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Enjoy the moment

Dandelion seeds flying in the wind.

On my way to pick up Nic from the barn yesterday I saw an older teen blowing the seeds on the dandelion.  My reaction was one of amazement.  Here is a girl who was probably 15 or 16 stopping to do something that as a kid we all loved – much to our parent’s dismay I am sure!

What struck me was that she stopped long enough to pick up the dandelion and blow on it and then watched the seeds fly through the air.  These simply little things seem so mundane in our adult leader driven lives.  We tell ourselves we don’t have time to blow on dandelions, but why not?  What is so hard about stopping for 5 minutes to do something that brings joy!

Many of you are probably out there going  “please don’t do that, they are weeds and now I have to get rid of them!” (My husband being the first one – love you honey!) However, so much of our lives are dictated by what we must get done.  We must write that report, go to that meeting, call that client back, answer that email. And yes those are all really important things but so is blowing the dandelion!

What if this week you took 5 minutes every day and put your phone down.  You stopped to enjoy the simple movement of the clouds or the birds outside your window?  Then what if you asked your team what things they enjoy doing to unwind? It can be something as simply as sitting outside with a drink and a book or going for a walk with the dog.

As leaders we think we have to go every minute of every day, but guess what! WE DON’T!  Yea I know we feel like we do and I am certainly not saying that you should spend hours ignoring your job, but 5 or 10 minutes a day will recharge you!

It isn’t a secret on here that for me recharging is riding.  I get on the horse and all I can think about for that time is that!  But even that requires alot of brain and physical work.  What am I doing that doesn’t require either and doesn’t have any electronics with it?

We need to make sure that as leaders we are recharging, or we will burn out no matter how much you love your job!  But we also need to encourage our team to do the same.  You’ve all heard speed of the leader speed of the team?  Well this means here as well!

Today, I want everyone to go out and blow the dandelion! I mean it literally go find one and blow on it.  Don’t take a picture of it, don’t post it on Insta, Facebook, SnapChap, Twitter or anything else!  Just do it!  Then take a deep breath and go back to what you were doing before!  I bet you’ll feel better!

Investments

Along my journey there have been people who invested in me. Whether they did this intentionally or as part of their DNA they made a difference in me!  One of those people probably doesn’t even realize the impact she made on my life. About 5 years ago I decided I wanted to move into Project management.  I really felt that with my customer service focus and technical experience this would be a great fit for me.

She not only invested in me but she affirmed my dream, telling me that I could do it!  That I would not only be good, but I would be excellent!  It was another 2 years before I realized my dream but now I am securely in my position and looking to take the next step.

You see I had doubts about if I could do this job, and she didn’t even hesitate to say YES! To say you got this!!  So many times people need help believing they can achieve their dreams.  We may feel that we aren’t sure, or question if this is the right dream for them, what if we instead we had faith!  Instead of doubt we said YES!

I know from experience sometimes our doubt isn’t on their ability but on our own insecurities.  What if this person exceeds us?  What if they are better?  You may not want to admit this but dig deep you may find this is actually true!

This week ask your team what their dreams are!! What do they hope to do?  Then tell them they can do it!  Be honest and be strong!! They can reach their goals and you can help them!!

What Horses Teach us…

I feel like this is one of those, everything I learned, I learned in Kindergarten type post!  It sort of is when I say that everything I learned I learned from a horse!

You see horseback riding is alot like a dance (credit to my trainer!) and in this dance your partner is a 1000lb animal who doesn’t speak the language and generally has it’s own idea of what the dance should look like (and quick tip it does not start with you on it’s back!)

You see when you get on a horse for the first time or the 1000th time the horse has to adjust to what you want! The horse does not want to walk around in circles going fast and slow. It does not want to walk over water by roads, or over tree limbs. It wants to go hang out with his buddies in a pasture where it can eat, sleep and lay in the sun! (Yes they do lay down but that’s another post)

When you get on the horse you have to adjust your idea AND make sure the horse knows you are the boss.  You can get the idea across by being mean just like you can when you lead.  But the horse is probably going to take it for a while then dump you… literally! Or you can get on the horse and you can encourage the horse to go in the direction you want. You do this with multiple aids, your body, feet, reins and pressure.

The horse I am currently riding is an old draft horse. He’s big, slow and would much rather be in  his stall. In fact yesterday I walked over with his halter and he left. Literally walked out of his stall into the mud.  This was his way of telling me that he was just not that into me!  (My trainer did explain to him that we were riding and he finally agreed)

You see I could of yelled and hit him but all that does is show him that I am mean.  Why do we think this is ok as leaders? We get mad at our team because they are human and don’t want to do some of the stuff we are asking.  Instead of getting mad, why don’t we encourage them.  Share how this is helping them and the team!

Reward them when they are done.  My horse got apples and carrots yesterday.  Now when I go back on Wednesday to ride he’s going to remember that this human is OK.  She gives treats!

