If you are a regular to the tribe, you already know that I enjoy taking family or life stories and applying them to leadership principles. So since today is my birthday I thought I might tell one of my favorite stories … mine! But, please read through to the end—there is a purpose to this blog besides my pathetic need for attention.
I was born and raised in Foley, Alabama. I was the third of three children raised by Bud and Ina Flowers. My mom and dad worked out all their parenting kinks on my older brother Kirk and my older sister Kelly, so my childhood was easy, safe, and fun.
To illustrate how much Foley has changed over the years, back in the 80’s I played quarterback on my high school football team. Today, if I played football, I would be lucky to see the field. And I certainly couldn’t see the playbook without my reading glasses.
After high school football, I went on to marry the love of my life—Christy. To continue with the football metaphor—as you can see in the picture below—when I married Christy, I out-kicked my coverage. I hope that somehow, in some way, by mentioning her today I can convey just how much I want her to sign up and subscribe to my blog.
After our wedding, we had children. Looking back, I’m not sure why.
They grow up fast, the little hoodlums. I have featured each of them in numerous blogs already, and today’s about me, so let’s press on. I will say this about my boys—actually, my young men now. King David said, “Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.” I got a quiver full and I am proud of each of them.
On this my birthday, I am probably a lot like you.
Wondering where the time is going/went?
Wondering what happened to the six-pack in that football picture?
Why turkey legs cost so much at Disney World?
How to pay for tuition?
How long Nick Saban will stay at Alabama?
What type of daughters-in-law we will inherit?
How our presidential candidates ARE our presidential candidates?
How many bathroom visits must I make each night?
What kind of world our grandkids will experience?
When/If my health will fail?
Do I really have to work all the way to age 65?
Will have enough money for retirement?
If I go senile, will I know?
So if you have made it this far, you know a little more about me. You probably have gleaned from my writing that I:
(1) Enjoy stories…and humor.
(2) Use visuals/metaphors to give a story context.
(3) Consider sarcasm an art form.
(4) Am spiritual.
(5) Am married, with kids.
(6) Was athletic?
(7) Have been to Disney.
(8) If I learn something, I love to share it.
(9) Think about the future.
So here’s the surprise twist to my birthday blog. Your employees want you to know THEIR story.
How well do you know them? According to Gallup Industry research, employee engagement goes through the roof when you show employees that you care. I’m not talking about going on vacation with them. I’m not suggesting that you share a dropbox account so you can swap family photos. I am simply saying to treat them like humans, friends even, and quit worrying about being all “bossy.”
Word is out. We are emotional beings. We react better to those who treat us as neighbors, instead of numbers. Employees are no different. What makes us think that employees swipe their time cards and immediately quit being human?
Are you worried that the boss shouldn’t be friends with the employee? Do you think if officers fraternize with the enlisted folk their authority is somehow undermined? Here’s a little secret … most employees don’t want your job. They just want to be good at theirs. That is where your leadership comes into play—to help them do that.
In case you are wondering what to get me for my birthday, how about this? Go ask an employee for a favorite childhood memory, and watch what happens. And, oh yeah, share this blog with someone!