Choosing words that matter.

Even a small word such as yes can make a difference in someone’s life when it is stated at the right time and to the correct person. Consider the last time you expressed this word, and what the context of using it was. Now that you have hindsight on having said “yes”, was this the optimal word to have chosen? Or, would you have rather expressed another word?

It’s not always easy to cobble together words that will have a positive impact, and some people are clearly better at doing this than others. Does it take practice to be able to do this? For most people it does, but there are people who have the ability to be both articulate, succinct

and expressive in a way that will the majority of time have a positive impact based on what they have expressed. I’m sure you also can name someone who does this well.

We don’t always have the chance to practice stating something that will have a positive impact on someone, and even when we have an opportunity to write and then convey our message, it might not achieve its intended purpose. Although the chances of it doing so in writing might be slightly higher because of the reality that you can edit your message, we know there are no guarantees. Which is exactly why choosing the right word or words and stating them to others can be so difficult. Yet, having the ability to do so is certainly worth striving to achieve.

When the right words are conveyed to either another person or a group, it’s always interesting to learn post the message delivery about the variety of impacts and interpretations the listeners had. About half of the listeners will be in agreement with what they heard, while the remaining half will have varying degrees of either taking action on, needing more time to digest the information or potentially not have any impact on them.

When people in a group setting are hearing words expressed to them that are intended to have a positive impact, and the impact doesn’t affect them the way the speaker thought it would, places both the message conveyer and listeners into an interesting place. One that isn’t always ideal, yet provides an opportunity to also dissect what went wrong with the message delivery.

A recent conversation I was having with a leader related to actually not leveraging an opportunity to have the power of their words impact their team. Instead of conveying upfront what they intended the outcome of a situation to be, they opted not to express what they anticipated the results would be. So, the outcome which resulted was highly disappointing to the team, but the leader was in a neutral state, and this caused unintended consequences.

Upon having a post-mortem conversation with this leader about their decision not to leverage words to inspire or express their intentions to the team about how they were perceiving the outcome of the opportunity the team was involved with, was what I refer to as an “ahh-ha” moment. The fact of the matter is that there was a missed opportunity to state up front how the leader would have leveraged the power of expressing what they were thinking, and it was completely different than how the team was thinking and reacted without any explanation. Given this scenario, this is what I refer to as a perfect “course correction” situation. One that provided the chance to leverage the power of words to do so, yet didn’t occur.

At this moment in time, there isn’t closure on the example noted, but there is a next step. The next step is to have a conversation with the leader about how to fully appreciate and apply the power of words to both their own and their teams benefit. Will the initial time they do this have the intended impact they are expecting? I believe it will, and yes, it will take them practice to become better at doing this. However, it’s exactly what they need to do as a leader, and their team also needs them to do. In fact, the team expects this from their leader, and it is an enormous missed opportunity when this doesn’t happen.

If you are a leader or sports team coach or someone who hasn’t been benefitting from the practice of choosing words that matter, below are some suggestions to get you started.

  • Consider what words inspire you. Write them down, and begin practicing using them in sentences on a one-on-one basis with people you regularly interact with.
  • Do some research and listen and read about others who are inspirational speakers.
  • Pay closer attention during conversations to appreciate who is having a positive impact on you based on how they are conveying their message to you.
  • Words can be like weapons, and have unintended negative consequences. So, make sure that the words you choose are meant to be supportive and not punitive.
  • Work on finding your communication style and comfort zone when it is time to convey your words to others. You don’t have to imitate others styles, as it will be both hard to do, and isn’t likely your natural communication style.
  • Always think about what the intended end goal of your communication will be, as sometimes your communication and the words you choose will have different purposes.
  • Factor in making sure that your body language is in alignment with what your words are expressing.
  • Appreciate and be highly responsible for the words you choose to express to others, as they might have a lifelong impact on them.

