3 CORES OF SELF-LEADERSHIP

“If you wouldn’t follow yourself, why would anyone else?”

John C. Maxwell

LEADERS ARE PASSIONATE TO LEAD!

But when we say we “are passionate” to lead, we usually mean we are passionate to lead others.

One thing leaders need to realize is that leadership begins with you. If you can’t lead yourself, you can’t lead others.

Why is leading myself more difficult than leading others? Why do I say or do things I know are wrong (there is a biblical reference here)? It happens at home, at work, with my wife, co-workers, and those I love and lead. So while I speak of myself, I am sure I’m not alone. 

The answer is simple. 

I believe there are times I don’t see myself from a realistic point. I see myself from my intentions, and others see me through my actions and words. I should probably also admit that I see my intentions from the training and talks I give.

Self-leadership is defined as “the process of influencing one’s self to establish the self-direction and self-motivation needed to perform.

Self-leadership is the foundation for leadership, but unfortunately, it’s not the fun part. On the contrary, it’s most challenging. Still, self-leadership is the hard work behind the scenes that prepares you for exceptional leadership. 

Tough Truths About Self-Leadership

Before we dive into some ways to lead ourselves, let me share a few more tough truths about self-leadership.

  • No one cares more about your personal development than you do
  • You can’t wait for someone to lead you
  • No one owes you leadership
  • No one is responsible for your leadership development

3 CORES of Self-Leadership 

Here are what I believe are the cores of developing self-leadership.

Character

Who are YOU when no one is looking? 

  • It requires YOUR attention to how you act and react
  • It means expecting more from YOURSELF than others do
  • It means exceeding everyone’s expectations

The question to ask YOURSELF, “What qualities do you want to be accurate within your character? 

Discipline

Don’t talk about it, do it!

  • Identify what needs to change
  • Take the initiative.
  • Read voraciously. Explore what others think
  • Be a lifelong learner, and be passionate about it.
  • Surround yourself with mentors and people more intelligent than you.

The question to ask YOURSELF, “What are the three things I can do to improve my personal and professional growth?” 

Self-awareness

  • Know your strengths & weaknesses
  • Seek coaching 
  • Identify mentors
  • Constantly evaluate what you need to “own” (good or bad) in every situation

The question to ask YOURSELF, “Where do my choices take me?”

So What, Now What

As leaders, we must never forget to self-manage our actions. Whether it is a situation or a person, we react results from our leadership frame of mind. 

Failure to manage your self-leadership will create a loss of respect and the inability to influence, causing people to leave and follow others. On the other hand, if you lead yourself correctly, you will influence others, and they will follow. 

“Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.”

John Wooden

Take the time to evaluate your self-leadership, focusing on these 3 CORES. Then establish a process where you consistently work to apply these principles and improve.

Jim Rhone once said, 

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor but without folly.”

 If you can take hold of this, you will be an effective leader. 

Denis is an Executive Director at the John Maxwell Group, is a certified leadership coach, trainer, keynote speaker, and DISC Behavior, Consultant. Denis is currently the Director of Health & Safety for Ferguson Enterprises. He is a passionate person of influence committed to teaching and communicating practical and relevant influencing techniques.  His unique, passionate, and emotionally driven style resonates with many creating a desire to become an effective leader. 

You can contact Denis at dbaker@leaderinfluence.net for information on coaching, leadership, team and culture change training, DISC Behavioral consulting or to be an inspirational speaker at your next event.

HOW TO BUILD YOUR LEADERSHIP WITH INTEGRITY

The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.”

Dwight D. Eisenhower

You don’t need to read much to realize that leaders focus intensely on their reputations. 

When companies conduct surveys and or assessments, most employees rate integrity as the essential leadership trait. A more significant percentage of employees considered it the top quality of an executive and people managers. 

Having integrity generates respect and trust. People want to work for ethical people; we all know that if our leader acts with integrity, they will treat them right and do what’s best for the business and the people.

Leaders with integrity will strengthen the business and increase employee morale. In addition, companies with strong, ethical leadership teams enhance their ability to attract investors, customers, and talented people. However, integrity begins at the top and works its way through the organization to create a culture that values integrity.

