I tend to read on the bus. It passes the time, and educates/entertains me. I just finished “Patriot Hearts” by John Furlong, the story behind the 2010 Winter Olympics, which was amazing. Right now, I’m reading “Leadership” by General Rick Hillier, former head of the Canadian Forces.

At the same time, I’m running the backstage operations for Pride & Prejudice, which coincidentally involves a lot of running – getting actors prepped, in place, and psychologically ready for the stage. 99% of the time they take care of themselves, and I thank them for it. But that remaining 1%? That’s where leadership comes in.

Saturday night was… a fascinating performance. In the interest of discretion, I’ll just say that there were several times where I was tested, and I’d like to think I came out ahead. Pursuant to that, a few general tips on leading people:

1) Focus on people. When they’re backstage, the actors are my responsibility. If they need it, and I can provide it, I will bend over backwards to make it happen. Whether that’s an energy drink, a pep talk, or a zip-up, everyone pulls together as a team to make something that’s bigger than the sum of its parts.

2) Act quickly, and decisively. This takes practice and preparation, but you’ll reap the rewards when things happen. That which is vital is usually also that which is urgent. Be prepared to quickly assess the situation, decide what needs to be done, and do it.

3) Be nice. People like nice people, and they tend to be nicer to nice people. The problem with only being nice when you want something is that people don’t judge your words in isolation. If you are insensitive 75% of the time, your team will fill in the other 25% as insensitive no matter how you actually act.

Be nice, decisive, and helpful. As a leader, your teammates don’t “work for you”. That’s the wrong mindspace to be in. Rather, you are the force that helps THEM be the best that they can be. Support, not domination. The key to good leadership.

Go Huskies!

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