MILLENNIALS NOW MAKE UP the largest percentage of the workforce. As workers, they’re characterized as brazen, fearless and unwilling to take “no” for an answer. Their assuredness and technological expertise have radically changed office dynamics. Top-down, command-and-control leadership styles are outdated and ineffective with this modern-day workforce.
The clash of perspectives, with the Boomer generation craving the comfort of a hierarchical organization and Millennials demanding inclusion and collaboration, impacts the bottom line. Millennials will abandon any job if the culture their manager has created is unworkable for them. If it means more than six jobs in ten years, so be it. But such turnover is costly. Research shows the average cost of employee turnover is about 20 percent of the employee’s annual salary. Other costs of not adapting leadership styles for your younger employees are harder to quantify, including lost knowledge, relationships, opportunities, and more.
Transforming from an entrenched and unworkable generational disconnect into a dynamic organization able to face 21st century challenges collaboratively requires key actions, including:
1. Reassess attitudes toward junior employees.
Boomers and Millennials have distinct differences in how they act and how they want to be regarded in the workplace. These differences are potentially lethal to your business, particularly when leaders aren’t prepared to make the most of the talent and innovation the young employees bring. Strategies that move managers, supervisors and executives away from being simply directors to become “people developers”—coaches, motivators and listeners—will serve in providing the collaborative culture Millennials crave. And management will realize that all generations in the organization respond better to relational leadership opposed to directives and demands.
2. Realign workplace expectations.
Boomers remain in the mindset that junior employees have to pay their dues and show respect, just as they had to do. But Millennials expect their supervisors to understand the amazing life experiences and skills they bring. They value autonomy, flexibility and opportunity to express their opinion. Leaders are challenged to clearly communicate expectations and standards and allow the young employees to take ownership of their work. This means treating them as owners, not renters. Treating them like renters allows them to do the minimum amount of work and expect others to fix any problems. Owners, on the other hand, have skin in the game and own their part of the overall results.
3. Capitalize on new skills.
Millennials bring a specific set of game-changing technological skills to the workplace, yet Boomers often have no idea what these tools are, what they do or how they’re changing the business landscape. In the multi-generational workplace, a useful approach for capitalizing on Millennials’ skills is to employ “reverse mentoring.” Instead of the usual older-to-younger employee mentoring, the junior employee mentors the senior employee. Reverse mentoring helps close the technological knowledge gap, empowers high-potential employees and drives understanding and empathy between generations.
Companies who can effectively bridge the generation gap through leadership strategies that harness the potential of Millennials will create a competitive advantage. After all, the young employees are yearning for personal value in their work and the opportunity to contribute to something that matters. The alternative is that the manager—and the organization—become irrelevant.
* * *
This post is by Kelly Riggs and Robby Riggs. Kelly Riggs is an author, speaker and business performance coach for executives and companies throughout the U.S. and Canada. Kelly is a former sales executive and two-time national Salesperson of the Year with well over two decades of executive management and training experience. Robby Riggs is a corporate consultant specializing in strategic transformation initiatives and driving successful change in companies ranging from start-ups to Fortune 100s. Their new book, Counter Mentor Leadership: How to Unlock the Potential of the 4-Generation Workplace, offers practical, actionable advice that improves workplace culture and enables organizations to bridge the generational divide. Learn more at CounterMentors.com
* * * Like us on Facebook for additional leadership and personal development ideas.
PRESIDENT WILLIAM MCKINLEY would often informally invite confidants to the White House to review the day's business or discuss the problems of the days ahead. Charles Dawes was often one such guest. In Portrait of an American: Charles G. Dawes (1953) by Bascom Timmons, he quotes from Dawes diary about one such gathering:
He was considering the appointment of a minister to a foreign country. There were two candidates. The President outlined their qualifications, which seemed almost identical. Both were able, experienced, honest, and competent. Each was equally entitled to preference from a political standpoint Then he told this little story, an incident apparently so unimportant that, except for its consequences, it never would have been told, an incident so trivial that the ordinary man would have forgotten it. But McKinley was not an ordinary man.