Leaders need to realize their words, actions, decisions, and methodologies help create their actual values and culture. How we approach actions and what we do and say is particularly crucial for leaders. We must be people of integrity. Everyone is watching how we respond to business and personal situations. We either draw people to our influence, or we repel them with our lack of integrity.

To build your leadership, you must incorporate the TRUTH into YOUR integrity. 

“Integrity is telling the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people”

Spencer Johnson

To accomplish this, you must make these four commitments;

  1. Speak the truth plainlyBe honest, and treat people well. Don’t exaggerate successes, and be quick to praise others’ contributions. As a leader,  YOUR word should stand on its own. 
  2. Share the truth completelyLying is when you intentionally mislead others by either falsifying or concealing information. Half the truth is a whole lie. There are situations we need to have hard yet honest conversations with our employees. If we back from these conversations, we can’t say we are a leader of integrity. I am consistently tempted to hold back the truth because I don’t want to deal with the consequences. But after 30+ years of leadership, I’ve learned this always backfires. In the end, people respect honesty. Truth often hurts, but dishonesty leaves lasting scars.
  3. Use the truth tactfullyTo build a culture of integrity, behaviors change faster when people know the truth is wrapped in care. Truth without love is always seen as an attack. Without showing care, all of our actions mean nothing. If you don’t care for the people you’re sharing the truth with, stop sharing it. Your truth-telling will never produce lasting results. If you’re trying to get something off your chest, you’re not speaking in respect. Just because you’re willing to share the truth doesn’t mean the other person is ready to hear it. The solution to any conflict is not deception; it’s tact. You can use your words to heal or hurt, make a point or make an enemy. Leaders also need to hold themselves accountable. They must treat everyone fairly, regardless of a person’s standing in the organization.
  4. Live the truth consistentlyIntegrity isn’t being honest 80 percent of the time. Partial honesty is dishonesty. Integrity is a requirement for leadership because all leadership is based on trust. If people don’t trust you, you can’t lead them. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable with your staff. If you make a mistake, say so and do all you can to fix it. Your employees don’t expect you to be perfect, and you will alienate them if you cannot admit fault when things go wrong.

SO WHAT, NOW WHAT

“The time is always right to do what is right”

Martin Luther King

As I constantly think about increasing my leadership and influence, I try to maintain strong integrity. Am I always successful? NO, but my heart desires to lead people with integrity, influence, and skill.

Take the time to consider these four commitments and take action where necessary. Together, we can change the world!

Denis is an Executive Director at the John Maxwell Group, is a certified leadership coach, trainer, keynote speaker, and DISC Behavior, Consultant. Denis is currently the Director of Health & Safety for Ferguson Enterprises. He is a passionate person of influence committed to teaching and communicating practical and relevant influencing techniques.  His unique, passionate, and emotionally driven style resonates with many creating a desire to become an effective leader. 

You can contact Denis at dbaker@leaderinfluence.net for information on coaching, leadership, team and culture change training, DISC Behavioral consulting or to be an inspirational speaker at your next event.

You Won’t Be A Fool If You Approach Culture Change This Way

“Only a Fool Never Changes His Mind”

RICHARD BRANSON

Everything we do within our professional and personal lives involves change. Everyone one of us (regardless of our position or role) plays an integral part in changing culture.  

As people leaders, we need to know how to achieve our change without creating a toxic environment, and we must quickly identify and address all the blind spots (there are always many, never none). These two things will sabotage our efforts. 

In his book The Culture Solution, Mathew Kelly writes, “For too many leaders, culture isn’t important until it’s urgent.” And that’s often the case. For many, but maybe some (you know whom I am referring to), it’s not that you disagree that change is essential or it’s not that you don’t see the need to make changes. It’s simply that you are focusing on the bottom line. Why change anything if you are already successful? As a safety professional, I get these comments constantly. “We haven’t had anyone get anything in their eyes, or anyone complain about air quality, so why should we spend the money if there is no risk?”

Leading culture change requires patience and persistence. Patience, because it takes time. Persistence because cultivating a culture change requires a robust daily effort. With an intentional, persistent,consistent effort, you can cultivate healthier habits and behaviors that, over time, lead to a thriving, sustainable culture. 