I’m excited about the opportunity I have today to see the leader I referenced above, and to have a second chance of helping them to leverage their words. Words that I know they want to positively impact the intended outcome for their team today. Let’s hope the suggestions above are ones that will benefit both you and the team you lead. Or, to have a positive impact on any future conversations you are having with others.

TAGS: #Leaders #Sportscoaches #Communication #Powerfulcommunication #Leadership #Motivation #Inspiration #Business #Sports #Sportsteams #Thepowerofwords #Influence #Theimpactofwords #Professionaldevelopment #Personaldevelopment #Growthmindset

Stubborn? It’s not a good look. 

I’ve always been an optimist. So, when I hear someone expressing that something isn’t possible, my mind immediately begins to diverge into two directions. The first one is to think about why this was stated, and the second path has me considering whether all of the options have been explored to create an opportunity to make something possible.

My skepticism about whether all potential options have been investigated and applied may come from my family heritage of having an “inventors-like” mind. Or, possibly because of my innate curiosity about imagining why a solution has not been developed to attempt what others think can’t be achieved. Which, leads me to wondering if stubbornness could in fact be one of the reasons?

Fortunately, most people are not classified as being stubborn, but we all know someone who might have this adjective associated with them on a regular basis. Possibly without them being aware that others clearly see them being this way more often than not. The person who is unaware of themselves being stubborn might actually think they are just like everyone else. What they don’t realize is that being stubborn generally isn’t working in their favor.

An example of someone who is being stubborn could be that they are unwilling to consider, take or apply practical advice which could be highly adventitious to them. It can be highly frustrating in this scenario, especially when not taking the advice can have less than desirable consequences. However, we also need to factor in that some people learn via experiences, and failing to take advice and the outcome from this could actually result in a positive outcome for them. How? Because afterwards they could appreciate the value of considering to listen to, and ideally applying sound advice the next time a similar scenario arises. 

Perhaps you have heard the expression “you can lead a horse to water when they are thirsty, but you can’t make it drink it.” This expression is ideally aligned with people who are stubborn, because they often do the exact opposite of what they should be doing, primarily due to their stubbornness.  I personally have encountered a number of people who would be far happier, have an easier outcome in numerous scenarios, and much less stress if they would first recognize that their on-going stubbornness is one of the core reasons for many of their challenges and why they are often highly frustrated. 

Telling someone they are stubborn seldomly has any positive impact on someone changing from this disposition. It might make you feel better expressing this sentiment to them, but that’s not going to lead either of you anywhere you will want to end up. So, are there techniques that can be applied to help someone who is stubborn? Especially someone who is unaware of how they are presenting and interacting with others? Yes, there are, and below are some suggestions to ask them, or have them potentially consider. 

·      What is your definition of being stubborn?

·      Ask yourself why you are often considered by others to be stubborn?

·      Is being stubborn an easy excuse of your “why” you are not doing or achieving something you could be?

·      Have you thought about how being stubborn is impacting your relationships with others?

·      Could you potentially be unaware of the fact others consider you to be stubborn, and think you are acting differently than how you are being perceived?

·      Why wouldn’t you accept help, advice or guidance from someone more experienced or knowledgeable than you are that could positively impact you both personally, professionally or both?

·      Do you have an example of someone who others consider to be stubborn, and can’t see how you could be compared to them?

·      Providing you acknowledge you are stubborn; can you imagine the benefits of being less or not perceived as being a stubborn person? This applies to both your personal and professional life, as you might not be as stubborn, or stubborn in one of these scenarios. 

If redirecting energy from a trait such as stubbornness into more productive outcomes is possible, are you, or someone else you know ready to re-develop your person to experience the benefits of doing so? Or, will your stubbornness prevent you from being more happy, less frustrated and experiencing a higher quality overall mental health and well-being?

TAGS: #Leadership #Business #Success #Professionaldevelopment #Sports #Teams #Leaders #Sportscoaches #Coaches #Traits #Stubborn #Stubbornness #Overcomingstubborness #Solutions #Awareness #Selfawareness #Benefitsofbeinglessstubborn

Intimate teams and camaraderie. Which comes first?

