When Working Hard Isn't Working– A #WinningWell Video Interview with Dan Rockwell, Leadership Freak

“It’s amazing how many times people are working…HARD..,, and when you ask them what they’re really trying to accomplish, they’re really not sure.”

-Dan Rockwell, Leadership Freak, reflections on Winning Well

While out on our Winning Well Tour, David and I had an opportunity to visit with Dan Rockwell, Leadership Freak, to hear his perspective on what it means to win well.

This interview as particularly poignant for me since, Dan and I have connected early in my blogging journey, long before I left my day job at Verizon, and he’s been a wonderful supporter and friend.  You can read a bit from our 2012 interview of here.

Do you know a leader who Wins Well? Please let us know.

Winning Well in the News

In addition to our Winning Well speaking tour, David and I are having a blast talking with the media. Here are a few of our latest gigs.

fastleadershowFast Leader Podcast

An Interview with Skip Prichard.

Recognition Rodeo: More Insights From The Online Community

I have been delighted with the dialogue and debate spurred by last Saturday’s post on Recognition Power Words, also recognized on Wally Bock’s 3 Star Leadership Blog this week.

All week, people have continued to vigorously contribute and comment on the question and post on various LinkedIn groups. The debate is fantastic. People care about this topic. Perhaps it’s because it can be so personal. We all know what it feels like when recognition touches us, or when we are overlooked.

Simon Strong added to the conversation through commentary and video clips that showcase sincere and heartfelt recognition  (Babe – that’ll do pig) and Jerry Maguire – ambassador of Quan, as well as the impact of being ignored, Blues Brothers: fix the cigarette lighter.

Simon also says:

“Not only do we have to take into account the culture and needs of the person we are praising, but also that of the person giving praise. My mum, because of her role in my life and because of who she is will probably be ‘proud’ of me. My brother will tell me to stop showing off. Both are forms of praise that I would respond to very positively. Conversely, if my mum tells me to stop showing off I would be devastated, and if my brother was ‘proud’ of me I would punch him.”

And so, in order to spark additional conversation, I offer what some other bloggers are bringing to the conversation. Please join the conversation by commenting on this post.

Self-Directed Meets Connected: Gentle When Needed

Leadership challenges us to anticipate what is happening in the hearts and minds of our people. This is particularly difficult when working with strong, self-directed human beings. Strong performers are self-critical by nature and when the going gets tough, the tough get going usually starting with beating up on themselves. Leaders can help by staying connected, and offering compassion.

I experienced this first hand, when I was the one struggling. I was the leader of a large retail sales team, and it was one of those big days with high expectations. I had started at 4am and was driving from store to store to rally and inspire the team. Each hour, the sales totals would flash on my phone via text message. They were disappointing. I felt more stressed with each incoming tone. And then the phone rang. It was my boss. “Oh great,” I thought. “He is freaking out too.”

“Where are you?” He said.

“I’ve been to 8 stores, headed South for more. Everyone is working really hard ” I wanted him to know I was “on it.”

“Please pull over now,” he said firmly.

And then continued, “Stop it.”

“Stop what?” Not the response I had expected.

“Look in the mirror. See that look on your face? Stop beating yourself up. I know that you planned well, the team is prepared, everyone is fully customer-focused, and you are executing on all cylinders, Aren’t you?”

Uhhh, “yes,” I said, still surprised by his reaction.

“The only mistake I see happening is the one you are about to make when you go into that next store. No matter what you say to the team, they are going to see that look of disappointment on your face. It is going to crush them because they care about pleasing you.

Powerful coaching. He was absolutely right He knew me. He knew my team That is exactly what was about to happen.

That was the best coaching he ever gave me.

I experienced this from the other side of the coaching fence as well. I was talking to a seasoned member of my HR team. She was really upset at how a project had turned. Then she sighed, “and on top of that I am being yelled at.”

I was startled. I had been making every effort to stay calm and offer support (even though I was really frustrated).

“I am so sorry, I didn’t mean to yell at you, I know this was an honest oversight.”

“Oh, it’s not YOU who is yelling at me, it’s ME yelling at ME, and that’s far worse.”

Indeed.

Sometimes the best we can give our teams is empathetic connection.