Treats That Serve
Our Basset Hound, Izzy, is a slave to treats. Simply uttering the word turns a stubborn, uninterested pet into a fully engaged, willing servant - ready to respond to every beck and call. A treat is, without a shadow of a doubt, the secret sauce to the undivided attention of Izzy.
The goal for Izzy is very simple: get the treat. Whatever is asked of her, whatever the treat-holder is requesting is what she will do. To say she is results driven is a gross understatement. But hey, it’s worked out pretty well for her so far!
We, however, are not dogs. And, as leaders, we are inevitably the treat-holders. So, what do we do with them? It’s a more significant question than you might think.
Wield too liberally and nothing gets done without a treat being given. Hold them too close and hopelessness begins to rear its head as despair steps forward. Just consider Izzy again. If she gets a treat every time she behaves appropriately, it won’t be long until she only behaves appropriately when she’s going to get a treat.
The balance we strike is critical to our development and success. And, it’s really not a balance of power as much as it’s a balance of relationships.
Why Should We Care?
One of the primary characteristics of people on the path to excellence is their understanding of the importance of relationships. Those that value excellence fully understand, and intentionally live, the fact that the only relationship we have with others is identical to the relationship we have with ourselves.
Those of us that are critical of others are usually critical of ourselves, though we would likely withhold announcing our shortcomings as publicly as we would that of others.
Those of us that are kind to others are usually conscious of giving themselves grace when they fall short of their own expectations.
Those of us that hold ourselves to high standards are usually the ones pushing the standards of the people around them.
Those of us that are accepting of the differences of others are usually accepting of the fact that they too, are quite different.
Treats fall into this category as well.
REAL TALK - Action Steps
As leaders, we should consider how we are using the treats at our disposal. Do they propel ourselves and our people towards excellence or do they provide them with the false sense of security that they’ve arrived at excellence?
Treats can serve a purpose. They should not be the purpose. Finding ways to recognize and support yourself and your team on the path to excellence. This is what treats are meant for. Enjoy the process - you’ll be much more likely to continue it!
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I'm a teacher, coach, and parent seeking excellence while defining success on my own terms.