#ThursdayThought – Letting Up To Go Forward

Driving in snowy conditions virtually for all my life I’ve learned one thing … if your vehicle starts to slide, don’t apply your brakes.

Instead, it’s become almost second nature for me to take my foot off the gas pedal, and let the car start to slow down. Most of the time, the deceleration will be enough to gain traction and allow me to go safely forward.

Business can be like that. Sometimes plans and strategies start to go sideways, and it’s best to let up a bit.

This allows you to assess the conditions, make course corrections, and then proceed forward.

Going full steam ahead all the time might sound like you’ll steamroll over any obstacle, but in essence you might not to your intended goal as completely and impactfully as if you were able to let up a bit to find how to fix those obstacles.

You’ll end up getting to your end destination more confident and assured in your ability to navigate your industry.

Sometimes you have to let up a bit to go forward. Better safe than sorry.

(image: pixabay)

The Barrier To Trust That Most Fail

Have you ever heard a high-ranking leader at an organization mention something and then took it at face value?

Yet a lower-level staff member makes a claim and those that hear on the outside are incredulous at the employee(s) statements.

Situations often arise where a top official will make a claim and most everyone will side with them. And the employee who tries to shed light on the issue or state their side of the story gets ignored because we default to trust those in higher position.

Why do people automatically trust someone higher up without getting all the facts? And likewise not corroborate the facts to validate their employee?

One may say that the leader has more knowledge, is more trustworthy because of her or his tenure and level of responsibility, or their words should be held in high regard becuase of who they are.

But that is not always the case. Often leaders fall short of earning trust, or even the benefit of the doubt.

Great leaders are not swayed by anyone’s claims, no matter how much authority and influence they have.

During these instances we tend to trust those in higher positions, and marginalize their subordinates.

This is a test of trust that unfortunately, most of us fail. Without any negative intent, we settle into a false narrative of truth because we naturally defer to those in higher positions without checks and balances.

So how can we become better leaders, and better people, to ensure we can give equity and voice to anyone at any given status? Here are a few internal questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you play favorites? Is your position more important to you than checking facts that someone at the top claims? In other words, is your priority checking facts or making sure you suck up to key people in the organization? Biases towards certain levels of leadership over other levels is a recipe for distrust. Leaders don’t play favorites.
  • Are you making a hasty judgement? Most leaders will pride themselves in displaying their ability to think a matter through before taking any strategic action. But in matters of employee concerns, many times that measured and critical thinking goes out the window. Always think about claims in a methodical and objective manner before coming to a conclusion.
  • Did you get the whole story? There is a wise proverb that says “The one who states his case first seems right, until another comes and examines him.” Making sure you get the facts from all sides is essential to creating trust. And critical to keeping the integrity of the organization.
  • Can you discern what the real matter is? Quite often the situation presented is only a symptom of a deeper and more severe agenda. Many times a leader makes a claim to expedite results or their career, and employees get squeezed when they bring light to the leaders actions, intentions and passive-aggressive behaviors. Looking beneath the facade of posturing and getting to the root of the matter by asking good probing questions on how each person feels usually sheds light into the reality of the situation.

Employees distrust leaders in their organization when they don’t feel safe, validated or as a resource to be leveraged against. When others default to taking the leaders side and not the employee, this distrust will threaten to undermine the organization at some point. And staff with the best interest of the company at heart will leave to find a culture in which there is mutual checks and balances.

Be neutral. Be measured. Seek objectivity. Fact check, then check the facts again. Ask questions to find the real motivation.

Be mindful of your default when it comes to hearing about employee issues. Chances are good that you’re not hearing the entire story.

Great leaders are not swayed by anyone’s claims, no matter how much authority and influence they have.

(image: pixabay)

5 Easy Ways To Lead With Integrity

Although integrity is a sought after business trait, it still eludes many leaders and organizations.

In 2019 the Global Ethics Summit sought to break new ground on business integrity. With more transparency and light shed on corruption, harassment, risk assessment and employee mental health, there is still a shortfall on meeting the basic standards for integrity in business as a whole.

Fortunately, that can change quite easily. If each leader could wholeheartedly adopt a few simple practices, and truly made this a part of their leadership DNA, without facade or pretense, we could quite possibly see a transformation in the workplace globally.

These steps of integrity may seem simplistic, but have a complexity of impact that cannot be duplicate apart from it.

Consider the impact these simple and powerful behaviors would have on your people, business associates and your organization:

Don’t Spread Negativity. In a fast-paced and competitive business climate, it’s quite normal to see people talk ill of others – colleagues, bosses, competitors and industry leaders. All in an effort to build ourselves up by tearing others down. we telegraph our weakness both individually and as a company. Instead, we should talk favorably about others, and work to differentiate ourselves in what we do best. It shows honesty to your customers, and shows others you respect their contributions in the company or industry,

Be Transparent. So-called conventional wisdom in business says not to admit mistakes, show weakness, or reveal a customer any concerns. This mentality inevitably leads to lying, cover-ups and blame-shifting. By taking accountability, and admitting errors, we can deepen others trust in our ability to lead and recover through good and challenging situations. Also, customers and employees are demanding more transparency in business, and leaders who embrace this through sharing information and being open book in all areas of their company will engender trust and longer retention of both your clients and team members.

Be Accountable and Set The Example. It’s not enough to walk the talk. Leaders need to talk the talk instead of passive aggressive suggestions, unclear expectations, and negative intent. What you tolerate in yourself as a leader is what your generate in your team behaviors. Also, making yourself accountable for your actions to peers and employees will help you stay aligned with what you profess to support in your cultural values. Examples and accountability go both ways, and as scary as it is to embrace this concept, it actually helps you to be a better and more purposeful leader.

Respect Everyone, Always. If everyone felt valued and respected in the workplace, lost time due to physical and mental illness would decrease, retention would increase, productivity would soar, and less errors would creep into the work. Employees and customers are pretty astute at sensing and knowing when someone isn’t truly respectful to them, so it makes zero sense to treat others disingenuously. People that feel truly respected and valued for their contribution and input will be more loyal to those leaders and companies.

Place Others Before Yourself. What if your customers and staff knew that you viewed them as the reason for your being in business, or being in the role that you’re in? That they are your purpose, not your means to an end? When a leader truly cares for their employees and their customers first, and not their pay, bonus or perks, they show a rare integrity level that is still not common. Just like Simon Sinek’s video about how good military leaders are trained to sacrifice self for others safety and security, business leaders can learn a lot about creating loyalty with integrity.

These steps of integrity may seem simplistic, but have a complexity of impact that cannot be duplicate apart from it.

If each leader could wholeheartedly adopt a few simple practices, and truly made integrity a part of their leadership DNA, without facade or pretense, we could quite possibly see a transformation in the workplace globally.

While our consumers and staff are looking for it, and our digital age is making our actions more transparent, one can make enormous strides in bringing change to the workplace in both the micro and macro environments.

(image; pixabay)

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