It's Almost Over (This Year, I Mean ;) )Nov 13, 2020
First, The Beauty of an Honest Conversation & Why I'm Not the Jacka** Whisperer
I love the truth. I'm a little obsessed with it. And I think you should be, too.
I love honesty. And I love to share my thoughts . . . and yesterday, someone yelled at me about it. She was really angry I speaking the truth.
I wasn't always like this. I spent most of my school life (little kid through graduate school) allowing others to speak unless I was told I needed to talk or that I would be rewarded (better grade, more points, etc.) if I started speaking. And, then, honestly (ahh, I can't even keep the word out of this paragraph!), I only shared what others wanted to hear.
As an executive coach, I often share what people say they want to hear: the truth.
They say, "Just tell me" or "I'm ready" or "What do you think?" and I start talking.
During meetings I see them prepare (I can spot it--even over Zoom), physically, for what is coming. They hire me to find the truth and share it with them and move them towards it. And it can be hard to hear . . . so they sigh, and stretch, and get ready.
I'm hired to be honest. To bring honesty to executives. To help them see it, process it, accept it, and move on.
I'm here to help them lead with ease. I'm here to make it easier and more fun to be a leader. I want my clients to run a company without a nervous breakdown; to improve co-founder relationships; to up their social awareness and therefore their ability to guide discussions (vs. control and dominate meetings); to delegate effectively; to coach their own people--and so much more.
All those things take honesty. They involve the truth.
And when the truth arrives, it's oftentimes a tense and awkward, yet elegant moment.
Why? Because we already know it. We really do know what we need to know about ourselves.
Many times we simply just don't hear it.
I want you to be obsessed with getting the truth.
You should be asking people--repeatedly and thoughtfully--to tell you what you need to change, what you need to stop, and what you need to do to help them.
Here's the funny and insanely frustrating thing: you can't expect the truth or the whole story from everyone.
The truth you need to be obsessed with comes from your stakeholders: the people who impact your work, your relationships, and your success. Get their truth.
There are many others you interact with--even now, even when we don't interact with many people--where you won't get their truth, ever.
I re-learned this lesson again yesterday--when a woman yelled at me. Here's my story of what happened.
I cannot get some people who work in my building to wear masks in public areas. It's the mandate from the property manager, the companies in the building, and the local government. And some people just won't do it.
Today, as I left the office building, a woman called out at me, "I'm pulling my mask down now!"
Why? Because I overused honesty, and I asked her employer to hold her responsible. Her employer tried, but it's not a stakeholder of mine, and this woman isn't a stakeholder of mine, either.
It's tough for me to see someone break rules or choose to not follow them. For years, I've casually called that the German side of me, as my dad was born and raised in Germany. (Read here about Germans and structure: great NYT piece.)
That's probably not the case, as the other half of me--the Irish side--really enjoys spontaneous, passionate, fun, rule-breaking things. (Well, within certain limits of rule breaking: like it's OK to have dessert twice a day.)
It's really because rules equal structure, and structure makes me feel good. I feel safe. I feel at ease. And when I'm at ease, I can do great work. I can be the best executive coach. I can lead the most thoughtful and engaging coaching discussions. I can mediate a bunch of executives who are about to throw (virtually) punches.
In the case of Leila going head to head with anti-maskers, my obsession around the truth isn't getting me anywhere. Except really, really frustrated and discouraged. I had to meditate twice yesterday to try to calm down.
I'm never going to learn what is going on with this woman. I won't hear her truth.
So, I release myself from holding her accountable to the truth we know (masks work). She's not a stakeholder of mine. She's not in my circle of trust (cue DeNiro in "Meet the Parents") and so, I release her.
I tried. It didn't work. I have other people who want the truth.
(And they'd like the statue outside my window, called Truth is Beauty. That's the photo above. Truth is lit up each night--different light patterns rotating. She's big, she's bold, and she's been to Burning Man (check out the photos)! She's naked, she's worshipped, and she never gets cold. I love her. I just love the truth.
And, then, here is the best piece of advice a client has given me in a long time: "You're not the jackass whisperer."
No, I am not. Thanks, Bill.
Second, Webinar on November 18, 2020: Poised for Productivity
On November 18, 2020 at 1 pm PT/4 pm ET, I have a great webinar planned. The Society for Human Resources Management (aka SHRM) is hosting it, and since they have a sponsor, it's free and open to everyone. You just need to register.
In this webinar, you'll hear how you can take the lead in helping your team deal with ambiguities, self-prioritize, communicate effectively, and use emotional intelligence to build and inspire virtual teams.
And we'll also talk about productivity with an eye on recapping 2020 and getting ready for 2021.
I hope you'll join me. You can register for the webinar here.
You know I always have good things to share. You'll love this resource.
Lead with ease and talk to you soon,
PS It's almost over. But, again, ahem, wear the mask because you are my stakeholders: we are creating better leaders and teams. Off the soapbox . . . now!
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