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!

No I don’t have favorites!!

We’ve all had that one employee that we felt like we were just not clicking with! We’ve also had that one employee where we feel like they are the best.  We connect with them, we feel great leading them, even when they make mistakes we feel great!

Then there is their counterpart.. the one who shows up late, doesn’t listen, seems like they could care less about what we say and do.  We might find ourselves avoiding giving this person feedback or when we do it’s done in a more negative light.  We might push this person in meetings because we just know that they are wrong and we are right!

What if we looked at this differently?  I know I have talked about different styles of people, this includes how people feel appreciated.  You’ve probably heard of love languages but what about appreciation languages? Everyone feels valued differently… some of us want to hear we are doing a good job, or ask if they need help or even be included in projects.  For me, hearing that I am doing a good job in a meaningful way is important for me.  Others want to feel included or asked if they need help.

Instead of thinking that this person isn’t leadable or makes our life difficult what if we thought about how we can lead them differently?  Thinking about what makes them tick, and makes them feel appreciated.

This week think of the one person who just seems to rub you the wrong way, and figure out a way to connect with them.  And here’s a really easy way to do it!  Start by asking them questions about themselves!  It’s easy and I promise you might get some insights!

Climbing the Insurmountable Mountain

We moved my horse to a new stall on Sunday.  The new stall allows her to be on turn out all the time.  Before I had to pay one of the guys to let her out and that meant she didn’t get out on weekends.  Now she gets out every day, it also means change which my horse HATES.  She is next to 2 mares and they don’t seem to like her either.  None of this is helping.

On Sunday she was nervous, pacing, pawing, not eating.  When I walked away she calmed down.  Yesterday she was better until I put her in the cross ties, she was terrible.  Jumpy, nervous not wanting to stand still.  I moved her over to where her buddy was and she was yawning (which means she’s totally relaxed).

So now I feel terrible, did I make the wrong choice, should I move her back and how the heck am I going to handle her being so nuts again. I felt defeated!  Like I should just give up and let her go back to where she was before.

I told my daughter that I felt sad and upset that we had done this and that I felt like I had taken 10,000 steps back. She reminded me that I only took 1 step back that she was still amazing in the arena, she stood in the other cross ties and that we had to make her new home one where she wanted to be. She essentially talked me off the ledge.

This morning I started thinking again about this mountain that I now feel like I have to climb. I wondered as leaders, how often do we see a task or person or whatever as a mountain that we just can’t seem to get up.  Do we give up on that mountain or do we stop and assess exactly where we need to be.  Do we need to get all the way to the other side of the mountain or can we simply make it to a certain point?

So often as leaders we feel that we must get all the way across in that moment instead of saying I just need to take a step forward.

Today I am going to take a step forward and get my horse to stand.  Tomorrow we’ll take another step but today we are simply moving forward!

Here’s to all my leaders!  Take a single step, you don’t have to get to the top today! You just have to move forward!!

Leadership Newsie Style

I had the opportunity to see Disney’s Newsie’s this weekend, if you haven’t seen it – go rent, watch!  It was amazing!!

The whole story is about a rag tag bunch of kids who sell newspapers (or papes) in New York.  When the boss raises the rates of papers the kids come together to try to create a union and strike.

Growing up in Flint Michigan I know the power a union can hold both positive and negative.  There was one quote that struck me especially after we talked about micromanaging before.

Catherine Plummer says “Being the boss doesn’t mean you have all the right answers, just the brain to recognize the right one when you hear it”

OK Read that out loud!  (Who cares whose lisenting!!)

Do you hear it, you, the boss don’t have to have all the answers!  WHAT? You are the boss you should have all the answers right? WRONG!

You just have to know the right one when you hear it!  Even more importantly is to help your team feel safe to provide the answers.  If you spend time asking for answers then shoot each down when you hear it, you aren’t leading you are being a bully!

Your team needs to process through the options and then they can provide the answers.  Next time there is something that needs solving ask your team for input and instead of judging each answer think about how it could work.  What could be modified to make it work?

Of course your team is going to be missing details that you may have and of course giving everyone a raise isn’t always the answer, but maybe there is something in that answer that could make change within the organization.

Good luck and Happy Leading

What can you learn from Horses?

ALOT!  And to prove it here is an amazing article written by Jeanne SahadiCNN Business

https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/29/success/executives-horses/index.html

Horses teach us so much but as leaders they can teach us so much about ourselves.  Horses are very intuitive and can really sense how we are feeling!  When we translate that to our teams we learn even more!

Check out this amazing article and happy leading!