My daughter loves to color. As her mother, I have enjoyed watching her coloring book sheets go from big blobs of color to actual attempts at staying within the lines (even though I love both outcomes).
Like her mother, she is a gift giver. She finds absolute joy in creating little presents to give to those she loves. I have been on the receiving end of pictures, imaginary cupcakes and other gifts that make me grin from ear to ear.
Lately, I've noticed that she has become fascinated with giving me the same gift over and over again: a folded coloring sheet that she completed weeks ago. Nevertheless, my response is always the same, over-the-top mommy response that she is used to. No matter what I'm doing, I stop, perk myself up, widen my eyes, clap and then give her a huge hug as I tell her how amazing both she and her gift are.
This week, I've gotten that same coloring page, but she has changed things up a bit. Now, instead of just giving me the paper, she finds things around the house with which to wrap the folded coloring sheet. I've secretly started to watch her as she works to color and fold whatever scrap paper she can find that will hold the recycled gift she has for me. It is fascinating to watch the entire process and even sweeter to see the moment where she finally decides that the masterpiece has reached a stage where it good enough to give. Each time, the process seems to get longer and longer as great care and meticulous attention is given to those details that matter to her.
I began to think about my little one's actions through the lens of both leadership and partnership. With these thoughts came somewhat of a "reality check list" on which I started reflecting. As can be expected, the blogger in me felt the urge to share:
As a leader:
As both leader and partner, I want to offer the same enthusiasm to those who depend on me both personally and professionally as I do to my daughter who joyously offers me her recycled gifts day after day.
Today, I challenge you to reflect on how you typically respond to those directly impacted by your behavior. We never want to lose sight of how simple actions can either motivate and encourage those around us or cause them to go elsewhere to feel appreciated and significant.