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Archive for "Leadership"

Be A Role Model

Posted on May 5, 2013 by under Confessions, Family, Leadership.    

2008-09-06-hate-swearing

As we were leaving the rec center after my Zumba class yesterday, we walked by a mom and four kids getting out of their car. All the kids were very young. None of them were older than ten. I think the oldest kid was probably seven or eight at best. One of the kids had apparently left one of the rear passenger side doors open. The mom yelled, “Shut the fucking door!” This is what drew our attention to them. We would not have noticed them otherwise.

“That explains a lot,” I told Brian once we got in the car. I guess people grow up hearing that sort of language. They hear it so much that it becomes natural and eventually becomes part of their vocabulary. It’s so pervasive in their language that they don’t even realize that they’re saying it. Once they find themselves in a professional environment, it becomes a challenge to change and speak in a different manner and every now and then they end up slipping back to their natural tendencies.

I’m lucky that English is not my native language. I didn’t learn to cuss in English because my parents didn’t say or use those words. Actually, they didn’t cuss in our native language either. Cussing just wasn’t a regular part of our vocabulary. I’ve learned to cuss over the years, but it still feels gawky to me. You know when I’m really angry because then I force myself to cuss. However, it comes out sounding so strange that I (and the person I’m yelling at) just end up laughing at my awkwardness. Yes, I’m an awkward cusser.

Brian and I have no kids of our own so we have no business offering parenting advice. However, I can offer an observation. Actions speak louder than words so please be a role model to your children. You can preach against using foul language to your children but, if they grow up hearing you use foul language in everyday life and everyday conversations, chances are they’re going to follow your lead. Kids (or people in general) will often do as you do, not as you say.

They say that our attitudes, values, and beliefs form at a very early age. Corrupt your children if you must, but at least make the early years count. Wait until they’re older to start cussing around them. LOL. They will thank you for your great example later.

P.S. Thank you, mom and dad, for not teaching me to cuss.

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I’m Talented at Being Annoying

Posted on April 26, 2013 by under Confessions, Leadership.    

Last night I shared with Brian some of the things I’ve learned in Leadership Elite over the last few weeks. I told him that talent is more important than experience, education, and intelligence when selecting someone for a job. I told him that even the most menial jobs require talent. He didn’t buy it.

I read him some excerpts from the book that we’re reading in class, First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently (much to his dismay). He was like, “I just want to play my video games and kill stuff.” LOL. I finally left him alone but resumed our conversation this morning in the shower.

    I asked him the following questions:

  1. Is there a 4th of July in Mexico?
  2. If the doctor gave you three pills and told you to take one every half hour, how long would they last?
  3. How many species of each type of animal did Moses take into the ark?

Guess what. He got all three questions wrong. I told him that it’s not him. It’s because of his filters. Our filters are the building blocks of our talents. He was like, “Not this again!” Did I mention that he really hates it whenever I go through training?

Anyway, I did get him to agree that he has a talent for organizing things. He can bring order to the most chaotic of environments. His desk is always neat and organized. He’s even helped me clean and organize my own desk. When there isn’t an organized process for doing things, he creates one. When I look at my messy closet, I am overwhelmed; yet he can organize everything within minutes. Organization is not just something he is good at — he’s talented at it.

I thought for a moment and asked, “So what’s my talent?”

“Being annoying,” Brian replied. After I glared at him and we laughed together, he admitted, “Actually, you are talented at learning things.”

I think he’s absolutely right. It explains why I learn choreo in Zumba really quickly. It explains why I love going to school. It explains why I’m always eager to receive training and acquire new skills. It explains why I enjoy getting up early on Saturday mornings and sitting in a Spanish class that I’m not even enrolled in. It explains why I embrace new information rather than rejecting it. It’s not because I’m gullible or impressionable, though I am at times. It’s because I’m an empty cup ready to be filled. I’m a sponge that just wants to soak things up. I am this way because I have a talent for learning (or so we’ve concluded).

You know what excites me most about this revelation? I just learned something new about myself.

FOLLOW UP:

While I was typing this post, the doorbell rang. Brian answered the door and talked to the guy outside.

I was like, “Who was that?” Apparently it’s some guy going door to door, offering lawn care services.

“That would suck,” he said.

“What?” I asked.

“Going door to door.”

“Not if you’re talented at it!”

And that, my friends, is the reason why talent is important when hiring someone to do a job.

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Thank You for My Free Book

Posted on September 28, 2012 by under Leadership.    

I drove to Topeka yesterday to listen to Bruce Tulgan talk about leadership. That’s leadership with a lower case L, by the way. I normally ride with Darcy, but she didn’t sign up for the training this time around. So I ended up driving myself because Isaac accidentally left me out of the carpool email. It worked out okay though because I need to drive more anyway. I’m always the passenger.

Brian always worries about me when I have to drive long distances because I turn into a narcoleptic in the car. It wasn’t too bad this time. I was actually alert the entire drive home. Maybe it was because of Tulgan’s energizing talk that morning.

