Cathy, purchasing manager for a paper mill in northern Ontario, Canada, told Session 6B of the Leadership Development Lab:
"I was recently involved in a Turbo Leadership Lab. During one of our weekly sessions, we went over the 15 Leadership Principles. As a purchasing manager, I thought that I was following these principles at work in most cases and considered myself an above average leader and a good team player.
I started to think about whether I was applying these principles at home. My sister and mother had been telling me lately that I was much too bossy with my husband.
My husband and I bought a cottage about four years ago that required a lot of work. We thought out a plan of action for the renovations and started to execute the plan. At first my husband was eager and enjoyed all the projects; building the garage, installing a septic bed, drilling a well, etc. In the last eight or nine months, he had become less and less interested. I was telling him exactly what was required next and the way I wanted it done. He had less involvement in the planning. I had become self-appointed architect and assigned him the task of builder. I was quick to shoot down his ideas and as time went on, he gave less and less input.
I decided to put the leadership principles I had learned in the Turbo Leadership Lab to the test to see if it would improve our relationship.
My husband came up with an idea to change the location of the patio door and the picture window. Instead of my usual response of, 'Why would we do that? It will cost more money', I actually let him finish what he had to say. He went on to
tell me that having the patio door in the dining area instead of the living room would allow me more room to place furniture and lessen the traffic in the living room. He also said that if we made the picture window a foot smaller, we would have room for the fireplace that I have been wanting. We could actually put it between the window and the patio door, freeing up even more space on another wall. He went on to say that siding was not expensive and the job would just involve some new framing, which would be easy for him to do. I could hear the enthusiasm return in his voice. I responded with, 'Great idea! I never thought we had room for the fireplace and it sounds like we won't break the budget.' He started making up sketches and writing out the material list. We are about to order the window and patio door and look at different fireplace options. He can hardly wait until spring so he can get started!
The lesson I learned from this experience is by taking a good look at myself, playing myself down (Leadership Principle #7), becoming an active listener (Leadership Principle #6), validating the other person's ideas (Leadership Principle #8), not criticizing, condemning or complaining (Leadership Principle #3), and by providing acknowledgement (Leadership Principle #4), I built a better relationship with my spouse.
The action I call you to take is play yourself down, be an active listener, validate the other person's ideas, don't criticize, condemn or complain - instead, acknowledge your team members. The benefit you will gain is a team of results-oriented enthusiastic players who will meet or exceed all expectations."