A family is sitting down around the rarely used dining room table for a holiday meal. Everyone is in their semi-finest attire. The table is set beautifully including a huge turkey with all the “fixings”. Dad has the remote to the television beside him in the big chair at the head of the table so no one can turn on and watch TV during diner. This is family time.
Dad also has a proud look on his face as he carves the turkey with his custom wooden handled carving knife. After each slice he takes a sip from his favorite mug his kids gave him from his last birthday. His wife sits at his right eating from the only china plate she owns passed down from her mother. The two kids have their places marked at the table by monogrammed napkins with their name on them. The dad has made it clear that there will be no junk food or electronics at the table.
The oldest child asks to use the dad’s carving knife and he reluctantly lets him. Diner begins and the family starts to eat. About that time the father has an important call. Ignoring his own rule he takes the call and steps into another room.
After the lengthy call the father steps back into the room to what can only be described as mild pandemonium. He sees:
- the turkey is untouched
- a half-eaten bag of Cheetos are on the middle of the table
- the kids have orange fingertips
- the baby is gnawing on the monogrammed napkins
- mom’s china plate isn’t in sight
- the carving knife is in the floor
- the television is playing cartoons
- the oldest child is playing on the laptop
- the other child is sitting in dad’s big chair drinking out of his mug
- and mom has her face in her hands obviously tired and frustrated of no one listening to her instructions
This scenario plays out every day but in the workplace. The leadership starts to be a little lax in his duties and stops looking at the little things and the next thing you know, authority has slipped from his fingers and been distributed either to one or multiple people.
As a leader if you find this has happened, you have to reset the table. With family, employees, children, even your spouse you have to set boundaries and roles. Going slow and trying to coax the leadership back into your grasp may not be enough and may take too long. Man up and reset the table back to the proper way, the way you originally intended.