I felt sorry for the man that replaced Lois. He was a truly remarkable, gracious man. As several hundred children descended upon the crossing in the ‘peak hour’ leading up to the start of the school day he must have said 575 times “Lois isn’t here, she will be back tomorrow.” Eager children and curious parents all looking for the update on Lois. Where was she? What was she doing? When will we see her again? By the time we arrived he anticipated the question and announced firmly “Lois isn’t here, she’ll be back tomorrow!”
Lois is the crossing supervisor at the school my kids attend. She has done it for over a decade. She knows names, remembers moments, notices absences, acknowledges birthdays, asks about holidays and connects with kids and parents with grace, enthusiasm and excellence. And at the same time managing the back and forth of the morning arrival and afternoon exodus. Safety, people, traffic, road sense, emotions. Lois sees and navigates it all. And we ALL noticed her absence.
There’s a part of predictability and consistency that I really love. By nature, structure and planning serves both my intent and activity. It creates a sense of knowing what’s coming and feeling in control and confident. The commitment to both consistency and quality by doing your best work is the hidden glue that creates trust and confidence in leadership. Consistency and quality are cornerstones of enduring leadership. Knowing we can be counted on to show up and knowing we can be counted on to do our best work is fundamental to trust, traction, momentum and outcomes we can be proud of together.
- When we show up inspired and do our best work we create confident engagement.
- When we show up deflated and do our best work we head off track fast.
- When we show up inspired but do less than quality work we are just getting by.
- When we show up deflated and do barely enough we are damaging our brand and product.
Leaders and leadership is most trusted and best leveraged when we model consistency (we show up inspired) and we commit to quality (we do our best work.)
- Have the courage to stop the ‘deflated, barely contributing’ people. Retrain, reposition, or retire them.
- Challenge the ‘inspired but barely enough’ people to radically improve the quality of their work.
- Invite those deflated team members doing great work to REfind their why for the mission you share.
- Champion those who show up inspired and are doing great work. Model off them.
Thank you for being there day in and day out Lois. Thanks for doing quality work for a long time. We see you and we noticed your absence.
This is for leaders. I am for leadership.