Your thoughts can control you or you can control your thoughts. Since your thoughts determine your life, this is one very important decision. Thoughts are real, they make us. We have the ability to choose what we think about. We have the ability to “create” our thoughts along with our thought processes. What we focus on is what we see. Just like a camera lens, the focus determines the reality of the picture, our own personal focus is the thoughts we choose to think about. Those thoughts become our reality. When we choose faith over fear and belief over barriers we can control our thoughts, which control our actions, which in turns helps us to control our lives.
We were on the 5th floor of our downtown corporate headquarters. It was our weekly sales meeting with bunch a uber-successful sales executives for our company. Our leader had been with the company since it was founded almost 30 years before. He was a legend. Young leaders can learn from experienced leaders on how to help others. This is what I learned:
Every week we had our “sales team call”. This call was to discuss opportunities, track progress and most importantly come up with solutions and make decisions. At least that is what I thought. Really it was the way our leader helped us overcome our challenges. Our leader would post a question to make it seem like he had a certain problem, or we as a team had that problem. In reality, he was addressing a specific personal issue one of us was facing. He knew what each of our strengths and weaknesses were and used these meetings to help us overcome our personal obstacles. He then would ask each of us for our own solutions and ideas. Everyone got to voice their opinion. Everyone felt heard. Our leader knew where he was going with the questioning and what would help us the most. The leader would pick and choose which answers made the most sense according to his years of experience and then he then would help us feel like we came up with the solution on our own. Then he would give us the confidence we needed and send us on our way. He lead us in the right direction. As a team we overcame challenges together. Our boss guided us and gave us the tools we needed. He was a true leader.
Good leaders have vision. Great leaders inspire. The BEST leaders have vision, inspire and help others overcome obstacles to accomplish the vision.
The “Best Leaders” do some things consistently:
- They Coach
- They Inspire Action
- They Provide Feedback
- They Show Extreme Patience
- They Are Never Jealous
- They Embrace Change
- They Show Gratitude
- They Are Open Minded
- They Help Others Develop Talents
- They Stand Up for Others
In order to build up these abilities it takes thoughtful practice. It takes being self-aware and exercising deliberate practice. A way to speed up self-awareness is by studying others and then comparing your actions to those who are already successful. You can do this by reading biographies and journaling.
First, read the biographies of people who have overcome great challenges. Then connect the the times they overcame the obstacles to the traits they were exhibiting. Next, journal your thoughts. Take a self-assessment of your current mindset. Dive deep and become more self-aware by writing down what you think and plan ahead for what you need to do to become better.
Self-awareness and gaining knowledge only becomes valuable when action is taken. Take action. Learn from your mistakes. Learn from others. Think. Ponder. Reflect. Focus on helping others take action. Use your vision to help others overcome their problems. Even the biggest walls can be torn down with enough help. Help others overcome the walls that are blocking their success. The more you help others succeed, the more you will succeed. Leaders are created. You become a better leader by helping others.
I have messed up a lot of situations. Usually I blamed others. Most of the time it was my fault.
My oldest son turns 5 tomorrow. Like any father, I think he is an all-star. I love him more than anything. I blame him too often for random acts of annoyance. I take him for granted. I mess up. When I think about him instead of myself though, I stop messing up. That is how it usually is with most relationships.
In my first post-college sales role I knew I was right. I felt my boss was wrong. She wasn’t my real boss. She was just filling in for a week while the official sales manager was out of town. She was good at what she did. I “thought” I was good too. We just had different styles to get the same results. We were helping small business owners create a better online presence. My method took a bit longer to help the buyer make a decision, I felt I was more consultative. She wanted me to work faster. I thought I was helping better by doing it my way. She wanted me to help more people. She was right. I was right. It didn’t matter. We needed to move beyond right wrong.
Your mindset is the foundation of all you do. All actions were first thoughts. Your experiences and their meaning are determined by your mindset. Often people treat us how we expect to be treated. Not all the time, but our inner-view comes out and is manifested in our physical lives.
