Leaders as Learners

Yesterday while working with my horse I realized the things she has taught me.  Like how to be less afraid and how to just NOT give up!  I was talking with my trainer about another lady she works with and how learning at any age can’t stop. I mentioned that at 48 I figured I was a bit older than her other student but that at our age we can’t stop learning.

She shared that her other student is 57!  I share this because she started riding 2 years ago and has been working at it every day.  As we grow older we tend to think that there isn’t anything new for us to learn.  We focus on ourselves, our spouses, children or grandchildren.  However, there is still so much for us to learn and those experiences are going to come in alot of shapes and sizes.

Learning doesn’t have to be structured and it doesn’t have to be specifically about being a leader.  Take a class, join a club, learn to paint, work with wood or weld! (Yes welding is one of my secret dreams)

You see when we seek out learning opportunity’s we grow in every other area of our lives.  We learn to be learners!!  We also learn to take risks and to seek new ways to experience life!

This week seek out ways that you can grow and learn! You won’t be disappointed!

Is this the hill you want to die on?

I am one of those people who just wants to be right!  (Ask my family they will confirm this!) However as a leader it becomes a bit of a dicey thing if you push to be right no matter what.  Recently I got into a disagreement with a co-worker about something so trivial.  However, I ‘knew’ I was right!  OK So I was right and she was wrong, BUT what I did by pushing my ‘rightness’ may have harmed a relationship that needs to be cared for.

You see my being right or my being wrong really didn’t matter in the long run. It simply was something that I wanted to win in the moment, however doing so could of caused me to harm the relationship I have with that person. As leaders we have to ask ourselves if this is the hill we want to die on.

You see by asking ourselves how much does this really matter (is this the hill I want to die on) we can really determine if this is something that is really important. Sometimes the answer might be yes, and guess what THAT IS OK! However asking yourself that question gives you a pause to really see if this is a battle you want to win.

I struggle with conflict, so for me I really have to ask the question and then ask again.  For me, sometimes it should be a hill I want to die on but I am too afraid of the conflict.  In this situation it was something really dumb, and I just wanted to be right, well to be right! (not the hill I was willing to go on)

In your next conflict ask yourself if this is the hill you want to die on!

Want to keep up with me and my new horse? Check out my articles on Horseclicks.com

 

Contributor Rosette

Bad Horse Leader Baaddd….

Hello fellow followers! I am so excited to tell you about my new horse Zora (Aka The Queen) She is an OTTB Rescue who is slowly learning that humans are not so bad. She had some bad experiences after she retired and it’s taking her some time to learn that we aren’t all terrible.

We are all familiar with what makes a good or bad leader.  I am sure if you stopped for a moment you could think of at least 1 person in your life that was a great leader and 1 person who couldn’t lead themselves out of a paper bag.  I am guessing if horses could talk they’d probably have a few examples themselves.  I am pretty sure there are days both of my horses are looking at me like they’d prefer I was in a paper bag than standing there trying to teach them something.  More often than not I ‘think’ I am doing it right and they ‘know’ I am doing it wrong!

The other day I was working with the Queen on her backing up.  She is a rescue we’ve owned for about a month.  She had been with the rescue for about a year and was used mainly in their lesson program.  She is AMAZING under saddle, but on the ground she has some issues.  She had been abused prior to her being rescued so anytime you tried to touch her face she pretty much threw her head up and backed up.  (Imagine trying to halter this horse!)

We’ve been working on the concept of pressure and release from pressure and she is doing great!  She is smart and really figures stuff out quickly.  Next came the movement of her feet and the lesson about backing up.  So I stand in front of her and swish the rope. She jumps back and really gives me a wary look. OK Something isn’t right. Of course my daughter who is also my partner in crime is trying to not grab the rope from me.

She steps up and reminds me that my leadership is more pushing than leading.  You see my motions were simply too large for Zora. She needed me to make my initial movement smaller.  She was reacting to my over-reacting.  As leaders we often do the same we find something we need to correct with our team and we think that we have to go big to make the correction. Our team over-reacts because of our too big reaction.

Why not start small, have a 1×1 conversation, explain what you are seeing and why that might not be the best for the team. Then if things still don’t improve your actions can get bigger.  Just like me teaching Zora to backup I need to start with smaller motions and if she doesn’t react to that, then I can swing the rope bigger and finally I can then add a quick strike if she still isn’t moving her feet.  Now please don’t go hitting your co-workers! But you can progress from small to big.

Alot of times the issue is more of a miscommunication than someone really trying to do the wrong thing.
What ways have you found that you tend to react bigger than  you should? How can you resolve that?

 

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!!

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