by Abi Skipp
Here are seven principles for Living and Leadership that I find are extremely useful in serving you as a leader in your organization, in your life and with the people who mean so much to you.
1. The quality of our relationships, partnered with our willingness to be real, take risks and be vulnerable, dictates the quality and results of our leadership. Our willingness to be real, take risks and be vulnerable makes us human and relatable. Our care, attention and nurturing of people and relationships makes us worthy of trust and being related to. Creating trust – true trust – in relationships is key. High quality relationships are built on that trust. Leadership is about relationships.
2. We’re having an impact in every moment – what that impact is; is totally up to us – it is a choice. “They may not remember what you did, they may not remember what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.” The energy and beliefs that you bring to your life, your relationships, and your organization are showing up as impact in one way or another – intended or unintended. If something’s working – or something’s not – a great place to start is to evaluate the energy you’re bringing and the beliefs you’re holding. No matter how great we are at something, if the energy underneath it, and the way we make others feel, is negative, we’ve lost a big opportunity for creating trust, connection, and sustainable positive impact.
3. “Motivating” people is unsustainable, if not completely unrealistic for any period of time, or at any true depth. If the motivation comes from an extrinsic place; ie. “I’m going to motivate you” (oy) or “Please motivate me” (yikes), it won’t stick. It may stick for a bit – enough to get the rush going, but it won’t sustain, and next time around, you’ll need to do it all over again – from the outside in. I’ve begun to think of external motivation like a drug (or maybe like that 5-hour energy drink stuff) – the more one gets, the more one needs, the more often one needs it, and the shorter the rush. One develops a tolerance to it. (Think exercise, healthy eating, smoking cessation, performance improvement for financial incentives, “getting along with someone”, getting organized, etc… They all may work for a bit when pushed/pulled from the outside, but for how long? And how enjoyable will the process be? That’s key.) Of course, sometimes we all need a “kick start” or to “fake it ‘til we make it” and that’s when that external motivation can help us “get to the other side”, I’m talking long term sustainable joyful internal motivation – no one can take that away from you. Solution: Help folks tap into their true core beliefs and purpose and what they truly want, and that will be intrinsic motivation enough. I find that if I have to motivate my clients, or help them motivate their teams, we’re likely looking in the wrong area, we’re missing something. Helping them unfold what’s true and important for them turns into self propelling inspiration, which turns into renewable energy and sustainable fuel for intrinsic motivation – powerful! I’d assert that as leaders, our job is not to motivate people but rather to help them tap into their own intrinsic motivation systems and work and live from there.
4. There’s no such thing as “no outcomes or results”…We’re always getting an outcome – it may just not be the one we originally wanted. If it’s not the outcome you intended, look back, what do you need to do differently to shift it? Even more importantly, back up…were you clear on what the outcome was in the first place (and did you communicate it?) This does not have to be huge or complicated undertaking; more often than not it has to do with the beliefs and energy that are going into creating those results. Remember: what you believe drives what you do, drives what you have – individually and/or as a team.) And of course, gratefully, sometimes, it’s just a simple need for a change in strategy or tactics.
5. There’s very little we have control over – so best to “bust a move” where we can create impact and set ourselves up for success, becoming the best “instrument of change” possible. Some of these places include: how we take care of our bodies, the food we eat, the visions we create for ourselves (on our own authentic paths), how we show up in relationships, how we treat people, what we say “yes” to and “no” to that nurtures our spirit, and of course the good ole fashioned basics of saying “Please, thank you, and I care.” This is truly one of my most favorite points! It all starts with us, as individuals, stepping up to make the shifts and impact we want – in whatever way “stepping up” means in that moment. (And of course, tying back to the last issue, part I, the quality of the relationships we have is key to supporting this. A virtuous cycle: the better I am as an individual, the better I can come to relationships, the better my relationships, the more supported and better I feel to become even better, etc.)
6. The easiest way to navigate conflict or confusion is to name it, put it on the table, state your intention, and work from there. Skip assumptions, colluding with others about how bad it is, blaming the other party for the conflict, trying to figure it out in a bubble, etc. Just step in, look for how you can help things go right, and dance.
7. Always start with the end in mind. If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you’re there? And how will your team know when good is good, and done is done? (And it’s time to drink or go for a run? Haha!) Envision what you want to have happen, communicate it, be co-active in the design, and do the work. Hint: This works for projects, relationships, meetings, even making a cake…go!
I invite you to pick one or two (or all!) of these principles and really dive into them and see what type of impact they have for you.
Anese Cavanaugh, President of Dare To Engage, Inc., Founder of Bootist Leadership®, and mother of two, gets people “in their boots.” Using energy, mindset, mission, and action, cornerstones of her “Bootist” philosophy, she helps forward-thinking individuals and organizations create positive energy, successful relationships, congruent leadership, and joyful results – wherever they go.
For more about Anese, Bootist Leadership, or Dare To Engage, Inc., or to receive a complimentary copy of Anese’s latest publication, go to www.DareToEngage.com.