Excitement is contagious in the workplace

On July 29, 2011, Carol and I were in transit between Geneseo, New York and Montpelier, Vermont. We broke up the interstate driving to enjoy smaller state roads in eastern New York and Vermont.

Finally, we arrived at Betsy’s Bed and Breakfast. That evening’s delicious meal at Sarducci’s included soup, escargot and champagne. Montpelier was a beautiful, quaint town as were many others we saw on the way.

We chose Betsy’s Bed and Breakfast because it had our daughter’s name. Turned out it was a multi-building site with a less intimate feeling than we wished. However, the staff, room and breakfast were nice.

After breakfast, we proceeded toward Bangor, ME. The countryside was much greener than expected on an average July day in Maine. Like Southeast Ohio, they had had an unusual amount of rain this year.

Once again after a full day of driving we found our destination, the home of a friend of Carol’s named Cilla. She and her partner, Peter, lived in the woods just a few feet away from the shore of Brewer Lake. It was a magical place.

The whole evening was a treat as Cilla skillfully prepare a huge lobster for each of us. We lingered on the deck admiring the sunset and laughing at stories when a piercingly eerie sound rippled through the heavy late summer air. A male loon released a lengthy solitary note to which a series of flittery responses were returned by nearby females. We could see four or five loons sitting in the water a couple of hundred feet from the bank. It was my first experience with loons and I found it mesmerizing.

Eventually, Carol started telling Cilla and Paul about the Stephen King audiobook we had been enjoying in the car. Cilla jumped up and exclaimed, “Would you like to see his house? He just lives a few miles from here!” We chorused, “Of course!” Soon we were all loaded in their truck on our way to Bangor, the home of the famous author. After driving down a few streets unsuccessfully, we asked a teenaged boy for directions and he pointed one block opposite the way we were going.

By the time we reached his house, the last rays of sun were waning. The house had two columns balancing the house on each end with a railing framing the second floor. We took pictures of the wrought iron fence and gate where bats, black widow spiders and gargoyles were embedded and silhouetted by the moon. It was exciting for us since we were all Stephen King fans.

This day was full of new, interesting experiences. When Carol planned the vacation, our priority was just such experiences. Sometimes leaders need to step out of the everyday hum of work and look for the novel and unexplored side of work life. There are a lot of exciting things happening every day. Leaders who are excited about their work stimulate the excitement of their workers. You don’t have to go far away to find excitement but sometimes it doesn’t hurt.

R. Glenn Ray, Ph.D., is the president of RayCom Learning. To learn more about Ray’s new book, “And my Brother Jack: Everyday Leadership Lessons,” visit his website raycomlearning.com. Everyday Leadership appears each Wednesday on the Business page.