Intimacy. It’s one of those words when you hear it expressed in professional settings and related to the development of business and sports teams which can conjure up associations which make people feel uncomfortable. However, it should elicit the exact opposite response.

So, why are most people uncomfortable with the concept of discussing team intimacy? One of the reasons is because our society tends not to have much experience with talking about concepts that fall into the emotion category. Especially in work and sports environments. It is also frowned upon to talk about subjects which may fall into the personal category, or are on the edge of it.

Another reason people are uncomfortable, especially managers and coaches, is that emotional development, which team intimacy falls into the category of, is not something taught in academic environments. As a result, we independently learn when we are growing up about how to apply emotions, and the appropriate ones to our social interactions. As you already know, there is a wide spectrum of people’s abilities in this area. Unfortunately, the majority of people are not at the level they may need to be.

Why are people not at the levels of where they should be in the areas of emotional intelligence and common sense? Simply put, these attributes are not equally distributed, and neither of them are academically taught. Now, toss in having to navigate and apply emotional management either as an individual team member or manager or coach, and that’s when most teams start to have challenges. Now what, and how is this remedied?

The first thing to consider is to think about why does this happen? It namely occurs because the managers and coaches are not taught how to positively leverage emotions of their team members. However, if they were, the outcomes of their team’s performance would be entirely different, and much more in their favor.

Let’s look at team intimacy from a different perspective. Whether you played on a sports team, or have been on a work team, think about which one of these were the best teams you have ever been on? What were the characteristics which made the team outstanding? If I had to pick one word to represent what is the essence of an outstanding performance team I had been on, it would be camaraderie.

Camaraderie isn’t something which is developed overnight. It takes time, and knowing how to develop it. Unfortunately, very few managers or coaches achieve the level of knowing how to do so. However, there are ones in the sports world that are shining examples of knowing how to develop teams that have incredible camaraderie and intimacy. Alabama football Coach Nick Saban is one example. Scores of content have been written about his ability to develop intimate teams. In the business world, Richard Branson is famous for developing intimate teams via the long list of Virgin brands he has crafted.

What separates Coach Saban and Sir Branson from others? Simply put, they have figured out the formula it takes to produce team camaraderie from leveraging the concept of team intimacy. They are also not afraid of harnessing human emotions to create powerful, high caliber producing teams, and so have I.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to determine whether you have what it takes to create the type of team camaraderie which others admire, and wish they knew the formula for:

  • Do you have emotional based techniques which repeatedly produce high performance results for your team?
  • On a scale of 1-10, ten being the highest rating, how comfortable are you with having emotional conversations with each of your team members?
  • How would you rate your awareness of what truly motivates each team member on a scale of 1-5, with five being exceptional?
  • What was the last conversation you had with one of your team members which caused a conversational breakthrough, and which resulted in that member producing results you have not seen before?
  • Do you know how to influence the camaraderie of your team?
  • What methods of influencing the camaraderie of your team result in sustainable and increased performance metrics?
  • Would you classify your mindset as being self-growth or self-interest?
  • What was the last thing you did to develop team intimacy?
  • What are the systems, structure or processes you have in place to develop sustainable team camaraderie and intimacy?

The questions above are not easy to answer, and chances are you will want to reflect on the outcomes of your responses for a short period of time. If you are not satisfied with your answers, and the results your team is getting, perhaps it’s time to begin considering the importance of leveraging team camaraderie and intimacy in a way you never considered doing. Although there are few guarantees in life, in this case, I guarantee those who have, are the ones who are routinely outperforming your team.

The good news for you? You get to decide which type of team you want to have. I’m guessing I know which type you would prefer to be managing, coaching or be on.

TAGS: #Business #Leadership #Teambonding #Tipsonhowtobondateam #Sportsteam #Sportscoach #Motivation #Success #Nicksaben #Coachnicksaben #Richardbranson

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Sharing. Are you doing this enough?

