Monday, July 1, 2013

Don't Be a Vacuum Salesman!

Did you ever want to be a kid again? Think about it. Everything is paid for! You can eat about anything in sight and not gain any weight. Playing in the back yard for hours on end is super fun! Your meals are prepared for you! Your laundry is taken care of! Who wouldn't want to be a kid again?!

Okay, in all seriousness, being a kid has some great advantages and some disadvantages. Bed time always falls on the start of the Super Bowl! Having to eat your vegetables isn't all that it's cracked up to be. And puberty?! Once was enough for me.

In my world of leading, sometimes I overlook one of the most important characteristics in leadership. How can I relate with the people I am leading? As a leader it's important to do so. Why? Leaders can get stuck in a vacuum if they are unable to relate with the people they lead. There is only one thing to remember when leading in a vacuum: There is only going to be one person that you will lead and it's yourself. No one else is following because a vacuum leader is usually by themselves in gathering facts and making decisions.  

Need another way to look at it. Being a vacuum leader sounds a lot like being a vacuum salesman. Think of the vacuum salesman when they come to your door. For those of you that don't remember, there actually were individuals that went around door to door selling vacuum cleaners. What did most people do when they saw a vacuum salesman coming to the door? Some people would shut the lights off and turn off the TV. They would pretend not to be home. If your mom had you do all of this when you were a little kid, it's more than likely that a vacuum salesman was at your door. Either that or one of those weird relatives were making a surprise visit. "Hurry kids hide! Your Uncle Ernie is coming up the walk! You know the one that smells like beef and cheese!" Everyone scattered quicker than you could have said, "Who cut the cheese?"

But I'm digressing. Either way, if you are a leader making decision in a vacuum or a person that goes door to door selling vacuums, you won't have a positive impact as a leader. The lesson here is...Don't be a vacuum salesman! Er, I mean, don't be a leader that makes decisions in a vacuum. Get out and gather information from the people you work with and lead on a day to day basis.

As educators, we work with kids most of our days. To get a good perspective on our lesson, we have to put on our "kid goggles" and see how our lessons look to them. If you polled your students and asked them what they honestly thought of your lessons, would you listen to their input or chalk it down as "they just don't know what is good for them"? Listen to this Ted Talk presentation from an expert. If you are open-minded, you might just learn something about kids from a kid. 


Mr. Nelson said...

That brought to mind Uncle Bob, who really wasn't an uncle... He used to bring my mother ketchup packets and books found in garbage cans, because he liked her. Plus, here's a great salesman video I saw awhile back (although, I'm sure it directly relates to being a leader).

Mike Sanders said...

Uncle Bob knew how to impress a girl! Thanks for the video. The salesman has some real potential for stand up comedy.