Leadership and Followership: A simple habit around Building Trust

I teach a class that brings leaders and followers into a room and they learn about great leadership and followership together.  During a class a couple of weeks ago, when we were talking about Building Trust, I asked the following questions:

Followers:  What do you think the leaders need from you to Build Trust?

Leaders:  What do you need from your followers in the area of Build Trust?

The general answers from the followers (on what leaders needed from them to Build Trust) leaned towards work getting done.  Statements were made like “Doing what you say you will do” and “Following through on your work”.

When I asked the leaders a similar question, the first answer was from someone new to leadership.  He raised his hand and said “Telling me that I am doing things well, along with letting me know what I am doing wrong.”

It is in moments like these that both sides of the performance equation realize they do not always understand each other. 

It is in these moments that just a little sharing helps us understand what we need to provide to others to help them be successful.

Followers:  What if you committed once a week to seek out your leader and ask them “What do you need from me this week?

Leaders:  What if you did the same, and said thank you when you saw your people looking out for you.

Initiatives become necessary because we forget about simple habits that help create success for people and teams.  Commit to this simple habit.

Resilience – What we can learn from the military

Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. George W. Cas...
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Do any of us in the private sector experience any more stress than a soldier in battle?  We all know the answer.  No.  Which is why it is worth taking 300 words to explore an effort to help soldiers build their resilience.

Resilience is the word of the year for the discussion around assisting people to manage through a stressful business environment.  I found a great clinical discussion in the Harvard Business Review around resilience (link).  I like clinical approaches to topics because they provide great information about what works, what doesn’t, and an outline of the critical steps/pieces of a solution.  They learn and I apply.

Here are the key pieces of the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness (CSF) program.

  1. Test for psychological fitness – Identify strengths in four areas:  emotional, family, social, and spiritual fitness.  All four have been found to reduce depression and anxiety.
  2. Learning – A mandatory course on post-traumatic growth and optional on-line classes on the four fitness areas.  Mandatory class covers five areas: Understanding a normal response to trauma, learning techniques for controlling intrusive thoughts/images, how to talk about it, see the trauma as a fork in the road, and transforming the trauma into new/reinforced principles of life.
  3. Train key leaders – Called Master Resiliency Training (MRT), the goal is to teach them how to embrace resilience and pass on the knowledge.  This last piece focuses on:  Building mental toughness, Building on our signature strengths, and Building relationships. 

I am not sure where this study will go, but when 900,000 people go through something and someone is measuring the outcomes and sharing the learning it should have a lasting benefit.

How can we apply this today? What do you see from their approach that reinforces how you lead today?  How you coach or mentor?  How you can create your own CSF program? How does your own awarness of self make you more resilient?  or less . . . . .

On a side note: I am glad someone is looking out for the health of our soldiers.

Developing Resilience – 4 Ways to Process Pain

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The top three most stressful events in life are:

  1. Death
  2. Divorce
  3. Job Loss

Right Management, an outplacement company and division of Manpower tells those experiencing #3 to do three things right away:

  1. Exercise
  2. Get a schedule
  3. Journal

When I share this with people trying to process a career shift or a plan #3 often stands out and evokes the question “Why?”.  The reason -pain needs to be processed to add to the tools/weapons that build resilience for future events.  Are you dealing with some event below the top 3 above.  Here are other ways to process pain/challenge:

  1. Executive coaching – A safe place to process, reset, and plan to move past it.
  2. Peer network – Few things are more comforting than knowing you are not alone in your challenges.  ALL managers and above NEED to develop this for themselves.  Don’t wait for your employer or HR team to do it for you.
  3. Read how others have done it – Like #2, finding a person with a good perspective can be comforting and will help you process things.
  4. Spouse/Best Friend – Having a ‘here is where I am’ discussion with someone who cares for and understands you is priceless.

Being alone with a challenge is not a good place to stay.  Go find a friend.

Get a Valentine’s Day Win

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Each year billions of dollars are spent improving performance of individuals and teams at work.  It is important for everyone to learn and grow, and the pressure to perform is higher now than at any point in the last 20 years.

On Monday it is Valentine’s Day in America, so the performance pressure increases ten fold for anyone who is in a relationship.

Let me rescue you.  Especially you men.  My only caveat is that this advice is coming from someone who gave an amazing set of knives and a classic cookbook to his wife (then girlfriend) for their first Christmas. 

Just finished a book set by Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn – One for men to better understand how women think (For Men Only) and one for women to better understand how men think (For Women Only).  Easy to read, <200 pages, entertaining, and amazingly accurate.  A worthwhile read and it will start some great conversations.  Include an IOU for a dinner/date night to talk about what you read and you are home free.

I just used those knives and cookbook tonight.  Why after 20 years am I still not vindicated? 🙂 

Development and growth is not just for work.

Communication – Always room for improvement. Right?

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I keep wondering when I will get over the hump and never have to worry about my communication skills.  I thought I had kids figured out, then I had a teenager.  I thought I had marriage nailed down, then I started my business and my wife started working.  I am ready to admit that maybe I just need to keep working at it.

What about you?  Is there a person, a situation, or maybe a group that just has you scratching your head?  Here are a few resources that are staples in my library.

Communicating (listening) to yourself:

  • Career?  Let Your Life Speak by Parker Palmer
  • Job loss or another traumatic event?  Journal – It builds personal resilience by processing your experiences for the day/week.

Communication with spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend:  2 book series by Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn – For Women Only and For Men Only

Communicating in Conflict: Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott

I am convinced that every year a standard part of any development plan should be one item around communicating more effectively with a certain person, group, or in a particular situation.  Imagine if we made a 5% improvement in this every year?

What resources for certain situations have you found helpful?  Please share your thoughts . . . .