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!!

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

Words are Powerful

I recently had a conversation with my daughter, we were talking about some recent family revelations I’ve had and how those things can change how we see our lives.  She shared that she used to be very confused when I called my mom by her first name.  She couldn’t understand why I didn’t call her mom.

So many times in our world we fail to understand that people are listening to us even when we say the smallest things.  Like, when I call my mom by her first name.  (I do this because technically she’s my aunt but that’s a whole other blog post!!)

As leaders we often say things that don’t really think about or maybe we do but we just feel like it’s not that big of a deal, but guess what it is!  People are listening to you!  whether they know it or not they are taking all of what you say and processing it to determine what type of leader you are.

When we say something negative about a co-worker or speak badly about another department we are setting a tone for our teams and they will act in the same way.  We shouldn’t be surprised when they then do or same thing!

This week as you communicate ask someone you trust to make note if you say something that they feel maybe shouldn’t of been said.  Listen to their feedback, you don’t have to take action on it, but simply listen to what they are saying. You might be very surprised by what you learn!

Your words are powerful, they will have an impact!  You get to decide what that impact is!

Stop IT!

This is going to be a bit different than my normal blogs, but it still has a leadership message. This is geared toward my lady followers!  Men don’t seem to have as much an issue with this!  Ladies, still with me? Ok good!

So I am going to show my age, but who remembers the Bob Newhart show? Ok how about the episode where he tells the women to Stop it or he’ll bury her alive in a box? Seriously go check it out, I’ll wait! Here’s a link

Bob Newhart As Brief Therapist: “Stop It!”

OK  are you back?  Good, here is are my 5 words that will make you an amazing leader

STOP TEARING OTHER WOMEN DOWN!

Seriously, it’s that freakin simple! You see I spoke with a young woman today who is a leader in her field.  She’s 24, and yes, she’s made mistakes, but she’s got her own business and she’s freakin kickin (you know what)

She told me today that she was going to a place where the women would tear her down because something very simple.  In an effort to protect her I am not going to share the details, but seriously, they are going to tear her down because WHAT?

Ladies, as women in leadership it is our job to raise up other women leaders. We need to invest in each other, we need to build each other up!  We need to NOT tear each other down.  This young woman is an amazing leader who is investing in other young women!  And yet here we are making her feel small so we feel big?! WHAT???

Seriously if you have to make someone feel small so you feel big, what is that?  You are not a leader, if you feel that you have to make others feel small.  This isn’t leadership! Leadership is building each other up, helping each other navigate life.

I am not saying that we should be fake, I am saying that we should support.  Speak truth in love when needed and support. But when we get petty ladies it makes us all look bad!

This week! Your job is to find a female leader and TELL her how much admire her and why!  Build her up, tell her she makes a difference and then when someone around you tears another woman down, stand up for her!  We can make a difference.