Let me share some cultural insights with you:

  • Culture is most important to a company. 10:1 to the vision
  • People Leaders determine the culture
  • People follow your example
  • Moral authority to what say and back it up with life
  • Culture is the personality of the company

So how do we successfully form a culture? A thriving culture is formed through these basic approaches :

  1. Behaviors
  2. Symbols
  3. Systems

Behaviors 

  • focuses on serving those who do the work.
  • Know “Who does What and Why.”
  • Show your Commitment – always under-promise and over-deliver (Exceed Expectations)

Symbols

  • Not about the corporate office; it’s about the field
  • Not bout your position title; it’s about your ability to build respect and trust
  • Not about the money you make or the car you drive; it’s about adding value to your team

Systems

  • Quit belching out the bologna and bring home the bacon.
  • Success is always in the active stage to building a sustainable culture

SO WHAT/NOW WHAT

As leaders, we don’t want to be viewed as a fool because we were not successful in changing the culture. By the way, many organizations fail in their attempt to change the culture. It’s as important to approach the change in a manner that fully engages the workforc3 and creates respect and trust. If people don’t trust you, you can’t add value, and you become the FOOL!

“Change is the law of life. And those who look to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”

JOHN F. KENNEDY

Denis is an Executive Director at the John Maxwell Group, is a certified leadership coach, trainer, keynote speaker, and DISC Behavior, Consultant. Denis is currently the Director of Health & Safety for Ferguson Enterprises. He is a passionate person of influence committed to teaching and communicating practical and relevant influencing techniques.  His unique, passionate, and emotionally driven style resonates with many creating a desire to become an effective leader. 

You can contact Denis at dbaker@leaderinfluence.net for information on coaching, leadership, team and culture change training, DISC Behavioral consulting or to be an inspirational speaker at your next event.

The Way We Say Goodbye, Is The Way We Will Be Remembered

Honor the space between no longer, and not yet.

NANCY LEVINE

As I have grown in my leadership and tried to do everything I can to build a great legacy with family, friends, and work, I began thinking about the best way to be remembered. After many conversations with leaders in various positions, I realized my legacy is based on what we say and how we say it. 

It is “The way we choose to say goodbye.” If you dig a little deeper into that phrase, the statement doesn’t focus only on the words we choose. Still, it also considers your actions during your limited time.

When we look to leave, most of us will be remembered in work and life for just a few words or actions that made a difference to others. 

So how do we say a good goodbye? Here are five things to consider in your transition.Ma

Make sure you successfully handoff of the baton.

Four runners running a mile can complete the distance much faster than one man.

The fastest runner can complete the mile in 4 minutes, but the relay team can complete the mile in 3.5 minutes, with each runner going full steam. A proper passing of the baton is the most crucial part of the race. 

The US Relay Team was the most talented in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing but lost the race because the baton was dropped. 

When thinking of leaving and transitioning our position, we must be excellent at handing the baton to our successor. So here are some thoughts on how to pass your baton effectively;

  • The one passing the baton must keep running full steam until the baton is passed.
  • There is a temptation to let up because you are tired…almost finished, but you have to keep at full speed.
  • The one receiving the baton must start running before he receives it. The receiver doesn’t begin from a standstill but is already moving to gain speed. The intent is the one receiving is going full throttle, just as the one who is handing it off. Both runners must remain in the same lane. To step out of the lanes is to forfeit the race. The one receiving the baton cannot have a different agenda. The baton must be passed in a timely fashion. There are two distinct lines on the track that designate precisely the area where the baton must be passed. It can’t be extended indefinitely.
  •  There is a beginning. There is an end. If the exchange is handled correctly, it’s possible to gain a step in the transition instead of losing a step. Since the one giving is reaching forward, and the one receiving is reaching back, there can be a jump step gained in the transition if done correctly.
  • Once the baton is exchanged, the one passing the baton does not run alongside the runner coaching him but stops, catches his breath, and walks across the infield to cheer his successor at the finish line.

 I think that’s some excellent insight on baton passing. So, an effective goodbye begins with a successful handoff

An effective goodbye in leadership transition must be the #1 priority of the present leader.

