Folding Towels And Leadership

by | Apr 12, 2022 | Coaching Tips Series | 0 comments

This might seem like a random piece but this towel folding story DOES have something to do with leadership, I promise.

And yes, this one’s a bit off the wall, weird, quirky, and downright odd. Yet it’s inspired by a common thought out there that “if we can just copy this famous leadership icon, then we’ll know how to lead properly.”

But when we try to copy others, we invariably fail. Because we can’t be somebody else, we can only be ourselves.

So let’s get into the quirky story about Folding Towels and Leadership

I know I’m not alone in using some of my time scrolling through reels on Instagram. And lately, I keep seeing this person folding towels.
Firstly I’m fascinated that there’s a reel about this… and that I watch them, even when I don’t intend to.

In this particular reel, the towels get rolled up in a way that they stay rolled up.
Now, I roll up my towels and then put them in a basket. It’s something I saw in a friend’s bathroom when I stayed over after going to a festival with her (V99 – and if you know that that is, you’re as old as me). I liked that it looked nice and saved space, so I started doing it.

It’s a niggling little thing, but it irritates me when they unroll. My work just unravels before my eyes. It’s not a major thing so I’ve never done anything about it. I’ve got bigger fish to fry.

Then I find myself watching this reel thinking “that looks handy”.
So just now I tried it out.

I do not get the same pretty result. Frankly, I don’t mind so much about the aesthetics. But I want it to hold together. And it’s hit and miss.

For some towels, it just about works. For others, I have to change the technique so much, it looks like I’m doing towel origami.

As I’m wondering what I’m doing wrong (don’t we go there sooo quickly? Assume we are at fault?) I realised that this method in the reel works with that specific dimension of towels.
It’s the perfect solution for them.

My towels need something a bit different.

So instead of trying to replicate the method exactly, I could take the principles from the method, then adapt them to my towels. (I know you’re dying to know: yes I did, and it worked. No there will not be a reel about it).

Now here comes the connection (I did promise).

And that’s precisely how leadership works. Others can inspire us to try a new method. We can study the method to understand its principles, what it’s supposed to do, and how it works.

And then we will always need to adapt.

To our unique personality, values, and strengths.
To our specific and unique situation.
To the specific and unique individuals that we have in our teams.

Leadership is a very personal thing, so make it your own.


P.S. I am great at helping people create their own leadership style and approach so that managing people, and managing stakeholders, becomes enjoyable and easy. Let’s talk to see how I can help you.

This post is part of my special Coaching Tips Series. This series was inspired by my clients and the core themes in their challenges. When we can apply these tips, we bring a lot of ease into our lives and step into our leadership. Want to talk it through with me? Call me and let’s make a Game Plan together.

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