April 10, 2022

Something for leaders…

Leaders, I need to talk with you for a moment.

In the podcast that I shared previously, I brought up the idea that – as leaders – we are responsible to create an environment of peak performance, to build a space where our people can flourish and be their best and ultimately produce their best outcomes.

We destroy that mission when we push success, significance, and/or control.

Let me explain.

Success is a word we casually throw around. Is it desirable? Of course it is. Is it guaranteed? Not at all.

How often have we seen the goal posts move, the situation change, the stakeholders change their minds?

All we can genuinely promise is to do our best, right?

And yet, time and again, how often do we stress about the risk of failure? How often do we allow the fear of anything remotely off-target cause us to double down on better-than-perfect execution?

The same could be said about the significance/rejection trap and the control/risk trap. We eventually become so attached to the outcomes of success/significance/control that we – and our teams – stress as soon as they POTENTIALLY move out of our grasp. Sadly, this creates the temptation for us to lead out of fear – which is never good (and generates even more unwanted stress).

As leaders, we have to be different.

We have to drive confidence, acceptance, and trust into our teams. We have to make those three things the foundation of our culture. Because when we establish the primacy of doing our best, accepting ourselves, and trusting the journey, we minimize the fear that so often infects the most important decisions.

Pause.

This is a MAJOR point, so I’ll say it again. When we push success/significance/control into our teams, we allow the fears of failure/rejection/risk to have undesirable access to every decision we make. Especially when we are not in the room.

In this state, we teach our players that it’s better to make “safe” decisions, not the best decisions. We teach them that it’s better to avoid blame, than to accept opportunity. And ultimately, we teach them it’s okay to drag others down whenever others seek to do something “different.”

Now, hear me again, I am not saying that achieving success, being recognized for the effort, and having things go as planned are wrong or undesirable. What I am saying is that those things need to be the outcome of confidence, acceptance, and trust – not the other way around.

In other words, when we use confidence/acceptance/trust to make our foundation strong and level, we can build on it. But when we build without this proper foundation, we are only building something that will eventually fall over.

(PS – the exact same thing applies to us as parents…)

I mua. Onward and upward.

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Published by timohai

Father, widower, leader, sales enablement pro

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