When you are going to make the transition, it has to be your #1 priority. Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric, said this, “From now on, choosing my successor is the most important decision I’ll make. It will occupy a considerable amount of my time every day.” He spoke those words in 1991 -Nine years before his anticipated retirement

The successor should have some good years to run the organization.

Back to Welch again from his book STRAIGHT FROM THE GUT, Jack said, “I wanted to pick someone young enough to be in the job at least a decade. While a CEO can have an immediate impact, I’ve always felt people should live with their decisions, especially their mistakes. I certainly have. Someone with less time may be tempted to make some crazy moves to put his stamp on the company. I’ve seen too many examples of that.”

Say goodbye to everyone but leave an open line to your successor.

Jeffrey Immelt, who is the successor to Jack in General Electric, said, “The most important thing Jack can do right now so I can take the reins is leave. I can always call him and ask for his advice, but physically the business can only have one leader.”

Walk away, giving your organization the best chance for future success.

You want to walk away and give your organization the best chance to succeed. 

Dan Cathy, CEO at Chick-Fil-A, said this,  “When the rate of external change continually outpaces the rate of internal change, disaster is imminent.” 

When the rate of external change continually outpaces the rate of internal change, disaster is imminent

DAN CATHY

In other words, when we on the inside don’t keep up with the transition on the outside, it’s only a matter of time we are not going to be successful in life. 

SO WHAT, NOW WHAT

I am not in the transition process; however, many of my colleagues and friends are either considering retiring or leaving their current position.  

Talking with people got me thinking about the transition process. And as a result, I encourage all of you to consider this information. Any transition requires a game plan. Start thinking now.

You can contact Denis at dbaker@leaderinfluence.net for information on coaching, leadership, team and culture change training, DISC Behavioral consulting or to be an inspirational speaker at your next event.

GOAL SETTING QUESTIONS DETERMINE THE PATH FORWARD

“A goal without a plan and timeline is just a wish”

DENIS BAKER

We are finally coming to the end of one of the most challenging years of my life! I bet many of you would say the same. 

As I look into the many variable possibilities of 2021, I realize that setting achievable goals is a critical path to achieving success. Many of us feel as if we’re floating in our world, not knowing what will come next. Most of us are hard workers, but maybe we didn’t get where we wanted in 2020, and maybe our attitude has fallen to there is nothing worthwhile.

Regardless of the future, we need to continue our goal-setting activities; whether it is personal or professional, the ability to know where we want to go will give us the skill to pick the right road going in the right direction. However, the way we approach the process determines the outcome. The process of setting goals helps identify where you want to go. By knowing specifically what you want to achieve, you know where you have to concentrate your efforts. This will enable you to quickly identify distractions that can lead you off course.

To accomplish your goals, you need to know how to clearly write them. You can’t merely say, “I want,” and expect it to happen. Goal setting is a process that requires careful consideration of what you want, the hard to do and ends with the desired outcome. 

In recent years, I have added a phase to my goal-setting process. Not only do I identify what I want to achieve by year’s end, but I now ask questions to define the specific goal I want to achieve.

Here is my new questioning process;

Xwhere you are now, or your current reality
Ywhere do you want to go—what will be your finish line
WhenThe date you want to cross the finish line

EXAMPLES

Let me give you some example to clarify my statement;

When the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) was developed in the 1950s, the original goal was;

“Leading the World in Space Exploration.”

When John F. Kennedy became president in 1961, he changed NASA’s goal to

“Land a man on the Moon and return him safely to Earth before this decade is out.”

Let’s put the 1950s NASA goal through the test: “Leading the World in Space Exploration.”

Xwhere are you now, or your current reality?Unknown
Ywhere do you want to go? what will be your finish line?The word “leading” is somewhat vague.  Results undetermined.
WhenThe date you want to cross the finish line?Unknown, it doesn’t list any timeline

Now let’s run JFK’s revised goal through the test: “Land a man on the Moon and return him safely to Earth before this decade is out.”

Xwhere you are now, or your current realityEarth
Ywhere do you want to go—what will be your finish lineMoon—with a safe return to Earth. What will be your finish line? A successful launch, landing, and re-entry.
WhenThe date you want to cross the finish lineDecember 31, 1969.

