As twelve year olds in school, we would wait for our birthdays eagerly. Amongst the top three irresistible treats that awaited us were the ‘scraps’ Sister Elizabeth gave the birthday girl, the other two being the new dress and the gifts. ‘Scraps’ were pretty cut-outs of flowers, fairies or festoons. They were printed on dainty paper that felt gorgeous between the fingers and the outlines erupted in a faint swell that gave them a three-dimensional-kind of look.


Remember, we are talking of the ‘80s. In those days, these scraps were not readily available in India. Sister Elizabeth, our beautiful, vivacious music teacher would get them from Germany. On our birthdays, we were allowed to wear our best dress to school. We would get sweets to distribute to our friends. And, for our favourite teachers. But, the most exciting moment was walking into the music hall, and hoping to spot her. Hand her toffees with eager, trembling palms. And, get a scrap. If lucky, maybe two. There was not much we could do with those scraps, except keep them between the pages of our books. But, in those days, in that age, those were the ultimate motivation for us.

Whooo! I still get excited recounting those memories.

If you are a leader of people, take a moment and think.

  1. What and where are those stashes of scraps that you have?
  2. What are some regular scraps and some totally exclusive ones?
  3. Do you have different scraps for different people?
  4. Are those scraps the object of lust for people?
  5. How to you handle people to whom you cannot give those scraps?

I see managers roaming the corridors with ‘To-Do’ lists, with ‘Goal-Sheets’, and with ‘Performance Improvement Plans’. They sit with their people and hold them accountable to work expected out of them. Good! This is fine managerial behaviour.

What about fine leadership behaviour? Roam around with your stash of scraps!