Sometimes I wonder why in the world I said "Yes." How did I get roped into such a sticky commitment? Two days from the time of this writing I will be hosting a Slime Party for 10 little girls as part of my daughter's 9th birthday. Somehow I told my wife that I'd take the role of mad scientist and help ensure that the girls had extra stretchy slime with minimum mess.
In case you've been living under a rock, slime is THE trend. Probably even more trendy than fidget spinners were a year ago. There isn't much to the actual recipe. Elmer's glue, Borax detergent and water. Follow the recipe properly and the glue turns into this seemingly wet, barely sticky, stretchy substance.
Which is good for absolutely NOTHING!
I made a trial batch of course. Then I watched my daughter play with it for hours upon hours. She takes care of this stuff better than a pet. She meticulously pulls out dirt and debris, ensures that it goes into an airtight container every night, and even rehydrates the stuff when it starts to dry out. I've got to be honest. I'm at a loss. I just don't get it. I see absolutely no value of any kind in the stuff. So why did I get suckered into an all day slime party?
Because I love her and she loves slime.
As difficult as it may be, I need to value what she values. Perhaps a small sacrifice will help me be the All-Star dad I hope to be.
There are many parallels between parenting and leading a business. We often find ourselves frustrated from saying the same things a million times. There are rules that when broken must have consequences. And yet, we also can feel a very deep sense of pride when they've done a job well. So let me ask.
Do you value what your employees value?
Do you even know the "Slime" that gets your employees excited? This imperfect leader always struggled to connect and understand them like that. I couldn't seem to look past the performance and the issues in order to relate and find the things that would fill their engagement tank. This leaves me with this imperfect insight...
You can't say you value your employees unless you as their leader,
value what they value.
No employee will ever work as hard as one who feels valued. A 2012 study by the American Psychological Association (APA) reported that those who feel valued by their employer are significantly more likely to be motivated to do their very best (93 percent vs. 33 percent). That's a pretty impressive difference.
So if you're like me and need help in seeing what your employees see as valuable then put a system in place. Walk the halls at least once a week. Have meetings in your employee's workspace instead of your office and take note of pictures, wall postings and computer background images. Add a question to your quarterly 5-5-5 meetings that will allow them to share priorities outside of work. And my last suggestion is to use your company Core Values as a guide. Find ways to encourage the perpetuation of those values in the after-work lives of your employees. If they share your values, which they should, then they will appreciate the authentic support.
It's easy to get tied up in the numbers and Rocks and the issues, but perhaps a little "Slime" will stretch their effort and not your patience!
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