 Looking at these two tests, which one would answer the questions below?

  1. In which decade would you have wanted to work for NASA? The 50s or the 60s?
  2. In which decade was the goal crystal clear? The 50s or the 60s?

If you focus on JFK’s revised goal, I think you know the right answers.

Let’s look at a more realistic example.

ORIGINAL GOAL – “Improve the onboarding process for new hires.”

Xwhere you are now, or your current realityUnknown
Ywhere do you want to go—what will be your finish lineTo improve the process. Results undetermined.
WhenThe date you want to cross the finish lineUnknown, it doesn’t list any timeline

REVISED GOAL – Reduce onboarding time for new hires by 50 percent in quarter two by establishing a detailed onboarding process with at least five training courses and three shadowing opportunities with experienced team members.”

Xwhere you are now, or your current realityLong onboarding process
Ywhere do you want to go—what will be your finish lineReduce the time by 50%.  New hire onboarding process that includes 5 courses and three shadowing opportunities with an experienced employee
WhenThe date you want to cross the finish lineBy the end of the 2nd quarter

Both of these examples provide clear outcomes of asking the right questions to determine the clarity of each goal. 

SO WHAT, NOW WHAT

When we have clearly defined goals with expected outcomes and achievement dates, we set the path forward down the chosen road to achieving our vision and desires for the new year.

If you aim for nothing, you’ll hit it everytime.”

UNKNOWN

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WHEN YOU HIT A SLUMP, DON’T JUMP

I don’t sleep, I lay in bed longer than I ever have in years, I get frustrated over the littlest things, people don’t follow the rules and expectations. I think I have fallen into a slump. I ask myself regularly, “is it worth the effort to try and fix this? I’ll answer that in a bit.

Baseball players fall into hitting slumps, the stock market hits slumps, restaurants and retail chains have slumped, running backs can’t gain any yards, NASCAR drivers can’t win a race. Of course, leaders fall into slumps. Come on, we all fall into slumps!

It can be challenging to know when we fall into a slump because it is hard to define when and where it began. But I think we all know when we are in one.

When a leader falls into a slump, the influential leaders will fight their way out. The others will look for the easy way out. We can fall into a slump at any time. Many leaders have found themselves in multiple situations during this past challenging year, where they fall into a slump or two or three. I know I have fallen into slumps several times and have had to work hard to recover fully. 

What are some signs of a slump?

  • Not meeting budgets
  • Not addressing customer needs
  • I can’t get the sales I need to make the salary I am used to
  • The plan isn’t being executed or isn’t working
  • People aren’t following expected safety behaviors or following our policies and procedures
  • My team won’t respond to my expectations

When we fall into a slump, we are often tempted to look for a faster way out. We become somewhat fixated on looking for a short cut to fix everything. Sometimes short cuts put us in an even deeper slump. It may not be now, but it can certainly affect tomorrow. Crawling out of a slump can be a challenge; it is grueling and can be a long road to recovery. We are struggling; the lure of an invincible shortcut can be irresistible.

Giving in to a shortcut can result in a high cost of negativity;

Loss of credibility

  • Loss of respect
  • Loss of trust
  • Confusion among the team
  • Slowing of momentum
  • Reduction in your influence

So, what are these leadership shortcuts? Here are three of the most common shortcuts leaders take when trying to get out of their slump.

Creating policies or procedures

Achieving the vision requires a leader to move people forward. It requires influence, high-performance team members, responsibility, and accountability. But instead of doing this hard work, leaders tend to opt instead to churn out a few policies and procedures. I understand policies and procedures play a significant part in business; however, they can’t be the result of a slumping leader.

Losing it!

When a person loses their cool, it’s like a child throwing a temper tantrum. Our frustration comes out, so we pitch a fit. It’s like we are creating an atmosphere of fear and manipulation. Leadership is not about fear, manipulation, and position; it is about persuasion, engagement, and influence.  

Do it, and create another shortcut.

Reorganizing

Reorganize your team, your vision …or anything else.

A leader paralyzed with indecision will whip out a piece of paper, run to a whiteboard and start drawing boxes, circles, and lines with abandon.

