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!!

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!

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!

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!!

MicroManaging

HI Loyal Followers,

We’ve all had that 1 manager that was a total micromanager.  They can’t seem to leave us alone. Every little thing is nit picked, reviewed and feedback given.  It can be so frustrating!

What IF, YOU are the micromanager?  Now before you close the page telling me that I am so wrong, you are totally not that person!  Stop for a moment!  Most of us think we are really good leaders. I mean we are looking at ways to be better, we are reading books, listening to our mentors, seeking advice, doing all of the things that make us better!! BUT what if I said that those are all great things but you can still be micromanaging your team!

Micromanagers are not always the terrible leaders we expect. They are often people who got promoted to leadership for a lot of reasons.  Sometimes it’s because they are there, or because they worked really hard, and maybe it is actually because they are a good leader.  They just don’t have the tools to allow them to let go of the day to day tasks they are so used to managing.

This week, I want you to think before you send that email to your team.  Think about what you are trying to do? Are you really inputting details that are needed or does the team already know this information and you are just inputting because you feel a little of out control!

And before you give me the “Yea BUT”… there is a reason these people are on your team!  Yes there is probably room for improvement but what if you allowed your team to misstep? Make a mistake and have to deal with the repercussions of that mistake.  (I know you want to protect your team so you are giving them the tools they need to make it right) But what if they already know and are working to resolve??

Take a moment and check your motives, be honest!  Sometimes you have to let your team make a mistake so they can learn next time.  If you are getting pressure from upper management push back on them! Remind them that the team is overall performing well and you TRUST them!!

Happy Leading!