When it comes to learning and development Carol Dweck teaches that there are two main ways to view the world: with a “fixed” or a “growth” frame of mind. Everything we do is predicated on how we view our ability to adapt. Relationships are the same. We can either grow or allow the relationship to become stale, to stagnate. Stagnation leads to sickness, disease, death etc…
My mindset adjusted the first time after reading Leadership and Self-Deceptionwhen my friend and advisor Dan Mower gave it to me. Then I learned it again when I read the Anatomy of Peace. This week I relearned all those lessons and really gained a deeper appreciation for how to apply them by reading the latest book byThe Arbinger Institute: The Outward Mindset. The book comes out June 13th – I was fortunate to get an early copy! (Thanks James Ferrell) This is probably the most important “business” book I have read. Ever. This book helps us develop as leaders by looking beyond ourselves and focusing on helping others and the team as a way to overcome our own limitations.
When it comes to relationships, leadership, and team performance The Arbinger Institute has developed a framework that simplifies all of our human interactions and then helps us overcome our personal shortcomings. The Arbinger Institute helps people move beyond right and wrong. Moving past who is right vs. who is wrong might be the hardest interpersonal skill anyone can develop. It takes practice, effort, and commitment. It takes the ability to change your mindset.
In Arbinger’s powerful new book: The Outward Mindset, we are taught that there are two specific mindsets, how they impact performance and relationships, and what we can do to change. The ability to understand yourself and understand others is directly related to emotional intelligence. This framework goes much deeper than just being people smart. It works on motivation, outlook, and the ability to adjust personal perspective to help others and in the end make everyone, including yourself, a winner.
The Arbinger Institute’s two “mindsets”:
The Inward Mindset
Thinking only of yourself. Seeing others as objects. When you have an inward mindset you are focused only on your objectives. Most of the time, because you are so focused on yourself, you have no idea where you are… this includes your own mindset. Most people in the inward mindset have no idea that they are there. People with an inward mindset think other people are the problem and cannot even consider the idea that they might be the cause of their own problems.
The Outward Mindset
With an outward mindset the individuals focus on the goals and objectives of the team. They see others as human rather than objects. People with an outward mindset love to help and never blame others. They see every situation as a reason to grow and learn and do what it takes to make those around them better. They focus on empathy for the team and for the individual. People with an outward mindset “see others”. They have empathy and focus on collective goals over personal objectives.
In order to change your personal mindset and your team’s mindset there is a pattern to follow:
- Start with your mindset. Find out where you are and where you want to go.
- Change first, do not expect others to change.
- Allow yourself to change. Give yourself permission.
- Take responsibility for the outcomes.
- Work on erasing distractions.
- Develop systems for you and your team that help turn mindsets outward.
The problem with changing from an inward mindset to an outward mindset is actually realizing that you are wrong in the first place. Admitting that you are focused on yourself is either hard to do or if we do see it, we find ways to justify it. We can explain away most of our behaviors. This leads to more denial and avoidance. No results.
While there is no exact way to do this, asking questions that put the blame inward helps us focus on the outward. Having questions to go along with the pattern creates a good template.
We can reflect and should ask ourselves:
- How am I creating this problem?
- What can I do differently?
- What did I do wrong?
- How can I help?
- What does the other person need?
Once we stop blaming others for our situation we can find true progress.The change has to come from within by looking out. We must adjust our focus and then our vision can become clear.
Life is about our experiences and relationships. Developing and outward mindset helps us increase the quality of both. As we develop an outward mindset all of our relationships will improve. We will be happier. We will all find more success. It worked for me. Even though I need to strive for this everyday, I know working toward adjusting my mindset dramatically improves everything important in my life.
Your Turn: What advice can you give to help us change our focus from inward to outward? Please share your experiences and expertise.
If you own something mentally, no one can ever take it from you. Own your mistakes. Own your failures. Own your wins. Own your relationships. Make them yours. Our true success is determined by our relationships and experiences. Relationships are either growing or dying. Make sure yours are growing.
We are what we think about. We manifest our innermost thoughts by the actions we take. Our professional and personal relationships are also a direct reflection of our thoughts regarding the relationship. If a relationship is in a bad state, trying to determine who is at fault is your first mistake. My wife taught me that one. It doesn’t matter whose fault it is, that is just wasting time. Your actions determine your outcomes.
When we understand ourselves, we can begin to understand others. Justin Bariso helps us understand the value of emotional intelligence when making decisions regarding relationships:
“Emotional intelligence involves the ability to recognize and understand your emotions, and to use that information to guide decision making.”
“Your ability to become a master relationship builder is critical…This is not just about adapting to behavioral styles it’s about understanding people.”
