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Turning Common Sense into Common Practice

By: Nancy Lewis


I have had the privilege of working with leaders in many organizations and at all different levels of leadership for almost three decades.  And, while effective leadership isn’t rocket science, the ability to lead effectively, consistently and through all types of situations and challenges can elude even the best leaders, myself included!


One of the phrases that has stuck with me and that I consistently use in the development of other leaders is “it’s about taking what’s common sense and turning it into common practice.”  That is where the difficulty begins!


Common sense is defined as “good sense and sound judgment in practical matters.”


Have you…

  • had moments where perhaps you didn’t use sound judgment as a leader?
  • wanted a “do over” after handling a delicate leadership situation?
  • wished you could put back some words you spewed out in the heat of a moment?
  • spent an entire day, week or month without considering the leadership you need to provide to others as you are at work or in your families or in your communities?
  • simply not taken what’s common sense and turned it into common practice to provide the leadership to others that they deserve?

For me, it has been a long time since I was in Kindergarten.  And, perhaps for you, too.  There is a great poster I found some time ago titled:  Everything I really need to know I learned in Kindergarten.  Here are a few items from the list that, if applied, can help us take common sense and turn it into common practice.

  1. Share
  2. Play fair
  3. Don’t hit people (Obviously!  And, as a leader, figuratively speaking)
  4. Say you’re sorry when you hurt people
  5. Clean up your own mess

Here are some quick and simple ways that you can become more intentional about taking what is common sense and turning it into common practice every day in your leadership of people.

  1. Put one or two leadership “to do” items on your daily list
  2. Provide positive feedback to at least two people every day
  3. Read one or two leadership books each month
  4. Have lunch with other leaders and learn from them
  5. Ask for feedback on your leadership from those you lead

And remember, every day when you go to work as a leader of people, you have an opportunity to make a difference.  By turning common sense into common practice, you get to be a day maker instead of a day breaker!


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