A Loss At Christmas
It's been a bit of a rough Christmas and New Year at our house. My mother in-law, Bev, passed away right before Christmas. She lived with us (we used to joke we were room mates) and she had been more of a mother to me than a mother in-law. Bev had been a nurse and a pastors wife for many years and after her beloved Grant passed away we got to spend more time together. I had come to value spending that time with her, taking her shopping or to doctor's appointments, and of course the conversations we had during all that time driving!
It was just this last weekend as we were going through her things that my wife found Bev's Christmas gifts to us. Just simple gift cards tucked into a Christmas card along with some thoughts and well wishes from her. I opened mine not quite knowing what to find. What I read stopped me in my tracks and yes, I wept. She had written, To James, from your mother (?) Bev. Thanks so much.
The Power of a Question Mark
It was the question mark behind mother that had caught my eye and choked me up. Didn't she know how I had felt about her? Hadn't I told her enough times how she was like a mother to me and how much that meant? One little question mark, yet it carried so much meaning.
What Do We Leave Unanswered?
It got me wondering if we as leaders have question marks floating around our teams? It is our responsibility to ensure that our teams know; their role, their contribution, their value, and their purpose. We help ensure that the work our teams do feed their purpose and skills and we are constantly interpreting the needs of the company to the team and the needs of the team to the company.
In all the rush and tyranny of the urgent is it possible that questions around worth, value, and contribution go unanswered? You KNOW the answer to that! Of course it is!
Commit to Making Sure
So as we move into 2019 let this serve as a reminder to us as leaders to never leave a question mark with our teams with respect to the basic needs that we all have. Gallup and many other research groups have confirmed many times over that people don't leave companies, they leave managers. And they leave managers because often they don't get those questions answered; what is my role, value, or contribution to the team? Will you support me in my growth, aspirations or simply as a human being? In short, do "I" really count? (Or as Bev reminded me, have I really filled that role in your life?)
Don't let there be any level of uncertainty in your mind or on your team with regard to the answers to those issues. Unanswered questions or what I call floating question marks can be deadly to team and company performance if they are not dealt with. Performance Leadership - Think About It!