Wednesday, April 13, 2016

4 of Pentacles: Addressing the Weakest Link

I'm dealing with a challenging situation at work - one that will likely require me to make an important and difficult decision by month's end. There are a lot of things I enjoy about leadership: having the ability to improve the work environment for my team; recognizing the unique talents, abilities and contributions of each individual; problem solving; big-picture thinking and planning..... but there are less enjoyable aspects of it, too.

Without going into too much detail, I will say that I'm in a position where I must consider, and make decisions about, the overall strength of my team. I was up late last night with a coughing child, and as I was easing him back to sleep, I was playing various scenarios and options though my head in regards to how I could and ought to approach the matter. When I woke up I decided to pull a card to highlight the most critical aspect to keep in mind as I move forward: 4 of Pentacles.
Vikings Tarot; Lo Scarabeo
At first I noticed the solid composition of these four figures; they each bear a coin, and stand firmly upright in a diamond-shape, creating a strong foundation of strength and power. There are no weak links here, which is an important detail - if even one person begins to waver, the entire structure they create with their stances loses its integrity, and compromises them all. 

I noticed the 4 on this card - the number associated with April (affirming that this has been and will continue to be a major matter for me this month), and likewise associated with the Emperor (a card that has appeared for me quite a bit as I've transitioned into this director role). 

Pentacles are associated with the material world, with what we can experience with our five principal senses, with finances and resources. As I looked at this card I saw my team (albeit abbreviated here), each member offering their unique resources of education, know-how, experience, and energy; each carrying his or her responsibilities fairly and equally, working together to create a strong program. So what happens when one person isn't able or willing to shoulder their own weight? To avoid collapse, the other members end up taking on more and more until the responsibility starts to feel like a burden. Eventually it becomes a problem that needs attention. 

What this encourages me to do is not think only in terms of single individuals, but to keep in mind the team as a whole. What is in the best interest of the majority of these instructors? What can I do to support them? What actions can I take to ease the excessive demands on their time and energy that may eventually hurt their motivation and ability to enjoy the work that they do? 

I may be the nominated leader, but I work for these teachers just as much as they do for me. The 4 of Pentacles reminds me that it is my responsibility as a part of this team to make sure that the overarching organizational structure works smoothly for them, and to address any of those "weak links" that prevent them, and the group as a combined entity, from achieving their highest potential. Perhaps a tall order, but one I must face nonetheless.

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