There are at least two significant leadership lessons in this post, each somewhat unrelated to the other. First the back story.
I have been fortunate over the past few years to get to know and spend some unstructured time with Byron Ernest, a High School teacher in Lebanon Indiana. Byron is one of the smartest and most passionate educators I have ever met. Because of this fact, I spend time with him, whenever I can. For this reason it wasn’t a surprise to me when he was named Indiana State Teacher of the Year.
In one of our recent conversations we talked about how much we learn from each other. He mentioned that it is his goal to get people in his world (education) to spend more time with people in the business world, because he feels they get insulated and lose touch with great ideas from other spheres. I told him I agreed, but that the street runs both ways. We are doing for ourselves, spending time together, collaborating, thinking, listening and learning together – what we hope others would do.
There is leadership lesson and activity #1 – if you are keeping score at home – Get out of your industry, niche or world and learn from others far away from you. You will get fresh perspectives and ideas, and realize that your situations are far more similar than dissimilar.
The other day, someone on Twitter (I’m sorry I don’t remember who so I could acknowledge them now) mentioned a blog post on the Leader Talk blog (an Education Week Blog), titled Motivating the Unmotivated. I’ll give you time to go read this post before I continue.
Are you back?
Before you dismiss this as having nothing to do with us in business, because it is a story of an unmotivated student, stop and re-read the beginning of this post.
Do you have unmotivated employees?
Do you have employees who are performing below their capacity?
Do you have employees who are less engaged than you wish they were?
If you do there are lessons in that blog post, student or no student.
There is leadership lesson and activity #2 – want to motivate the unmotivated? Find the things that motivate them – contributory behaviors in the words of the post – and start there.
There will likely be more lessons from my friend Byron in the future, but for now, these two should give you plenty to think about – and take action on.