“H” is a magic letter. Yes, three is a magic number. Today, we are all about the “H,” no numbers. Sound familiar?
My younger daughter is at the age where weekly spelling lists and quizzes are part of her routine, with 20 words every week. She gets them on Monday, she learns them during the week and she rocks her quiz on Friday. As English is a complex language, with rules and sounds mish-mashed from everywhere around the world, some words and sounds are harder for her to learn to spell than others. So, we go with mnemonic devices and tricks to help make sense of it all: “Together” is spelled “to” “get” “her.” We sing the spelling of some multisyllabic words. Whatever it takes.
A recent quiz had two words that were especially tricky for my daughter: “neighbor” and “through.” She was looking for ways to remember how to spell the multiple sounds in consonant combinations involving the letter “H.” That’s when it hit us:
“H” really is a magic letter.
So, here are the leadership lessons from the magical power of the letter “H.”
Photo credit: AFS.org
The Power to Transform “H” has the ability to transform other consonants into a whole new sound: S…Sh (show). T…Th (thought). C…Ch (change). P…Ph (phenomenal). G…Gh (Ghostbusters!). It is the combination of the two that make the third a reality.
In many of our client sessions, one of the first questions we ask clients is to think about the leader who had the most positive influence in their lives, and what things he or she did to achieve that impact. The answers are remarkably consistent across cultures, ages, types of organizations, socio-economic levels and languages:
- “He changed the way I looked at my situation.”
- “She helped me to create a new, better outcome than I could have on my own.”
- “She had confidence in me to do something new and different when I didn’t have that confidence in myself.”
- “He let me try, fail, learn and grow, and he was always right there next to me for support, — especially when things didn’t go as I planned.”
The most influential leaders help others transform into leaders in their own rights. They don’t inflict their strengths and weaknesses; rather they take what the student gives them and add to it, still letting the student take the lead. Then the leader helps them to create something neither of them could have accomplished alone. Similarly, “C” and “H” make great pure cane sugar from Hawaii, but only together can they make change.
The Power to Diminish “H” also has the power to diminish otherwise strong consonants. Let’s take another look at “through” and “neighbor.” The “H” is actually working against the “G” to the point where the “G” is almost irrelevant. It’s just a heavier “H.” If you’ve read this far, I don’t need to explain how supervisors, managers and executive “H’s” can have this effect on the “G’s” who work under them.