A Bad Taste in Your Mouth

Leadership

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Our family tries to live a pretty healthy life. Being heavily involved in the food industry we’re always reading about the latest trends and foods, and most of the time subject our kids to these “novel concepts”.

Omega 3 fatty acids–especially found in fish oil–has huge health benefits. The capsules are easy for adults to swallow but not kids. Like all good helicopter parents, we want the best for our kids, so my wife bought these new Kid Version omega 3 gummies. They were coated in sweetened sugar. Looked good to me!

So, after our breakfast, we gave the kids their vitamins. They popped the new gummy in their mouth and 10 seconds later their faces turned. They ran to the kitchen sink and spat it out with authority.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“Dad, that’s the most disgusting thing I’ve ever eaten.” My daughter replied.

“Come on. It’s not that bad. You just don’t like new things. It’s really good for you.” I tried to reason with them.

“You try it then.” she stated.

“No problem.” I said.

I took two of the gummies and shoved them in my mouth to show how easy and yummy they were. The sweetened sugar was surprisingly good. Then I felt it. The taste of pure fish oil gushing around my mouth. I’m sure there’s some people in the world that love the bold taste of cod liver oil – I’m not one of them. I also ran to the kitchen sink, spit it out, and drank water directly from the faucet. It took me a good hour to get the taste out of my mouth.

It was a good reminder for me as a leader. How often do we require our teams to do things where we don’t personally know the pain? Is it a new policy? Or process? Is it telling them to continue working with a hard client or customer even after they’ve told us of their bad experiences?

A good leader never has a team member do something they wouldn’t do themselves. Ever. It also doesn’t mean they should do everything. But experiencing and knowing what your team is going through is critical to decision making. It’s also one of the key factors for hiring from within – as internal employees know and have experienced the good and bad of the organization.

My hope is that my leadership style never leaves a bad taste in my team’s mouth.

My kids on the other hand thought it was hilarious that I hated their gummies. Just wait until I make them eat it again tomorrow morning.