what no one tells you about leading

What No One Tells You About Leading But You Desperately Need to Know

Leading is tough enough without ignoring these critical truths.

“I wish someone would have told me some of this before I started leading. Life would have been so much easier. I bet my team wishes I knew it too.”

We hear this sentiment after almost every leadership workshop or keynote speech we deliver. And we get it – we wish we had access to all these leadership tools and strategies earlier in our careers. That’s why we built them, and are so passionate about sharing.

But you know as well as we do, leading well isn’t JUST about mastering tools and techniques. It’s a mindset.

So today we bring you six leadership realities we wish we learned sooner.

6 Leadership Realities  to Ground Your Leadership

1. Everyone is a volunteer.

Control is an illusion. You don’t control anyone or anything except for yourself. Everyone you work with chooses what they’ll do and how they’ll do it. Yes, your team is paid and if they choose not to perform at a certain level, they can lose their job – but that’s still their choice.

When you remember everyone is a volunteer you know that the effort you want your people to give is their choice. Sure, you get to influence that choice. When you recognize that everyone chooses what they do, it transforms their work into a gift, and that changes everything.

2. You’re in the hope business.

This is one of the most neglected truths about leading a team. Leadership is the belief that if we work together we can have a better tomorrow. Together we can do more, be more, and add more value to the world.

That’s a big deal.  It might be the biggest deal of all.

And some of the time your team will be stressed and discouraged, your job is to help them find the hope.

Without hope, you’re done. When your team has hope, you have a chance.

3. Change isn’t a choice.

When you’re leading you’ll never have it handled.

There are moments of dazzling teamwork where everyone aligns and you achieve more than you ever thought possible. But next week, one of those team members moves away or technology changes or your competitor does something different that you can’t ignore. Now you’re working hard again to create the next future.

Leadership is a journey where are no final destinations. At some point, you will leave your team – hopefully, in the capable hands of leaders whom you’ve invested in and developed. In the meantime, whatever you did last week opened the door for the new challenges and change you will face this week.

4. Effective or right?

Many new leaders (and more than a few experienced leaders) get stuck because they cannot see past their own “rightness” and do the things that will help them achieve results and build relationships.

For example:

“Why should I have to tell them again…I said it once.”

Yes, you did – three months ago. People have many priorities competing for their attention. If it’s important, communicate it multiple times in multiple ways.

“Why should I encourage/thank them? they’re just doing their job.”

Yes, they are. Yet people are more engaged when they feel appreciated and are seen as a human being, not just a cog in a machine.

“Why should I hear opposing viewpoints? I’m an expert in this subject and I’ve looked at all the options.”

Yes, you are and we’re sure you did a thorough analysis, but if you want your team to be committed to the idea, their voices need to be heard. Besides, you might be surprised by someone else’s perspective.

If you want to achieve results and increase your influence, look for places where you’ve clung to being “right.” Then let it go…and choose to be effective.

5. Harder isn’t smarter.

“Work smarter, not harder” is a cliché for a reason. More effort isn’t always the answer. Twelve hour days filled with back-to-back meetings may feel busy, but they’re not healthy, strategic, or ultimately productive.

When you’re leading, creating time to think and get perspective will often be far more valuable than pouring in a few more minutes of sweat equity. Once you’ve got motivated people and clear shared expectations, the changes that will do the most good often aren’t more effort, but better systems.

6. You are not alone.

Too many leaders suffer in lonely silence. You don’t have to. In fact, leading by yourself will limit your career and influence.

Effective leaders connect with people. Connect with your colleagues and invest in one another’s success. Connect with your team and they’ll make you better. Connect with mentors or coaches to grow. Connect with a community of leaders for support and encouragement.

Your Turn

When you build on a strong foundation, leading is more rewarding and you’re more effective. Leave us a comment and share a foundational truth or mindset that has served you well.


Innovative Leadership Training Leadership Development

courage

Leaders Share about Courage, Influence and Hope: August Frontline Festival (with video)

Welcome to the Let’s Grow Leaders Frontline Festival on courage, influence, and hope, celebrating our new book for kids, Glowstone Peak. We asked thought leaders from around the world to share their very best post on these topics.

Thanks to Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx Group for the great pic and to all our contributors!

Next month’s Frontline Festival is all about collaboration.

New contributors are always welcome. Submit your relevant blog posts here!

Thanks to all of you who shared your thoughts in this video!

