August 12, 2013

Lessons for a father - The Thing With Things

Piyoosh Rai's picture of things

All of us have a list of simple pleasures that never fail to bring a smile to our faces. Chocolate lava cake, Tom & Jerry cartoons and a good cup of Chai are some things in my list. Amongst my wife's favorites, I am sure there is an entry for boxes of articles that she loves ordering on-line for us. We come back from work and these boxes, outside our house, instantly make her giddy.

With our son on top of our priority list, it is no surprise that most of these things are really elements dedicated to his growth or pleasure (food, clothes and/ or toys). The best clothes and toys, that we can afford, make way to our house and usually add to the interior decoration of our living room floor in no time at all. While we work to keep the little one engaged and entertained with the new toys, it has been he that has ended up teaching us a big lesson.

The great toys, as it goes, and the things that we buy almost hold no value to him. What he really enjoys is spending time with us. His engagement with us, compared to all his toys, is far more entertaining to him.

Are we making a mistake by buying all these things for our son? May be.

There are some things that are definitely important. These "things" include encouraging him to crawl, teaching him to eat solids and trying our best for him to not bang his head against obstructions in his, usually, straight line path. There are others, however, that we, and he, can do without. I have a feeling he understands it better than we do at the moment.

If we think about it, we will realize that this lesson holds true for our work life as well. We can have all the happy hours, sundae afternoons and cupcake Fridays, but if we do not spend quality time with the people that we are working with, all these "things" become ineffective very quickly. The connection has to be at a much deeper level. "Shiny new toys" can add to the experience, they cannot create relationships.

There are a few rules of thumb that I follow with my team. The list below underlines the fact that my leadership is a work-in-progress at best and there is much to learn. I hope we:
  • Run, as far away as possible, from an Us VS. Them attitude.
  • Spend time with our team to know them better.
  • Keep the team engaged in almost all decision making (the decisions effect all of us).
  • Encourage the team to give it their best every single day.
  • Acknowledge, individual and team, weaknesses and create plans to get better at it.
  • Take time out to enjoy our wins (underrated but very important).
  • Whatever we do MUST have a lot of passion and conviction.

We can talk about and implement all the team building rules and best practices that thousands seem to be preaching at the moment, but if we are not out there to listen, engage and grow together, with the people that we work with, it will not be long before the temporary distractions become obsolete.

What do you do to get past distractions and move towards a more engaged relationship?

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