Category Archives: Leadership Development

Lead By Thoughts, Not Feelings

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One of the most tremendous truths about being human is how our thoughts, feelings, and desires interconnect.

Through our internal connectedness of mind, body, and soul, we can harness greatness within ourselves and develop each aspect to become stronger and more in tune with the other aspects.

Yet our humanness comes with a flaw, in that we can get our feelings out of proportion to rational thinking. When that occurs, we are governed by only one part of us which, if not checked and balanced with the rest of our being, can lead us and others astray.

Feelings are great for motivation, inspiration, and drive. But many people that live solely off of motivational seminars find themselves flat when they try to be in touch with their feelings much to the exclusion of their thoughts.

This can also be true of those who spend time in fear or worry and let those emotions override their actions. Too many times leaders are led by their feelings, and not their minds.

That is where leaders need to consciously and consistently track their thoughts, and not just their feelings.

REAL LIFE SCENARIOS BASED ON LEADING BY FEELINGS

  • A senior executive afraid of unfounded circumstances that calls meetings to solve problems that don’t exist
  • A new department manager who is agitated that things are done a differing way than what they’ve done in other companies
  • A shift supervisor who is worried that certain company actions mean they will be laid off
  • An employee who doubts the sincerity of leadership even though there is open and clear communication

In each of the scenarios, the following feeling-statements took over rational thinking…

  • “I feel…”
  • “We’re afraid…”
  • “We suspect…”
  • “I can’t believe…”
  • “You don’t see…”

These feelings, without being run through the proper process of thought and facts, can cause wrong actions, disengagement, and toxic culture to manifest. What is needed to happen with each feeling is to manage the feeling-statements through thinking-statements such as the following…

  • “This shows…”
  • “We know that…”
  • “The studies reveal…”
  • “Our culture supports…”
  • “The reality is…”
  • “I have found…”

When you or a colleague start to descend into making decisions driven by irrational feelings, it’s best to practice this two-prong approach as a standard action:

STOP & THINK

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By stopping how we feel long enough to think through our emotions and process the facts at hand, one can find a balance between gut feelings, emotions, sound process, and being rational. We can bring our feelings into their proper place, and then use the right feelings to propel our plan of action.

As leaders, we should be in touch with our feelings – and those of our people –  but be governed by sound thinking on what we always know to be right. When our emotions take us away from what we know to be true and correct, we fail to utilize our entire selves in our influence.

Fear has its place when it spurs us away from complacency. Excitement is right when it opens the doors to goals and innovation. Our feelings have their place when they intertwine with right thinking to create a stronger rope which we can give our teams to help us pull together.

Be led by right thinking. Infuse people with the right feelings. Help you and your teams stop and think throughout their day.

(images: dynamikhgynaika.gr, anaman.net)

(this post originally appeared in Lead Change Group)

 

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How To Make Change After The Conference

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We’ve all seen and been a part of this: We come back from a workshop, conference, strategic planning session or other great event, excited to make these great changes. Great new ideas, lots of energy, and a broader vision has been instilled and you’re ready to effect change.

Fast forward just a few months later; the company has not been effected by those game-changing ideas, and any semblance of the workshop or conference’s impact is gone.

The same can be said for many of the books written, mastermind session hosted, or webinars attended. All loaded with great wisdom and sure to move the needle, these mediums for change seldom move the needle in an organization.

So much money is spent on conferences, travel, bookings, leadership and strategic development sessions and outside consultants only to see it get wasted because nothing lasting ever came out of those promising sessions. While, yes, some of what is put out there is fluff with no real depth, there is much more great content and resources out there that has true potential to make a difference if the right variables were in play.

So, what happened, and how can lasting impact be made?

