Volume 3, Issue 2

February 2014

Blue Ridge Conference



October 8 - 10, 2014

Blue Ridge Conference on Leadership

Black Mountain, NC

Leadership and Spontaneity

It’s Saturday morning, and I’m taking a shower.  I ask my wife, who is also in the bathroom, what she wants to do today. 

 “I don’t care,” is her reply.

“What do you want for dinner?” I ask.

“It doesn’t matter to me,” she states.

“Seriously,” I say, “where do you want to go?”


Long pause…

Even longer pause, and then…

 “The Gumbo Shop,” is her excited reply.

“Okay,” I state.

“Seriously?” she asks.  Her voice rises in anticipation.

“Sure thing," I say. “I’ll take Logan to baseball practice.  When I return in two hours, let’s head down to the Big Easy for dinner.” 

          Keep in mind, drive time from Birmingham to New Orleans is about five hours.  And so began a 36-hour whirlwind.  Although we spent less than 24 hours in New Orleans, we had a great time with the kids.  We ate at Pat O’Brien’s, The Gumbo Shop, and Café du Monde.  We took a double decker bus tour, rode the St. Charles Streetcar, and walked through the oldest cemetery in New Orleans.  We spent a lot of time in beautiful Jackson Square.  We made memories.  We did it spontaneously.

Leaders, do you ever act this way at work?  What can you do as a leader that is spontaneous and would assist in worker morale or employee engagement?

“Team, we’re closing the office today at 1 pm and all going bowling.”

“Team, I’m taking you all to lunch today.”

“Team, I was picking up lunch today, and fried apple pies were 2 for $1.00; so, I picked up 20 of them for us.”

“Team, tomorrow is crazy shirt day – wear one if you have one.”

           Here are three great reasons to be a spontaneous leader.  First, employees are always looking for reasons to dislike their jobs and their managers.  Why not give them a reason to like theirs?  Second, leaders are constantly thinking on their feet to help solve a customer issue.  Why not do the same for your ‘internal’ customers? Third, spontaneity adds spice to life.  I had no idea when I woke up Saturday morning I would be in New Orleans later that night.  It created a sense of excitement.  Why wouldn’t I want that same excitement in my employees?

    All spontaneous moments have to be achievable based on cost, office hours, time, productivity initiatives, deadlines, schedules, and so on.  But don’t let those be barriers.  Instead, work around them, or use them to your advantage.  Good luck being spontaneous this week!  By the way, if your spontaneity involves hot, fresh beignets, it would be a really good move.

Pete Blank

Blue Ridge Conference on Leadership Board Member
Training Manager
Personnel Board of Jefferson County


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