A new and exciting thing will emerge in time, and the resulting change will provide another illusion that real leadership has taken place.

But, once again, it’s just another shortcut.

SO WHAT, NOW WHAT

Shortcuts, really? Shortcuts are not the solution to the situation, rather they are a temporary fix to creating an everlasting leadership challenge. Leadership can be difficult. Pulling yourself out of the slump requires a lot of effort; moving forward requires a tremendous effort and determination. 

Go deeper, not wider. Going deep will lead to wide.

In difficult times, it can be very attractive to take a shortcut. But resist the easy way “out” and instead be committed to the hard work of leadership.

To answer my question up top, it is worth fixing your slump; the results will be worth it.

Answering These 4 Questions Will Increase Your Future

“Asking the right questions is as important as answering them.”

BENOIT MANDELBROT

Being a leader in regular times can be a challenge. Being a leader in a crisis can be a complicated challenge. Successful leadership in regular times is hard enough. Trying to figure out what to do during a global crisis is CRAZY!

The best approach to embrace the current situation is to do what is right and ensure you protect your family, friends, and yourself. It also means doing what is necessary to increase your professional efficiency through leadership. But I think the biggest challenge is how we approach the future. Things aren’t going to be the same. 

I like what Thomas J. Watson, the founder of IBM, said,

The ability to ask the right question is more than half the battle of finding the answer.” 

I believe he is right on. Questions will generate answers, and answers will generate our actions. I think most of us have some frustrations due to the situation; I know I have. You’ve probably have heard more angry voices in your head and in your ears than ever before. Again, I know I have.  

To help reduce your frustrations and to be able to take the stance of a healthy and efficient leader, here are four questions to consider to outline the future.  

What can I change?

Think back to all those things pre-COVID things you wished you could change or stop doing. Maybe you didn’t change them because you didn’t realize you wanted or needed to change. Maye you but didn’t have the commitment, courage, or energy to make it happen. Well, now’s the time. Normal is gone, Now is the perfect time to make new things happen!  

You must figure out what needs to change and how to effectively make the change happen!

How would you approach a new role in these times?

It can be hard to transition into a new role. Old vehicles wouldn’t do well well in new air emission eras. 

I spoke at conferences and events as part of my pre-COVID life. I haven’t spoken at a live event since February 2020. Everything now is virtual. I’ve had to learn to embrace the fact that you can’t walk through the audience and hug people and shake their hands. My daughter and her family moved to Athens, Greece. Since the beginning of February, my wife and I haven’t seen my son-in-law, daughter, or grandkids in person. 

With COVID positives seeing a surge and mandatory quarantines coming back into play in place, I don’t know when speaking in person will come back or when I will be able to see my grandkids.

If you were launching as a speaker right now, how would you approach it? If you had family out of the country, how would you maintain strong relationships?

Once you know the answer to those questions, I think you will understand your new approach and succeed.  

Existing leaders who think differently and embrace change will have a much better future than their counterparts. 

Where does the real momentum lie?

Momentum is the product of the mass and the velocity of an object. Here is a more simpler definition; strength or force gained by motion or by a series of events. It might feel like you have no momentum anywhere, but that won’t be true for most people. (If it is true—the problems are much deeper than a global crisis.) All of us have some kind of momentum going on. Maybe it is different than before, but it is happening.

For example, you might be focused on getting people back in the offices because that’s where you feel you historically had momentum. The concern is, we focus so much on the past that we become fixated on trying to re-manufacture previous situations that we miss the opportunity to look at things differently. A good example is remote workers. Due to being forced to have people work from home, many organizations have found that remote workers are more productive, have a stronger moral, and seem to be a lot happier working from home. Sure, there are challenges, but remote workers can be just as productive or even more productive when given flexibility.

You probably have momentum somewhere. Figure it out. Study it. Determine why that momentum is growing and the benefits and how to maximize it’s potential.

If you want to exceed your goals, fuel what’s growing, not what’s declining.

If you choose to stay where you are, soon, you’re staring out the window watching the future pass you buy.

Can I sustain the pace?

