Over the past number of years working with leaders of companies, organizations, non-profits, and teams, I have observed a number of actions which can impact the success of their teams. Some actions can be as basic and simple as a choice of words; and others run much deeper into a person’s psyche. Some actions can spawn tremendous teamwork and foster unity; and yes, others can sabotage and erode the very foundation of trust within the team. And for those of you who follow my writing, know I fervently believe that when trust is breached it is extremely difficult to rebuild….and in most cases it never is. Given my experiences over the past few months in working with teams, and in my own life, there were a few insights which screamed to be highlighted in this month’s blog. I welcome your input and perspective.
1. A leader’s trust is the single most important attribute in building a strong team.You would think this would go without saying….it is so very basic. However, I have been privy to more than one situation over the past few months where the leader THOUGHT they were doing the right thing; yet, their actions were less than appropriate, and in one case, it was tragic in many ways. Let me give you an example: An employee deep within an organization, goes ‘above’ his direct line leader to ‘rat’ on this person. The accusations were not truthful or in the least bit accurate; however, the employee spoke with such an impassioned plea to the higher level leader, that the higher level leader REACTED and even agreed with the employee’s rant. He went onto betray the leader that directly reported to him, and in fact even encouraged the employee to ‘ignore’ his leader and to just do what he thought was right….and he would back him! All this was done without a single call to the leader in question to verify the situation. Worse yet, this castrated the leader in question, as this leader now had no credibility with his employee. It is incredulous that this sort of thing happens – yet, it does, more often than not. Do you think there is ANY trust on this team? What do you think the leader in question thinks now? What level of loyalty do you there is among the team? I can think of MANY other ways to have handled this situation in a more effective manner. Two easy methods could have been: 1) The issue should have been deferred to the leader and his employee to work out. The upper level leader has NO REASON to react and engage without have ANY history or accurate knowledge of the situation. 2) The upper level leader could have reached out the leader in question and helped him resolve the issue WITH him. Yet, the option he chose stabbed the leader in the back, betrayed him, and ultimately eroded whatever confidence and trust had been built prior to this situation.
2. Ultimately, we create our lives. For those of you who have read my books, you know that I am a believer in the concept that our ‘thoughts become things’. Dr, Masaru Emoto offered a ground breaking study showing the power of our intentions and thoughts through the impact they had on water through their energy vibrations. The video is compelling and will change the way you look at the world and your life. This past month, I had a few icky things happen in my life, and I have had to realize the law of attraction was at work AND I need to shift my thoughts to create more of what I want. At the end of the day, I own it. No, I do not own all the icky bits and human condition issues with which we are faced; however I DO OWN how I respond to them.
3. Words are powerful. Many of you have read my blog about the Power of “AND” which was posted over 10 years ago; yet, has gone viral many times. We explored the generative nature of the word AND and how when we use this in our discussions, it encourages folks to hold opposing ideas and embrace both philosophies for the greater good. The converse of this is the word “BUT” which I encourage my clients to eliminate from their thoughts and vocabulary. The word BUT halts one’s ability to think (and dance) outside the box. It puts up guardrails and in ‘coach-speak’ it instills ‘limiting beliefs’. The power of words cannot be underestimated. They ultimately inform our thoughts, actions, and ultimately our lives. Thus, we need to become very self-aware of our ‘self talk’ and how we communicate within ‘our minds’, with our families, our teams, and our constituents. This may sound a bit ‘woo woo’ to some…yet, I can share with absolute certainty, to quote Ghandi – that: “Our beliefs become our thoughts. Our thoughts become our words. Our words become our actions, Our actions become our habits, Our habits become our values and our values become our destiny.” Net: what we think and say is ultimately what we will create.
Yes, we are all in Earth School, and none of us are beyond heartache, betrayal, challenges, and difficulties. Yet, if we change our perspectives to ‘what can we learn from these experiences’ and be grateful for all these learning opportunities…..it is amazing to feel and embrace the energy shift in our lives. I, for one, am trying to master this approach…which is easier said than done. However, I am rigorous and deliberate in that intention; and encourage you (my readers) to support me and each another…..as a rising tide lifts all boats.