If you’re in a leadership position in almost any organization, chances are you’ve attended your fair share of leadership development and teambuilding retreats. It’s not always easy to pry ourselves away from the crisis du jour, but doing so provides something invaluable: perspective. Outside the reactive, rapid-fire thinking that dominates much of organizational life – and inside the safe, thought-provoking container provided by a well-executed retreat – we can gain valuable insights into our organizations, our team dynamics, and ourselves.
It’s often the personal realizations – from understanding our part in a difficult relationship dynamic to experiencing a full-on epiphany about an event from our past that still drives our behavior today – that have the most impact. It’s as if something gets unlocked within us, and a sense of possibility emerges where there once was resignation or simply a lack of awareness. We feel ourselves start to move from disempowered victims of circumstance or habit to empowered creators of sustainable solutions.
New insights often come with a sense of relief, or even exhilaration. They don’t, unfortunately, come with an instruction manual. This means that after the glow fades, and our sense of satisfaction in receiving the realization butts up against the reality of how hard it is to change deep-rooted behaviors and reactions, we’re sometimes left confused and discouraged. But this isn’t inevitable. Let’s take a look at some approaches to integrating big realizations into our day-to-day lives:
by Noah, Nuer, Chief Learning Officer, Culture Change Partner, LaL
You want your employees to be motivated and outperform themselves. It’s good for the company and it’s good for you. One could argue, in fact, that it’s an intricate part of your job as a manager and a leader.
Yet how can you influence that when you can’t control other people’s motivation? I wish I could just tell them: “I command you to be motivated!” But at least we have ‘carrot and sticks’, rewards and punishments, and you know it works. That is so much a part of our education. And you go for the self-evident solution: I’ll promise a performance bonus — that will take their collective performance to the next level!
But it didn’t. Maybe it even made them worse. How does that make sense?
According to Daniel Pink, the best-selling author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, it does. In the video above, Pink presents what will motivate (or demotivate) your people, according to his research. This is a RSA Animate presentation, which takes the voice-over of a fascinating presentation and brings it to life by illustrating it with drawings and animation. The result makes for an entertaining, engaging and thought-provoking experience, at least in my experience.
In this video, Pink explains that the commonly held belief is that rewards bring more motivation while punishment brings less, and therefore, rewarding accomplishment with more money is the most effective way. However, research shows that this is only true for the basic rudimentary, straightforward tasks. As soon as a job requires conceptual or creative thinking, decision making, strategizing or leadership, then a larger financial reward doesn’t lead to a better performance but a poorer one!
Money is a motivator but in a counter-intuitive way, he says: You need to pay people well enough so that they don’t worry or think about their compensation anymore.
Then what are the real incentives here to better performance (and personal satisfaction)? The three following factors:
- Autonomy (desire to be self-directed)
- Mastery (urge to get better at stuff, to get challenged)
- Purpose (he who only looks at profits, watches them shrink)
Interestingly, this discovery would also explain why people leave our workshops with so much energy. Without them realizing it, our methodology directly affects people’s sense of empowerment vis-a-vis these three factors. For instance, we look at the places in our life where we feel “At the Mercy” of events or people, and we explore how we can regain a sense of Autonomy (or be “At the Source”). We help people look at what is challenging for them, places they may have even concluded will never change, and we help them be on a path of learning and Mastery about them. And we always look at why we do what we do or why we would want to do something different as we find being connected to this deeper Purpose one of the strongest engines of motivation.
When have you felt particularly motivated or demotivated? Is it aligned or different with Daniel Pink’s presentation? And if you have known about these ideas, what has worked in applying them? What challenges have you faced?
This blog post is the second in a series on anger. The previous post, “Damn, I just lost my temper again” delved into the difficulties of mastering our own anger. Below, I explore setting limits when others get angry with us or around us.
What do you do when someone gets angry with you?
Freeze, go into paralysis, and try to escape the danger as quickly as possible?
Or tense with adrenalin, your skin turning red, and raise your voice right back? Fight frustration with irritation?
