Leadership lessons from home improvement projects

I have never really thought about the connection between successful leadership and some of the fun things homeowners get to do. Until now.

It dawned on me recently as I was working through my to-do list, that many of the same strategies for success that held true in home improvement also worked for leadership. Here are just a few things I was thinking about while I probably should have been concentrating on my projects:

  • Attack problems at the root: Few people I know enjoy pulling weeds. Thing is, if you don’t rid your yard of the entire weed plant, it will just come back to haunt and taunt you.
  • Preparation is king: When painting, there is a good amount of prep work that should happen before you even open the can. Taping, sanding, cleaning, etc., are all key activities that can make the actual painting process go faster and make the finished product last longer.
  • Progress feels good: Whether its painting a wall or weeding the garden people like to see the positive outcome of their efforts.

So here is that same list, but this time with a leadership spin.

  • Attack problems at the root: Every situation is caused by something.  If we observe an employee do something – anything – there is a reason behind it.  We have to know what the right reason is before we can fix it. For example, let’s say we see an employee taking short cuts when cleaning a rest room. They could have been trained that way, they may be in a hurry, or possibly they don’t really agree with the way they were trained.  If we don’t address the true reason specifically, we could end up confused, frustrated, and with a lot of dirty rest rooms.
  • Preparation is king: As a leader, how you prepare for the season, a meeting or even a conversation can have a dramatic effect on the outcome.  Taking even 5 minutes to think about the desired outcome of a conversation, rather than just the fact that you have to have it, will ultimately help you get to the right spot in the end. Many will say they don’t have the time to prepare correctly, or to the level that they would like.  To that, I ask, where will you find the time necessary to fix what you didn’t have time to do correctly in the first place?
  • Progress feels good: People love to be able to step back and say, “I did that”. Very few things are more motivating or pride inducing! Except maybe when someone they trust and respect pays them a compliment about their accomplishments.  It takes just a few seconds to tell someone that you appreciate their efforts and results, but to them, it can make it all worthwhile.

What projects have you recently tackled that could have a leadership lesson?  Please leave a comment and let us know what you learned.

Thanks for reading!

About the author: Matt Heller had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch today. That’s Facebook worthy news, right?

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