When you work toward making sure the other person’s needs and desires are being met, you can truly begin to understand the person and the situation. This is emotional intelligence in action, or emotional competence. Knowing when the problem is too big to surpass is part of emotional intelligence. Then acting on that knowledge is what helps us separate bad relationships from good. This is emotional competence. Knowing when to keep pushing takes emotional intelligence. If the relationship is worth fighting for, don’t give up. Keep working, keep helping the other person “win”. When a leader creates winners, everybody becomes a winner. Strong relationships produce winners.
When you have problems in a relationship it is probably because You:
- Talked too much…
- Didn’t listen (because you were talking, or wanting to talk)…
- Thought your needs were more important than the other person’s needs…
- Forgot the purpose of the relationship…
- Stopped nurturing the relationship…
- Made yourself the “hero” instead of them…
You have done those things. I have done those things. We need to stop doing those things. Once you put the needs of the other person, team, company etc. at the front of your concern, your entire perspective changes. You will sell more. You will have more fun. Your spouse will like you more. You will have better relationships.
Andrew Sobel’s book, Power Relationships is a game changer. He teaches that there are 26 laws for building solid relationships and that that when building “deep personal relationships” their are 4 rules that specifically apply:
- Vulnerability is Power (law #16)
- Enthusiasm is Contagious (law #24)
- Change the Environment and You’ll Deepen the Relationship (law #12)
- There’s always something, no matter how small, that you can do to help the people around you. (law #14)
These timeless “laws” help us understand how our own actions have enormous influence on the the relationships we are trying to build.
4 More Ways to Build Great Relationships:
Collaborate & Communicate (not to share your ideas, but to learn and understand THEIRS)
“Nobody succeeds for long in a silo. Whatever our ventures…we can’t forget all the people who are involved in and essential to our success…Those who succeed learn from their mistakes and from the people around them…The most successful collaborators understand how to communicate respectfully and accurately.” – Faisal Hoque
Care (if you care, they KNOW, they can FEEL it)
“It only takes a second to make another person feel valued, yet the effect can last a lifetime.” – Jeff Haden
Continue Pressing Forward (no solid relationship was BUILT by a quitter)
“Mental toughness: it is believing I would prevail in my circumstances rather than believing my circumstances would change.” – LaRae Quy
Contribute (provide VALUE)
“If you help others get what they want, they will help you get what you want.” – Lolly Daskal
Putting it all together: The more we help other people, the stronger our relationships become. The strength of our relationships are is directly proportional to the amount of influence we have. As we increase our ability to build relationships through emotional intelligence our personal desire to help others naturally increases. As the influential Josh Steimle says:
“Building great relationships takes time and work and presence.”
We must put in the effort. It will be hard, and it will take time. Yet, the results will come. The more people we help, the better relationships we have and the more successful we become.
This is how you are ruining trust in your (business) relationships:
- You lie.
- You hide information.
- You stop producing for the team.
- You think you know more than everyone else.
Don’t do these things. No one is perfect, but we sure can try. Instead of focusing on the negatives, focus on what you do well, what others do well, and magnify those talents. Every interaction we have with others either builds or destroys trust. Focus on building!
5 Effective Ways to Build Trust in the Workplace:
DO WHAT IS RIGHT – Easy. Just don’t be a jerk. Don’t hurt other people. Don’t lie. Don’t play politics. Help others. Be nice. Work hard. Think positive. In every situation just make sure you do what is honorable and helpful.
ACT WITH INTEGRITY – You show integrity through honest actions and words. Honesty is the root of trust in all relationships. Integrity must start from the top and then move down. Being honest means telling the truth, keeping promises no matter the consequences. If its people have integrity, the relationship is healthy. If relationships are healthy, then business is healthy.
HAVE SHARED GOALS – Teamwork only happens when the goals are shared. To create trust, employees/colleagues must feel like everyone is working together to carry out a shared dream, a shared vision, instead of a series of personal agendas. The best teams know the goal, believe the goal, and work toward it together.
ALWAYS COMMUNICATE – Communication is the vehicle for information and truth. We must communicate our values and vision first, and then we can communicate our organization’s vision next. By opening channels of communication, we can all stop trying to do the impossible task of reading minds.
CREATE PARTNERSHIPS – You build trust when people work together. We need to value each person. Trusted partners know that the work they do is important and that the work their partner will do is quality. AS partner has the same goals and dreams. A partner wants you to succeed. This means the leaders need to spend more time with the team. Then leaders need to give and receive feedback.
