As I began my morning reports, I looked out the window and saw a ladder being propped against the tiny balcony of our third story apartment.
A roofer hopped on the little deck, navigating around the lawn chairs to repair the building’s gutter. I walked out there and said, “Would you like me to take those chairs inside so you can maneuver a little better?”
As I brought the last chair in, I heard the roofer’s buddy on the ground shout to him, “Hey, did that guy just take those chairs inside for you?”
The roofer said, “Yes, so we have more room.”
The guy on the ground called back, “Nobody ever does that. That’s really helpful.”
Three things occurred to me:
At the very core of leading a team is the same task… removing obstacles so your team can reach their goals more easily.
The apartment maintenance people largely go unnoticed, ignored. The simple gesture of moving a couple of chairs was greatly appreciated. How many other people are responsible for removing obstacles (like a broken gutter) from our lives so we can more easily accomplish our own objectives? Do we appreciate that?
- It is really tough to ask for help. I was sitting at my desk in front of the window when he got on the balcony. He could simply have tapped on the window and said, “Excuse me, but would you mind moving these chairs for a couple of hours? It would help a lot.” How many times am I too proud, feeling too intimidated, too socially awkward, or just too stubborn to ask for something simple? (I’m not sure but I know it is A LOT.)
Today’s lesson: Notice where you can help. Notice those that help you. Be quick to offer help instead of assuming someone will ask if they need it.