People may not care about the actual function of the organization, but they do care about how people speak to one another. They care about people being sensitive to one another’s feelings. They care about having their voice heard. They care about people respecting their time. They care about not having to listen to rude or off-color jokes. They care about the harm gossip creates. They care about the negative impact of favoritism and cliques.
Is this remedy perfect? Probably not. But it’s predictable and it is a place I go under stress because I know it intimately at this point in my life. It provides me certainty. I may not be certain how the situation will turn out, but I’m certain about how I’m going to handle it. In the end, this is better than just hoping things will work out because hope is not a process or strategy.
Is the ice bath a metaphor for being in the moment in life? No. It’s a reality. When you can get to a calm, comfortable place in an ice bath because you are focused on only what you are doing in that moment, suddenly it isn’t so hard to recognize when you are “multi-tasking” and doing two, or more, things badly.
I believe my reflections on fear explain why I get so emotional on Memorial Day. It reminds me that our fallen felt fear…but they went anyway. They had thoughts about the consequences of going…but they went anyway. They realized the consequences of going could alter, and end, their lives…but they went anyway. They realized recognition and praise for what they were about to do would go largely unrealized…but they went anyway.
Be sure to pat someone on the back for a job well done. Ask about your employee’s kids or pet. Host a team lunch to build camaraderie. These are all good things, but they are not the basic elements of leadership. They won’t prevent injuries, to stay with the metaphor. Poor performance is the most painful leadership injury and to prevent it we need to do the basics.