Thursday, 20 September 2012

The Theories Series Vol 2: Doing dishes with the Leadership Challenge

Welcome back to the Theories Series (eries-eries-eries). Today we're going to tackle the Leadership Challenge, a 5-pronged leadership approach (the 5 practices of exemplary leadership) that is based on the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI). The LPI was compiled by this theory's creators, Kouzes and Posner, who surveyed a LOT of people and asked which were the top seven traits that they look for in a leader, admire in a leader, and ultimately, would follow a leader for.

Now, I could list these 5 practices, provide you with a powerpoint presentation and ask that you take notes and fill in the blanks ... but instead, like that awesome fourth grade supply teacher that let you watch Rudy for the whole class, I'm throwing out the lesson plan.

We are going to talk about dating. More specifically, about dating someone who is messy. Disclaimer: I am not a dating expert. Trust me. Please do not take any of this as dating advice.

Also, I apologize to the messy people out there but honestly ... why do you hate doing dishes so much?

I digress, today we are going to discuss how to get your counterpart to do the dishes ... inception style.

Step 1: LOVE doing the dishes. Now, this may seem counter-intuitive, but the most important first step in getting down to the dream within a dream within a dream within a dream level is to Model the way. You need to do the hell out of those dishes. If you want your significant oth to do them right after dinner, do them right after dinner ... dance around, splash bubbles, make it like a Christina Aguilera video if you have to. Do whatever you need to do to show that you love doing the dishes (almost) more than you love your partner.

Step 2: Share the possibility of one day, living in a filth-free house ... say things like, "That's the world that, some day, we can live in." This step is called Inspire a shared vision. Now that you have shown how wonderful it is to do the dishes, you must share your vision and reasoning behind this love of an empty sink. The most important part of this step is to share the "whys" ... your dish-dirtying partner must understand WHY we should do the dishes soon after they are soiled, and it's got to mean something to them. For example, if they hate getting sick, explain why leaving crusty food in the sink spreads bacteria and makes us sick.

Step 3: This step is the trickiest. In this step, you need to give up some of your power ... don't worry, we can do this together, I have control issues and this step is very difficult for me too. You must Challenge the process. Ask your partner (nicely) if they have any suggestions about how to improve the dish-doing process... "Heyyy love-bug, do you think there's a way that we can do the dishes more efficiently? I would love to hear your suggestions... did I mention that your face is perfect and you smell like rain?" Try new things, don't be afraid to fail and always, always try them together.

Step 4:  Trying it as a team is the first stage of this next step ... Enable others to act. You must understand that, as a seasoned veteran of the dish-cleaning consortium, you are extremely good at it. Your partner may not be able to make doing the dishes look like an episode of 24 in fast-forward. Try doing the dishes together, teach them ways to do them more quickly, and then empower them to do dishes on their own. Build your partner's confidence, congratulate then when it's done well... challenge them! "Poo bear, why don't you hop up and do the dishes during this commercial break of 24? Wow, you totally look like a hotter version Jack Bauer up there at the sink!" etc. etc.

Step 5: This is the last and final step ... and arguably the most crucial one if you really want to bury the dish-doing desire in the deepest stores of your partner's dreams: Encourage the heart. Be sincere and caring (I'm sure you always are, so this is just a gentle reminder). Hide your filthy-sink frustrations and encourage them. Celebrate their successes and value their contributions to your vision of a world with clean, sparkling dishes drying on the dish rack.

So, there it is ... 5 steps to a dirty-dish-free kitchen, and the specifics of the Leadership Challenge theory. This belongs on Pinterest in the DIY section.

And, to change things up a bit ... hah ... here's a quote from the Leadership Challenge book (read it if you get a chance!),

“Leadership is a relationship between those who aspire *you* and those who choose to follow *your partner*… A leader-constituent relationship that’s characterized by fear and distrust will never, ever produce anything of lasting value. A relationship characterized by mutual respect and confidence will overcome the greatest adversities and leave a legacy [of clean dishes].” - The Leadership Challenge

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