By Howard Stanten MPT,CPCC
Far too many leaders and business owners are spending their days (and nights) fixing or telling someone else how to fix problems.
Then, the next problem clears it throat and calls to be fixed.
The leaders and entrepreneurs I work with often find themselves caught in the trap of working in their organization, company, or business vs. working on it. Result: Lots of movement and no one steering the ship. No one at the helm carrying a strategic vision or working on business development means a high likelihood of hitting a rock or getting grounded.
In my view, developing the leadership capacity of others should be at or near the top of every leader’s to do list. Ironically, this doesn’t involve “doing” as much it involves “Being With.”“Being with” is a capacity that slows down the process of “fixing the problem.” It is a capacity that provides an opportunity to notice, name, and call forth the leadership qualities of someone else. When a leader or owner fixes or tells someone else how to fix a problem, some short-term time may be saved, and an opportunity to grow a leader is lost.
Peeling back the onion, lack of time is rarely the real roadblock. Lack of trust often is. Instead of trust, there is fear that someone is going to make a mistake or fail.
The irony is you’ll never get to the big picture business planning and development activities if you don’t make the time to grow leaders. This means slowing down enough to notice, name, call forth, and develop the leadership qualities in others. And, this means accepting (even encouraging) mistakes as a necessary part of the process. I’m not referring to unprofessional mistakes like being late for a key meeting. Rather, mistakes that are the result of taking risks, initiative, and bold action.
The next time you find yourself saying, “It’s easier to just do it myself.” Take a deep breath and get wildly curious about the leadership qualities and potential of those around you. Make the time to Be With your people. Extend some trust. Maybe even talk about the time you took a bold swing and…. missed…and learned.
Then, send them off with a problem to be fixed that will grow them as a leader…..and get you back behind the steering wheel.
By Howard Stanten MPT,CPCC
There is a longing, from some, for the days when workers “valued a job, because it was a job.” A yearning for that magical time and place, somewhere lost in the past, where “hard work,” loyalty,” and being “satisfied with a day’s pay, for a day’s work” was enough. The lament usually includes, “Young people today just don’t have the same work ethic we used to have. It’s near impossible to find good workers.”
Well, I ain’t buyin’ it. I don’t dispute the fact that many business owners are struggling with finding and retaining hard working, loyal employees. It’s the perspective that “millennials are lazy, entitled, and selfish” that I challenge.
Daniel Pink, in his best seller Drive, explains that today’s workers are craving “autonomy, mastery, and purpose” and that many employers are missing the boat on this. Gallup polling reinforces this argument. It is true that only 29% of millennials are engaged at work (below the 33% average of all U.S. employees.) And, it is also true that WHEN MILLENNIALS ARE ENGAGED, they are 26% MORE LIKELY to be loyal to their current employer than those who are disengaged. Increasing engagement, and loyalty, is all about tapping into what Millennials crave.
Engagement is a two-way street and non-millennial age employers would be wise to take a look in the mirror and ask, “How am I contributing to the “work ethic, loyalty” perspective I hold? Then ask, “How can I ‘be’ different and ‘do’ things differently to get the results I want.”
Millennials are offering loyalty to those willing to understand what makes them tick; an opportunity to grow, an employer that cares about their professional goals, and a job that means something beyond a paycheck.
Business owners have a choice. Learn what motivates and fulfills their potential workforce or flounder in a sea of blame and complain.
There are 53,500,000 Millennials making up over one-third of the U.S workforce today. The hard truth is that a boatload of blaming and complaining is no match for that reality. A dose of self-reflection and some pro-active, focused strategic planning can go a long way towards creating today what might be otherwise misperceived as having been irretrievably lost to the past.
Howard Stanten MPT, CPCC
When we are in-sync with our highest values, we are happy, in flow, and at peace. When we are in conflict with our values, we feel unhappy, self-conscious, and unsettled.
Take the example of the manager whose top values are honesty and fairness. She meets with a direct report and speaks with candor about what is going well and what needs improvement. She gives him an opportunity to speak honestly to her and sends him on his way with new resources to help him succeed. All is good in the world.
Same scenario, except the manager has just been lambasted by her boss. She meets with the same direct report and ignores what is working well, tells him he needs to find a way to improve ASAP, and sends him on his way, tail between his legs. She feels anxious and disturbed.
First scenario: values honored: at peace. Second scenario: values dishonored: unsettled.
Yes, and…If it were only this simple.
YES, do become intimately familiar with your values. YES, frequently assess if you’re acting in harmony with your values, especially at those times when you are feeling uncomfortable in your own skin.
AND THEN, watch out for beguiling saboteurs, those voices in your head that scream you’re not good enough, smart enough, credentialed enough, creative enough…
You see, saboteurs are experts at making themselves look like your values. Following the voice of a saboteur posing as your best and highest self leaves you feeling like you are in conflict with your values; unhappy, self-conscious, and unsettled.
My top value is integrity. Starting out as a coach, I couldn’t get out of my own way as I stepped into the world of building my business through networking. What I thought was my integrity value was telling me, “You are lying to your potential clients. You’re not a coach, you only have a handful of clients. You’re wanting to be a coach but certainly don’t have the experience to back it up.”
My coach pointed out to me that my hyper achiever and perfectionist saboteurs we’re having a field day posing as my integrity value. Initially, I didn’t get it.
He asked me, “What is your intent?”
I responded, “I have a gift I want to bring to the world. I can see other people’s magnificence and reflect it back to them in a way that gets them into action around what they really want.”
“Does that feel like a lie, like you’re unqualified?" My coach asked.
“No. It feels like I am doing exactly what I’m here to do.”
When those words came out of my mouth, the saboteurs scattered like cockroaches. I understood that my saboteurs had so distorted what it meant for me to “be in integrity,” that it would never be possible for me to succeed as a new coach.
Connecting to my intent, allowed me to get in-sync with my integrity value and start building my business with the confidence of someone who knew he could make a positive difference in people’s lives.
So, the next time it seems like you’re honoring your highest values but you’re feeling unhappy, self-conscious, and unsettled, ask yourself, “What is my intent?” Get connected to that. Then, take a look back at your highest values. If you’re feeling happier, more in flow, and at peace, seize the day! And, go out into the world and start doing the good work only you can do.
Howard Stanten MPT,CPCC is an Executive Leadership and Professional