Are you setting off fireworks?


This 4th of July weekend, I was reflecting on leaders who set fireworks off in their teams.  While I’m all for some great fireworks, I tend to see more “duds” when it comes to leaders and their teams.  Yes, passion and intensity are important, however, many need to learn how to channel this intensity.  Otherwise, they’re simply setting off fireworks that are going to end up being one “dud” of a show.

In my younger years, I could rise to the occasion with the best of them.  If I felt like there needed to be a fire lit, I was the first on the scene with a match.  Not only did I have a match, I was carrying a gallon of gasoline.  Or, in my case, it might have been a gallon of solvent as I worked in a coatings facility.  Problem was, because I was always bringing that can of gasoline with me, I tended to blow things up a lot.  Now, it’s fun sometimes to blow things up, however, it’s not the most constructive means of getting things accomplished.  It actually can be very destructive at times.

Along the way, I had a leader mentoring me who made a suggestion.  He encouraged me to go to the vending machine and get a “Bit-O-Honey” every once in awhile.  In fact, he encouraged me to buy cases at a time of “Bit-O-Honey” and carry it with me at all times.  Maybe you’ve heard the saying, “You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar”.  While it doesn’t directly correlate to fireworks, the principle is what I’m looking to relate.  

Yes, this leader taught me that people tend to respond to “honey” much more so than “fireworks”.  Clearly there our times that a sense of urgency needs to be instilled in the team; however, you might want to accompany this urgency with a “Bit-of-Honey”.  Leaders I coach tend to find this approach much more effective.

One final thought is that it took a mentor to bring this to my attention.  I was going around throwing fuel on the fire all day long not even thinking about it.  It was only once an outsider’s prospective was offered that I become aware.  Yes, self awareness is often difficult without an outside prospective.  While your team would love to tell you “your firework’s show stinks”, they are afraid what other fireworks they might light in the process.  This is why coaches like me get really creative in our approach to assess the situation and aid you in finding the right balance to create a spectacular display.

Happy 4th and let me know it I can bring you a “Bit-O-Honey”!

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