If you are a leader you need to build trust.
- Talk Straight
- Demonstrate Respect
- Create Transparency
- Right Wrongs
- Show Loyalty
- Deliver Results
- Get Better
- Confront Reality
- Clarify Expectation
- Practice Accountability
- Listen First
- Keep Commitments
- Extend Trust
Mr. Covey says: “Remember that the 13 Behaviors always need to be balanced by each other (e.g., Talk Straight needs to be balanced by Demonstrate Respect) and that any behavior pushed to the extreme can become a weakness.”
The foundation of all worthwhile relationships is trust. Trust is about risk. It is about emotional intelligence and it means giving control to others. The more trust we develop trust, the more success that we will find. Joel Peterson (JetBlue / Standford / Investor) wrote a new book (just finished it!) that outlines what trust is, how to develop it, and how to repair it. His book teaches these 10 Laws of Trust:
- Start With Personal Integrity
- Invest in Respect
- Empower Others
- Measure What You Want to Achieve
- Create a Common Dream
- Keep Everyone Informed
- Embrace Respectful Conflict
- Show Humility
- Strive for Win-Win Negotiations
- Proceed with Care
“…the absence of trust is betrayal…” – Joel Peterson
As we show our integrity and performance, we will build trust. Building trust is about people, competence, honor, and performance. Work hard to make sure the people you work with can rely on you. Once they know that you care and are trustworthy, everything else becomes easier.
People have strengths. People have weaknesses. People are not perfect. We all have problems. Some problems are easy to deal with, others…not so much. We all have had to work with that one-person who really rubbed us the wrong way.
Remember that boss who knew everything, who didn’t like other people’s ideas, and belittled everyone? You know, that one who was the boss but there was no logical explanation for it? The trick to working with people who are egotistical, self-centered, and delusional is two-fold: make sure they think, you think, they are incredibly awesome (then find a way to believe it yourself); and develop a path for success in spite of them. Doing this takes extreme emotional intelligence. Something I learned the hard way.
Tim*(name changed, obviously) was awful. He was horrible to work with. He couldn’t sell anything, never could gain consensus and always made bad business decisions. He did have one thing going for him though; his last name was the same as the one on the company’s letterhead. Tim had zero emotional intelligence. Or maybe he did and just didn’t use it; either way – Tim was the worst.
Tim would assign me tasks/projects. I would do them. Then I would do more. He would assign me more tasks. I would do them. He would ignore me. I would ask for feedback, then he would ignore me. When it was time to formally review performance, his response was always “adequate”. No details. No discussion. It took a few months but I learned how to win him over, I learned what I needed to do to engage and succeed, not with him, but in spite of him.
Working with Tim was difficult but not impossible. What I learned from Tim I have been able to apply over and over again with all types of colleagues. Here are the strategies I use:
Write Down What Bothers You
Write down all the bad things. Then burn the paper that you wrote all those horrible things on. Really. Actually get a lighter and burn it. There is something cleansing about fire that allows you to move on. Burn the problems so there is no going back.
Write Down the Good Things They Do
Don’t burn this list. Keep it. Read daily if you have to. Remind yourself of the good in this person (even if it is just their last name). This will help you see them as a human rather than an object. Every time they do something good, right it down.
Stop Thinking About Yourself
It is almost impossible to feel sad/angry/worried if you are not thinking about yourself. I am not talking about self-care, self-respect, or self-confidence. Those are all very important. But, if you focus on other people, your worldview changes and you are able to help more, provide greater value, and become a bigger influencer.
Start Thinking About How You Can Help Them
Let go of your pride. People like it when others think about them. Think about your boss’s needs and find a way to meet them. Right down the needs in list format. Cross them off when you fill that specific need. Done.
Never Let Their Actions Determine Your Feelings & Actions
Emotions are temporary. Feelings are long-term decisions. Emotions come automatically; once they come, how you respond is up to you. Your long-term feelings and subsequent actions are 100% determined by you.
Make Sure They Feel Important
Self-explanatory, do what needs to be done. Compliment them. Praise them. Ask them for advice even if you don’t use it. Getting someone else’s opinion can help clarify your thoughts and no one is always wrong (hopefully). Respect their authority but don’t let it limit your influence either.
No matter how hard you work, there is a way to work better. Work smarter to deliver better results. Focus on the needs of the business and your boss and then work harder by working smarter.
