True Leadership

True leadership is sacrifice, doing the right thing when you are tired, worn out and just ready to go home.  That is true leadership and I saw it today!  This lovely face is Zzora1

She joined our family 2 weeks ago.  She is a rescue 15/16/17 (her age is up for grabs) OTTB.  Which means she’s been mistreated was bred to go fast and isn’t sure who she is.  So yea we adopted her because that is what we do.  I’ve been teaching her manners on the ground. Today she decided that she didn’t like something, a smell a sound, pressure, you name it. She backed all the way down the stalls until she had backed into a corner where finally stopped. I yelled for help from our trainer who promptly came running along with one of the guys who takes horses in and out.  (Side note you can tell they don’t like this horse because of her issues)

My trainer (who is amazing) was at a show for the last 4 days.  Showing horses, sleeping in a hotel, etc.  She had just gotten back when we pulled in and I am sure she was tired, hot, dirty and really ready to go home. Instead she spent 15 minutes with my crazy horse helping her get her brain back.  Did she have to do this? Nope she could of said put her back in her stall I will work with her.  Instead she got into the arena with us and worked with Zora.  She helped me navigate that moment and several after.

You see leaders know that their leadership isn’t on a clock, that even if they are tired, or hot or sick or just not into it that they still have to lead.  And in that moment they don’t stop to think about it they just do!

Leaders do where others wait, or think or stop.  Super loud shoutout to my trainer who just did today and who made me feel like I wasn’t alone or stupid or anything else…

And to those of you who lead, we see you!  You aren’t alone!  And thank you!!

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.

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!!

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

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