Leadership Lessons from A Teabag!!
Do you know how the teabag was born?
Thomas Sullivan, a tea merchant in New York, created the teabag almost by accident. He put some samples of his tea into a silk bag and sent them to friends. One friend didn’t bother to pull out the tea from the bag and just dunked it into hot water. He loved the tea. And an idea was born.
It’s probably true of a lot of great ideas around us. They were created by accident, not design. They came to life because someone dares to do something different. As you sip your next cup of tea, here are some leadership lessons to take away from the teabag. Lessons to help make our life the perfect brew!!
1- What counts is what’s inside the teabag.
You will notice that some teabags have fancy labels, while others have ordinary ones. Some have delicate silk while having humble strings. But here’s the thing to remember the quality of the beverage is determined by the tea inside the bag, not by the label or the string. Similarly, true for all of us fancy title or the qualification or the clothes we wear and a car we drive non these matters. Matters is the kind of person you are and beliefs you have and the attitude that defines you.
2- The real flavour comes through only when the teabag gets into hot water.
If you put the teabag in lukewarm water, you won’t know how strong the tea is. to get the best flavour, you have to put the teabag in hot water and then you will get real strength. Similarly, the true character of a leader shines how does a person behave under pressure, or when he is in hot water.
3- Good teabags look forward to getting into hot water.
When a teabag sees hot water, it says, ‘wow! Can’t wait to get in!’ Teabags love hot water; they don’t run away from it. They know they were made just for this! This gives chance to show their true worth. Great leaders relish a challenge. They love the opportunity to test their skills and prove their real mettle. Just as teabags love hot water.
4- A teabag must be porous.
Imagine you have the tea in the world, and you put it into an impermeable bag. It won’t work. You can’t make a cup of tea. You need the tea and water to come in contact with each other. Similarly, in our life too we cannot survive in isolation. As a leader, you need to be in touch with other people. So that you have a variety of ideas.
5- Teabag works, never mind where they are in the cup.
Once you dip a tea bag in a cup, it’s doesn’t matter’s where the teabag sits. It could be on top of the side or right at the bottom. It is a mistaken notion that leadership is only the guy at top of the organization. Leaders are everywhere. Anyone can be a leader.
6- Sometimes, one teabag is just not enough.
If a pot is very large, then one teabag may not sufficient to make a good beverage. It can try its best, but tea will be not strong. Similarly, can to true for organizations too. Sometimes enormity of the challenge could call for more than one leader too.
7- Sometimes, you need to add some sugar and milk.
If what you are looking for is a cup of tea with milk and sugar, no teabag in the world can give that to you by itself. You need to add milk and sugar. Sometimes, the business needs complementary skill sets that no single leader can provide. Good leaders find partners and colleagues who complement their skill sets and fill in the missing pieces.
8- Someone else holds the string. Always
No matter how strong the teabag is, it recognizes that someone else holds the string in his or her hand. And they can pull the teabag out and throw it away any time they are like. No questions asked.
That’s a humbling thought which leaders must never lose sight of. Never lose hope
9- It’s all about how good the tea is. Not the teabag!
Nobody ever drunk a cup of tea and said, ‘Wow, that was a great teabag!’ He says that was a great cup of tea.
Similarly, leaders get remembrance not for how good they were but for how good their team is.
10- Eventually, the teabag needs to make way and get out.
Teabag recognize that once the brew is ready, they need to move on. They do not worry that if they were to move out of the cup. Similarly, with the leader too.
The next time you pick up a cup of tea, savour the flavour. Enjoy The Moment. And think of the lessons too.
In the end, I want to say Just as the true flavour of a teabag comes through only when it is dipped in hot water, the true character of a leader shines through in adversity, under pressure. The hot water test is a good one. For Teabags and leaders.