All “A” Leader – Awareness, Aptitude, Attitude

Published On: September 24, 2015Categories: Blog

Proactive best practices for “Be There” leadership. Lessons via our own FISH! Philosophy Speaker Deena Ebbert aka Propellergirl.


I dig the “Back to School” vibe. A crisp page, a sharp pencil and fresh inspiration. (I also fancy a new lunchbox and a sweet pair of saddle shoes. I like to kick it old-school.)

Last week I was part of a fantastic FISH! For Schools event, where we dove deep into the Guided Journey for educators. It was a real “AH HA!” for me, realizing how relevant the content is beyond the schoolyard.

Always looking for fresh perspective on culture and leadership development, I decided to crack the FISH! For Schools books and interpret material therein for consideration in the corporate setting.

The vital act of awareness, to Be There for another person, can have a powerful effect on both you and the group at large. Undivided focus, engaged listening, and attention to detail – especially in proactive coaching – can lay the groundwork today for a successful future. (Specifically, this is why I’m a fan of the “preview” rather than the “review”.)

Examine the situations below. How do you typically react in feeling / word / action? How do you usually feel? What words do you use? What actions do you take? For each response you consider unproductive, what proactive best step could you take instead?

Situation One
A coworker who has committed to partner with you on a project fails to produce.
Reactions (Feelings, Words, Actions)
Preview: What is your best proactive step?

Situation Two
In the midst of the project, you are interrupted by a colleague with a personal problem.
Reactions (Feelings, Words, Actions)
Preview: What is your best proactive step?
Would your response change if the problem were business related?
Would your response change if the interruption was not problem-based, but something silly, like a joke.

Situation Three
The project is complete but the client is unhappy.
Reactions (Feelings, Words, Actions)
Preview: What is your best proactive step?

Situation Four
The client is happy and you have a break before the next project.
Reactions (Feelings, Words, Actions)
Preview: What is your best proactive step?

I consider the Preview an aptitude planner and leadership success measurement. (Even better than a new Trapper Keeper and ruler!)

Beyond the situations above, partner and ask: “Three months from now, if we were sitting down for your review, how would you like it to read? What skills do you need to develop, what actions to you need to take, to plan for and achieve that future success? Are there obstacles? How can I help clear your path?”

Choose Your Attitude is not a value judgment or an order; it is a conscious decision that belongs to each individual. There is a difference between feelings and attitudes, how we manage our reaction to circumstances – our chosen responses – is key to healthy relationships.

Consider your attitude:
What attitudes do I usually bring to our workplace?
What triggers those choices?
How do my attitudes impact my colleagues, myself, and those we serve?
How do the attitudes I choose help me be the person I want to be?

Yep. Back to school is cool.

(Drawn from the FISH! For Schools content. For the purpose of these exercises, I’ve constructed situations more appropriate to the corporate setting. I give well-deserved props to the ChartHouse team responsible for the original content, and for igniting enthusiasm for learning in students and teachers alike.)

Deena Ebbert
Deena EbbertInternational Brand Ambassador of The FISH! Philosophy

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