Welcome to day 14 of our 30 Day Micro Leadership Course.
We’ve covered an awful lot of ground and I hope you’re finding the course helpful so far. Just remember, there’s a vast difference between knowing and doing. Make sure you put things into practice. We want this information to benefit you in real life. When we get to the end I’m going to ask you to email me how things have helped you.
Today, I want to introduce you to a concept that is as powerful as anything you can do to improve your life as a leader. Yesterday we introduced the power of the corner, the power of looking into the mirror, and the power of getting out of the corner by moving forward. It’s all part of the process required so we at long last stop making excuses.
Your Ideal Outcome Is Your Story
This is about your narrative, your story. Mostly, it’s about you taking full control over the story you’re writing. It’s not about you controlling (because you can’t) the story others write about you. We all have our share of harsh critics, people who enjoy making false assumptions about it based on beliefs they “know” are true. We also have our critics who read the worst chapter of our life and will forever judge us based only on that chapter. Don’t be preoccupied with them. Better yet, don’t even give them the first thought – much less the second one!
Ghostwriters abound. People are willing to craft your story to their liking. You can choose to let them influence your own writing of your life, or you can ignore them and get busy writing the story you want as you pursue your ideal outcome.
Let’s just concentrate on writing the best story possible. That’s what we learn while we’re in that corner. Let’s not forget it. It’s an important lesson.
We have to keep in mind that sometimes people are listening or reading the story we’re writing and we’re unhappy with it. Now that we’re in the land of NO MORE excuses we’re going to accept responsibility for it. Sometimes people conclude things about us that we resent until we figure out that we’re the ones writing the story they’re reading.
His boss tells me, “He’s not a very good delegator.” I ask him to explain. He mentions the many times this executive, one of his direct reports, talks about doing things himself. The boss offers me many examples of conversations where this member of his leadership team seems to perform tasks himself. The boss rightly concludes this member of his team likely needs to learn how to delegate. Additionally, the boss believes this executive’s team – of about 4 direct reports – is not being fully developed. He tells me, “There’s no way his team is growing with him taking full ownership of all these things. I need him to develop his bench better and be more strategic.”
Armed with the boss’ perspective, I meet with the executive. About 40 minutes into our conversation he has mentioned a few times the work of his team. I’m getting a very different notion of how he’s interacting with his team. It’s obvious the team members are performing, at least in his mind. I need to find out what’s true and what might be falsely assumed. The stories aren’t congruent.
“Tell me about how your boss views the work of your team,” I ask. He goes on to tell me how the boss likes members of the leadership team to be in the center of things and be leaders who make a firsthand difference. “Tell me more,” I request. “Well, at every staff meeting it’s petty competitive for all of us to make sure we get credit for what’s happening in our area.”
I listen, making mental notes of just now different these stories are.
Over the next few weeks, I follow the evidence. I dive into finding out what’s really going on. Conclusion? The employee thinks he’s telling the story his boss wants to hear. Instead, he’s telling the boss a story that doesn’t serve him, his team, or his boss. After visiting with his team it’s clear to me they’re strong, performing at a fairly high level. He is strategic, but he’s telling his boss a story that isn’t accurately portraying the work. So we get busy figuring out how he can not only write a better story, but tell a better story – one more accurate to who he really is and what he and his team are really doing.
Sometimes we’re writing the story we want, but we’re failing to tell it as well as we could. Both matter.
Next time we’re going to focus on writing it, then we’ll follow that up with a more focused conversation about how to make sure we’re telling it well.
Be well. Do good. Grow great!