Recently, we were cooking something in the oven and drippings at the bottom of the oven from a prior baking experience caught on fire. The fire was small and certainly contained, but it was enough to set off our smoke alarms.
I wouldn’t have thought too much of it, but our dog, Maya, who had been sleeping upstairs, came flying down and ran out the back door without so much as a glance our way. I have to say, I haven’t seen her move that fast in a long time!
Anyone with a dog knows they don’t react well to smoke alarms, so her actions weren’t overly surprising. But it dawned on me how this could be an analogy to how we deal with our employees. We get so wrapped up in our actions/concerns that we don’t always think about what they’re doing or take them along with us.
How well have you prepared your staff for problems/growth? It doesn’t have to be something earth shattering or related to safety (hopefully in a true emergency you will look out for each other, unlike Maya), but have you helped them develop skills that will serve them well and move them beyond where they are? As you develop your skills, are you developing theirs?
As leaders, we need to make sure we’re bringing our staff along. If we’re leaving them behind, we’re much less likely to be successful ourselves. We all have different strengths and weaknesses, and, if working as a team, we can take advantage of and utilize all our various strengths.
We shouldn’t need smoke alarms going off around us to look out for others, so take a moment and look around. Are you leaving your staff behind? What do you need to do to get them moving with you?
Oh, and maybe check the batteries on your smoke detectors . . .