Are you a thermostat or thermometer?

Are you a thermostat or thermometer?

Today’s leadership communication lesson comes from the great Dr. Martin Luther King.

What’s the difference between a thermostat and a thermometer? Any how the heck does it relate to leadership communication? Dr. King talks about this concept, so let’s break it down…here we go…

A thermostat can be adjusted to control the temperature in the immediate physical environment. Think of it as being proactive. Whereas a thermometer can’t control anything – it just states the temperature in the immediate physical environment. Think of it as being reactive.

You see where I’m going, don’t you?
We can choose to be a thermostat where we monitor and adjust, reflect and correct to contribute in a positive way to our environment. Or we can choose to do nothing, be reactive and a product of our environment, focusing just on ourselves.

Of course sometimes, a situation might require us to lead or be part of a team. So choose the appropriate way to be productive and add value.

Thermostat Communications

I recently had a phone conversation with a good friend who’s at the top of his game in his industry. And believe it or not, he’s leaving his job. Now, I’ve known this guy for years, and he’s a smart dude. But what he realized was, even though he’s making mid-six figures, the time he’s been able to spend with his family throughout this pandemic is priceless. He’s not going to have that time as things start to open up.
And that’s the biggest reason he’s leaving his job, starting up his own business, and accepting a different leadership role at another organization. All of which would still allow him more family time than his original job – can you believe that?
I share this with you to highlight the ‘thermostat communication’ that I employed. How? By asking him questions, getting curious as to what led him to make his decision, what it means for his family and what it will do to his level of stress.
And then I continued the conversation by talking about some other lighter things and just cracking jokes. Because, again, he’s a god friend. I also goofed up and texted his work phone with “Hey man, did you give in your notice in yet?” – Probably shouldn’t have done that 😁.

This is a simple example, but I walked away feeling that I contributed to the conversation, listened to my buddy as he was sharing and also enjoyed a laugh or two. I made an active effort to connect. And interestingly enough, there might be an opportunity for he and I to collaborate on some business in the future.

So remember, thermostat actions create change. Thermometer actions wait for change to happen. I’d like you to answer these questions for yourself:Are you a thermostat or thermometer?

How do you show up when it comes to communication and connection? As a thermostat or thermometer?

REPLY with “thermostat” or “thermometer.” Let me know if this all made sense or added value.

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