In Tom Preston-Werner’s keynote, he spoke with glee about how he has been fascinated by magnets since he was a child. He used that curiosity to learn the application of magnetic fields in science experiments, motors, floppy drives, college physics and beyond.

I never really thought of magnets as “the coolest thing” but when you stop to ponder, they are pretty amazing. What other components do you know that can both repel and attract each other as well as draw in other objects from afar? Magnets are a litany of paradoxes: they hold things together and release freely, stay in place and are easily moved, as well as exerting attraction or repulsion to other surfaces like it.

Preston-Werner’s fascination with magnets was of the physical sense: the “inexplicable magic” of their properties. But think of how you can adopt some of the traits that a metaphorical magnet possesses. In your organizational setting, can you draw in others just as magnets pull in other metal objects from afar? Can you create ways to connect others together in a cohesive way? Do you serve in a role that repels forces working against you but attracts those in alignment? Can you hold things together but retain the ability to let go when the situation warrants?

Adopt some of the properties of the magnet and allow others in your organization to see your role as magical.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

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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