At the Fall parent-teacher
conference, my oldest son's third grade teacher strongly suggested that we get
Bryan assessed for learning disabilities. Bryan could read well but comprehended
little of what he read. He also struggled with writing. Three months later at
the assessment meeting, we learned that Bryan did not have any learning disabilities
but he did have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). He had trouble focusing and
with controlling his impulsiveness. Although there are still many times I'd
like to change Bryan, I cannot change who Bryan is. What I must focus on is
how I choose to influence him.
I know God will not give
me anything I can't handle.
I just wish that He didn't trust me so much." Mother Teresa
The Winner's Grid
The Winner's Grid provides
a map for taking more personal power in change situations. There are six ways
to act in any situation. In the last newsletter we examined the Cannot Control
column. In this issue we'll look at the middle column. When you encourage those
around you to become Change Agents rather than Change Victims, you will be valued
as a Cheerleader. The other option is to be a "Boo Bird" by just sitting back
and letting your opportunity to influence others slip by.
Be A Cheerleader
A cheerleader is
both an encourager and excellent communicator. Very few "cheerleaders" are paid
to cheer at a professional sporting event. A cheerleader is not the coach who
calls the plays. She or he merely cheers on the people who are playing the game.
The same is true in our organizations. Most of us are not the coaches calling
the plays in the game of change. Yet if we want our organization to be successful,
all of us need to become "cheerleaders" who are committed to communicating continuously.
We need to encourage those around us.
A cheerleader often influences
the outcome of the game and has an immediate and definite impact on those around
them. Here are some specific organizational cheerleader strategies:
- Give input when none
is asked for.
- Encourage your co-workers
when they are discouraged.
- Volunteer to serve on
transition task forces.
- Constantly look for ways
to help your team/organization get better at what you do.
Avoid Becoming a "Boo
As a cheerleader, you are
an encourager and communicator. You give input and provide options. Unfortunately,
some people would rather mutter, "Let the leaders make their own mistakes. They'll
come crawling back to us later looking for ideas." The Boo Bird's attitude
is "Why bother?" The organizational ship is sinking. What the Boo Bird doesn't
realize is that they are on the sinking ship and they will sink with it. When
we sit back and just boo, not only does the organization lose, so do we. Even
if we don't lose our jobs, others may lose respect for us, and we ultimately
lose a lot of respect for ourselves.
I have to admit that when
I began doing extensive research on Attention Deficit Disorder -- what causes
it, strategies for how to deal with it, etc. -- it didn't take long for me to
surmise that in most cases, ADD is hereditary. We certainly knew immediately
who Bryan did NOT get it from -- me! In fact, while I was sharing the descriptive
characteristics of ADD with my husband, Jim said to me, "Boy, you know a lot
of those characteristics fit for me, too." I lost it! I snapped at Jim and said,
"I can't even handle having an ADD child must less an ADD husband. Don't even
go there." Admittedly, a part of me just wanted to give up and become a "Boo
A Boo Bird
is a person who comes to a professional sporting event. They put a paper bag
over their head with holes cut out for the eyes. They wear the paperbag so no
one will identify them as a fan of the team. They watch a game and "boo" the
entire time. They are only there to bother the players and to discourage the
other fans. They are helpless, hopeless people who just boo.
How does booing help encourage
any organization to succeed? How is our own attitude impacted when we are consistently
negative? If your organization is so bad, why do you stay? None of us deserve
to be in an organization if we're not willing to get in and put a game face
on when life isn't all that pleasant. Keep in mind the fact that we take our
reactions and attitudes home with us every night -- is that good news for you?
Although there have certainly
been times with Bryan that I just wanted to be a Boo Bird and let Jim deal with
him, I quickly surmised that putting an ADD dad with an ADD child is a recipe
for frustration. I have no control over Bryan nor his ability to learn. I can't
go into his class and take the tests for him. The best I can do is influence
Bryan and be his cheerleader.
What is your chosen role
-- to be a cheerleader or boo bird?