The President said that, years before, when he was a member of the House of Representatives, he boarded a streetcar on Pennsylvania Avenue one stormy night, and took the last seat in the car, next to the rear door. An old and bent washerwoman, dripping wet, entered, carrying a heavy basket. She walked to the other end of the car and stood in the aisle. No one offered her a seat, tired and forlorn as she looked. One of the candidates whom the President was considering—he did not name him to us—was sitting in the seat near which she was standing. He was reading a newspaper, which he shifted so as not to seem to see her, and retained his seat. Representative McKinley arose, walked down the aisle, picked up the basket of washing, and led the old lady back to his seat, which he gave her. The present candidate did not look up from his newspaper. He did not see McKinley or what he had done.
This was the story. The candidate never knew what we then knew, that this little act of selfishness, or rather this little omission of an act of consideration for others, had deprived him of that which would have crowned his ambition of perhaps a lifetime.
Dawes relates this lesson:
We never know what determines one's career in life. Indeed, it may be these little forgotten deeds, accumulated, are the more important factors; for it is they which must, in many cases, provide us with the opportunity to do the greater deeds, and we unconscious of it. Why comes this reward in life? Why that disappointment or failure? We cannot know with certainty. This we can know, however, and this story illustrates it: There is no act of kindliness, however small, which may not help us in life; and there is no act of unkindness, however trivial, which may not hurt us. More than that: The habitual doing of kindness always adds to our happiness, for kindness done is duty performed. Unkindness always breeds an unhappy spirit, for unkindness is duty neglected.
Malcolm Forbes once said, “You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.”
* * * Like us on Facebook for additional leadership and personal development ideas.
MANY EXPERIENCED LEADERS predict a skill and experience crisis at the management level due to the vast numbers of retiring Baby Boomers. They may have cause for concern. Estimates from multiple sources project that Millennials will make up 75% of the global workforce as early as 2025. The question you need to answer is, “Do you have Millennial leaders who are ready to take over and fill the voids left by your experienced Baby Boomers?”
Consider these three action steps as you prioritize Millennial leadership development.
1. Boost Accountability by Strengthening Character
A lack of determination and resilience, low accountability and, a know-it-all attitude were some of the character concerns raised by 270 business owners and CEO’s who participated in our Millennial Survey.
Our sales force development work also indicates that 60% of sales professionals often play the blame-game. They adamantly inform management that the reason they aren’t hitting their numbers is due to the economy, the competition, the weaknesses of their company, or a combination of all of these. This externalized perspective is futile. It robs the complainer of their growth potential. How can we be proactive in developing strong character in our up-and-coming leaders?
Mentor emerging leaders on character-based issues. This includes taking personal responsibility, developing determination, knowing how to do what is right over what is easy, being trustworthy in all areas of life, and being accountable for their choices.
If your up-and-coming leader is playing this game of externalization, challenge him or her to think more constructively. When they focus on leveraging their internal skills, strengths, and resources, finding creative solutions becomes easier.
2. Build Confidence by Leveraging Strengths
Some Millennials believe they possess an unlimited well of knowledge just because they are able to find the answer to just about any question on Google or YouTube. This phenomenon is validated by research.
Yale doctoral candidate, Matt Fisher, and his colleagues Mariel Goddu and Frank Keil, conducted fascinating research on this topic. They asked people a series of questions that appeared to be general knowledge but were actually difficult to answer. Some of the participants had access to the internet and others not. They published their findings in an article, “The Internet Makes You Think You’re Smarter Than You Are.” [Interview] They came to the conclusion that head knowledge lacks the deep roots of real-life experience that provides the confidence to stand in any storm and press through any obstacle.
Use an assessment to enable your emerging leader to discover his or her strengths. The insights gained will build confidence and aid productivity, performance, and engagement at work.
Support your Millennial leader with personal mentoring to gain confidence. They will develop the ability to turn perceived failures into stepping stones to move forward and achieve greater business results.
3. Maximize Collaboration by Aligning Core Purpose
I was inspired when I first learned about the process, Life’s Core Purpose, developed by Jeff Pelletier. It is a powerful mentoring tool to help your Millennial leader get a deeper understanding of where they can create win-win synergy. Their best synergy is when their vision and values align with the company’s vision and values. Life’s Core Purpose process invites leaders to serve at the intersection of their core competence and core passion by asking: “Is there something I am personally great at all the time at a core level? And, is there something I care deeply about all the time at a core level?” The goal is to apply what we do well to what we care about deeply so that performance can accelerate!
