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Leadership and Laundry


Don't make leadership a reaction like doing laundry!

Today is laundry day! We have all been there at one time or another (especially the guys). You realize that you are down to only one or two pairs of clean underwear and it’s time to take action – otherwise you’ll be wearing your bathing suit as boxer shorts in a couple of days. As I was doing laundry today, I was thinking about how some times we lead like we do laundry.

For most of us, doing laundry is based on a reaction – “Oh no, I’m almost out of clean clothes!” As leaders we should always be aware of our relationships with those we lead as well as our influence on these individuals. They don’t need a leader right when their world is falling apart. Those you lead need to know from the start that you are in their corner and available for them at a moment’s notice. If you as a leader don’t communicate this to them verbally or through your actions, they are going to be less likely to come to you when tragedy does strike.

You can’t treat each load of laundry the same just as you can’t use the same leadership techniques on every individual you lead. If you put bleach in with dark clothes you will have a messed up load of laundry on your hands. Someone who is better equipped as an individual worker may need a little more encouragement when it comes to work in a team environment. When you accidentally leave a red sock in the dryer and put in a load of white clothes, you end up with a lot of pink. Individuals who may be a little more emotionally invested in their work are not going to take it well if you come at them full force telling them they have made a mistake – you have to handle the situation with a more tender touch.

In what ways have you discovered that you do your leadership like you do your laundry?

Photo Credit: By Celeste Lindell

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