I’m running into so many exhausted and frustrated leaders right now. Look, I’ve been there myself. Most leaders look to mental time off or vacation to reduce frustration and improve energy. I that approach will never give you enough time off to recover from the stress and frustration. I believe time off can revise your energy and reduce stress temporarily. Here is another example. I am a member of my organization’s COVID Sub-Committee. Our fundamental role is to assist our employees in dealing with COVID related issues. I recently took a few days off. When I returned back to the work environment, the stress and frustration beat me there. I believe we need to take time off and continue to build relationships with family and enjoy the life we have, but time off isn’t going to change your unsustainable pace.

You have to consider how you approach and react to each situation, whether temporary or drawn out. Making necessary mental and physical adjustments to create a sustainable pace is the solution! 

I suggest we ask the question, “how can I create a sustainable pace?”  In my personal approach to eliminate burnout, I make constant adjustments to achieve this phrase:

lead today in a way that you will exceed tomorrow.”

Most leaders lead in a way that will make them struggle tomorrow. We all have to work more hours, which affects our diet, reduces our exercise time and our ability to build our relationships. However, our desire is to find a sustainable pace heading to successfully achieve your personal and professional goals during this crisis and beyond.

SO WHAT, NOW WHAT

Moving forward, ask yourself: what changes can I make to ensure I exceed expectations in this current crisis and beyond? 

Your answers and resultant actions to these 5 questions are critical to your future success. We have to change, and we must maximize our momentum. Think about stopping a train and what effort it takes to get it moving again. The changes we make will determine our ability to lead others through this time of crisis and change.

AVOID LEADERSHIP FAILURES IN THE 2ND HALF

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

Winston Churchill

It is the 2nd half of the Dallas Cowboys game vs. the New York Giants. We have just lost Dak Prescott to a season-ending injury in the 3rd quarter. Ezekiel Elliot just isn’t gaining the rushing yards that he is capable of achieving. There is a 75% chance the Cowboys will lose this game. 

As I think about the second half of this year, I reflect on the Cowboys game when Dak Prescott was injured. I asked myself, what things did I do to cause a fall back in my leadership? The areas I determined I had failed in include; 

  • Made poor decisions 
  • Spoke when I shouldn’t have
  • Didn’t change my bad habits

I could have made wiser decisions. I did not have to speak everything in my mind, and I didn’t change poor habits that probably contributed to my leadership fall. 

Leadership failure is like injuries within football. Injuries seem to occur more frequently in the later quarters. Why? I think the simplest explanation is the accumulation of fatigue and the excessive desire to win. 

In this continuing pandemic, leaders are experiencing failure in their professional and personal lives due to the abundance of fatigue and frustration. For example, you make a poor decision because you were frustrated and tired and didn’t consider the outcome. Or maybe you said something harsh in a moment of frustration, causing pain and frustration. 

The reality is that we can’t avoid making mistakes. No leader can do that. But if you recognize your failures and frustrations, you can make changes and improve your chances of success. 

So how do you do this?

LOOK FOR ALTERNATIVES

When Dak was injured, a long time Bengals QB and now Dak’s backup, Andy Dalton, came in and led a game-winning drive. A substitute brings in full energy and allows other players to rest or recover, allowing them to make changes and improve their performance when they return. 

RECOGNIZE SIGNS OF FATIGUE AND FRUSTRATION. 

There isn’t a written process to determine when you need to take a break. That decision depends on your awareness. If you feel frustrated or tired, then take time away from work and do the things you love to do. Maybe it is a hobby or travel (where it is safe and allowed) or simply chilling at the house and playing with the kids or taking your significant other out to dinner. Re-focus your thoughts and approaches, look for opportunities to improve your performance, and re-build relationships.

PLAY YOUR POSITION

Stick to your role. Some people run out of energy and get frustrated because they’re trying to do their job and someone else’s. It doesn’t work for an athlete to simultaneously play several positions, and it won’t work for you either.

USE YOUR TIME OFF THE FIELD WISELY

Grow yourself. By growing your leadership, you will have the ability to lead others effectively. Think about the players on the sideline, riding an exercise bike, or getting attention from a trainer? They’re not doing it because they have nothing better to do. They’re doing it so that they can get back in the game. 