Our usual responses do not work
In reviewing my own experience and the hundreds of leaders and employees, parents and children I have worked with over the years, our predominant reactions to anger tend to be flight or fight. Both of these self-protective responses are counterproductive.
If I shut down and play small, waiting for the storm to pass, I allow the other person’s anger to persist. There is no opposition or limit provided, and this can allow abusive relationships to form, whether physical, emotional and/or verbal.
If I “get emotional” in response, the conflict often escalates. It is rare that workplace anger goes beyond words, but it does lead us to say things we don’t mean. Relationships are strained, baggage forms, and months or years later, unhealed exchanges of anger linger.
Many of us do both, depending on the situation and the person. We are threatened, and the survival instincts of our brainstem take over.
Diversity Executive Magazine just featured an article by CEO Shayne Hughes on how Desired and Dreaded Images (our concerns regarding how others view us) impact Diversity Officers. This insightful article is applicable to all leaders, but be sure to pass it on to those people in charge of diversity in your organization.
Welcome to our ongoing series of FAQ blogs about the core principles of LaL’s methodology. In this FAQ, CEO Shayne Hughes discusses what prevents us from changing behaviors that don’t serve our goals.
Q. Most people know the pain of trying to change a behavior like being argumentative or procrastinating. Why is it so difficult to do?
The first problem lies in recognizing we even have an unhelpful behavior. We don’t tend to notice our own leadership and communication styles. And there’s such rampant conflict avoidance in the workplace, people rarely express their feedback to one another.
The second obstacle is when you do notice something needs to be changed, it’s not enough to tell yourself, oh, I should do something different. People need to uncover why they began the behavior in the first place. It’s not an accident that they’re repeating it.
LAL executive coach Marc-Andre Olivier explores the power we gain by allowing ourselves to be vulnerable in the workplace.
It was the standard CEO kick-off speech launching our WeLead training program. My client (the CEO) came in and spoke to his team about the transitions they were facing as an organization, what some of their goals were and how LaL’s leadership training aligned with that. He mentioned to the group that he and his senior team had been through the training themselves, and described how it had dramatically changed the way they worked together; the value gained beyond the workplace and the significant difference it had made in his personal life. He then encouraged his team to take full advantage of the opportunity available.
Welcome to the next installment of an ongoing series of FAQ blogs about the core principles of LaL’s methodology. In this FAQ, CEO Shayne Hughes looks at the ego and its impact on leadership.
In the executive coaching I do as part of my job at Learning as Leadership, I’m continually reminded of the impact that our egos have on our leadership. I’m often engaged in a discussion about this with my clients, and I’ve noticed that some common questions arise. Below is an FAQ guide on the ego and leadership. I’d love to hear your feedback or any additional questions you have on the topic.
Did you know that February is officially National Time Management Month in the United States? Here at Learning as Leadership we thought we would do our part to celebrate by posting a two-part FAQ series with our COO Samantha Cooprider, on how you can create your optimal week.
What does it mean to create an Optimal Week?
It means making a conscious choice to look at the reality of how we spend our time. We all have personal and professional responsibilities as well as goals for ourselves. Yet, for most of us, there’s a disconnect between what we’d like to see in our lives and how we are actually spending the hours of our day.
The Optimal Week is a tool that allows us to make our time reflect our priorities in a way that’s aligned with reality.
I recently worked with a leadership team who had a history of triangulation and venting. They decided that in order to accomplish their organization’s objectives, they needed to have greater trust and transparency among them.
This type of venting takes place on teams all the time. Although we often don’t mean it to be harmful, this back-end venting can turn out to be toxic. When we seek satisfaction with someone who can’t solve the problem, rather than address the issues with someone who can, we passively perpetuate dissatisfaction with the person or situation.
I coach a lot of leaders who express concerns that they don’t know how to measure their contributions to the organization and their people.
They worry they’ve become one of “those” people at the top of the food chain who doesn’t really do anything, one of those people they may even have been judging and criticizing as ineffective and worthless to the company because they create work for others, but don’t actually DO anything.