I went at the invite of Tic Long and got to spend some time with several of our staff and elders listening to this man in his 70's spew life wisdom and experience like he's made of the stuff. Which after an hour of sharing, I concluded he is.
Here's some nuggets from him.
"Humility isn't thinking less about yourself, it's thinking about yourself less."
"Profit is not the reason you're in business. Profit is the applause you get for doing a job well."
But my favorite thing he said was a caution against what he observed was the most common management style he sees in the business world, "seagull management". It's where some the gull is no where to be found until some problem arises, then the seagull flies in, makes a lot of noise, craps on everyone, and then flies away again.
This is both a hysterical image and very telling of how people lead in way too many areas of life.
As I thought about this, while I'm not a business owner per se, I am a youth pastor and a dad and I had to admit that at times I've done this in my own life and seen it around me in way too many scenarios than just in the business model. Here's some other places it can be found.
SEAGULL PARENTING: when the parent is absent from the lives of their kids except when they make a mistake. Then they show up, make a lot of noise, pass out consequences, and fly away to go back to their greater priorities of jobs and cell phones.
SEAGULL COACHING: when the coach sits on the sidelines, quietly watching until someone makes a mistake. Then they squawk a lot, pull kids from their positions, give them a sideline lecture, and send them back to the bench.
SEAGULL PASTORING: no one has a one-on-one conversation or truly "hears from" the pastor until they make a mistake. Then the pastor sets up a meeting or shoots off an e-mail, passes out rules and regulations, issues some corrective measures and sends then goes back to preparing next week's sermon.
SEAGULL TEACHING: when the only instruction time the teacher gives to a specific child is when they use the pen to make red marks on a students exam, point out all the things they did wrong, give them a pour mark, and then head back to the front of class to spew instruction.
So what do we do to stop leading and managing spaces like a seagull? As Blanchard spoke, I gleaned my own list.
PASS OUT PRAISE BRIEFLY AND FREQUENTLY: show up when your kids, pupils, team, or those you lead does something well. Give a word. Send a postcard. Catch them at their best. Be their biggest cheer leader, not their biggest squawker.
LEAD WITH VISION, NOT WITH RULES: Blanchard warned that for most families and businesses, people only discover what our values are when we screw up. We need to have a shared mission at the outset. If your kids or team or ministry only discover your values when you're correcting them for not hitting them, then there is a problem. Great leaders do all they can to set people up for the win. They don't eagerly wait in the shadows to swoop in and offer correction.
GET YOURSELF HEALTHY: If you find yourself squawking a lot, take a step back, a good long hard look in the mirror, and figure out what's not right and that's making you so terribly unhappy. Find some solitude to think and pray. Read. Get your head straight so you can help others instead of dump on others what isn't right in you.