John, the team leader, is coming back after a short holiday. He had a long and rather interesting flight… In the office he was greeted by applause but …
It had taken John only 30 minutes, to collect his bags and clear customs; and he was now on his way home. It was the last day of his holiday, and he’d arrived back to a beautiful sunny day. John had the window down in his car to keep him awake after his long flight; and he knew it would be a long day ahead because, later, he wanted to go to the office and meet his team. He was glad to be back and as he drove he recalled how it had been a typical long boring flight…….:
…John was sitting in seat 3b, on the aisle, and the stewardess was about to serve lunch, a 5-course meal; yet he wasn’t really hungry, in fact he was restless and he wanted to stretch his legs and walk. Sitting next to him was a middle-aged woman who he noticed was taking some medication. Oh great, thought John, that’s all I need now is to pick up a serious illness. As if reading his thoughts the woman turned to him and said, “they’re vitamins; they say melatonin is better but I didn’t have time to buy any before departure.”
Seeing John’s blank look, the woman said, “I just want to try and prevent jet lag.” At that moment the stewardess arrived with their lunch and interrupted the conversation. John ordered a glass of red wine; noticing what seemed to be a reproachful look from the woman, out of the corner of his eye. After lunch John decided to do some work; he found the in-flight Web access, put his laptop on a small table, and stretched his legs. The woman on the other hand, put her seat back and closed her eyes. How can she do that John thought, even though it was currently 21h00 at home, it was still light outside and the sun shone through the planes windows. John was slightly envious, as he couldn’t adjust his body clock just like that and so he started to work……
The sound of another cars horn, brought John out of his daydream – I am tired, John thought. As John stopped his car in front of his house, he wished that he could spend some peaceful time at home and perhaps go to bed and sleep for two or three hours. But he did not want to lose time; he freshened-up, changed his clothes, made a round of phone calls, made a quick sandwich, took the tribal mask that he had bought on holiday and left the house.
It had taken John 40 minutes to drive to his office; he parked his car in the underground car park and went to the elevator. Some colleagues cheerfully greeted him while carrying take-out drinks. John smelled the aroma of coffee and he wanted a nice cup of coffee that could persuade his body that it was daytime.
“Blissfully quiet,” said John while entering the office. He was greeted by applause from Sam, Emily, and Peter, “welcome back, John” they all said at once, “did you have a good holiday?” “Yes thanks”, John replied, “is Ruth here?”
The team seemed to look at one another, before Emily said, “um, she’s in a face-to-face meeting with Ron. It’s her turn today.” John realized just how tired he was, he had wanted to ask her some questions and find out how things had progressed while he was away. John could feel his brain trying to tell him something….what was it? And then his thoughts were interrupted as he heard Peter say; “do you know what Theodore Roosevelt said about a leader? The leader leads, and the boss drives.”
With Peter’s words echoing in his head, John felt himself come awake immediately. The looks he had seen when he asked about Ruth, the way Emily had answered and now Peter’s comments, made him realize that maybe things hadn’t been so peaceful here, as they had been on his island - and he realized that his team were asking for his help, asking for his leadership.
How should the team leader deal with this situation?
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