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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.

Long time no write!

HI Everyone, it’s been a while since I posted.  I apologize for that, I was recovering from a broken pelvis I experienced due to a fall from my horse!  The good news I am on the mend and doing so much better!

While being laid up I spent alot of time watching Television.  I watched everything from My 600lb life to Toddlers and Tiara’s.  (You have no idea how happy I am to be back working again!)

Today I was catching up on some missed shows and I caught a recap episode of undercover boss.  The boss was talking about LISTENING to his employees, and hearing what they had to say.

As leaders it’s easy for us to say that we listen to our teams and our people, but do we really hear them.  When someone tells you that they have an idea of improvement do you listen and then immedataely toss the idea aside because it requires too much work or you just think it can’t be done?

What if, instead you listened with an open mind to the ideas the team is sharing?  You thought about how that may make your organization better and more efficient?

What if, instead of sitting behind a desk you asked the questions?

As leaders (really just as people) we want life to be easy.  We don’t want to have to work hard!

This week, ask your team for 1 idea each on how things can improve and then instead of thinking “this isn’t going to work” or “this is really just a dumb idea” (don’t say you would never say that, we all do!), think about how that could work, how could that make things better for everyone?

Take a moment and see how these ideas may make your organization better!!

Good luck and welcome back

Goals

My husband and I recently bought (leased) a new car.  And we had the opportunity to buy the car from my son.  While it was amazing that we got to watch him work, what really struck me was his ability to set goals.

He showed me his calendar where he had written down what days he would buy a car and showed that on those days he did indeed sell a car.

This got me to thinking as leaders do we set goals for ourselves?  I know sometimes I don’t set goals because I am afraid i won’t hit them, but so what! So what if i don’t hit my goal, WHAT IF I DO?

As leaders we are always leading those around us but do we take a moment and set goals for ourselves?  Goals can be big or small, but if we set small goals then we aren’t challenging ourselves we aren’t really pushing our selves to be better!

This week I am going to set some goals for myself, some big some small. I am going to write them down and I am going to set dates for those goals.  I challenge you to do the same! Set some goals for yourself and see what happens in your life!!

In over your head….

When we bought our horse last summer we had ZERO idea what we were doing.  For the seasoned horse people out there (I know deep sigh).  We got super lucky in landing at the barn we are at and finding a community of people who are helping us navigate the world of owning a 5yo Gelding.

As leaders we will find ourselves in similar situations where we hire someone or take someone from another team either not realizing just how poorly managed that person was or we think that it doesn’t matter WE must be better than the others in managing that person.

In the horse world you have a few options when you are in over your head, you can sell your horse (or give it back where you got it from), you can simply give up and ignore the issue OR you can find someone who can help.  We got very lucky in that our barn owner/trainer is that amazing horse trainer who get’s it and is there to guide us on this journey or we’d have one very unhappy rider and 2 very scared parents!

As leaders we can’t simply give an employee back, we can put them on a performance plan, but let’s be realistic those are simply paths to firing.  Or we can ignore the bad behavior, however this puts our team at serious risk when other employees find themselves having to take over for this one employee.

We do have a 3rd option and that is simply to admit we are in over our heads!  Find a trusted mentor and ask how they might solve the issue.  Ask for their input on what changes can be made to allow this person to be successful.  Of course there are times when we only have the option of a plan or letting someone go and those aren’t necessarily terrible ideas. However, what if I challenged your thinking into seeing that there might be another option.

First you need to admit you are in over your head.  This can be the hardest step but your success AND that of your team are at stake!  Next find someone you trust and tell them you are in over your head, let them know what you’ve done, what you are seeing and ask how they can help or what they see….

Finally LISTEN! Don’t immediately brush aside their advice. Ask questions, ask how this has solved issues in the past.  Get details on who to implement their ideas and ask if you can continue to meet to discuss the progress.

This process means you have to humble yourself and admit that you need help which isn’t easy but I can promise you that YOU will be a better leader because of it.  You may not be able to save the employee but you will save your team and YOUR team is going to respect you because you stood up to the problem and found help to solve it!

Keep learning my friends

Investing in the next generation

I had the most pleasurable experience (insert sarcasm here) of buying a car this weekend.  This process as most of us know is NOT fun, it is long and tiring and frankly why can’t this process be better?  However, I did get to buy the car from my son, which was an amazing experience!

My son is 19 going on 20 and has found a passion selling cars.  This child has strong leadership gifts. He often is the one taking charge and leading others.  However, as we all know simply having leadership gifts does not make us leaders!  We need to invest in our up and coming leaders and help them to grow!

Saturday I got to meet the people who are doing just that!  (Shameless plug coming up!!) The team at Fair Oaks Ford in Naperville has seen potential in this 19yo kid and are investing in him!  From the GM to the Finance guy, they all made a point to talk to us about our son.  I got the chance to meet his manager and I like him!  He isn’t going to go easy on my kid and he even said that he will get on him at times!  However, the way he does it shows that he understands the potential and is willing to put in the effort.

Now, if my amazing, wonderful child screws up well he’s going to have to deal with the consequenes and this isn’t an easy path, however if he’s willing to stick with it he could have an amazing career!

This whole experience made me start thinking about how are we investing in that next generation.  For many of us, we are Generation X we graduated in the 80’s and 90’s we didn’t grow up with cell phones and technology.  We are now leading a generation that doesn’t know rotary dial phones or manually changing a channel on the TV!  However we want to lead them like they did!

We simply cannot lead this way, we have to figure out how to connect with this generation and we have to invest in them!  They are the next generation of leadership and it is our job to raise them up! We have to learn to speak their language via social media, text messaging and others.

This week think about how you are leading up the next generation.  Talk with your team of leaders and talk about how you as a team can lead this next generation!

And for all of you here is a picture taken 2 years ago of my son coaching!  For you who are parents, encourage your kids to take those leadership opportunities on!!

joncoaching