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Leadership

Committing to Improvement – How to grow

Committing yourself to constant improvement is a lofty task to take on.

Many people say they want to continually grow, but the reality of growth is not something we are actually wired to enjoy. Growth happens two ways.

Either we:

  1. Learn something totally new that we know nothing about
  2. Learn something new about a topic we have previous experience with

 

I want to dig into the second growth point. Learning something new about a topic we already have experience with. When our brains start to receive information that is different or in contrast to something we already know our body actually physically responds. Simply put, we start to sweat, our heart rate increases, and our cortisol levels increase. Our brain is actually in the process of trying to listen to a new thought, but our neuronal network already has a mapped-out belief of that thought. This is called stress! That means we have to be willing to push through the physical discomfort and be committed to truly mapping the new way of thinking.

(much more on this thought that falls into the neuroscience of leadership Neuroscience of Leadership )

At work we all want to continually improve because continual improvement means title advancements, more money, and more recognition. It feels good to be better at what we do.

So why does it seem so difficult to get people in our business moving forward consistently?

Why do people stall after a few years of building their business?

 

The answer I want to focus on is we that we stop actively listening to feedback. Sometimes it because we may not be receiving feedback. Or maybe we are receiving feedback but the person giving the feedback isn’t someone we take feedback well from. However in many cases the lack of growth is because we aren’t getting the feedback at all. Feedback is a gift. It is a jewel that we should all be seeking continually. Do you always remember everything that you said in a conversation after you finished it? Likely the answer is no, but the person you were talking to probably remembers a good deal of it. They would be able to summarize quite simply what you were talking about. Other people are like a mirror for us. They can reflect back what we say and do, which constitutes a behavior. Those behaviors produce our results.

 

If you don’t have feedback in your work environment seek out someone who can give it to you. It may not feel comfortable at first, but it will help you grow!

If you would like some help giving feedback or if you are in need of feedback click HERE to setup a coaching session. Lets get you growing!

Ps. Be sure whoever you seek feedback from is someone who you respect and who has the desire to be candid. Sugar coating feedback doesn’t help anyone.

 

A secret quality of every great leader

Truth be told I’ve been in a tough spot of late. I’ve found myself in one of those parts of my leadership journey where I don’t see the path ahead of me and I feel completely at a loss for which direction to turn. While this isn’t a brand new feeling for me it’s a feeling I’m very uncomfortable with. I like to feel in control. Don’t all leaders?

As much as we may say and think that we are totally okay with the unknown, we’re not. As humans our brain is not wired to handle change smoothly.

When the unknown shows up and we get ourselves situated with it we’re often fine. But the process of being in the unknown is not a comfortable place to be as a leader because we are the ones in the business who are meant to know where we’re going. How do you lead if you don’t know what is up ahead?

Starting in the middle of 2015 I found myself without a clear vision for the first time in my life. A foggy vision means no forward movement in my eyes.

Many leaders are like me in that we like (and I mean REALLY like) forward movement.

As 2016 was beginning I was void of a vision. I recall an evening with a few of my closest friends and a bottle of red wine where I said, “For the first time in my life I have no idea what the next year is going to bring to me. I know it’s big changes, but I have no idea what those changes are.” Uncomfortable. Uncomfortable. Uncomfortable. And I’m someone who I would say and I think most people around me, especially my team, would say thrives in times of change.

I’ve read hundreds of leadership books that have told me the “secret to great leaders”, or “3 things every great leader does”. I’m sure you know the same books. The ones that restate the same qualities that every powerful leader embody. I know you can agree with me when I say that in more than one of those hundreds of books a quality I’ve read great leaders have is vision. Another quality I’ve read great leaders have is the ability to set goals. Well, when you’ve read all the books and you’re trying to be one of the “great leaders” and you suddenly find yourself without vision and without the ability to make a new goal because you don’t know what your vision is it is a tough spot to be in. Sound familiar?

Maybe what I needed instead of a book on being a great leader was a book on “mental ruts 101”. In the last 6 months I’ve been floating around, struggling to make a move forward yet determined not to sit still. If you’ve been where I’ve been you will understand what I’m describing feels like walking in a circle. Sometimes the circle gets bigger and you move forward a little but you don’t move forward with the usually slingshot style movement many leaders are accustomed to.