Guide your emerging leader to figure out which aspects of his job energize him or her. This knowledge helps them to discover their core passion.
Present your Millennial leader with opportunities to make a positive contribution to their community and to the world. It will enable them to align their personal and professional goals, and you will be rewarded with a highly motivated, dedicated, and focused employee.
Will you be left high and dry when your Baby Boomers retire? If you are concerned about filling the voids left by your experienced Baby Boomers, it’s not too late. Step up and take action to implement real-world, rubber-meets-the-road leadership development strategies. Prioritize time to transfer skills, knowledge, and experience to boost accountability, build confidence, and maximize collaboration in your up-and-coming leader so that your business will thrive even after your last Baby Boomer has retired.
OFTEN WHEN FACED with a problem we see only a single solution or perhaps none at all. When we get stuck we need to create new and better choices. Choices that solve the problem in a new, more successful way without the compromises we usually settle for.
If we understand that we all have different mental models—our view of how the world works—we use those various models to improve our own.
Once we see things in a certain way, it becomes very difficult to see things in a new way. Integrative thinking is a method to do just that. Roger Martin introduced the practice of integrative thinking in his book, The Opposable Mind. “The opposable mind is one that can use the tension between a set of ideas to create new and superior answers to challenging problems. This follow-up book, written by Martin and adjunct professor Jennifer Riel, Creating Great Choices, provides the methodology to do just that.
Martin finds that there are three elements missing from most decision-making processes: metacognition, empathy, and creativity.
When employed, metacognition allows us to understand better our own thinking and existing mental models that influence our decisions and the choices available to us. Empathy allows us to understand the thinking of others, which in turn illuminates the gaps in our own thinking and areas where we might connect with others. Finally, creativity provides the imaginative spark to create new and better choices rather than just accepting the options held in tension before us.
Martin and Riel explain the integrative thinking process in four steps:
Articulate the Models
Step one is to Articulate the Models, that is “to frame the problem and tease out two opposing models for solving it.” What are the core elements of each model? The idea is to create a two-sided dilemma from a general problem like whether to use a centralized structure versus a decentralized structure or consumer needs versus shareholder expectations. Ultimately you will not choose between the two, but to use the two models or approaches to create a better choice. The outcome we will look for, won’t be a compromise between the two choices, but a choice that takes the best of both that will produce an outcome that is preferable to the existing ones.
Examine the Models
Step two is to Examine the Models. While holding them in tension, define the points of tension between the two models or approaches, illuminate the assumptions, and determine the cause-and-effect forces. As you look at the models, ask, what are the forces that drive the most important outcomes or the benefits we most value of each? How might we change how we think about the approach? What is similar? What is different? What benefit would you be loath to give up from each model?
Now you want to shift from understanding the models to creating new models, “creatively building from both opposing models to design an answer that is ultimately superior to either one.”
Examine the Possibilities
So in step three, you Examine the Possibilities. Explore other resolutions. Here there are three directions you might go to find a better choice: the hidden gem, the double-down, or the decomposition.
In the Hidden Gem, you take “one deeply valued benefit from each of the opposing models and throw away the rest. You imagine a new approach designed around the two gems.” And “you will need to replace all of the elements you’re throwing away with something new.” “I want one small element of A and B.” In the Double-Down, causality is key. If you identify one of the models as the one you would choose if it just weren’t missing one critical element, you Double-Down. “I want all of A and one key element of B.” In Decomposition, you do both—two contradictory things at once. You will need to “reach a different understanding of the problem you’re trying to solve.” In other words, you will need to break the problem apart and apply one solution to each. “I want all of both.”
