Yesterday I felt a strong urge to clearly articulate what Character-Based Leadership means to me.
As I wrote it I thought of:
- Leaders that create beautiful symphonies by unleashing the differences and strengths of others.
- Leader that inspire us all to lead at a higher level.
- Leadership decisions that make my blood boil.
- People I am currently serving and people I’ve served.
- Times I’ve led well, and times I’ve failed.
- All that I am and all that I hope to be…
Last week, I visited a new friend that has been an expat for about 4 months in a country that is nothing like the one her family comes from.
When her husband accepted the position, they were promised life in a compound – a guarded and gated community with streets, and parks, and amenities that vary depending on your location.
The day before they left home to begin their expat lives, they were informed that there was a housing shortage in the area they were relocating to. (When it was conveniently too late to get their previous jobs back or easily jump back into the life they had.)
So they boarded the plane anyway. (Would you feel slightly trapped?)
And for the past four months the two of them and their young son have been sharing a two-room efficiency apartment. They have a love seat in their little kitchen and all three of them share a bedroom with their son’s toys. While their shipment of household items sits in storage.
Since their arrival they’ve been advised that it will probably take a year before they can be moved onto a compound, and presented with one alternative that gives them some immediate choices for housing but removes other benefits that they had counted on.
My friend’s situation is mild in comparison to her neighbors:
“Skin in the game” emphasizes that not one of us is as smart as all of us.
“Skin in the game” separates the watchers from the joiners & the whiners from the winners.
“Skin in the game” unleashes: Creativity, Innovation, Joy, Synergy & RESULTS!
- Communities don’t need more critics. They need models.
- Companies don’t need more problems. They need solutions.
- Our world doesn’t need bench-warmers. It needs players.
Titled Leaders: Are you hogging the spotlight on the field or giving your employees opportunities to shine?
Employees & Community Members: Are you on the sidelines or on the field? We need YOU – IN THE GAME!
Once upon a time, I hired a fun-loving woman with great recommendations, strong experience, and impressive tenure. (True Story!)
Not long after she joined our team she began to struggle. Things that she thought would be easy to learn were harder than normal, which chewed away at her confidence, which made it even harder to learn, which ate away even more confidence. Sometimes when we spoke privately, tears flowed.
At one point she shared that in her last role she was so confident that she would put on a pink feather boa. And when she wore it – everyone knew a special announcement was going to be made. Here she wanted to be her authentic self, but was afraid…
Each time we spoke, I would remind her:
- She was grieving. (She had just left a role that she knew backwards and forwards and upside down in a place where she felt understood, appreciated and loved and moved and started a new job.)
- She really was smart, capable, fun and wanted!
- She was focusing more on her mistakes and emotions than on what she knew she could bring and that was causing her to struggle harder.
Several years ago I was in a role that was getting busier and busier. As the demands and distractions poured in I began to feel less energized and lose my focus.
And as my focus shifted, so did the focus of the entire team that I supported. With no corporate retreats in our future we needed to figure out how to refocus and recharge.
1. Create an EXPERIENCE:
- I brought some tiny matchbox cars to a meeting and asked everyone to take a car and personalize it.
- Then I gave them a bunch of foot-long crepe paper streamers and asked them to use a streamer to list one thing that was causing them to lose focus. (And they could use as many streamers as they needed to.)
- There were so many that the streamers quickly covered the cars and we talked about how hard it is to drive forward when you feel so covered up that can’t see the people you are working with, let alone where you are going.
- Then I brought out a rocket. (The kind you buy in a toystore that you can actually launch.) The rocket was “beautifully decorated” with each of our objectives, and we talked about how looking up and focusing on where we were going could help us prioritize the demands and distractions, decrease our confusion and stress and increase our focus and results.
And yes – when we achieved all of our objectives we drove to a field and shot off that rocket!