I came across this sign a few weeks ago in Santa Monica in LA on a walk at sunrise which was such a treat! It was unlike any sign and in fact unlike most authoritarian communication I have ever come across.
You see my disconnect with authority even back at school was that there wasn’t much room for the question ‘why?’
We were expected to operate from a conviction of ‘what’ we were told to do which was a real struggle for me as the what has no intrinsic value unless routed to a valuable ‘why’.
This sign however displays to me great leadership! It is relational, empowering and clear.
One third of the communication is given to being relational, polite and clear about the expected behaviour.
The majority of the communication however is dedicated to empowering me to understand ‘why’ my behaviour would be unhelpful if I fed the birds, so I can understand for myself not just obey the commands of the authority.
One of the biggest mistakes leaders make is when they spend all their efforts telling People ‘what’ rather than spending more time empowering them with the ‘why’
‘What’ for me has only ever been a tool to execute and fulfil the ‘why’ and if the why isn’t there I can’t authentically connect to the purpose or become a true advocate or evangelist and I lose my power!
Please don’t feed the birds, and please don’t rely on the ‘what’ – be brave enough to engage and share the ‘why’ so you can unlock the power in your people – thanks for reading