Assess the Prototypes
Finally, in step four Assess the Prototypes to test different possible answers to find an answer that can actually be implemented. Proving an idea that is new is possible only in theory. A new model is possible only if we think differently. “At this stage, gaps in logic are necessarily the sign of a bad idea; rather, they are the hallmark of a new one. Gaps represent an opportunity to clarify and refine what a possibility could be. Possibilities become richer as they become more concrete because there is less abstraction within which to hide.” They recommend that when trying to communicate a new idea, try using storytelling, visualizing, or modeling—words, pictures, and/or objects. Look for ways to disprove the idea or under what conditions might it not work. In this way, you can finds ways to strengthen the idea.
What Is Your Stance?
Going into any decision-making process, you need to understand your stance—where you are coming from—who you are and what you are trying to do. What informs your thinking? Different stances drive different outcomes.
As a leader, your job is to be clear about your own thinking, knowing that your own models or views of the world are at least a little bit wrong. Understand others view of the world to inform and improve your own. And patiently search for answers that resolve the tension between opposing ideas to find the opportunities to create better choices.
Integrative thinking isn’t for every problem you face. “But when you find that your conventional thinking tools are not helping you to truly solve a problem, integrative thinking can be the tool that shifts the conversation, defuses interpersonal conflicts, and helps you move forward.”
Martin and Riel have included in this integrative thinking user’s guide, templates to help you work through each of the four steps. Keep it handy.
THE BOTTOM LINE is that there is no “good leadership” without ethical thinking. We’ve seen what can happen when leaders make decisions based on personal interests without considering the ripple effect of those decisions. The thinking that powers leadership choices must be grounded in ethical values or the impact on important constituents will be overlooked.
When my book 7 Lenses was first published, I wrote a guest post about it called “The 7 Lenses of Ethical Leadership” for this blog. Since that time, 7 Lenses has gone into its second printing. This book helps leaders “see” the ethical impact of their choices through 7 Lenses of Ethical Responsibility. The lenses highlight the impact on many constituents, in the short term, and over generations, giving leaders a holistic ethical picture. As work complexity increases, the ethical thinking we use to address it must advance as well.
7 Lenses™ of Ethical Responsibility
How much money will this make?
How can we avoid punishment and penalties?
How can we demonstrate integrity, congruence and moral awareness?
How can we respect and care for people?
How can we improve life in the communities we serve?
How can we honor life and ecosystems?
How can we make the world better for future generations?
Every leader must weigh the financial impact of decisions. Even non-profits have to carefully manage finances and raise funds using ethical practices. All companies have to comply with laws and regulations. The higher levels of ethical thinking, though, require a much longer-term perspective and a global worldview. We must be ready to make ethical decisions when dealing with multiple stakeholders with differing interests in the outcome.
In the 7 Lenses model in the book, each lens of the 7 focuses leader attention on one area of ethical leadership responsibility, and together all 7 of the lenses show leaders the combined impact of their choices. This way of thinking about ethics, in 7 dimensions, guides us to high level leadership thinking. Using better thinking we get better leadership.
Concepts and ethics guidelines that live “on the shelf” aren’t practical enough to help people navigate complexity. Leaders don’t just need to think ABOUT ethics, they need to think WITH ethical values to deal with catastrophic change and respond to increasing consumer expectations for transparency and ethical business. Ethical values drive business success and they should be the basis for every choice we make. Applying them builds trust and sets the foundation for all good business relationships.
Many leaders I talk with have a feeling that there is a more meaningful way of thinking and leading than what they’ve been seeing. These leaders want to have a positive impact in the workplace and make a difference in the world. Learning high level ethical thinking will not only help them handle the challenges they are already facing, it will also improve their long term social impact. We know that in the age of transparency, ethical brand value helps drive an organization’s bottom line results. How do we ensure that leaders will use the kind of thinking that leads to ethical action? We start by making ethical thinking “must have” development for leaders.
WHY DO SOME people outperform others? It’s not what you might think—talent, effort, organizational skills, time, or luck. We work under the assumption that more is better. But more time doesn’t necessarily lead to better performance.
Morten Hansen thinks the way we work is broken. Not only that but how we manage and reward work, and how our culture recognizes hard work. What we call hard work may not be our best work.
In Great at Work, Hansen reports on a five-year survey of 5,000 managers and employees, including sales reps, lawyers, actuaries, brokers, medical doctors, software programmers, engineers, store managers, plant foremen, nurses and even a Las Vegas casino dealer. They discovered seven work smart practices. The first four involves mastering your own work, and the last three encompasses mastering working with others.