I grew up with two siblings, and being the oldest, I learned early on that I was expected to share things with them. Sharing wasn’t something I ever thought much about, and it was something I just did. Fast forward to being an adult, and at some point, I realized that not everyone was on board with the same concept of sharing that I was used to.

My first awareness of the fact that not everyone was in the spirit of sharing, occurred when I really needed the person to share some information with me. I asked without considering that the answer could be no, and when I heard the word no, I was surprised. Actually, a bit shocked. I asked the person why they were not willing to share the information with me, and their answer wasn’t what I expected to hear. Their response was that they didn’t feel like sharing the information.

Of course, this person could have shared the information I was asking about, but they deliberately withheld it from me. After this happened, I thought about what would make someone do this? Was it out of spite, jealously or was it a control thing? It turns out it was a control thing, and I did eventually get the person to share the information with me, but this was a good lesson for me.

The best lesson I learned from this experience was that there wasn’t a good reason for the person to withhold the information from me, other than that they could do so. I also realized they may not have had the same experience I had growing up, and which when I shared with others, I felt really great doing so. I can’t tell you that this person felt great or any different when they finally did share the information with me, but I’ll never really know the answer.  However, a small part of me is hopeful that the experience of the person releasing the information to me made them feel better.

I can’t speak for others, but for me personally, I always feel a sense of pride and joy when I can share information with others. The expression that it is better to give than to receive resonates with me, and perhaps you have had this same experience?

As business executive, I came up with a system for determining which people within the organization would be willing to share and help me and others. It was a relatively simple system, and it was always uncanny how accurate it was. My system involved asking a person to share something with me, whether it was advice, experience or perhaps a physical item. If they were willing to share with me, I knew that they would be open to doing so again. If there was any reluctance or hesitation in doing so, I knew the person fell into one of two categories.

The first category was that if someone was willing to share, they were a confident person, and didn’t feel that they would be negatively impacted by the experience. The second category consisted of people who were reluctant or who didn’t share, and I categorized them as someone who thought that their “power” or influence would be diminished if they shared something. Typically, information in this case. The people who didn’t share came across as being less confident, and over time I noticed a pattern with both of the two categories.

The pattern was that the people who were comfortable with sharing progressed much faster and to higher levels in any measurable scenario. Meanwhile, the people who were not categorized as “sharers”, were typically stalling out in their careers, and were also less satisfied in the role they were in. Of course, there were exceptions to the pattern I was seeing, but there was a very strong correlation of this one factor of being a “sharing” person which positively influenced their career and the opportunities they encountered.

Worth noting is that when you begin to study leaders, you will often find that the common thread between them is their willingness to help others. This typically means they are willing to share their experience, network, time and information. They also often do this without hesitation. Have you encountered this type of leader or sports coach?

If you are not someone who currently falls into the category of being a “sharing” type of person, here are some suggestions for you to consider “test driving” to help you lean towards being in this category if you aspire to do so.

  • Without being asked, offer to share something you value with a person that wouldn’t expect you to do so. It could be a physical item or something intangible, but that would be perceived as being valuable to the person you are going to share it with.
  • If you are not accustomed to sharing, you will need to begin slowly, as it will feel very awkward and potentially intimidating for you to do so. Beginning slowly might involve donating your time to a charity to help them with something they are working on.
  • Set a goal for yourself of sharing one thing every day for two weeks, and keep track of what you are sharing. At the end of the two weeks, look back on what you have shared, and think about how it feels to have shared what you have with others.
  • The concept of sharing can take practice, and it does get much easier to share with others, and you will be happy to know that it doesn’t have to take a long time to reach a comfort level you can’t imagine being at currently.  
  • Many of us have too much “stuff”. Instead of sharing it with someone, take it to the next level and give it to someone who could benefit from having it more than you can.
  • Every one of us encountered a teacher, and I’m sure that you could name your favorite one. What was it about your favorite teach that you could mimic and teach someone else by borrowing the attribute about them that you admired?

