What happens if you lose this bet?


Did you hear about the time the sun and the wind made a bet? The story is one of my favorite of Aesop's Fables, and I think we make this bet in both personal and work settings.

In the fable the wind and sun are arguing about who is stronger.  When a man walks by wrapped in a coat, the sun and wind decide whoever can get the guy to lose the coat is the strongest.  The sun goes behind a cloud while the wind blows and blows, yet the man just holds onto the coat tighter.  Then the sun comes out and shines "in all his glory," and the man sheds the coat.

The sun wins.

The official moral of the fable: Kindness effects more than severity

This is a lesson even a child can grasp, and yet this simple principle isn't always so obvious.  We live in a "squeaky wheel gets the grease" kind of world.  It's the noisy, pushy, blustering people who seem to get what they want.

Or do they?

If you've ever worked for the person who operates as the wind, you've learned that though they may be "in charge," they don't lead well. Their followers are more like hired soldiers, willing to do the job for which they are paid, but certainly nothing more.  When the tables turn and they themselves are in need of support, they find their network is flimsier and supporters fewer than they imagined.  Although they had the position of "leader," they never won the heart of their followers.

As a leader and as an individual, if you don't treat others well, their loyalty is shaky at best.

Are you a powerful, yet frosty wind or a warm, glorious sun? Is your approach warm enough to invite others to participate in your ideas, or do you chill the environment with subtle forms of clouds and shadows? Do you collaborate with or do you coerce others?

This week pay attention to how your approach shapes your environment, then place your bet.