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.

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?