Never talk bad about this person or about anyone. Gossip spreads fast. Gossip kills relationships. Gossip destroys trust. Never gossip. If you wouldn’t say it to this bad boss and it is not being asked of you by HR or their boss, don’t say it.
Gratitude is powerful. It will change you as a person and it will change the person receiving the appreciation (eventually). Tell them why you are thankful for them and be specific (except don’t say: “since you are so horrible I have now developed emotional intelligence”, find something else).
Just because they are not changing, growing or progressing doesn’t mean that you can’t. Look for the good in others. Deliver results first then find even more ways to help. Focus on being aware of and then controlling your own emotions. Then you can focus on understanding the emotions of others so you can help them too. You might even forget how horrible that boss is, I know I did.
Words spoken cannot be unsaid. A few years ago I was in a meeting with a cross-functional leadership team and my boss (who seemed successful); and I had just announced a new plan that would drastically change our customer approach. The idea was not only shot down, but I was belittled in front of the team. The boss even asked if I had “been living under a rock the past 6 months?”. Of course I handled it wrong, I felt the shame first and then the anger rise, and rise until I was going to put my boss in his place. At the last second, I remembered a book about emotional intelligence (Daniel Goleman’s) that I had just finished and realized I better not say what was about to be said. So I held my tongue and kept quiet.
The situation was handled wrong though. If I was more emotionally competent I would not have just kept quiet but I would have done a better job of reading the entire situation, understanding my emotions and the emotions of others, and knowing what words to speak and questions to ask in order to move the agenda forward. At that moment the situation was handled wrong because of a lack of emotional competence. Eventually with the effective use of one-on-one discussions the new approach was approved by my manager. Yet, I never trusted him again after the words he spoke, since once words are spoken, they can never be unsaid.
Success, Learning from Others, and Emotional Competence
We all want success. How we define success might be different, but we all want it. (Jeff Haden has a great article about how we define success) It could be based on financial & professional goals, relationship goals, skill based goals, travel goals, or health goals. Whatever success you are searching for, there are actions that you can take to help you get there. Sometimes it is important to follow the lead of those who have been successful before us. Learning from others helps us shorten our time from where we are to the success we are pursuing. Finding joy in the journey is key to happiness. No matter what else is surrounding you, if you are happy you are successful. For me, success and true happiness is found from understanding who I am, pursuing my talents, building strong relationships and helping others.
One main skill that successful people have is the ability to understand and work well with their own emotions and the emotions of others. This is often called emotional intelligence. Last week I learned the difference between Emotional Intelligence and Emotional Competence (thanks LaRae Quy). Competence includes action; intelligence is theoretical.
These actions separate the emotionally competent from everyone else:
Emotionally Competent People Do These 6 Things:
1. They Open Lines of Communication
“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” – Tony Robbins
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw
2. They Thrive on Feedback
“I think a lot of times if you get feedback that is critical, your emotions might flare up and you might reject it. You need to be able to dial it back, calm down and listen to what they’re saying, because maybe they’re right.” – Laura Brown
“Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” Ken Blanchard
3. They Are People Centered
“A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.” – Arianna Huffington
“If you make a person feel smart and insightful, that person will enjoy your company more.” – Gretchen Rubin
4. They Only Speak When Adding Value
“Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving us wordy evidence of the fact.” – George Eliot
“Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.” – Benjamin Franklin
5. They Recognize and Respond to Emotions
“Our feelings are not there to be cast out or conquered. They’re there to be engaged and expressed with imagination and intelligence.” – T.K. Coleman
“An emotion does not cause pain. Resistance or suppression of emotion causes pain.” – Frederick Dodson
6. Use Smart & Effective Body Language
“In short, our body language, which is often based on prejudices, shapes the body language of the people we’re interacting with.” – Amy Cuddy
“Sure, your personality and your emotional state will impact your confidence levels, but it’s obvious that assuming better body language, taking up space, and expanding your physical presence can play an important role as well.” – James Clear
In order to do those 6 things well you need 4 foundational skills:
Dr. Travis Bradberry teaches that emotional intelligence has 4 specific skills:
- Self-awareness (Personal Competence)
- Self-management (Personal Competence)
- Social-awareness (Social Competence)
- Relationship-management (Social Competence)
These skills can be learned. As we focus on recognizing and labeling our own emotions we then can begin to focus on others. The more we focus our thoughts and actions on others, the more we are able to develop our own emotional competence. The purpose of success is to create and find (recognize) happiness along our journey. The more people we can help become successful, the more we will find our own personal success.