As leaders we need to remember that we are doing a dance with our team.  We are the leader but we are going to get our team to go in the direction we want if we approach it in a more friendly manner.

Catch the Right!

Recently I made a mistake in my job and was provided feedback on better ways I could of handled the situation.  Receiving this type of feedback is never easy, and giving it isn’t easy either!

In my daily devotion I am currently doing about being a Creative Leader the author provided this feedback.  “what if we said “if there was something I knew that could make you better would you like to know it?””

This made me pause, if they had said this would I have listened better?  I can’t say for sure but I know that when I have given feedback in the past it is always better received when I come at it from the perspective of how can we improve instead of you messed up!

The devotion also talks about receiving negative feedback, that we can always learn from others!  Always! As leaders we often have to provide feedback that isn’t positive, however we need to make sure that we are providing both!  It becomes easy to just correct the wrong, but we don’t catch the right!

Taking risks

How many times have we made a decision to do something only to either not do it at all or only do it half way because we were scared of the outcome?

Recently a friend of mine posted a message on facebook about how she is trying to justify her job decision.  You see she choose to take a job with a start up where she’s not getting paid. She’s had to work other jobs to pay her bills….

BUT she loves what she’s doing.  She get’s up everyday with a strong sense of purpose and excitement.  She get’s up EXCITED to do her job!  Now I understand that not all of us can make this type of decision as far as our jobs are concerned.  We may have people relying on us and simply taking a job where we don’t get paid isn’t always an option.

However, how often do we simply NEVER make a change because we just are either too afraid or not willing to put in the work to make the change.

You see my friend has had to go back to working in a restaurant, a job she thought she gave up for something in her field.  However, she made a choice, one that was a bit uncomfortable to get to where she wanted to be!

I have been struggling with this lately.  Trying to find the ability to take the risk I want to do what brings me joy!  I want to be like my friend, and I will!

As leaders, it is our job to push our team to take those risks!  Even if it means they leave us!  We want to push them to be better and to do what brings them the most joy!!

Leader to Follower … Leaders Perspective

Leaders, we’ve all had that person on our team who was once a leader and is now a follower on our team.  They may have changed industries, jobs or intentionally taken a step back. Anyway it happened they are now on our team and we know that they were leaders in their previous jobs.

How do we handle this?  It can often seem a bit scary because we may question our own leadership when confronted with someone who was a previous leader especially if they are high energy leaders!

First, acknowledge that they are a leader!  Don’t ignore it, or try to ‘put them in their place’.  Next get them on your side!  Seek their input, get them involved in leadership of the team and other team members!

Essentially USE THEM to your advantage.  Trying to ignore it, or making them feel small will only demean your own leadership!

There maybe times when you have to provide them with negative feedback.  This can be scary if you are not confident in your own leadership.  Seek feedback from other leaders prior to speaking with them and then talk with them as another leader.  Leaders should always be seeking feedback both negative and positive!

Provide the feedback by letting them know the issue and then asking them for their input. Don’t talk at them, instead of saying “you messed up and the client is mad” ask for their feedback.  Let them know you received feedback that the client isn’t happy with a current situation.  Ask how they would handle this in the future. My guess is that they know they messed up and they have already beat themselves up over it.

Asking them how they would handle it in the future will allow them to know that you trust them and will not undermine them as leaders.

It is never easy when leading other leaders, but you can do it! And it will make you a better leader!

When Leaders become followers

Many of us have been in situations where we were once the leader but now we are followers.  This has been the situation for me as I have moved from one area of business to another.  This choice was something I made intentionally and a path that I felt was the best for me personally.  However, the transition is not always an easy one.

How do we as leaders handle the process of becoming the one who is being told what to do?  Often this is a difficult transition because we are leaders!  This is in our DNA and having to take direction from someone else becomes difficult.

If you think about how police departments or fire departments work you see organizations where it is very important that everyone knows their roles.  You need clearly identified leaders and people who are executing the direction.  If you imagine a car crash where things are happening very quickly and lives are at stake.  The leader on the scene is directing what is happening.  This person is making sure that everyone lives and is safe!

Most of our jobs don’t mean that people die if we don’t do our jobs correctly. However I am sure most of us think the people we work with sometimes feel this way!!

So how do we make this transition, first we must get rid of the thought that we are the leader and therefore we know better than the person who is put in charge as our leader!  We all have things we can learn and if we go into the situation with an open mind it will make the transition easier!

Next, we have to stop thinking that if we were the leader we would do the job better!  I am very guilty of this!  Instead see how your leader handles situations and what they did well!  Think about how you could learn from the situation.

Finally, show respect!  So first of all stop rolling your eyes at me and saying that you DO respect them because if you think about if for a moment you probably have had moments where you don’t.  Again I am super guilty of this!!

By going into the situation with a respectful attitude we can really transition into the follower role!

Stay tuned for the next post where we address this from the Leader perspective.