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Editor Tip #11: Tie Day

Rumor around the room is that when I wear a tie to school, people need to watch out because the hammer is about to fall.

We all know I’m not a bit fan of ties. They tend to cut circulation off to my brain and they make me feel as though I’m slowly choking to death.

However, if need be, I will wear one.

Sometimes things in the room don’t go well with an entire staff. People lose focus. Staffers don’t listen. Work doesn’t get done. The ‘reset’ button needs to get hit and we need to start over.

I’ve found that yelling, screaming and cursing doesn’t work too well to get people back on track. Most of the time, it has the opposite effect and turns people off even more because if you yell and scream at them it gives them an excuse to displace their problems toward you.

On ties days, I say very little. There’s not much I need to say. People generally know before I even get the tie out that it’s coming. When they see it, they definitely know.

Simply wearing the tie all day could be effective enough to get people back on track. However, I follow it up and address the issue with the class in question. I express my disappointment. I tell them what’s wrong. I tell them what they need to do to get back on track.

I speak softly.

Tie day not only helps focus the class in question, it also helps others in the room reevaluate how they are doing things. In turn, others work to self-correct problems so their fate won’t be the same.

Tie days only come once or twice a year. If I did them any more than that they would lose their effectiveness. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not afraid to use it more than that, it’s usually that one or two days is all it takes.There was one magical year though when I didn’t wear a tie at all. I didn’t even realize it until the eds presented me with a tie in a shadowbox signed by the editors. They were very proud. It still sits upstairs in my house and makes me smile. 🙂

To be a good leader, you need to refocus your group and have the occasional “Come to the Mountain” meeting with your staff. Take them up to the top of the mountain. Tell them what the problem is and what they need to do to correct it. Don’t scream at them once you get up there or they may push you down the mountain, but do call them on things if they aren’t living up to your expectations. They will respect you in the long run and they will follow you back down.

If you do your job properly, most will follow you wherever you go.

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