Someone Else is Going Through It

Oh, it isn’t just you.

You know that awful voice in your head, the one that is self-destructive? It’s more than likely stopped a project or two from reaching its full potential.

Well, it exists in everyone.

One of the most impactful things we can do for our teammates is to remember that we don’t and can’t know the battle that each of us is fighting. Then take that insight and apply it to our communication.

What do I mean?

  • Instead of writing that two sentence email, add some emojis to add some levity
  • Take a moment after a meeting and let a team-mate know you appreciate their work
  • Smile more. A smile makes someone feel at ease.

As leaders, we can bring happiness to someones day with little effort.

That effort can make all the difference.

Don’t Justify, Listen

Do you care about creative, innovative work from your team?

Well, stop justifying. Just listen.

There is an urge, from our ego, that takes over when it gets hurt.

We get defensive and start justifying our actions.

It feels good too! “I only did THAT because you did THIS.”

And while that “good” feeling washes over us, we are losing the attention and trust of those around us.

The trade-off doesn’t work. The math just doesn’t add up.

Instead of justifying, take a breath and listen.

While it won’t feel right at the moment, at first, the other person feels heard.

When everyone feels heard, that is when creativity really ramps up.

Talk to Your Team

You aren’t lazy unless you keep it to yourself

If you’ve done the “work required to have an opinion,” then you’ve done your job.

After that, it is your responsibility to say “I don’t know.”

If you don’t, you are harming your team. Get vulnerable. You have the opportunity to raise a question that helps the team.

Teams celebrate “I don’t know” if the leader has laid the foundation of a healthy culture.

That’s the type of growth that creates great teams.

Perfection is a Killer

Don’t let failure to launch beat you

Perfection kills projects and teams.

As a result, expecting things always to succeed is a recipe for destroying morale.

Products fail. Teams fail. We fail.

You can’t stop failure; it’s as natural as breathing. Failure is okay.

However, failure to launch is not. Don’t lose yourself to the siren song of perfection.

No one wins.

Build Trust and Push off Worry – Pick a Review Date

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Review in intervals, not the moment

There is no perfect choice. 

With that said, it’s insane to change every time you feel there is a better option. There is always a “better” choice. Making that choice is a shortcut into decision fatigue. 

In order to avoid decision fatigue, make it your practice to check and improve your plan before you begin every project. This tactic is a best practice.

Put the date on the calendar. When it’s there, if something needs a change, just document it. Once it is out of your head, you’ll feel better. Instead of a headache, wondering if this changes, you know you will address it.

This tactic is even more important when you delegate to or deal with a team.

Keep your team in the loop. An established review date improves trust and makes change a natural part of the process.

When you don’t do this, you risk changing the plan on the fly and demoralizing your team around you. 

Leaving your team out: avoid this at your peril. When you often change things without a set process, you seem to be a waffler.

This simple move, picking a date, allows the worry to have its “day in court.” 

Most importantly, you and your team get back to work.

 

 

Lead Hard. Lean In.

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Take a few arrows; it’s worth it

I know you do it better.

If there is one thing that both you and I know, it’s that you do it better than they do.

That email you see that person send, or that presentation you send them to give, or that meeting you ask them to lead – all of them would gain if you just took them over.

But your organization loses. Your team morale heads into the toilet. And the ability to scale goes out the window.

You look good, and the work is good, but you can’t stay awake for one more hour, and your team is turning into a bunch of flakes. This workload makes both you and your team miserable. You are burning yourself out, and your team feels useless.

The worst part is that because both sides are irritable, any conversation around the matter is going to come out harsh. That just makes things worse.

It’s best just to avoid that maelström and let your team handle it.

You have to put out a few more fires, but it allows you to see if you have the “right people on the bus. To keep them there, you have to stick up for them. It’s worth it, if you have the right people on the bus, then you can do impressive work.

From there, great things happen. I know it feels odd, but this is an early step into transformative leadership.

It takes a risk to start; you didn’t think it would be easy, did you?

Are you ready?

If You Are Losing Focus, Add Weight

I don’t go to the gym as much as I should, but when I am there, I love to see the level of focus.

When you are on the bench press, lifting 250 pounds, you find laser focus when there is a chance that the weight will fall on your neck. You’d better put all your attention on that bar. There is no time to talk to anyone that isn’t on your team. You aren’t turning your head to talk about the weather or the San Antonio Spurs, it’s either about this bar or nothing. When the focus is there, and the team is right, the person who is lifting can do things they didn’t think possible, all while getting stronger in the process.

Here is the rub: if the weight on the bar is light enough them to do it while not needing that focus, then they effectively have wasted their time. It might look good to other people, but since you need to focus and your muscles find it easy enough to lift without thought, then you don’t get stronger and you didn’t prove anything.

In life, if you find a lack of focus taking over your life, perhaps its time to add weight? Lean into a project a little more, get a little more vulnerable, call someone you don’t want to speak to do something that pushes your chips further into the table. Put the bar over your neck* and see if you lift. You might surprise yourself…

*Like at the gym, its best to do this with a spotter, or maybe a few of them. If it is too much, call for help. 

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