Do Less, Then Obsess
The common practice he found among the highest-ranked performers in the study was that they carefully selected which priorities, tasks, meetings, customers, ideas or steps to undertake and which to let go. They then applied intense, targeted effort on those few priorities in order to excel. He found that there were just a few key work practices related to this selectivity that accounted for two-thirds of the variation in performance among our subjects.
So working smarter boils down to “maximizing the value of your work by selecting a few activities and applying intense targeted effort.” If we wish to perform better, we should examine our own selectivity process. But that’s only half of it. Not only do we pick a few priorities, but then we must “obsess over your chosen area of focus to excel.” “As few as you can, as many as you must.”
Redesign Your Work
Redesigning work is about creating more value for the same amount of work done. That requires an outside-in view “because it directs attention to the benefits our work brings to others. The typical inside-out view, by contrast, measures work according to whether we have completed our tasks and goals, regardless of whether they produce any benefits.” Hunt for value. Opportunities exist at “pain points.” Ways to create value include: eliminating existing activities of little value, increasing existing activities of high value, creating new activities of high value, improving quality, and doing existing activities more efficiently.
Don’t Just Learn, Loop
The Learning Loop means you learn while you work. Doing great work requires that you are getting feedback every day. In his study, 74 percent of the top performers reviewed their work in an effort to learn and improve. On 17 percent in the underperforming category did.
Aim for Passion and Purpose
You can have one without the other, but we should aim for both. “Purpose and passion are not the same. Passion is ‘do what you love,’ while purpose is ‘do what contributes.’ Purpose asks, ‘What can I give the world?’ Passion asks, ‘What can the world give me?’” With passion and purpose working for you, you bring more energy per hour of work. Passion alone doesn’t guarantee success or happiness. You may need to take a wider view of what ignites you. “Passion can also come from: success, creativity, social interactions, learning, and competence. Expand your circle of passion by tapping into these dimensions.”
Become a Forceful Champion
Getting our work done often hinges on our ability to gain the support of others. Getting other people on board takes more than just explaining the merits of your project. You’ve got to inspire them. The best advocates in their study master two skills in this regard. “They inspired others by evoking emotions, and they circumvented resistance by deploying smart grit.” Beyond just appealing to people’s emotions, they persevere taking into the account the perspective of the people they’re trying to influence and devising tactics that will win them over. Not just grit, but smart grit. Enlist others to help move your project forward. “Too many people try to get others to change by doing all the convincing themselves. They become lone crusaders for their efforts—and they exhaust themselves in the process.”
Fight and Unite
The ability to lead teams is crucial to great work. As a matter of necessity, much of this work takes place in meetings. The trick is to encourage constructive fights in meetings with cognitive diversity. Team members need to “debate the issues, consider alternatives, challenge one another, listen to minority views, scrutinize assumptions, and enable every participant to speak up without fear of retribution.” But after that is done, the team needs to come to a decision quickly and commit to a decision. You must unite. “That means people on a team have to commit to a decision—to agree to it and exert effort to implement it.”
Adopt Disciplined Collaboration
Hansen has identified two sins of collaboration: undercollaboration and overcollaboration. Some people talk too little, and some people talk too much across teams and departments. The goal isn’t collaboration, but better performance. He recommends disciplined collaboration. That is, “they carefully select which collaboration activities to participate in (and reject others), and follow five specific rules to make the chosen activities a success: establish a compelling reason for the collaboration, craft a unifying goal that excites, reward people for results, commit full resources or kill it, and tailor trust boosters to solve any trust issues quickly.
Hansen’s research has statistically linked superior performance to the daily practice of the above seven principles. Fresh and compelling examples are used throughout to fully illustrate the seven smart work practices.
* * * Like us on Facebook for additional leadership and personal development ideas.
TREN GRIFFIN, who writes the well-read 25iq blog, has assembled a collection of insights for entrepreneurs from some of the most successful venture capitalists and coaches of business founders in the world.
