While the hustle and bustle of the holidays swirled around me, I found myself sitting in a room with my siblings, aunt and uncle with nothing to do. We were all at the hospital while my mom underwent surgery so no one wanted to leave, but there was really no other option except to sit and wait. And tell stories.

We talked more in those few hours than we have in the past year. We heard about our grandparents, our mom growing up, what the third cousins are doing and other family news that would normally not be shared except via Facebook.

I see these relatives every Christmas, but normally the conversation revolves around the basketball game on television, what presents were under the tree, the meal and its preparation/clean up or other trivial chat. There are so many diversions and so many in attendance that the dialogue is exchanged in snippets, not paragraphs, unlike during the long hours in the hospital waiting room.

Don’t wait for a somber occasion to slow down the clock and have a good old-fashioned story hour with some of your relatives. Use the upcoming holiday gatherings to pull up a chair and actually talk with each other, sans technology, and learn a bit more about those roots on your family tree.

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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