Growing up, I took several years of piano lessons and my least favorite part was practicing my scales. It seemed so tedious. Did it really have a purpose?
Turns out there was a purpose. Practicing the scales strengthened my fingers, it helped me know the keyboard and placement and it improved my coordination between my hands and eyes and ears. Basically, it helped me play music better.
Our leadership has things that we treat like piano scales. They are the things we need to do that make us better leaders. Whether it is communication or training or something else, each of us has things we need to strengthen. Choosing to work a little each day or each week and establishing a rhythm will make it become something routine.
If you need to work on communication, here are a few “scales” you could practice:
- Setting a regular time to check and respond to messages (email, phone, texts) 2-3 times a day. Let anyone that needs to get a hold of you immediately know the best way to do that. As an added benefit, this will make you less distracted in the in-between times.
- Start a regular practice of writing weekly thank you notes to those you lead or work with. So little of our communication these days is pleasant, encouraging and void of wanting something. Noticing the good around you will not only lift your spirits, but those around you as well.
- Walk around and speak to people face to face. So much can be accomplished in our own homes or offices that sometimes we need a push to talk face to face. Look people in the eye. Smile.
If you need to work on growing or learning, but don’t really like training, here are a few ideas to try:
- Find a buddy! Training events are always better when you have a friend. Plan to take a class together and meet to discuss afterward. It’s always interesting to see how different people picked up on different things. We’re a little biased but some of my favorite training happens at our annual event, MOMcon. There is great training for you as a mom and a leader. Check it out!
- Listen to a podcast while you exercise, drive, cook or clean. There are so many podcasts covering so many topics. MOPS CEO and president, Mandy Arioto’s Have More Fun podcast and MOPS Leaders Connections the Podcast are obviously two of our favorites. Pick a topic and test a few different podcasts out – you don’t have to listen to a whole season at one time.
- Pick a time of day or a day of the week to focus on reading a book or watching a training series. I tend to hit a lull in the afternoon, so often I will set a timer for 15 minutes and change my location to another room or a different chair and read. Often the change of activity causes my brain to think more clearly.
Take a few minutes to brainstorm what you could make into a healthy rhythm in your day to day. Here’s to practicing your scales and seeing your leadership strengthen.
Jennifer Iverson is the Leadership Content Coordinator at MOPS International. She is an organizer of things and people which also comes in handy as the mother of six children. Jennifer and her husband, Mike, live in central Pennsylvania where you can always find a warm cup of coffee brewing.