For A Dozen Lessons for Entrepreneurs, Griffin has interviewed 35 people who have “seen more highly successful business launched than any other single group on the planet.” He offers 12 quotes from each followed by short explanations to provide clarity and context. The book is a real education that is worth taking the time to reflect on and absorb.
You will get an experiential education from investors like Steve Blank, Marc Andreessen, Mary Meeker, Paul Graham, John Doerr, and Ben Horowitz.
What follows are some of the thoughts that resonated with me:
Eric Ries: “The mistake isn’t releasing something bad. The mistake is to launch it and get PR people involved. You don’t want people to start amping up expectations for an early version of your product. The best entrepreneurship happens in low-stakes environments where no one is paying attention, like Mark Zuckerberg’s dorm room at Harvard.” (p. 36)
Sam Altman: “In general, it’s best if you’re building something that you need. You’ll understand it better than if you have to understand it by talking to a customer. Passion and a mission are more likely to exist if a business is providing solutions to problems that cause the founders personal pain. In other words, a deep understanding of a valuable customer problem and potential solutions to that problem is enhanced if the founders are themselves potential customers for the solution.” (p. 44)
Sam Altman: “Eliminate distractions. The hard part of running a business is that there are a hundred things that you could be doing, and only five of those matter, and only one of them matters more than all of the rest of them combined.” (p. 48)
Steve Anderson: “Ten years ago, you needed $5 million to start a business. Today, you need $70 and some coding skills.” (p. 53)
Rich Barton: “Ideas are cheap. Execution is dear. Great leaders need three key attributes to successfully execute: brains, courage, and heart.” (p. 73)
Rich Barton: “It’s much more powerful long-term to make up a new word than it is to use a literal word. I also like to high-point Scrabble letters in my brands if I can work them in. They are high point because they are rarely used. A letter that’s is rarely used is very memorable. Z and Q are all worth ten points in Scrabble. X is 8. They jump off the page when you read them, and they stick in your memory as interesting.” (p. 73)
Chris Dixon: “You’ve either started a company or you haven’t. “Started” means starting with no money, no help, no one who believes in you (except perhaps your closest friends and family), and building an organization from a borrowed cubicle with credit card debt and nowhere to seep except the office. It means lying awake at night worrying about running out of cash and having a constant know in your stomach during the day fearing you’ll disappoint the few people who believed in you and validate your smug doubters.” (p. 99)
John Doerr: “Believe me; selling is honorable work—particularly in a startup, where it’s the difference between life and death.” (p. 102)
Jim Goetz: Many of the entrepreneurs that we back are attacking a personal pain.” (p. 116)
Paul Graham: “If you want to start a startup, you’re probably going to have to think of something fairly novel. A startup has to make something it can deliver to a large market, and ideas of that type are so valuable that all the obvious ones are taken. Usually, successful startups happen because the founders are sufficiently different from other people—ideas few others can see seem obvious to them.” (pp. 126-127)
Reid Hoffman: “So many entrepreneurs are worried about protecting their precious ideas, but the truly valuable thing is that you’re in motion, you have momentum, and you are gathering all the necessary resources to make it happen.” (p. 158)
Reid Hoffman: “The network of people around you I what extends your ability to be effective regarding expertise and reaching your goals. Put yourself out there and get feedback. Don’t be afraid to take a risk. Another huge thing to emphasize is the importance of your network. Get to know smart people. Talk to them. Stay current on what’s happening. People see things that other people don’t. If you try to analyze it all yourself, you miss things. Talk with people about what’s going on.” (pp. 160-161)
Ben Horowitz: “Sometimes an organization doesn’t need a solution; it just needs clarity.” (p. 168)
Vinod Khosla: “The single most important thing an entrepreneur needs to learn is whom to take advice from and on what topic. Ask different questions of different people, both those who have been successful and those who haven’t.” (p. 179)
Keith Rabois: “As you get into the unchartered territory where you don’t actually have any intellectual background, you need perspectives from people who are very different from you. At that point, it’s actually quite valuable to have people who are diverse.” (p. 255)
Keith Rabois: “First Principle: The team you build is the company you build.” (p. 254)
Fred Wilson: “Reputation is the magnet that brings opportunities to you time and time again. I have found that being nice builds your reputation.” (p.302)
* * * Like us on Facebook for additional leadership and personal development ideas.
