Why words don’t always work

words

It’s not a secret that I thrive on words of affirmation! It is totally my love language and I really need them!  It’s like a high when you tell me I am doing a good job and you see value in what I am doing!

What happens when those words are delivered without sincerity?  When they are delivered without true meaning behind them?  I recently started a book called Sync or Swim (it’s amazing go read it!) You can get it on Amazon! It’s amazing (and no I don’t get anything for that)!!

The book is a fable and tells a story of a person who takes over a large organization and immediately throws a party to give awards to the team. But the awards aren’t given with any insight to the team, the team feels these are empty awards.

Today I was listening to a friend talk about some rough days at work recently.  Her director isn’t the best, and it appears her director doesn’t really understand my friend because at the end of 3 12 hour days (My friend is a nurse) she got a text saying “thank for all you do”.  My friend laughed because she knows her boss isn’t being sincere, but I would guess if you asked her boss if she meant it she’d say YES! She would probably even ask you why you are questioning her because in her head she’s being a great boss!  Wouldn’t see be surprised if someone told her she wasn’t!

As leaders it is our job to understand our team and what make each individual tick!  What motivates them and how can we make them feel valued at their job!!

This might mean words of affirmation but it also might mean coming along side someone or giving them a day off.

Taking some time to understand our team and what their concerns are means that we lead better!!

On my team recently, we were asked to help with special projects.  The teams concern is that if they do the special projects they will lose billable hours.  Billable hours have been a concern for the team as this has been the push for several years.  Now with new leadership the objectives have changed but the team hasn’t been given a chance to adjust.

Giving our teams a chance to adjust to new leaders and gaining understanding of what makes them tick, will make us all better leaders!

Happy Leading

 

Strong Leadership

Well I am 3 weeks into my new gig and to say I love it would be a complete understatement!  I made the move to follow a leader I have always admired but in the end I got 2 more amazing leaders and a company that truly leads from the top!

I am a huge promoter of good leadership, I feel so strongly about it I started a blog!  I feel that as leaders and followers we must have strong leaders to help us get where we are going.  This can be hard for new leaders who feel ill-equipped to lead or who feel threatened by those around them.

Leaders, LISTEN! STOP!  It’s OK to admit you have weaknesses it’s OK to say I am not sure , HOWEVER it is NOT OK to hire people you feel are below you simply to make you look better!  Putting people down to make yourself feel superior is not OK.

Now before you tell me you don’t do that, stop for a second because we all do!  We all get nervous and try to make ourselves look better than we are!  I did it today, I answered an email and instead of apologizing I skirted the issue by saying , yea we didn’t do that right.  Instead of saying, I made an error let me fix that!

Think about your week was there a time you maybe didn’t step up and lead but instead pushed the buck?  Now that you’ve identified this let’s make sure it doesn’t happen again!!

Leaving bad managers

We’ve all heard the saying that people don’t leave company’s they leave bad managers!  And we probably agree that this is true but what if WE are the bad managers?  Take a moment and think about that…..

Ok so your gut probably says that you aren’t the bad manager, you can’t possibly be that! I mean you are here reading this blog about being a good leader so therefore you must be good right? What if I said no? I mean I don’t know you so I can’t really say you aren’t but what if I could?

What if I told you we are ALL bad managers!  We think we are good, we think we are doing the right thing and bam someone leaves and we realize we aren’t!  Well here’s the deal – are you ready? Not everyone will want you to be their leader! You see we all have styles that don’t mesh with others, this doesn’t make us good!

I recently started a new position working for my old leader.  I loved working her, she’s tough, sound, has great ideas and is amazing at getting stuff done.  However a good friend of mine seriously disliked her. Couldn’t stand working for her because they didn’t mesh!

How could my (what I will call one of my favorite leaders of all time) done differently?  Probably nothing!  You see by trying to get this particular worker on board she could of alienated the rest of the team!  Sometimes the best thing you can do is to show that person that there maybe a better option for them. Either in a different organization or even company.