First let’s look at some of the reasons why change did not occur:

  • Action plans were not made – many people fail to plan for what to do after. They just board the plane home and forget what they learned as they focus on what awaits for them back at work
  • Upper management saw the conference as an attitude adjustment for the employee – a lot of times managers send staff to events as a way to train or change the employee, without wanting to change themselves
  • The workshop was just for show – some companies have been know to be part of these events just by attending but fail to show they align with these initiatives
  • The attendees has a poor attitude about attending – a lot of individuals look at these events as drudgery, or as a mini-vacation from work, without any plan to improve or learn
  • Leadership is not aligned with any changes from such events – upper management never intended to change anything they do and would just rather stay their course of action
  • The one or few people who attend aren’t allowed much influence in subsequent changes – they come back with great ideas and are marginalized or squelched by their boss when they arrive and not allowed to implement any changes
  • Leadership minimized and wrote off what any impact would be – by sticking to their narrow vision and not seeing what new ideas or trends are out there, these types of leaders truncate any major impact these conferences or sessions can make for their company and customers

So if you want to get the best return for you investment form any book, webinar, conference, or workshop, here are the best ways to effect lasting change:

  • Get as many people attending as possible – does this cost more? Yes. But getting more people on board increases alignment, builds broader collaboration and generates more buzz and follow through to make a major impact
  • Have a team action plan session – have the people who attend make an action plan on what was learned no less than a week form the end of the event. if possible, make it within 48 hours while the ideas and energy are still fresh
  • Set goals and determine that the company will benefit from these ideas – make a hard goal plan that the organization will see these changes through towards improving operations, customer service, sales, etc. A goal will ensure the company adopts these changes and doesn’t forsake them
  • Set incremental milestones to make sure actions steps are on track – refer to the conference material after 30, 60, 90 days to ensure the momentum stays on track.  Nothing derails planned change like time; keep refreshing the ideas and energy at no more than 30 day periods.
  • Take the key points and find the best application for them in our business culture and model – it’s easy to tell yourself that some, or many, ideas won’t apply to your business. The best companies find a way to make these work for them and leverage a differentiation from them
  • Go with an attitude of learning and professionalism – many people who attend these events take them as a big bash and spend far too much time at the bar and instead of finding ways to improve themselves and their company

At the end of it all, it’s up to you as a leader to adopt ideas into lasting change. Don’t waste your time and money, and that of your employees, or the speaker’s time, by just attending and doing nothing to improve your company or your customer’s experience.

(image: wikimedia commons)

7 Ways To Re-Energize Yourself For The Coming Year

Change Mgmt Not Everyone's Cup of TeaWe are in the time of year where we’re forced to consider many intersects of our work and personal lives.

End of year projects, budgets, and tasks getting resolved that overlap the increased activity of family, friends, and festivities. Not to mention time for shopping, winter chores, and cooking for the myriad of get-togethers in both home and office.

And yet leaders look to set themselves new goals and generate some excitement for the coming year when they are typically the most frantic and busy.

So how does a leader re-energize themselves? Here are 7 simple ways in no particular order to help us get ready for the coming year:

Relax. Block out some time for yourself. Have a quiet coffee shop break, or take a longer drive home to see the holiday lights. Book some quiet time for yourself and shut off your device to allow your brain and body to rest and alleviate tension. Sleep in at least one morning.

Reset. The coming year is a great psychological gift. Use it! What happened in the past year can either carry on for the new one or be a lesson to improve – it’s all up to you. Celebrate completed goals and write off those fallen short as object lessons, or use them with new focus, or replace them altogether.

Restore. This is a great time to clean and organize your office and home. This act of restoring order to a chaotic and frenetic year not only is symbolic, but allows you to operate in a calm baseline. Apply this to other areas – teams, goals, celebrations, etc – and return to the real cause of what you want to impact,

Reconnect. We can’t squeeze everyone in during this time, but sometimes reconnecting with old friends or colleagues and tell them how much you appreciate them can go along way in refocusing your relationships. Phone calls work best, but texts or social media messages can go a long way to start the ball rolling.

Refresh. Look over your core values and mission for yourself and your company. Read it every day for the rest of the year. Then make a “to be” list for WHO you want to become, not what you want to accomplish. Focus on character building and influence rather for the year to build yourself and others around you.

Remind. Look at past failures and vow to learn and never make them again. Look at your goals and build ways to make them a reality. Dream big daily and keep a clear vision for what you set out to do in your life.

Recharge. This should always be the last point. Once all other areas are tended to, then you should recharge. Or, more properly, re-Charge. Charge forward with new perspective and a healthier attitude for the coming year. Don’t wait until January 1st to do so; get a head start so it becomes more than just a New Year’s Resolution. Make it a habit early so as to instill a better chance for success in the long term.

While this is a great time to be others-minded, use the last couple of weeks of the year wisely for yourself. Enjoy the holidays, and the process to continue to grow.

(image: prokarma)

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