So you have a big thing going on right now. It’s not the best thing to have but it’s there. In fact it isn’t even close to being a good thing. You keep swatting it away but somehow it just keeps coming back like craft paper to glue.
Just the other day it really got in your way. Not only that, it made you second-guess your own ideals. It had you shaking your head. Then you stopped cold and asked yourself, “Did that just really happen?” You even woke at 3 am last night in a cold sweat.
Now it’s getting out of hand.
Ah, the pressure of creating a New Year’s resolution. If I hear one more person ask me “What’s your resolution for next year?” I’ll scream. And I bet you would too.
That’s because a resolution actually means a firm decision to do or not do something or, the act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict, problem, etc. I don’t know about you, but I see both meanings as rather negative. Who wants to do or not do something and then end up feeling failure for not following through? And seeking a solution to a problem brings up the idea that we aren’t good enough as we are.
I have another idea that blows resolutions out the window – re-ignite.
How often in your career have you been part of a team that isn’t clear on its vision? How often have you been part of a team that embodied all the strengths needed to be high performing?
In his seminal book, Leadership, published back in 1978, James MacGregor Burns introduced Transformational Leadership; the basic concept in which leaders focus on the beliefs, needs, and values of their followers. For its time, this was breakout thinking.
How many of us are committed to regular reflection and seeking feedback on how we show up in our professional lives? My guess is not many.
Asking others to provide comments – albeit constructive – can be scary. As for self-reflection, for some of us this is just plain difficult and not a natural skill.
I have a way to understand your self-awareness on who you are, how you show up in the world, and what others see when you’re stressed.
But first, let me tell you how I discovered something really important about myself and how it changed everything for me!
In a recent article by Maynard Webb #ProductivityHacks, Chairman of Yahoo, he talks about how he builds trust with his team to leverage more time to spend on things he cares about. One of the actions he suggests builds trust stood out for me: ask questions.
too many question marks
In coaching lingo this is known as taking a “coach approach”. But will it actually help you build trust with your team?
I believe it will and here is why.
Recently I was having coffee with a young man (well, young to me) who I met a few years ago on a project. He sought me out to chat about my career and navigating the corporate ladder. Flattered though I was, I quickly turned the tables on him and, like any good coach, made the conversation about him and his aspirations.
I knew I’d hit a few nerves when we got up to leave, as he was a bit tongue-tied with swirling thoughts and ideas. I was happy to hit those nerves. That is what I do. That is part of the process in helping people become unstuck.
The details of our conversation shall stay between he and I. What I was reminded of as we talked are two concepts that are critical if you have aspirations to move ahead, manage and lead.
Like me, I think most of us grew up being told to “do your best”. We were never told to “make a mistake”. Good reason for that – as humans we strive to succeed and those around us want us to be the best we can be. But what if were given permission to make mistakes? What if that was expected of us?
Sure, no one likes to make a mistake, but there are benefits. When you own up to a bad choice or decision, it opens you up to these opportunities:
Over the past 3 years I have had 3 separate falls resulting in broken bones. Yes I realize I don’t have a great sense of balance (as hard as I work on it). But I also know that these accidents have stopped me dead in my tracks.
Fifteen years ago I had my first major fall resulting in 3 surgeries over several years. This too forced me to make some big decisions, like postponing grad school. It also gave me the opportunity to learn how to accept help from others. After all, I always felt it was my job to help everyone else.
I have noticed a lot of people have a really difficult time living in the gray zone. What I mean is, when they don’t have a clear path, clear goals and can anticipate what is next, they crumble under the pressure of the unknown.
In organizations this has been precipitated by changes in how business is being done, hence the proliferation of change management processes and experts over the last 15+ years. Yes we do live in a time of constant change and we are functioning at a speed never before imagined. And this is the new normal.
In my coaching practice, I work with clients who are most often looking to change. It may be a job, a career path, or a different way of approaching something. Whatever the reason, we work toward establishing a viable plan. Once in place, I always ask the most important question – what will you take with you and what are you going to leave behind?
Most often the client is surprised. Why? Because they don’t realize they have a choice.