Well I don’t like floating very well and I certainly don’t like not having a vision and goals for the future. But like all parts of a journey there is a purpose for this kind of chaos. It’s a purpose that I haven’t read much about in leadership books because it seems that what we are always reading about are the good parts of leading. How rewarding it is, how much leaders love what they do. I could go on and on. The truth is sometimes leaders need to take a strategic pause and be still. Still their minds from needing to know the vision of the future. Walk forward each day without a goal in mind beyond what is happening in that moment in that day.

The last 6-8 months has been a lesson for me in patience. It’s been a lesson is pausing. I struggled with the pause because I have never paused. I’ve pushed, pushed, pushed my way towards wherever I felt my vision was leading me. What I’ve learned is pauses can be strategic. I don’t have to sit idle and feel frustrated, I can use the time to refuel. I can re-inspire myself and reconnect with people who motivate me. I can work on some inward reflection and growth. I can actually take time for me.

I’m not dismissing the power of reading leadership books that discuss the qualities of great leaders. I do believe it’s time we discuss the tough stuff too. The emotional journey to becoming the great leader and the stuff that will continue to pop up for us even when we get “there”.  I don’t know that the list of qualities ever gets smaller or can be condensed into a few things. What I do know is one item that needs to be on the list of qualities embodied by a great leader is the ability to take a strategic pause.

Planning your 2018 Successes

It is that time of year again. New Years resolution time. I don’t need to go into the details of how many new years resolutions are not met because I know you’ve probably personally experienced giving up on one or two. But because I love data i’ll share the statistics with you…

80%

I know there have been times in my life where i’ve probably fallen into that category but I think it’s actually a good thing. Who can actually execute 100% of all of the ideas they have for themselves? If you really want a high level of execution you’ve got to land on your top 20%.  How do we get better at landing on the top 20%? How do we ensure that one of the top goals we have for ourselves does not end up in the 80%  stat?

Here are my tips for creating new years goals that you can make happen!

  1. Start Early: Our brains are never void of the power to create new goals for ourselves? So why do we need a New Year or new beginning to get our minds wandering to the places of our dreams? I suggest keeping a note in your phone of any idea that pops into your mind. Then, when it’s closer to the new year and your making goals for yourself you have a great resource to pour back through and edit down. Pick the top items your heart really feels connected to. Will they improve your life? Improve your health? Improve your relationships or your financial status? If you brainstorm over time you’re more likely to have a good list to start selecting from.
  2. Simplify: You don’t need 20 new resolutions to pursue. You just need a few good ones that you’re heart feels set on. I like to pick one for each category of my life: career, personal, health, finances. Four tops for me. Then I can take those four and really dig in to increase my chances of success.
  3. Get creative: Use the amazing tools at all of our disposals to dream big. Pinterest is my favorite resource but there are a million others available to you as well. Or if you’re a pen and paper kind of person then get started with a vision board that you can hold in your hands.

why goals are crucial for millennials?

One of the biggest things that millennials say they desire is work life balance. So how are you helping your millennial teams plan their goals for next year to ensure they land in a space where they feel like they have that? If you want to retain them you’ll understand why being part of this process (even instigating the it happen) will help you!

My suggestion for building connection with your millennials this year

  1. Start early: It is the beginning of the year! Start the conversation with them and get them thinking about their goals and how they fit together. (personal and professional)
  2. Simplify: teach them a goal setting tactic that will help them be more successful. Try SMART goals SMART goals
  3. Get creative: Plan a half day to work with your staff and make vision boards. Include a vision board for the business so they can see where they may want to get involved in the next year. Show them what you have in mind and give them time to work on their own personal visions too. Ask them to share with you and the team.

The best way to accomplish a goal is to know it exists. What are your goals this year??

 

 

The Leadership Practice

If you interact and lead Millennials or Gen Z then take a coffee break and check out my blog. I’m sure you’ll find some peace of mind to see there is a whole tribe of us walking through these changes daily. Join in on #theleadershippractice

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