“Emotional self-control…delaying gratification and stifling impulsiveness- underlies accomplishment of every sort.”- Daniel Goleman
Recently I was lucky enough to have a Skype video call with LaRae Quy and she dropped huge amounts of knowledge. I would like to share the secrets I learned:
Confidence is not just faking it until you make it. LaRae Quy spent 24 years of her life in extremely tough situations. As an FBI counter intelligence and undercover officer she had her fair share of “defining” moments where the outcome could mean life or death. In these types of situations LaRae says:
“There is no room for faking it until you make it. You must summon the confidence from within first, and act on that confidence.”
In order to gain confidence you must be able to overcome obstacles. Some people gain confidence from success. That is great. What happens if you have never been successful in even a remotely similar situation though?
When LaRae was training at Quantico one of the requirements was to jump into a pool while holding an M-16 and then resurface and swim to the other side. The problem was, LaRae, growing up on a cattle ranch in Wyoming, never learned to swim. Even right before the exercise, she still couldn’t actually swim. But she understood that failure was not an option, she knew she had to do it and summoned the confidence to jump. Then she jumped. She is still here and believes that action is the proof of confidence. When you push your limits, your limits expand. You don’t fake courage. You take action.
LaRae Quy likes to use the term “Emotional Competence” instead of Emotional Intelligence. While they might seem one-and-the-same, the difference made perfect sense to me. Competence is a more relevant term than intelligence. I know a lot of intelligent people who are not competent. Competence is about action, while intelligence is about knowledge. This idea of competence over intelligence also manifests itself in a quote she told me during our video call:
“Theories are nice, evidence is better. Our lives are our evidence”
Competence leads to confidence. According this FBI Agent “Emotional Competence’” has 2 Main components:
- Being Able to Identify The Feeling
- Regulating Your Feelings & The Resulting Actions
One of the main weaknesses we have when it comes to emotional competence is our vocabulary. When we discuss our feelings we are “ just fine” or “good”. This is weak and not descriptive. Being able to effectively identify and describe your emotion allows you to take the next steps in order to process and determine correct action. We need to be able to understand if we are angry, frightened, frustrated, jealous, concerned, worried, scared, or happy. Once we know what we are feeling we can then begin to understand why.
LaRae taught me that in order to be able to control (regulate) your actions and feelings there is a 5-step process:
- Quiet Your Mind
- Explore: Ask the Hard Questions
- Determine: Is This (Feeling/Idea/Perception) True?
- Decide What Needs to Be Done
- Take Action. Dare Yourself. Be Aggressive.
1. Quiet Your Mind – some people meditate. Some people exercise. Some people are religious. Whatever you do, make sure you have space and time to think about your thoughts. When your mind can focus and you are not being bombarded by outside noise, your ability to reflect and process information greatly increases.
2. Explore – this is where you ask what does this feeling do? Is it good for me? Is it self-limiting or is it helpful? Where does this feeling come from? Is it from my parents, my childhood, teachers, or friends and coaches? How did I get it? Why do I have it? Trace the origins. This is where all those questions must be answered.
3. Find Truth – is the feeling with its origin and meaning true? Does the feeling portray reality or am I making it up?
4. Decide What Needs to Be Done – what action if taken will move me closer to my desired outcomes? What action can I take? Where is my influence? Decide what you want to feel, what you want to accomplish and then focus on the actions that will get you there. By determining the best possible course of action, following through becomes easier.
5. Take Action – We need to challenge ourselves to proceed. All fear can be killed with action. Dare yourself to push your boundaries. Most limits are self-inflicted and can be broken. Break through those limits. Be aggressive with your actions and take control of your personal limitations.
The lack of confidence is present at all levels. Executive leaders feel unsure about their abilities just as much as junior analysts. It is rampant for both men and women, often though it is just expressed differently. Feeling afraid or questioning your abilities is ok as long as you do not dwell on the feeling and start believing it as true. Feel the feeling. Label the feeling. Then apply LaRae’s 5-steps to understand, question, and take corrective action. If you follow this process, you will be able to gain true confidence and thereby take more action in the future.