Unlike other speakers we’ve had in the past where everyone gets a copy of their book for free, Tulgan actually makes you work for yours. If you are engaged and ask a question, you get rewarded with a free copy of one of his books. Would you have expected anything different from the author of Not Everyone Gets A Trophy? LOL. Isaac actually ended up getting a free copy of that book yesterday, which is quite fitting since he’s a member of the Y Generation. Though, he probably doesn’t need any tips on how to manage himself.

I was fully engaged but had a challenging time coming up with a question to ask (so I could earn my free book, of course). Every time I thought of a question, I also thought of the answer. I know. It’s really hard being me.

Time was running out and he was quickly running out of books to give away so I desperately had to say/ask something. I did get to squeeze in a question (which hopefully wasn’t as bas as Angie’s “Cookies” comment from the latest Survivor episode), but he was out of the hard cover books and only had “Fast Feedback” left, which I already had. Thankfully, Tracey who asked a question earlier and got a copy of It’s Okay to Be the Boss was willing to trade me. She probably figured that I needed all the help I could get. LOL. Actually, she’s just really nice and saw how badly I wanted a copy of the book. I’m hoping to finish reading it this weekend so I can just give it back to her.

Thank you, Bruce Tulgan for giving making me work for my free book. (Thanks to Tracey for trading me.) More importantly, thank you for stimulating my brain enough to keep me awake on the drive back to Wichita.

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Am I Manipulative?

Posted on August 14, 2012 by under Confessions, Leadership.    

We had a good leadership seminar/conference/training/meeting today. While I didn’t learn anything earth shattering, our guest speaker (Phillip Van Hooser) pretty much affirmed common sense concepts that we already know but don’t consistently practice (at least I know that I don’t and should), I think these meetings are valuable in that they remind us of the things that we often take for granted. It’s tough to get away when work is extremely hectic and schedules are beyond busy, but having these meetings once a year or so is a nice refresher. Sometimes we need to be reminded of the things that we should be doing. I suppose some people feel more confident about their leadership abilities. I need all the help and reminding that I can get.

Anyway, our speaker today said something that one of my bosses actually disagreed with. Van Hooser said, “You can’t, I can’t, no one can motivate someone to do something that they don’t want to do.” My boss argues that you can. As for me, I agree with Van Hooser’s statement. I felt bad about disagreeing with my boss’ views because I admire him a lot. He is one of the wisest people I know and is an amazing leader. He is pretty much the “Gil” of leadership. When it comes to cars and car maintenance, I ask myself WWGD? When it comes to work stuff, one of my first questions usually is WWTD? It was really difficult for me to have an opposing view but, the more I think about it, the more I realize that I agree with both of them.

Yes, I know that I can’t motivate someone to do something that they don’t want to do. I believe this statement. But, I also believe that you can make someone “want” to do something they otherwise wouldn’t do. The key for me is helping the other person realize that this is what they want. A coworker raised the issue of motivation vs. manipulation. I guess, to many people, convincing someone that they want to do something they didn’t previously want to do requires manipulation. However, I’m envisioning a totally different approach. I see it as helping someone come to the realization that they want to do something by asking them a series of questions. By having a good conversation with them, they’ll come to realize that performing the tasks expected or required by the company will ultimately help them achieve their goals or satisfy their needs. I don’t feel like I’m coercing or manipulating or threatening them into doing something they don’t want to do. SIDE NOTE: If you’ve met me, you know that I’m not assertive so it’s highly unlikely that I would be aggressive with anyone. I’m kind of a softie. Too soft in fact that I felt like I needed to take assertiveness training earlier this year in order for people to take me seriously (end side note). I feel like I’m merely helping the other person understand how our goals are aligned and that it really makes sense for them to do what is asked.

So am I unknowingly manipulating people? That’s quite a revelation. There is a line between motivation and manipulation, the latter being a negative way of getting the results that you desire. I’ve never really thought about it, but I’m now worried that I’m being manipulative without even realizing that I’m doing it. WTH? (File this under #leadershipconundrums.)

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Gripes Go Up

Posted on October 27, 2011 by under Leadership, Movies, Videos.    

We got to see this video clip from the movie Saving Private Ryan in our meeting today. I’d never seen that movie before. Brian says it is really good. It’s the first movie that actually made him cry.

Anyway, this is the perfect example of the whole “disagree in private, execute enthusiastically in public” concept that we always learn in leadership classes. You don’t want to be just a “yes” man or woman. It’s important to ask questions and voice your concerns, but there is a time and place to do that. And it’s not in front of your team/subordinates. Like Tom Hanks says in the movie, there is a chain of command. Gripes go up.

After a decision is made, a leader’s role is to present the information in the best possible light. Subordinates can see if the leader doesn’t believe in the decision or isn’t supportive of it, and they won’t be as well. The leader must execute enthusiastically and with confidence and conviction in order to ensure the best chance of success.

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