Be a REAL leader – what we can learn from Pinocchio

Remember that story of Pinocchio and how he wanted to be a REAL boy?

Well, what about if we all took the initiative to be REAL leaders, and use our positional influence for good?

The idea came to me the other day when our team got together and decided that as people leaders, it was high time to do something nice for someone else in the organisation.

Someone  completely outside of the wider team, someone in an unrelated field perhaps. Hell, we could go out on a limb and even pick someone we don’t even usually work with!

I don’t mean the usual recognition and reward channels either mind you, just a simple gesture but with a bit of fun injected into the whole experience.

So started a day of Paying It Forward: Logging into our internal social media sites to do “shout outs”; WANTED: FOR DOING GOOD print outs in the lift lobbies; and picking up the phone and leaving a voice message to say “Hey, I heard of that great job you did!”.

The best bit? All in all, it took mere minutes of our day.

Just as Pinocchio goes through a metamorphosis, so can leaders in role modelling great organisational culture.

Here’s a few simple ways you can use “The Force” for good:

1. Say “thank you” and really mean it

Gratitude is one of the most powerful yet underestimated aspects of leadership. The key with gratitude is to keep it specific and real. People are pretty damn good at seeing through an outright lie, so if you don’t mean it, don’t do it!  Unlike the proverbial “good job” to a toddler for simply peeing in the toilet, appreciation should actually be about something that made a real difference.

2. Making it ok for others to follow in your suit

As leaders we forget that sometimes others look to us to test those proverbial waters. In this modern day, we tend to term it as leaders role modelling behaviours. So if you’re going to do good, make sure you firstly ARE ok for others to follow suit, and also to encourage and make it acceptable for others to do the same.

3. Find the good

Ten good experiences and it only takes the one negative one to ruin the whole thing. Leaders forget that we can break people with a snap of our fingers. Finding the good in something is not always easy -some ideas are bad, some jobs are bad, some people are bad -but there is usually a shred of good in everything, even if you have to take awhile to notice it. Notice it, then speak up about it. It’s amazing how quickly this reframes, and prompts others around you to see the good too.

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