The Glad Game


Ok, I’ll admit this seemed like a stretch when I cooked up the idea for this article but as I wrote it, I got more and more comfortable with how big of a deal it is for leaders to model this behavior.

Sometime in the 60’s, Disney whipped up a little gem of a movie called, “Pollyanna”. It’s about a girl that, despite her own traumatic life circumstances, can find lots of silver lining in any cloud. She is so good at this that she annoys (but eventually converts) all the townspeople to her way.

Over the last few years, I occasionally ask my leader team to play the “Glad Game” (one of Pollyanna’s favorite ways to engage people). There are a few eye rolls but it doesn’t take long for us all to come up with many examples of what is going well. We realize quickly that we are blessed and have missed opportunities to positively reinforce the team. Connected to this, I’ve recently found a bunch of the leadership “journal gurus” working the idea of “gratitude journaling” every day. There is some pretty strong brain science pointing to the benefits of what Pollyanna did naturally.

As leaders, it’s important to know that human nature often will drive us all to fix what is broken, look under every rock for a snake, and generally “manage by exception”. The problem is that this wears us out; and our people out. As leaders, we need to be aware of this and lead above it. We need to use our “leadership mirror” to reflect back to the team the good stuff going on, encourage them and fill their gas tank. The challenges will always show up. But with some gas in the tank, the team will respond positively to a challenge and reinforce their own ability to win.

What’s your track record at finding the wins? Are you sharing them back to your team regularly?

If you don’t do it, who will?

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Dave Crumrine, Interstates President