Manage the mood

When IBM's new Global Director of IT took off his shoes to prove a point, he knew he had a hole in his sock.

Ashok was scared. It was a challenging new role. He looked around at his team of country-level directors from around the world.

He saw smart, supportive people but they saw each other as competitors.

You'll reach a point where your organization is full of capable people. They can all to do their job well.

But just doing the job isn't ever enough. You'll need to lead them in new directions, to inspire them to do better, to empower them to reach their own fulfillment.

To do this, you need to manage the mood.

Sometimes, you'll need everyone to be focused, determined and capable. Sometimes playful and experimental. Sometimes competitive and results-oriented. Sometimes collaborative and open-minded.

That mood will always start with you. First, you have to know what it takes for you to be in that mood, then how to share that attitude.

Starting with himself, young Ashok recognized he could rise to his challenge because they were so capable.  He envisioned everyone as a family that supports and accepts each other. He felt appreciation for them, and wanted to share that mood.

So he took off his tie and his shoes and sat on the floor.  And he asked everyone else to join him. And he asked everyone to be open about their personal strengths and weaknesses.

To get the mood right, it started with him, in his new job, kicking off his shiny shoes and letting everyone see that he had a hole in his sock.

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