Frontline Festival August 2018

Courage

Cynthia Stadd of TheActsofCourage.com offers The Eating Disorder that Brought Me to my Knees, and How I Found the Courage to Be Healthy.  She shares her journey openly, how courage became part of dealing with the issue, and the steps that helped her toward healthier living.  Connect with Cynthia.

Wendy Dailey of My Dailey Journey gives us It’s Hard to Speak Up.  It’s hard to speak up when someone says or does something that makes you uncomfortable, but we need to hear these stories. Not just the stories of harassment, but of all bad behavior that we need to stop tolerating in the workplace. Follow Wendy.

Eileen McDargh of The Energizer shares THAI THIS: Resiliency Lessons from Underground. We saw an amazing rescue in Thailand, and there are several lessons we can learn about courage from those involved.   Follow Eileen.

Lisa Kohn from Chatsworth Consulting Group presents Be Brave. Show Up.  She shares that when something comes our way that we don’t know how to handle,  just showing up may actually be all we need to do. Or sometimes even just to being willing to show up. Because each time we simply show up, we grow, and we get braver and stronger and begin to lead more effectively.

Rachel Blakely-Gray of Patriot Software, LLC  offers How to Pursue Customer Conflict Resolution with a Level Head. Anyone who tackles conflict-related problems needs the courage and humility to understand and address the other party’s pain points. Learn how to achieve customer conflict resolution in your small business.  Follow Rachel.

David Grossman of The Grossman Group provides Times of Change Call for Increased Levels of Communication and Courage. In times of change or uncertainty, organizations need leadership more than ever. This is the time for courageous conversations and straightforward communication. Get insights on what to share with employees and why it’s important. Follow David.

Chris Edmonds of Driving Results through Culture provides his Culture Leadership Charge: Drive out Fear.  In this three-minute video episode, Chris shares the open secret of WD-40 Company’s tribal culture–replacing fear with learning moments.  Follow Chris.

I did leave, but then I came back to tell you that if you were brave enough, I could be brave, too.”  – Gnome

Influence

Sean Glaze of Great Results Teambuilding shares a short video on influence.  As a Winning Teammate, what is the ONE way for to be most effective and consistent in influencing your team? How does courage create that opportunity?  Follow Sean.

Ronni Hendel of InsightOut Leadership gives us a touching Tribute to My Teacher in memory of  Doug Silsbee. Doug wrote and taught about presence for many years, most recently in the context of being in hospice and facing his own death. Sadly, he passed away on August 1st. His courage remains a source of inspiration for which Ronnie is immensely grateful.   Follow Ronni.

Paula Kiger of Big Green Pen provides Underneath the Drywall. All of us are individuals of many layers, some of which aren’t obvious to the casual observer. It is what we infuse in those deeper layers that influences who we are and the long-term effect we have on the world.  Follow Paula.

Oh and as a bonus… check out Paula’s video and review of Glowstone Peak.

Shelley Row of Shelley Row Associates gives us Words Matter: Three Steps to Using Words to Get What You Want. In this post, Shelley reminds us of the power and influence of words on ourselves and those we lead.  Follow Shelley.

Miles Anthony Smith, MBA of Milesanthonysmith.com shares 29 Leadership Experts Share Their Top 19 Leadership Competencies & Behaviors for Success.  If you want to have a positive influence on your team and others, this list will inspire you.  Follow Miles.

Let’s go together. What are we waiting for? – Mother Gnobuck

Hope

Glowstone Peak What makes you hopefulNate Regier of Next Element Consulting offers The Discipline of Optimism. In it, he encourages us to not just see the glass as half full, but do what it takes to fill it up.   Follow Nate.

Skip Prichard of Leadership Insights  gives us Quotes on Hope. Napoleon once said that leaders are dealers in hope. With that in mind, here are some of his very favorite quotes on hope.  Follow Skip.

Julie Winkle Giulioni of DesignArounds provides Who Knows What Employees Really Want? One thing that fuels hope in the workplace is when leaders know what employees want and help them make it happen. This post explores possibilities and simple processes leaders can use to powerfully support employees and contribute to a hopeful environment. Follow Julie.

And yes, ANOTHER BONUS… Thank you Julie for the opportunity to share our thinking on Questions to Develop Leadership in Children as part of our Glowstone Peak Launch.

