You may have heard the story about the three bricklayers. When asked what the work they do, each gives a different response. The first explains, simply, that he lays bricks. The second says that he is builds walls. And the final bricklayer comments that he is building a cathedral.
They’re all doing the same thing but each views their effort differently. And this perception determines their intention. The first bricklayer can’t see beyond the task at hand – laying bricks. The second has some big picture thinking but doesn’t comprehend what the wall he is building will ultimately become. And the third understands that each brick he lays is building towards something amazing and impressive.
Which one do you think has the most pride in their work?
I wrote about Level 5 leaders in one of my recent thought leadership posts. Level 5 leaders motivate their teams to think beyond the bricks and the physical act of brick laying. Their intention is to encourage and inspire their people to dream about the cathedral. When your employees feel like their effort is part of something bigger, their intention changes, they feel more invested in the work they’re doing and they are willing to take the work they do to the next level.
Remember that Level 5 leaders aren’t only focussed on themselves and their own intentions. They understand that the key to success is having the right team around them. But it’s important to understand that different teams will be made up of the different types of bricklayers. And that’s okay. Good leaders are able to identify, inspire and successfully coach those who are capable of building cathedrals.
If you have a big task or a problem ahead of you, often the best approach is to break it down into smaller chunks that are easier to manage. By sharing your vision with your team and collaborating with them around broader business goals, you’re showing them how each brick – and all of their effort – comes together to create something more meaningful.
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