HANG UP THE CAPE. Effectiveness in leadership is not about having all of the answers but not knowing and accessing the power of those you lead.
In The Power of Vulnerability, Barry Kaplan and Jeffrey Manchester explain that the secret to unleashing the power of leaders, teams, and organizations, is through vulnerability. The more that leaders open their hearts, reveal their fears and show their authentic selves, the deeper the connections among team members will be, and the more the team will achieve.
Part of what makes it work is that when we get behind the façades that we habitually put up, we begin to understand others better—their motivations, values, and beliefs. As we better understand what is going on inside of us, we will better understand what is going on inside of others and take their comments and behaviors less personally. We will begin to understand their points of view more completely. It generates respect and a willingness to share points of view that can strengthen the group as a whole.
You don’t begin this journey to authenticity and vulnerability by giving away the store. There are real and imagined risks. Some environments carry more risk than others. “Imagine that there is a continuum of risk, on one end of the spectrum is where you shut down completely, and at the other end, you are wide open. You stand somewhere along that continuum as you subjectivity determine what’s what. That’s your spot of safety, where your internal risk manager allows you to play.” To take the first step, “you’ll need to get permission from your internal risk manager to take a small step, say to stretch just 10 percent, in showing vulnerability.”
If you don’t believe it’s safe enough for you to share your opinions, you are not going to. Yet because you have clarity about what you want, you can now imagine the relational and team dynamics to ensure that you can express yourself more fully. Because you have clarity about your need to create safety, it’s already safer.
As you also make it safe for others to show their vulnerabilities, it will become safer for you. Creating a safe space for others involves:
1. Getting Present:
Set aside distractions. While you may feel safety in being disconnected, “if you’re going to be more open and vulnerable and show up in your power, then you must first shift from disconnection to the intentional practice of connection.” The authors suggest checking yourself mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Where are you right now through these four energy centers?
2. Understanding and Committing to Guidelines and a Protocol for How We Are Going to Connect:
For example, everyone commits to respect confidentiality, being present in the moment, staying when times get tough, speaking the truth, asking for what you want, owning your judgements and feelings, actively listening, and asking permission before offering feedback or advice.
3. Using the “Clearing and Resolution Model:”
Clear the elephants in the room so that “everyone can be aligned with themselves and the people they work with.” There is a process of clearing that asks five questions; What are the facts? What are your perspectives? What are you feeling? What was your role in attracting the issue to you? What do you want specifically?
4. Completing Exercises to Take Steps Toward Authenticity:
Break the ice with an exercise like everyone sharing a bit of themselves to get you to move out of your head to opening up emotionally to become more present. Create shared experiences. “The weekly or monthly meetings don’t count because the primary focus in those sessions is on the business of the company. Additional investment on a quarterly, semi-annual, and, at a minimum, annual offsite is required to help continue the momentum of trust and connection that has been established.”
5. Anchoring and Integrating the Process:
Create a rhythm by creating rituals that serve to maintain the connection you’ve established. The heart of authenticity is connection. It has to be a conscious choice practiced over and over.
When our souls transparently connect with other souls, something magical happens. You begin to be seen and known and accepted for who you are and what your viewpoint offers. Your diversity is embraced, as is everyone else’s. This creates a deeper sense of understanding and respect for everyone around us.
The best way to get stuff done, to be the boss, to be a real leader, is to encourage others to step into their best version of personal leadership. That means you as a boss, need to accept that you may not always be right, that you may not always know the answer, that you may not even know who does know. You’ll also need to accept that it is okay and even sensible (though risky) to move into the unknown, that it is okay to believe that the best outcome is when you can be both the boss and a leader without having to always lead. Embrace the reality that sometimes the highest form of leadership is when you lead from behind be creating the environment for others to claim their power and step in before you.
Begin the journey by practicing vulnerability in the hope that others on your team will really see you and seek a version of the journey for themselves. And hang up the cape.
* * * Like us on Facebook for additional leadership and personal development ideas.
* * *
Read Full Article
Read for later
Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
Scroll to Top
Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.