Half Full Jars...got any?


When I teach Supervisory Skills subject areas, I’ve been known to espouse (Don’t go to the thesaurus. It means “to say”.) things like:

Treat people with respect.Invest in people until you cannot.

…and more of the same.

In my mind, what I’m thinking is always strive for the best. Surround top performers with other top performers. But. (Isn’t there always a “but”?) But, really good Supervisors and Managers appreciate their staffs as individuals. What does each person contribute to the overall picture?

There is a “story with a moral” that I once heard that told about a frail woman who had to walk a long distance to get water. She then had to balance those two jars on a long pole and carry them that long walk home in order to have water for drinking, cooking and cleaning. One of the jars was perfect in every way. The other had some cracks that let water escape and fall on the ground. At the end of one walk home the cracked jar apologized to the woman. (Yes, the jar talked. It’s my story.) Only half the water in that jar made it home. The woman smiled at the cracked jar and told the jar that she had long been aware of those cracks. She went on to point out to the cracked jar that she had planted seeds along the right side of the road because the spilled water nourished the seeds which bloomed and made the long walk more pleasant. The path to and from was a treat for not only her, but for others as well. If she had changed pots…

So, look across your staff. The top performers are essential. You need top performers.

Now look at the others. What do they make possible? What is better about the department because of them? If they have cracks; but make an important contribution…recognize their contribution. (Maybe it’s their smile…that makes others smile.}

Now. Just so you don’t think I’ve turned into a teddy bear… If they do not contribute in a positive way…

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