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!

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!!