Laurie Swanson Blog

A Quick Leadership Trick From a Grade School Teacher

My assistant texted me this interesting story she saw on Facebook.

A school teacher would start every year with a box of band-aids.

She would then call up a child and have them pretend they have gotten hurt.

The child would say, “I hurt my finger.”

The teacher would then put a band-aid on the student’s finger.

Then she would call up the next child and ask the same question about where they were hurt.

But, for the second kid and every kid after that, no matter where they said they were hurt, she would put the band-aid on the finger just like with the first child.

The kids would all complain about the fact that she had put a band-aid on their finger even though they had said they were hurt somewhere else.

She would then explain that she was being fair and helping them all the same.

The kids did not want this.

They wanted to be helped in the way that they needed help.

One Band-Aid Does Not Fit All 

This is an excellent way to approach navigating your next career move, creating a more inclusive work climate or solving a pressing business problem.
Every question or problem is not going to have the same solution.

You need to listen to the question/problem presented and then work with yourself, the employee, your team or leadership in your organization to figure out the best solution for that problem and not fall back on ways that have worked in the past just because they appear to be fair or easy.

FUN FACT:  This worked really well with my kids too. This idea has helped to dispel the notion that because one person got a new pair of jeans the other should now be able to go clothes shopping. Nope, kids, it doesn’t work like that. 

Try This

One good way to help get to a unique solution is through asking questions. Below are 5 questions you might find useful when approaching a problem either with yourself or others.
  1. What is a desired result you are seeking?
  2. What are some thoughts you already have on resolving or solving this matter?
  3. If you could do 1 thing in the next hour that would make you happier/less stressed around this situation what would it be?
  4. What are you NOT considering in regards to this situation?
  5. And the great follow on question: what else?
One thing I know for sure is that fairness is not always the best plan.  Asking questions can help find the best solution for all.
You and your career path are unique. Let’s not just put any band-aid on it. Let me ask the questions you need to get to the best solution for what ails your career.

Laurie Swanson, Career Strategist
I can be reached at 630/260-7821.

FUN FACT:  C. C. Hunter is the American author of the Shadow Falls young adult novels. C.C. Hunter is a pen name. Under her real name, Christie Craig, she also writes romantic suspense novels.

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