Recently, I was conducting a workshop and one of my participants was an ex-bartender. She never hesitated to participate or offer her thoughts or converse with people or dare I say, role play. She's quick on her feet and really listens well during the workshop. I asked her where those skill sets came from. She said, I bartended for 15 years. As I thought about her response, I thought what a wonderful experience to be able to wait on people, not knowing what they're gonna say, not knowing what they're gonna do, not knowing what their behaviors are, not knowing if they have a jaded attitude or a positive mentality. You have to be on your feet ready to go or you know, you won't make tips.
The same skillset is needed in leadership today. Having conversations fluently and thoughtfully, navigating waters of conflict and negative attitudes and coaching people who wanna be promoted, but yet are not ready, and coaching those people who are performing really well so they don't get complacent. All of these require foundational conversational skills. How does one go about developing such skills, practice, practice, practice! Bartenders, and wait staff, a special breed of people working their butts off, always on the spot, always on the stage, always having to be on, always having to have the ability to converse and create a great experience so they can earn money. These are the same attributes leaders have an opportunity to possess through practice and repetition.
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