Beth Beutler of H.O.P.E. Unlimited gives us How the HOPE Family Encouraged Me.  During a season of discouragement in her business, Beth experienced personal hope and uplift from other professionals. She shares about what a gift that was. Follow Beth.

The answer is up there, somewhere.  – Selvia

Your Turn.

Are you working to grow courage, influence, and hope in young leaders? We’d love to hear from you and your children. Check out our Glowstone Peak activity page for ways to celebrate children living these values. Or to order a copy of Glowstone Peak click here.

what no one tells you about leadership

What No One Tells You About Leadership

Welcome to the Hope Business

If I could give a one-page orientation manual to every person who takes a management or leadership position, at the top of the page it would say:

You may have taken this job for the money (it’s not going to be enough),

for the power (you don’t actually have power – it’s an illusion),

or for the prestige (no job will make you feel good about yourself).

Maybe you took this job because you care about the people you serve and results your can achieve together. If so, you’re off to a great start.

Welcome to the hope business.

When your team has hope, you have a chance. Hope means they believe in you. They trust you and one another. You are credible and you have a strategy they believe can succeed.

Everything you do from now on will build or erode hope.

I know you can do this.

Welcome to the hope business.

Welcome to leadership!

If you’re like most leaders, no one has ever told you’re in the hope business. That this is the most important thing you can give your team. That without it, you are finished before you ever get going.

Hope is your most important leadership responsibility.

Why Try?

Leadership is the belief that if we work together we can have a better tomorrow.

That’s hope. But if you’re like most leaders, no one’s ever told you that you’re in the hope business.

But every day you ask your team to try, to think, to solve problems. Why? Why should they try?

The only answer is hope.

Hope isn’t a strategy – but it’s a damn good fuel. [Tweet This]

Because when we work together we can make things better – better for our customer, better for one another, better for our families.

When It’s Tough

You might be wondering how to lead with hope when circumstances are challenging. Perhaps a market shift means you have to close some elements of the business that aren’t relevant and regroup to face a changing environment. What does hope look like in that scenario?

Hope is the message that together you’ll get through it. Hope is the gracefulness with which you make the changes. Hope is the way you call your team to their personal best. The belief and practice that no matter what happens, each of you will be better for the way you choose to lead through it.

Your TurnSelvia, leadership, and hope

One of the reasons we wrote Glowstone Peak was to inspire children (and the adults who love them) with the power of hope. As Selvia realized, “Nothing gets better if I stay here. So she started walking.” That’s hope – and the courage to try.

We hope you’ll share the story with the children in your life.

Now, we’d love to hear from you: What role does hope play in your leadership? How do you lead with hope – especially when times are challenging?

7 Ways To Inspire Hope

He had all the signs and words of stuck. “I can’t” “No one will help.” “No options.” He’d stop trying to improve the situation and was looking to numb it. His “sports ready” stance had withered to hunched and clenched. He still had an occassional “wish” for a miracle. But, wishes without action are another side of hopeless.
And yet, from the outside looking in, I saw huge possibility, talent, and relationships worth leveraging. I yearned to help him adjust his lens to see new beginnings.

Why I Subscribe to Hope

Hope encourages hard work, risks, and meaning. Not the “want without work” kind of dreaming. The feeling deep in your gut that there’s something more.

I’m ridiculously yet pragmatically hopeful. Ridiculous, because I dream big and set goals beyond my reach. Practical because I work like a dog to make wishes come true.
Hope brought me through a divorce and into a loving marriage
Hope led to “impossible” jobs that made a difference
Hope in people transformed careers
Hope inspires my kids
Hope matters
Hope Inspires Others.

7 Ways to Inspire Possible

Leaders are ambassadors of possibility. When tired eyes look your way, engage them in gentle challenges. Help them realize more.

  1. Start with your own heart – Connect with possible. Remember feelings of turnaround and triumph. Export passion in your connection.
  2. Ask possibility questions – Sit with them in the silence of consideration before narrowing to questions of feasible.
  3. Discover stories of past success – First excavate positive feelings then connect to potential actions.
  4. Identify folks to crew the lifeboat – Who do they (and you) know who could help? Encourage the fortitude to ask for it.
  5. Open doors – Sure, they need to do the heavy lifting. But when your hands are full, it’s helpful when someone opens a door.
  6. Commit to continued support – Ensure that this is more than a one time “pep talk”
  7. Your turn – What would you add?

*Photo source: http://seattletimes.com/special/mlk/