LEADERSHIP LESSONS FROM A TEABAG.
Thomas Sullivan, a tea merchant in New York, created the teabag almost by accident. He put some samples of his tea into exquisite silk bags and sent them to friends. One friend didn’t bother to pull out the tea from the bag and just dunked it into hot water. He loved the tea. And the teabag was born.
As you sip your next cup of tea, remember some leadership lessons to take away from the teabag.
1. What counts is what’s inside the teabag. Some teabags have fancy labelsSome has delicate silk tasselsBut the quality of the beverage is determined by the tea inside the bag – not by the label or the stringIt’s not your title, qualification, alma mater, the clothes, the car but who you are at the core, your values, your attitude that defines the person you are.
2. The real flavour comes through only when the teabag get into hot water. To get the best flavour, you need to dunk the teabag in hot water.True character of a leader shines forth in adversity.How does a person behave under pressure, when he is in ‘hot water’?
3. Good teabags look forward to getting into hot water.Tea bags enjoys hot water, they don’t run away from it. This will give them a chance to show true worth.Great leaders love challenges. They love the opportunity to test their skills and prove their real mettle..
4. A tea bag must be porous. You may have the best tea in the world but if you are put into a bag that’s impermeable, it won’t work. For the teabag to work, it needs to be porous. You need the tea and the water to come into contact with each other.Similarly, no one can survive and thrive in isolation.
5. Teabags work, never mind where they are in the cup. It could be at the top, on the side or right at the bottom, it will still work. The teabags efficacy in not linked to its position in the cup. The strength of a leader is not from his position, it is his strength from within – not from title or a position.Leaders are everywhere.
6. Sometimes, one teabag is just not enough.If the pot is very large, then one teabag is not sufficient to make good tea. You need to add more teabags.Sometime the enormity of the challenge could call for more than one leader. Asking for assistance is not a sign of weakness but a sign of great strength and self-confidence.
7. Sometimes, you need to add some sugar and milk. If you are looking for a cup of tea with milk and sugar, you need to add them.Sometimes one leader can’t provide all that you require, you need to find partners or colleagues who complement their skills and fill in the missing pieces.
8. Someone else holds the string always. No matter how strong the teabag is, it recognizes that someone else holds the string in his/her hands. They can pull the teabag out and throw it away at any time they like. Leader’s don’t let power go to their heads…No matter how powerful a leader becomes, he must remember that there is a string tied to him that’s in the hands of someone else – can be a stake holder, share holder, board, customer or someone more powerful than he…
9. It’s all but how good the tea is, not the teabag. Nobody ever drank a cup of tea and said, ‘Wow, that was a great teabag!’ He’d say: ‘That was a great cup of tea!’Leaders get remembered not for how good they themselves were, but for how good their teams and the institutions that they built were.
10. Eventually, teabags need to make way and get out. Teabags recognize that once the brew is ready, they need to move on. They don’t worry that if they were to move out of the cup, the tea would turn back to hot water. Some leaders see themselves as being indispensable and overstay their welcome!
Enjoy the tea!
Savour the flavour!
Relish the moment!
Think of the lessons too!