At Joy of Leadership our entry level management training programs make it easier for new managers to take on heavy responsibility. We empower the new leaders in our leadership development programs to lighten up.
According to the I Ching, a Chinese book of wisdom:
The joyous mood is infectious and brings success. Intimidation will work sometimes, but not for long. On the other hand, when hearts are won with friendliness, people will take on all hardships for you, even death itself, so great is the power of joy over people.
If the I Ching is correct, then the harder your job is, the more demanding, the bigger your responsibility the more you need to lighten up.
Does this mean that the qualification for being successful in leadership is the ability to tell a joke? Perhaps. Perhaps not. More important is your ability to lighten up when you are feeling down or feeling burdened. Your success as a leader will depend upon your willingness to renew and expand yourself and others with heart-to-heart conversations.
How to Build Teamwork
At Joy of Leadership, we have found that learning how to lighten up works wonders not just with new leaders but also with everyone attending our business management training programs. Individual work is weak. Teamwork is strong. You probably know a one-woman-wonder: She'll work herself sick, but her organization will never grow. The people who work with her actually feel hurt because she doesn't let them participate. She does it all alone, feels burdened, and resentful. She's definitely not light-hearted.
When teamwork is strong, good ideas will bubble up to the surface. People don't burn out. Everyone participates in the success. At the end of the project, all team members feel part of the whole. They feel strongly connected. Often, they can't wait to get going on the next project.
The one-woman-wonder is someone that you know, because she is in every organization. She's been around since the beginning of time. They even wrote about her in the Bible. During Nehemiah's time, the wall around the city was its major protection. In those days, a wall was central to the city's safety. Rebuilding it was such a huge task that most people thought it couldn't be done. However, Nehemiah saw it another way.
No heavy-hearted "one-woman-wonders" for him. He divided the task into small sections, asking teams to be responsible for a tiny portion. The Bible describes in detail how each group rebuilt its own little part of the wall. In this way, the mission was accomplished quickly.
While reading about Nehemiah rebuilding the wall, I could envision each group doing its part with great enthusiasm. It reminded me of projects I've worked on. They are always most successful and satisfying when a lot of people do a little, as opposed to one or two people doing everything.
Another reason we teach the ability to lighten up in our business management training programs is that it can turn conflict into compromise. If a conflict is not diffused, it can escalate to confrontation. But if it is softened with a lighter approach, conflict can be used for good, like the tension on guitar strings can makes magical music.
According to science, that which is light rises over that which is heavy. Adaptability, flexibility, and companionship put you on solid footing to rise inch by inch toward professional success. Whether new to leadership or more accomplished, wherever you are along your journey, if you want to be successful as a leader, then lighten up!
– Shar McBee, author of Leadership with a Twist of Yoga