My mother loved to read us the story of The Little Red Hen. In fact, I’m pretty convinced she read it to us in the womb.
If you’re a parent and don’t know this book, stop reading now, run to the store buy it. Pick up your kids early from school and read it. It will transform your life.
If you don’t have time for that, here’s the shortcut.
A little red hen asks and asks her little chicks to help her bake.
She enjoys the bread all to herself.
They are surprised.
She reminds them.
Momma hen grows more leaders.
She goes to her yoga class feeling satiated in many ways
(okay I added that part).
It got to the point that my parents could utter a single cluck and we’d get to work. So I came to leadership fully armed and prepared to deal with work-shirking chickens. No one warned me about the roosters. Leadership roosters are far more noisy and annoyingly powerful.
Signs You’re Dealing with A Rooster
- They’re no where around when the project is being scoped or the heavy lifting is done
- They require constant readouts
- This takes a lot of beautiful powerpoints and careful explaning.
- His name is on the deck (you’re on standby via text message to answer any questions).
- The key players names all morph into an occassional “the team” only when something is unclear
- When real disaster strikes Monday morning quarter-backing comes in
- And the questions and deep sighs start… “Why didn’t you? You should have.”
- If the project is a success it’s all about him. If it’s a disaster, it’s all about you.
Never be a leadership rooster. You’ll lose instant credibility and engagement. If you are a leader of leaders, be sure you’re not accidently encouraging such, err, cock-y behavior.
If you’ve got a rooster in your life, take it offline and share the impact. I’ve seen many a rooster turned into helping, supportive chicks after a bit of candid feedback and whats-in-it-for-them persuasion. I’ve even been known to out a rooster or two.