As the year ends, I am thinking about how amazing our world would be if everyone was able to share with others, or at a different level than they are presently at. Please accept my challenge today of sharing something with another person today, and I’ll look forward to hearing about what you shared, and the outcome of the sharing experience.

TAGS: #Business #Leadership #Rolemodel #Sharing #Howtoshare #Whysharingisimportant #Careerdevelopment #Sportscoach #Coach #Aspirations #Inspiration #Motivation #Leader #Personaldevelopment #Professionaldevelopment #Teams #HRleader #Talentdevelopment #CEO #Manager #Management #Salesmanagement

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Authentic teams. Is yours?

Whether you are currently leading or on a team now, many of you will have a strong opinion about how you would classify your team with a one-word adjective. If authentic isn’t the first one that comes to mind, don’t worry. You are not alone. However, being on an authentic team can be one of the best experiences you can have. Whether it is a sports or workplace team.

I’m currently working on a research project which involves speaking to leaders of teams. What they have in common is that they are all leaders of sports teams. Different types of sports teams, led by women and men, and from all over the United States. The experience of these coaches ranges from a few years to multiple decades, and from the professional sports level to the high school level.

My research project is in the process of wrapping up, and I have not officially begun to analyze the data, but one thing about all of these teams is certain. The leaders are all authentic leaders, and those being led by them are exceptionally fortunate.

Having worked in the corporate world for decades, I am fascinated by the parallel comparisons of the elements included in what consists of winning sports teams, and high-performance corporate teams. From personal observational experience, two of the factors in common these different types of teams have is how the leader thinks about and manages their team.

When I think back to the business leaders I worked for, admired or interacted with, the word authentic person would be the adjective I would use to describe them. Nothing about them was fake. They were also all extremely humble, many of them were self-deprecating, and all of them viewed every member on their team as being incredibly valuable. You also felt this in their presence, and in how they demonstrated their leadership traits.

More importantly, the leaders of both sports and business teams always put the needs of their team first. What else separates these authentic leaders from everyone else? Plenty. Here are some examples to be on the lookout for to help you identify whether you, or the person who leads you falls into this category.

  • They continually invest in their management and leadership knowledge.
  • They are not concerned about admitting they may be wrong about a decision.
  • They are the ones to accept the blame and not cast it on others when something goes wrong.
  • Investing their knowledge in others is paramount to why they lead others, with the intent of helping them to get to whatever the next level of achievement or performance is.
  • Sharing their knowledge with other leaders or coaches is something they regularly do. They are not fearful of imparting their knowledge on others who would perceivably be their competition, because they are confident in their own abilities, as well as the teams they lead.
  • These leaders literally glow when they talk about the teams they lead. Their pride in the people they are responsible for is contagious, and makes you want to be on any team they lead.
  • Another attribute all of these authentic leaders have in common, is their true passion for the work they are doing. Almost to the point of it being what some would refer to as a “calling”.
  • If you were to ask these leaders would they consider doing something else professionally, the majority of them will tell you they have not considered doing anything else. This is also quite evident based on the lengthy tenure of some of the sports coaches interviewed in the research project I am leading.
  • The majority of the leaders will also tell you they were heavily influenced by one or two people to become a leader themselves.
  • All of the leaders I have ever spoken to, including the ones in the sports coach research project noted that they pursued their path because it provided them with a way of giving back to others what they had experienced under the leader who influenced them.

Although the sports coach research project is still underway, it will be wrapping up soon. At least the first phase of it. I can’t wait to dive in and begin analyzing the results of the findings from the interviews that were conducted. One thing I can assure you about what I will find is that both sports coaches and leaders in business will be able to benefit from the research findings. More importantly, so will the tens of thousands of people who are led by these leaders once the research data becomes available.

TAGS: #Business #Leadership #Authenticity #Beingauthentic #Characteristicsofauthenticleaders #Authenticteams #Authenticleader #SportsTeams #SportsCoaches #Coaches #BusinessLeaders #WhatGreatLeadersHaveInCommon #Management B252

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