As leaders we aren’t going to be the popular ones, but we need to make sure our team feels heard and feels connected.  When we have someone on our team who is undermining our authority or making it harder for the team to work it might be best if they were encouraged to go elsewhere.

As a leader you are responsible for the overall health of your team and not everyone is going to fit!  The leader’s job is to help them see where they fit on the team and how they can help get there but if they aren’t willing then you might have to help them look elsewhere.

There is a book out there called the Energy Bus and it talks about how we as individuals have a job to understand what our role is on the bus! I would highly recommend this book for everyone on the team!  Because it talks about how YOU (as the person) drive the team towards it’s goals.  It’s not about what your leader is doing or what anyone else is doing but about what you are doing!

Today think about the person on your team who feels as if they just don’t fit, and then see if you can help them fit, but don’t do it so that the entire team fails but help them see how they make a difference on the team!

Bad things good leaders say

My daughter and I were talking what how sometimes adults in her presence say things she doesn’t really think are appropriate.  Not bad words, etc but talking about other people on the team or other people they are working with.

For example she said one day she was working with her trainer and her trainer commented on how training this other person was so hard because she always had feedback no matter what she was asked to do.

This got me thinking about things some of my leaders have said to me about those on the same team or even those in leadership positions around me.

As leaders we must be very mindful of what we say, do or even think around our team.  Even our body language can convey something that we don’t mean to.  It can demean our leadership when we speak badly about those around us even if we feel we are only venting.

Venting should be done in a small group or to a very safe person!  Complaining can feel freeing but imagine that comment above getting back to the person it was said about.  Now as a leader you are in a bad spot!  You now have to explain to the person why you said it and then you probably have to explain why you didn’t say it to them in the first place.

The bible is very clear about protecting what we say because our tongues are very strong and have the ability to either cut someone down or build someone up.

So what do you do when you find yourself in this situation?  Well first of all be honest!  If you find you’ve said something apologize to the person you said it to! Then go tell the person you were talking about, you don’t have to say “well I told Mel that you are (insert whatever here)” but you can say, I am struggling when you provide negative feedback when we are working together, is there something I can do differently?

Next pay attention to your words!  Watch when you might say these things, are you frustrated with something else?  Or maybe you are overtired or feeling over worked.  Learn your triggers and then work to resolve them. If there is someone who needs the feedback find a time to meet with them and provide that!  You’ll feel better and so will your team!!

List some times when you’ve done this, and then think back to how you could of handled it differently!!

Making Assumptions

My amazing husband and I were in the car the other day and he was telling me about his new boss. He is excited to work for her and with her and feels she will offer more support than his previous manager.

He also told me a story about a call he took with a manager who essentially yelled at him for taking a call from home and not being in the office.  His manager politely told the other manager that he was off because his wife (me) was having emergency pelvic surgery after a bad fall from her horse. The manager apologized.. but you could tell she was holding assumptions that were simply not true.

This got me thinking about how as leaders we often make assumptions about our team based on what we think or feel or even what we’ve been told by others. Instead of investigating the idea and coming up with our own opinion we make up the story in our head ahead of time and then fail to realize that our story might not be true.

If that manager had asked instead of going right to being angry she would of learned that my husband was taking the call from the surgical waiting room while his wife was in a 6 hour surgery having pins inserted into her pelvis.

As leaders, we need to stop our assuming and make our own ideas. How many times have you taken someone’s word because they are another leader or someone we admire.  They tell us that person is bad, or lazy, or bad at their job and we take their word for it.

Instead let’s make our own opinions and stand up for that person! That person might be lazy or bad at their job or maybe there isn’t something going on and we don’t know about it.  They could be caring for a sick spouse or child or balancing older parents with the responsibilities of regular life.  Why won’t we ask whats going on, share what WE are seeing or feeling and find out what’s going on. Maybe that person was moved to a new job but they don’t really feel it’s a fit.  Maybe they don’t realize that they aren’t living up to the expectations of the job and need an adjustment.

Next instead of assuming, let’s take a breath..