I have found that I gain a different view of how I perform as a manager when I grow as a father, husband and a human being.  It was a very enlightening lesson.  The truth is I used to separate who I was as at home and who I was at work.  I used to call this the Spiderman theory.  My thoughts were that I had to be a different person when I was at work.  I walled off my personal life from the office.  I built a boundary in order to be tough at work so I could “better lead” my team.  This strategy was very ignorant. Breaking down my walls in order to bring a personal, human and a gentle touch to my leadership style would have been a better use of my efforts.

I have seen managers take the Spiderman theory too far in either direction.  No manager will ever tell you there needs to be total transparency between their job persona and their home life.  It is important to know your boundaries.  CopyBlogger discusses personas in regard to blogging-  but ther is value in the comment  “If you are a student of psychology, or human nature, or good old fashioned common sense, you know that we play different “roles” in different contexts throughout the course of every day. We are, in reality, a string of personas that each step forward depending on context, (Copyblogger.com, 2007).

I will say that the lessons learned in my personal “role” are some of the most directly applicable to my management “role”.  Lessons about dealing with teenagers- dealing with your spouse, understanding personal finance… all of these require a deep focus on what you are hearing and how your are being heard.  These lessons are built around communication and perspective.  Ah!  There it is… perspective…  Which is the core of how people react to situations and decide if they need to be Peter Parker or Spiderman-  right?

Here is a great story I heard at Church last weekend-  I have looked all over the Internet and have not seen the originator of the story-  so I will paraphrase what I was told.


Who's Cookie is That?

A seasoned traveler had arrived at the airport.  She had her carry-on bag, book and smart phone.  She arrived at the airport with plenty of time to grab a snack and relax before boarding the plane.  She stopped at the cookie shop on the concourse near her terminal and picked up a bag of chocolate chip cookies.

She found her terminal and grabbed a seat to wait for her flight.  She reached into her cookie bag and grabbed a cookie.  Almost instantly-  she heard the cookie bag begin to rustle and the man next to her took a cookie out and ate it.  Our traveler became enraged!  What nerve!  Maybe it was a mistake… she kept her calm and internalized her frustration…

A few minutes later, the cookie bag began to rustle again.. her neighbor had taken another cookie.  She reached in angrily and grabbed another for herself, noticing there was only one cookie left.  She was furious.  How could this total stranger just eat her cookies!  People are so rude!!

Suddenly the bag rustled and the man reached in- taking the last cookie.  He then proceeded to break the cookie in half and left one half on the top of the bag and then walked away!  WHAT?!?!?  How could anybody have such nerve!   Our traveler was so angry she was about to explode.

The terminal attendant came on the PA to let everyone know it was time to board.  Our traveler grabbed her broken cookie and reached into her carry-on to find a napkin when she realized…  her cookie bag was in the carry-on.  It was full of cookies…..

Perspective…  Remember that your people are always looking at things from their point of view.  If you fail to understand where they are coming from-  you may present the wrong persona.  Be mindful that one person’s cookie theft may be another person’s act of generosity!

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