Captain Jack ate a screwdriver this morning. Perhaps he thought it was the alcoholic beverage, however in fact it was a real screwdriver.

You see, Captain Jack has a permanent spot in my office on his little basketball bed where he chews his bone. The thing is hard as a real bone and he’s been working on it for at least 6 months. I was sitting here obliviously typing away, listening to the crunch – crunch of him gnawing on his toy. Until I looked at him. He had found a small screwdriver I use on occasion in the office and was feverishly chewing the yellow handle. He had made it down to the “bone,” rendering it completely useless. He had taken advantage of the fact that I was distracted (which happens often). I guess that happens when you’re not looking.

What are your employees doing when you’re not looking?

Now, I would never propose that you become a micro-manager. That’s bad for you and their morale. It’s about being observant. Being observant of behaviors, attitude, culture, and personalities. Be observant from a distance and up close. Watch body language. Inspect things that seem out of sorts. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. How do you think most employee theft gets caught? It’s by being observant to those strange (and not so strange) sounds that you become used to. Don’t let commonality cloud your judgment. More often than not, your gut feeling has great validity.

The next step after that is being able to take action. My action was too little, too late for the screwdriver. Yours doesn’t have to be. Two words will help your leadership to flourish – be observant!

© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

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