Our behaviors determine our actions and our actions determine the outcome. Be proactive and make the changes to ensure you finish the year strong!

9 SAFETY CULTURE QUESTIONS WE NEVER THOUGHT WE WOULD HAVE TO ASK OURSELVES

When considering the last few months, if we had been given a glimpse of this crazy year ahead of time, we would have thought the world had gone mad.

I feel It probably has.

There has been a significant change in the safety professional’s approach to influencing the workforce and leadership in safety. For some, organizations have a healthy and sustainable culture indicating that the only need is to reinforce the culture and look for continuous improvement. But for most safety professionals, organizations either; don’t have a safety culture in place yet, or the current culture is not strong enough to sustain a consistent, safe workforce. 

While we can’t approach safety the same we have done in the past, we have to ensure our current safety culture is continuously building up strong through our leadership and employees. 

I recently thought about this and came up with 9 questions I believe we need to focus on to ensure the workforce’s safety in this current situation. 

  1. Do your employees feel comfortable with COVID-19 protocols and procedures put in place?
  2. Is safety still a core value, or is the entire focus on revenue?
  3. Are your employees still stopping work when they feel unsafe? 
  4. Do your employees still feel comfortable approaching their colleagues if there is an unsafe condition or situation? 
  5. Are the employees exhibiting safe behaviors?
  6. Are people managers still engaged in the safety process?  
  7. Is safety integrated into every conversation? 
  8. Are your employees under pressure and more inclined to take shortcuts? 
  9. Is the leadership team thinking differently? 

I encourage you to ask yourself these questions first. Ask your team, the workforce, and leadership what their thoughts are and develop an immediate implementation plan to address the shortcoming or redesign processes. The answers to these questions will determine the plan as we advance. 

Your ability to ask questions will hlp determine the path forward.

“The ability to ask questions is the greatest resource in learning the truth.”

Carl Jung

ENDURING THE HARD TIMES

Thank God for the tough times. They are the reason you are there – to be the leader. If everything were going well, the people wouldn’t need you.”

JOHN MAXWELL

Last week was exhausting. I didn’t say it was terrible, but it was difficult. You know when you have one of those weeks where you get knocked down, get back up, only to be knocked down again? Well, that was me last week.

Being a Health and Safety Professional during the COVID-19 crisis is pushing every button and pulling every last string I have. Every day consist of multiple virtual conversations, meetings, and phone calls. Last week I made decisions that were contradicted; I issued a process that had many grammatical errors. And I gave people advice that was off from our company position. But one thing I can admit, is through my ability to endure and be patient, I was able to overcome my difficult week.

But on a practical level, where did I build the endurance and patience I needed to get through last week? As a leader, I look to grow my leadership capability in many ways, whether reading books, taking on challenges, creating leadership classes, or merely writing my blog. However, I base my leadership foundation on the Word of God. With this knowledge base, I can persevere through difficult challenges and difficult times.

Last week brought me to consider this bible verse. Colossians 1:11: 

11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have high endurance and patience,….

This verse gave me the answer I needed to get through last week: God’s power produces endurance and patience within us. 

What I found is endurance and patience will empower leaders:

WHEN CONFLICT ARISES

WHEN DIFFICULTY ARISES

WHEN CHALLENGES BECOME IMPOSSIBLE

WHEN A CRISIS OR TRAGEDY STRIKES

WHEN THE TEAM LOSES HOPE

A weak or passive leader would fail in everyone one of these situations. During difficult times, people want leaders who can endure the worse conditions and who patiently employ faith and grit.

If you are afraid to fail, you will never do the things you are capable of doing.

JOHN WOODEN

We are in a time where many friends, families, and colleagues are dealing with difficulties beyond measure. As leaders, we need to step up and encouraging them to endure patiently.

Will next week be better? I don’t know, but I am going to continue to patiently endure through what ever happens. By doing this, I will increase my influence and become a more effective leader creating a higher morale with those I lead. YOU CAN DO THE SAME.

You can contact Denis at dbaker@leaderinfluence.net for information on coaching, leadership, team and culture change training, DISC Behavioral consulting or to be an inspirational speaker at your next event.