Friday, February 24, 2017

Where's The Pony????

For the most part, I see myself as  pretty positive, seeing the good in everyone and everything. My sister would tell you that I’m the type of guy that would fall into a pile of manure only to get up and ask where the pony was.  But like many of you, there are times disappoint sets in…you know the feeling of sadness or displeasure caused by our hopes, desires, or expectations falling short, or not being fulfilled at all.   

As leaders, we typically need to deal with out own personal disappointment along with that of our team that may be going through the exact identical emotions. If allowed to go unchecked, disappointment can lead one down a very dark hole. In order to avoid such an abyss I offer the following for your consideration: 

  1. Admit it! Things simply did not go your way…PERIOD. This is probably one of the harder things to do, as one would rather place the blame on someone or something else, which actually MAY be the reason, but it is, what it is, and the outcome did not meet your expectations. 
  1. Feel it! Of course it hurts…it feels as though you were “sucker punched” in the stomach, it makes you feel as though you failed, or brings into question your own abilities. Share those feelings with a trusted friend…let it GO…spew your venom, talk it through…it’s ok to be angry…as long as you’re controlling your anger and it doesn’t consume and control you. 
  1. Own it! As a leader, the buck stops here! As the leader, we assume the ultimate responsibility so when the gun of accountability for disappointing results points toward the team; great leaders step in front and “take the bullet” as they should. 
  1. LEARN FROM IT! This perhaps is the most important strategy. Ask yourself, “What did I LEARN from all this?” Failure to LEARN is an opportunity missed ensuring the possibility of simply repeating history down the road. 
  1. Move through it! I saw a magnet once that read, “When you’re going through hell, keep moving!”  Regroup, free your mind, look at various options, think differently, seek advice, there are a number of options available…the only option not recommended is to do nothing…keep moving…forward! 

Here’s some good news…we all learn from your disappointments and failures; the truth is: 

  • If you lead, you WILL fail! 
  • When you fail, you WILL face disappointment. 
  • Disappointment WILL test you. 
  • When you pass the test, you WILL be a stronger leader. 

Now…where’s that pony??? 

Be good to yourself 

Friday, February 17, 2017

First the heart...

During the past week many articles, blogs, and social media focused their posts on the heart as we neared Valentine’s Day.  I previewed a few, casting away others, but one article caught my eye as the relationship between “Happy Couples” and successful teams was strikingly similar as I compared the two.  The author, Jonathan Lockwood Huie, identified “7 secrets of happy couples”. As I read through them I couldn’t help but to see the connection between a good marriage and a good leader…consider the 7 “secrets”:

1.       Trust: Suspicion and jealousy are the death knell of any relationship. If the other is going to cheat or otherwise dishonor the relationship, suspicion and jealousy will not prevent it, and such a relationship is fatally flawed in any case. Unwarranted suspicion and jealousy create misery in a surprising number of relationships. If you want to live happily, trust your partner completely. If they dishonor your trust, deal with the situation then. In the meanwhile, you will have been happy.

Organizations without trust cannot move forward effectively. Leaders must be trusted, which is earned by “walking the talk”…mean what you say and say what you mean…

2. Open Communication: Tell the truth, tell the whole truth. If you didn't want to share your whole life with your partner, why are you together? If you make a mistake, admit it. If you have doubts, talk about them. Secrets and lies kill a relationship. With truth and openness anything is possible. Even if something is unforgivable, it is better to deal with it quickly.

The truth will set you free…be honest with yourself and the people you serve…it will help build trust.

3Honoring the other's point-of-view: People disagree, couples disagree. Understanding that the two partners in a couple remain individuals is crucial to a happy relationship. Why would you expect that you and your partner should agree on everything? Honor that one of you is a Republican and the other a Democrat. Honor that one of you is a vegetarian and the other loves a great steak.

This one hit home for me personally as my wife IS a vegetarian, and I DO enjoy a good steak…respecting various points of view helps us all grow beyond what it is we are.

4. Self-Confidence: Co-dependence is another frequent cause of failed relationships. Happy couples know that they don't need each other. Each partner is a completely whole and valid individual who has entered into a voluntary partnership. Neither "owns" the other, nor "can't live without" the other. Each has their own interests and friends, as well as having mutual interests and friends.

A synergistic view of our teams where the sum is greater than its parts sets the foundation for growth.

5Generosity: Greed and selfishness kill relationships. True love is generous in spirit. Mostly, generosity is not about material things, although that is also important. To have a happy relationship, be generous of your time, your love, and your attention.

Servant leadership demands that we are generous of our time, our empathetic ear, and our attention.

6. Forgiveness: Resentments and thoughts of revenge and vengeance have no place in a happy relationship. Happy couples forgive each other completely for everything the other has ever done or failed to do - no exceptions.

“Let he without sin cast the first stone.” We ALL screw up…forgive and LEARN from the mistake…together.

7Gratitude: Happy couples are continuously grateful for each other. Every day there are a myriad of reasons to be grateful for your partner. Find those reasons each day, and thank your partner every day.

Leaders who take an attitude of gratitude can lift themselves as well as others when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thoughts and cultivate counting our many blessings.

So my friends, I hope you took a moment to appreciate those who encourage you, who support you, who love you this past Valentine’s Day and that you’re able to lead your followers with an open heart…1st the heart…then the mind…

Be good to yourself…

Friday, February 10, 2017

What's LOVE Got To Do With It?

Recently I was at a wedding where the traditional verses from I Corinthians were read. 
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 

Although written hundreds of years ago, those words still still ring true today, and gives pause to ponder about relationships, management, and leadership. Humility, patience, kindness, generosity, empathy and trust are attributes we admire in our leaders but are sorely missing in many workplaces. 

“Leading with love” is not about feelings or emotions; it’s about behaviors and their consequences, recognizing that character – our character -  matters. It’s about putting others before our own needs embracing servant leadership.  Rarely does great leadership existwithoutlove. 

So my friends, on this coming Valentine’s Day, consider the relationship you have with those you serve…embrace the day…embrace the spirit of the day…be good to yourself and to those you serve… 

Friday, February 3, 2017

Baby it's Cold Outside

As temperatures continue to drop, it has been my observation that morale seems to drop proportionately, both personally and within the organization. Many of us question our effectiveness, become tired of the battles, are disheartened by short, gray, blustery days, and overall just want to curl up in a ball with a good book and forget about the world. 

As tempting as that is, as leaders we must provide the light, the hope, and the motivation to continue on…to move forward. The “how” is always the challenge.   

I have found that at these times, LISTENING is more valuable than TALKING. Staff want/NEED to VENT, want/ NEED to be HEARD, want/NEED to be VALUED. What better way than for YOU to GO to them and give of your time to LISTEN… 

As Doug Larson said, “Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you'd have preferred to talk.” 
Be good to yourself…