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

Strong Leadership

Well I am 3 weeks into my new gig and to say I love it would be a complete understatement!  I made the move to follow a leader I have always admired but in the end I got 2 more amazing leaders and a company that truly leads from the top!

I am a huge promoter of good leadership, I feel so strongly about it I started a blog!  I feel that as leaders and followers we must have strong leaders to help us get where we are going.  This can be hard for new leaders who feel ill-equipped to lead or who feel threatened by those around them.

Leaders, LISTEN! STOP!  It’s OK to admit you have weaknesses it’s OK to say I am not sure , HOWEVER it is NOT OK to hire people you feel are below you simply to make you look better!  Putting people down to make yourself feel superior is not OK.

Now before you tell me you don’t do that, stop for a second because we all do!  We all get nervous and try to make ourselves look better than we are!  I did it today, I answered an email and instead of apologizing I skirted the issue by saying , yea we didn’t do that right.  Instead of saying, I made an error let me fix that!

Think about your week was there a time you maybe didn’t step up and lead but instead pushed the buck?  Now that you’ve identified this let’s make sure it doesn’t happen again!!

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!

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!!