Tidy Up Your Leadership Marie Kondo Style

Have you seen a few Facebook or Instagram friends post that they are “sparking joy” with their new folding techniques? Between the New Year, spring cleaning, and Netflix’s new sensation, people everywhere are purging, cleaning, and sorting their way to an improved life.

What would our workplaces look like if we brought this same level of intensity to how we lead? How would our team describe our culture? We all have good intentions of how this is the year we’ll put more effort into developing our staff. This year, we’ll build a culture that we all truly want. But so many times, we start strong and the elements that could spark joy in our lives get left behind in the shuffle.

I’m not suggesting you go through and “clean house”. That will only cause chaos. I am proposing that as a leader, you look at your own work processes, habits, and attitudes and do a self-purge using some tips from Marie Kondo and organizers everywhere.

Take it all out.

Any organizer worth their salt will say that you empty the space of everything and clean the room first. Meaning the core of the room has to be in good shape before you can put things into it. The same is necessary for us as leaders. If our core business is funky, everything else will be thrown off until it’s fixed.

Maybe your core business is fine. But what about your core? As the leader, if you’re coming to work in a bad headspace, it’s going to rub off on your team. If you aren’t confident in your product, the person you’re selling to will smell it a mile away. If you don’t trust your employees, they most likely already know it.

It’s not a matter of if whatever is at your core will impact your team and business, but when and how. Find what’s going on with you and address it, before it makes your business toxic. As Ice Cube said, “Check yourself before you wreck yourself”

Sort it out.

If you’ve ever had to move homes, you know you don’t get rid of everything you own and buy all new just because you’ve made a change. The same is true with our leadership. We should always want to improve but we become the best leader we can by evaluating what things we’re doing right, what things just need to stop, and what things need a tweak. This is a great way for your team to join in.

Ask a few people on the team that you trust, to share:

  • Their favorite thing you’ve done as a manager
  • Something that was frustrating or hurtful
  • One thing that was confusing

Limiting them to one response for each item will help them to avoid feeling awkward for only thinking of one thing you did that they liked or make yourself feel terrible because they shared a lot of things that were not so good.

Now that you have vital feedback in this process, you can determine what’s going well, what needs to go, and what just needs a change.

Pro-tip: if they can’t tell you anything that was hurtful or frustrating, it may not be that you’re fantastic, it may be that they don’t trust you.

Build it out.

This is where it gets fun. This is where the real transformation takes place. Now, create the plan for how things will be different. You take the pieces that were good and mix in the pieces that just need to change. We already know what was thrown out so we’re not spending time giving those things space here. Afterall, you wouldn’t have a bin in your pantry for food that’s expired, would you? You just throw it out. With the plan created, make little reminders for how you’ll implement them into real life.

Once this is done, anything is possible.

Dreams with a plan are goals.

This really can be the year you create the work environment you’ve always wanted. When your employees see how much work you’ve put into how you lead, they’ll take note and maybe do a little of this themselves; creating further opportunities for your organization to reach its potential.

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