Put Your Whole Self In To Be A Leader

Since I grew up a short, fat kid, it is needless to say that athletics were not my strong suit.  I dreaded nearly every sport (especially those that required mhokeypokeyselfe to be on the “skins” team).  There was one physical activity, however, that I loved and that was roller skating.  Every Friday night I was at the local skating rink, shuffling my chubby body around and around the rink.  Although I wasn’t the most graceful, I wasn’t too bad. My favorite part of any skate evening was when the DJ would announce, “It’s now time to do the HOKEY POKEY!!”  I was nearly always the first out on the floor as people flooded out to circle up to partake of this age old tradition of synchronized goofiness!  I’d put my left arm in, my right arm in and shake them both all about but the best part was the end when it was time to…

                         “You put your whole self in,

                        You put your whole self out,

                        You put your whole self in,

                        And you shake it all about…”

 

This is when all the fun happened because you never knew what was going to happen.  The entire skate floor would go crazy with each person throwing every bit of their energy and emotion into that last piece of the song.  Just thinking about it makes me smile and want to do it all again!

As leaders, if we want our people to be passionate about what they do, we need to make the endeavor like the end of the Hokey Pokey.  WE have to throw our whole selves in and shake them all about!  Passionate workplaces start with passionate leaders exhibiting the energy and emotion needed to make the endeavor a success.

Energy

Energy, literally, is the natural enthusiasm and effort that allows you to get things done.  I like to apply Newton’s law of physics to this and say, “Leaders that stay in motion tend to have teams to stay in motion.”  It’s not enough for us to talk about doing things, we actually need to do them and model the behavior we want to see.

I used to work for a man who never left his office.  I swear, he could have been stuffed at his computer and (as long as we got an occasional email) we wouldn’t have known the difference.  His low energy style was like an opiate for the entire organization.  Conversely, his replacement was the exact opposite.  He was always out and about and involved.  He was putting his whole self in kept everyone on target and energized.  The short story, if we want energy, we have to give energy.

Emotion

Emotions are the feelings we have about things and, most importantly, are contagious.  It is a phenomena called emotional contagion.  Emotions pass from person to person (both positive and negative).   If we’re sour on something, we can expect that our teams will be too.  But, if we throw the excitement like that at end of the Hokey Pokey at the issue, we can expect that our teams will do the the same.

I am an upbeat person but, like all humans, have my downs too.  On those days when the skies were gray and my mood would match, I used to just come into my office, shut the door, and be in my mood.   As you might guess, that gray cloud would descend on my team (and match me).  In the same respect, when I’d come into work with a smile on my face and in a great mood, my team would mirror my mood.  Short story:  Positivity breeds positivity and negativity breeds the same.

Granted, as with the rest of the Hokey Pokey, there are times when you just put your arm in, your leg in, or your head in.  That’s the nature of how things go.  But the most fun comes from when you put your energy, emotion and YOUR WHOLE SELF and let it loose.  THAT, MY FRIENDS, IS PASSION!  Go ahead and throw your whole self in, turn yourself around and do the Leader Pokey!  Now, that’s what it’s all about!

 

 

 

Chip Lutz

Chip Lutz

President and Founder at Unconventional Leader, LLC
Lieutenant Commander Chip Lutz, USN(Ret) works with leaders who want to lead better, get more done and leave a legacy. A retired Navy Officer, he has had two command tours and served as the Director of Security for Naval District Washington, DC during September 11th 2001 – where he was responsible for the safety and security of 25,000 people on 9 different Naval Installations in the National Capital Region during one of our Nation’s most trying times. A seasoned educator and trainer, he is currently adjunct faculty for two different universities and has taught over 20 different classes in leadership, management, human resource development, and organizational behavior. He is the author of 3 books, been published in Security Management Magazine, and has had numerous articles on teamwork and leadership published in Zig Ziglar’s Weekly Newsletter.
Chip Lutz
Chip Lutz

Comments

comments

20 Comments

  • February 5, 2014

    chiplutz

    mssackstein gingerconsult Thanks!

  • February 5, 2014

    CASUDI

    It’s always amazing when you see and feel how upbeat, positive and contagious passion is, which is one reason I have personally focused most of my consulting career on the startup and early stage company, where passion is often the driving force before things comes together into a more organized arrangement or structure. Key in a Startup endeavor is to maintain the early driving passion as you grow and become a “real” company or organization.
    I really like how you Chip, poke fun at yourself and I was thinking that humor does show itself often where a person is passionate about what they do. They are able to see the funny side when things go wrong, which helps get back on track fast and not get demoralized by mistakes…. demoralized is of course a killer of passion.

    Thanks for a great post, I really enjoyed how you make passion come alive.

  • February 5, 2014

    chiplutz

    rockettm Thanks!

  • February 5, 2014

    Jen Olney

    Chip, what a honest post. Thank you. It’s so wonderful to see someone bring home the points on passion and energy in leadership.

  • February 5, 2014

    AlaskaChickBlog

    What a great burst of energy for this morning! Agreed, agreed, agreed!! Our emotions are like wildfires, they touch everyone near us and through them- it keeps going! I was the short, serious, fat and homely girl in school too. What made things worse is that I was also 2 years younger than anyone in any of my classes, growing up. I learned that the only way I could protect myself was to jump in- with my whole self. A wildfire. I was unstoppable. I believed that to survive I would have to work harder to be noticed, speak louder to be heard, do more than was necessary to be  wanted. 
    ~ It hasn’t worked out too bad, in the long run.
    As leaders, leaders of anything, we have to know what you say here is truth. As leaders, our every action, reaction, word and facial expression is being watched, mimicked and scrutinized. Every minute of every day. That is why the “long run” weeds so many out. You have to feel your purpose, the passion for all you are doing, for the life you live, to be all in.

  • February 5, 2014

    Milaspage

    Hey Chip! I love this, you couldnt be more on point with this. Its the energy we put into teams that really produces results, and whats really nice about that is when a team is well established, and they share the energy, when anyone goes “down” there is always a force to lift them up…even leaders get zapped sometimes and the team is what drives them forward. I love this post! 🙂

  • February 5, 2014

    chiplutz

    GirlyGrizzly Thx!

  • February 5, 2014

    chiplutz

    LisaPetrilli Thx !

  • February 5, 2014

    chiplutz

    Hans_Hirschi Thanks!

  • February 5, 2014

    chiplutz

    lomargie Thanks!

  • February 5, 2014

    chiplutz

    HometownRE Thx!

  • February 6, 2014

    AlliPolin

    I smiled reading about the Hokey Pokey and love that as a metaphor for the energy and enthusiasm leaders need to bring to work.  Magic happens when we throw our whole selves in but the shaking … that’s when all the ingredients come together!  Love it, Chip!

  • February 6, 2014

    chiplutz

    AlliPolin Thanks!!

  • February 6, 2014

    chiplutz

    amabaie Thanks!!

  • February 6, 2014

    CASUDI

    RT Ali4Coach RT SarahArrow: Put Your Whole Self In To Be A Leader chiplutz #bealeader http://goo.gl/oGQczt via gingerconsult

  • February 7, 2014

    chiplutz

    libgrl Thx!

  • February 7, 2014

    chiplutz

    biz_works Thx!

  • February 7, 2014

    chiplutz

    ShannonWilloby Thx!

  • February 7, 2014

    chiplutz

    juliaerickson Thx!

  • February 7, 2014

    chiplutz

    ShannonGrissom Thx!