More about LaRae: LaRae Quy was an FBI undercover and counterintelligence agent for 24 years. She exposed foreign spies and recruited them to work for the U.S. Government. As an FBI agent, she developed the mental toughness to survive in environments of risk, uncertainty, and deception. LaRae is the author of “Secrets Of A Strong Mind” and “Mental Toughness for Women Leaders: 52 Tips To Recognize and Utilize Your Greatest Strengths.”
Relationship quality is measured by the level trust attained. One determinant of success is the quality of our relationships, or the ability to build trust.
“Again and again, we see both individuals and organizations perform only to a small degree of their potential success, or fail entirely, simply because of their neglect of the human element in business and life.” – John C. Maxwell
The main focus of any leader is to build trust. Relationships built on trust are the foundation of success. No one has succeeded on an island. Stephen M.R. Coveyteaches that there are two types of trust:
- Character (your integrity)
- Competence (the ability and willingness to produce).
”Trust in others comes not only from being truthful but also from the extent you reliably you do what you say you will do.” Stephen M.R. Covey
Leaders who inspire, build, motivate, and ultimately succeed are leaders who are able to develop and maintain both types of trust in their professional and personal relationships. Some trust is instantaneous, while other trust must be earned over time. Recently I took a helicopter ride while working on a project in Brazil. As soon as we arrived at the helipad I saw the pilot with his uniform, stripes, and various symbols that signified his competence. Instantly I believed that he had the ability and qualifications to fly the machine safely. The same is usually true when we visit a doctor or attend a university lecture. Credentials can build trust. Especially trust in competence.
In business though, credentials often mean very little. Building trust with individuals and teams comes down to our ability to navigate complex social situations. While the circumstances may vary, the process of building lasting trust is very simple to learn and apply.
The process for building trust is:
- Always Listen First (Curiosity, Concern & Care)
- Always Speak About People as If They Can Hear You
- Always Do Exactly What You Promised, then Do More
The first two steps in the process build your “character trust” and the final step builds your “competence trust”.
Jeff Haden produced a short analysis on the Science of Building Trust that examined the book The Decision to Trust: How Leaders Create High-Trust Organizations.
Jeff counsels leaders on how to build trust and make effective decisions:
“When you put yourself in your employees’ place and consider their perspectives and their needs, you can easily determine the best ways to act and communicate so you can create an environment of empowerment and trust… and in the process build a high-performing organization.” – Jeff Haden
Leaders who build trust are leaders who succeed.
Always Listening First allows us to learn and understand. And more important, those people we are building relationships will feel our genuine care. Emotions control relationships. Listening gives other people the chance to express themselves; this opens the door to connection and long-term positive associations. By listening you show concern while learning what types of actions and behaviors will best allow this relationship to succeed.
Always Speaking About People as If They Were Present does not necessarily build trust, but doing the opposite is the fastest destroyer of trust. Lying and cheating is wrong – you might or might not get caught. But, whomever you talk to will know how you talk about others. They will not want to be talked about when they are gone and therefore will not trust you. Be the type of person you want to be friends with.
Always Doing Exactly What We Promised, and Then Doing More shows we have integrity, we are honest, and just as important – that we are competent. Getting the job done is what makes the world go round. If you promise a phone call, make the call. If you promise an email, send the email. If you promise a trip to the swimming pool, go to the pool! (Practice with your family – the ones closest to you are often the hardest ones to keep promises to.) No matter how honest we are, if we do not produce something, we do not add value. There are many things we can produce – if our role is a high school teacher our product then is how well we teach, educate, and inspire the youth. If our role is as an accountant, our accuracy and insights we produce become our product. Everyone in some form or another has value to contribute. Everyone can create and produce. Competence comes from the skill, ability, and willingness to produce the best possible product. We trust people who constantly perform. First do what you say you will, then wow them and do more.
Following the simplified three things we must “ALWAYS” do will put us in situations to constantly be building trust. Building trust in relationships takes time, is easy is to loose and nearly impossible to regain. Earning trust once is hard, earning it twice next to impossible. Work hard at building trust; treat trust building like a profession. Always listen, Always Speak Kindly and Open About Others, and Always Deliver.
Now Its Your Turn: What are some ways you have found that help build trust? What advice do you have for others on their journey? (please share your experience and knowledge)
* For further study I recommend these 3 books:
- The Decision to Trust: How Leaders Create High-Trust Organizations – Robert F. Hurley
- The Speed of Trust – Stephen M.R. Covey
- Winning With People – John C. Maxwell
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