As part of our major scholarship competition over the weekend, we lined the entranceway with a “red carpet” to make our scholars feel like VIPs when they arrived.  It made a wonderful first impression and was a great idea.  But we secured the carpet with industrial strength double sided tape — which we learned too late was a big mistake.

I came in to work yesterday armed with Goo Gone and set about to remove the tape residue.  An hour later, three of us were still working on the task.  It was ugly.

But the silver lining in all of it was how many people stopped to offer unsolicited help.  I did not ask a single person to join in my efforts, but as people arrived for work they were curious as to what was going on.  Many people — in facilities, in other offices, some who work for me and some who don’t — offered to pitch in for a bit or to suggest other remedies to speed up the process.

I doubt any of them would have felt compelled to contribute if I was not actively engaged myself.  It surely gave a new meaning to “scrubbing floors” — my blog #134 was more hypothetical on that topic — but it reiterated how important it is to play an active role rather than to stand by and supervise.

The next time you find your staff or someone else facing grunt work, you can turn the groans into grins by offering to toil beside them.  

— beth triplett

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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