I am guessing that at some point in your childhood a lot of you spent time dreaming of being in a circus. I know I did. And why not? Clowns spend their time making people laugh, acrobats making people gasp and lion tamers, well, they must get all the girls with their bravery, right? In fact, it was only recently that I considered that perhaps being in the circus is a lot harder work than it first seems.
In the book “Being Brilliant”(link to Amazon), Andy Cope tells the story of a disillusioned circus master whose circus is fast travelling ‘down the pan’. The circus master is encouraged to stop and think when an unlikely mentor comes forward from within his circus team. Could it be that it is everybody else’s fault that his circus is rapidly deteriorating? Could it be that the clown, the trapeze artists, unicyclists and the lion tamer are all to blame? Or could it just be that the circus master is a poor leader and is driving them to their poor performances and behaviour?
I’m sure you have guessed that it is the latter that is contributing to the downfall of the circus. The circus master is a mood-sapper, draining the energy, ideas and creativity out of the whole circus team. This, I am sure is a metaphor for many bosses out there in the workplace today, who quite simply can’t understand why their teams are performing so badly.
This story is packed full of lessons to help you become your brilliant best, through following the circus masters recognition and correction of his erroneous ways. There are also many leadership lessons that can help you be more aware of your own behaviour and how it impacts on your team. One of the neatest things I learned when reading the book is that you should choose five words that typify you when you are at your best, when everything goes right and bullets could bounce off you. Then when you are feeling below-par you can think of these words and recall the feelings to help bring you back to your best. After giving this some consideration I have settled on the following five words which summarise how I feel when I am at my best:
Energetic – Confident – Focused – Enthusiastic – Fun
What five words typify you at your brilliant best? I would love to hear your ideas.