drives you to get out of bed each day, but I have learnt a few things over the last few months that took me by surprise. Things you might well know already, but hopefully there will be at least one thing that is new and helpful.
You can’t control what people hear – Recently, there was a big change to the structure of my team. A lot of planning had gone into how the message was delivered to the team. We started by telling everyone about the new structure, then had individual meetings with all team members, in which we discussed their role within the structure. Finally, we hosted a question and answer session for the whole team. What surprised me was that after all of that, we were still fielding questions about things that we had already covered multiple times. This wasn’t because they were not listening, it was because they hadn’t heard what we had said. Whenever anyone is anxious or worried their head is going to be spinning with thoughts and questions that they need time to process. It is only after this has happened that they will be in a position to really hear what you have said.
Hedgehog cake fails are great for team bonding – Here are the end results of a challenge I set my team:
The team had been split, randomly, into 3 groups. We provided each group with a different ingredient for their hedgehog. One group had cakes, another had spikes and the last had icing and decorations. It was fascinating to watch how the groups interacted and negotiated with each other and it was the group with the clearest vision of what they wanted to achieve that (in my opinion) managed to create the best hedgehog. I will give you a clue, it wasn’t the cake on the right!
The task showed me that it isn’t always the ‘appointed’ leaders that should take the lead. This may sound silly but as soon as you are asking your team to do something they would not normally do, why would it be the team managers and seniors that would be the best people to make the decisions about how to proceed? Problem solving and creative strategies can come from anywhere – nurture it.
Also, I’m not going to lie, it was hilarious.
I am not responsible for you – Unless you are a member of my team reading this then I would expect you to agree. The thing is, I am not responsible for them either, their success or failure is down to them. I will support, train, encourage and help them but I am only responsible for my own actions and words. I don’t get it right all the time, far from it, but I like to think that I will admit when I have got it wrong and try and put it right.
Life lessons learnt from Sesame Street – It was not that long ago (maybe last year…..) that I realised the cookie monster eats so messily to hide that fact that he is not really eating the cookies. My mind was blown, how could I not have noticed this before? What did I think the puppet with no ability to swallow was doing with the cookies?
Bisto gravy granules are vegan – Yes they are.
I hope that at the very least my average article has made you smile and perhaps even made you see some things in a slightly different way. If the only thing you do after reading this is go and make a hedgehog cake, then I would love to see a picture!