Being in a New Place

We recently added this amazing new guy to our home.  He’s a former eventer and very good at his job!  However, he has an injury which makes him no longer sound for big events.  This isn’t easy for him or anyone I am sure!

He is having to learn this new life and in a new place.  No one told him that he’d have to find a new home and like it there!  Now don’t get me wrong we are a great home!  He has lots of sun, grass and hay.  He can go in and out and do what he’d like, however this is still a new place with new people and new rules.

You see there is this one horse whose the boss, she’s kind of an old maid who tells everyone else what to do, and a young one who just wants to play and another boy, but he’s also new.

If you can imagine this is how alot of us feel when we start someplace new.  The rules are new both spoken and unspoken.  We have to learn how to navigate those, but we have the benefit of being able to ask questions and talk.  Horses do not!  So what would happen if you couldn’t ask those questions? Or if everyone spoke a different language?

As leaders it’s our job to make sure that everyone understands the rules and the expectations.  I read something recently where a leader said she had a team member who would go MIA on SLACK for long periods of time during the day.  He’s getting his work done but she wants him available during the day.  In his previous job he may have had that flexibility and is thinking this is the same.

By not saying anything we are treating him as if he can’t speak the language.  By simply expressing our expectations and talking about what we need will help everyone.

Let’s make sure that we are all communicating the same to help both our new and existing team members.   Say Hi to our newest Team member Slick!  AKA #slickwilly

 

slick

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

 

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!

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..

 

 

Looking for a fight….

How many times have we gone into a meeting or conversation or even email just knowing it’s going to be a fight to get something done!  zora fight

Yesterday was one of those days where I regret horse ownership all the way!  Zora decided she was taking herself for a walk because why not and then decided that she didn’t like her little brother who we had just moved over.  I was frazzled to say the least and annoyed with her, worried about the other horse getting hurt and being cold and all sorts of new things and frankly was just about done!

So I asked my amazing trainer for a quick lesson because I just knew that the horse was at fault, I mean she was causing me stress so it had to be all her right?? (OK wrong) As leaders we often decide way before anything that things aren’t going to go well.  And frankly I am sure non-leaders do the same thing!  We assume our clients are going to be upset before we even give them a chance! to be upset!  We go in looking for the fight.

So yesterday I saddled up my horse, again knowing it was going to be a fight because I am the human and she is only the horse!  The first words my trainer said to me “you can’t start off assuming there is going to be a fight”… huh? What? You mean she might just be OK? NO that can’t possibly be right! She’s been a brat the entire day…so of course that is going to continue..

Except it didn’t, once I let go of the idea of a fight she was amazing. Doing everything I asked and in a great way!  Now my trainer did offer some insight in case she did give me a fight, but she didn’t.

You see as leaders, when we expect the fight we often get one, so instead of thinking that this is going to be a battle expect it to go well and prepare for the fight. For example, are you delivering something later than expected, maybe it got away from you and you didn’t tell the client it was coming late.  Can you change the time? No you can’t but you can apologize and let it go.  If your client comes back with guns blazing then you can react in the way you thought through.

So often we get ourselves ready for the fight and when it doesn’t come we create it!  We decide on our own that there is going to be a fight and we push buttons either intentionally or not but they get pushed.  Our team and our clients come back swinging and we feel validated that we were ready for the fight!

Instead what if we waited, took that deep breath and decided that there wasn’t going to be a fight.  We can have a battle plan ready but not have to use it! (Interesting concept huh)

This week, take a moment and ask yourself, are you preparing for the battle or are you gearing up for the fight!  Once you realize that you are gearing up for the fight you can start preparing for battle instead!