Are you engaged?

Most leaders would say, "I want to be engaging." I think leaders mean it in the way that Merriam-Webster defines it as a transitive verb on 5 A and B (Click to see definition). We want to hold the attention of people. Our organizations want to hold the attention of people. As leaders we want this with our teams, but have we stopped to look up from our work and notice what holds the attention of the people we lead? Without A there is no B, yet we want to hold the attention of the people so that they will be induced to participate. See, this is where leaders are asking the wrong questions when it comes to being involved in social media. Leaders will lean towards the thinking of, "Will people pay attention to me if I put effort into social media?" We are so accustomed to leading the charge that we think all eyes are supposed to be on us. But it's time for us to bring the backwards-ness (I made up that word) of the Gospel to social media. Leaders should be asking, "Do I see what's important to the people I lead on social media? Am I engaged in the place where the people I lead are sharing their lives? Do I see what has them burning with passion on social media?" This is the Gospel, not that we are trying to influence people to believe what we believe, but that we are sharing life with them.

This is how people in leadership are dropping the ball with social media. They think, "I don't want to have to put in the work so that people can see me," instead of putting in the time so they can say, "I see YOU and what YOU are doing is significant!"

Leaders, I have to ask you: are you engaged? Is your attention on the lives of your people and are you induced to participate in their lives? Or is everything about you?

Do you see organizations or leaders who are engaging the lives of their people? Please share if you do!

The organization is cold and heartless

As a matter of fact it's lifeless.  That's because the organization is an idea.  It's a set of disciplines or principles that a group of people have rallied around, it ORGANIZes them towards a direction.

In the beginning, the organization is about people.  Organizations start to help people, to serve people, or to reach people. Success leads to growth.  Growth, however, will lead an organization to turn inwards and begin to protect itself even though it is only a set of principles or disciplines.  Without people, nothing ever would have happened in the first place.  People know when they have been working for an organization that is consumed with protecting the organization instead of it's people.  The most obvious indicator that organizational self protection has begun if policy is created because of one person's mistake.

How does an organization get past self protection?

1.  It goes upside down.  Organization that self protect are always top/down structures.  When organizations decide to be about people first it allows input from those closest to doing the work.

2.  It strives for engagement.  At every level it says, "I see you working" to those doing the work instead of saying, "Could you do more?"  Most organizations are missing the most obvious opportunity through social networks to say, "Way to go," and actually get back a, "Thanks for noticing!".

3.  It says thank you.  This is probably the biggest loss in an organization when it becomes focused on self protection.  The organization takes on a "You're lucky to work here," instead of a, "Thank you for serving."  In the chain of command the comment should always be made from top/down, "Thank you for doing what you do."

Don't allow your organization to become consumed with self.  Make sure it's quick to listen, works to engage the workers, and it is so quick to say thank you.


Kick some butt

If I kicked you as hard as I could in the butt when did the problem begin?  Was it when my foot hit your backside or when the thought entered my head?


A result is always because of an action so as a leader you can't sit around and hope great things happen.  There has to be some fore thought, planning, and probably some hard work.  Let's be honest, a kick in the butt requires thought, alignment, flexibility, speed, and agility.  Some people are able to accomplish this list quicker than others.  But you can't kick a butt by flailing your leg around hoping it connects with a back end.  If you want to kick some butt as a leader you have to have thoughts that move into actions. 

Coaches are better storytellers than wizards

I have this adventure where I truly don't belong.  I get to coach football at a local high school.  I don't just enjoy coaching, I love it! I don't think there is much about me that fits the mold as a high school football coach.  I'm not a yeller.  Never have been.  I don't like sunglasses.  Which, I lose every single pair that I buy so I don't spend more than 10 bucks at target for a pair.  As soon as it gets cold, I bundle up; nothing in me needs to prove to someone at a game that I can stand in a blizzard in a short sleeve shirt and shorts.  But coaching football and being on a coaching staff has taught me some marvelous lessons in leadership, the largest lesson being the power of story.

Our coaching staff is full of guys who tell great stories.  We had a meeting last week and of course it was full of great stories.  I mean laughter.  Stomach hurt kind of laughter.

Story adds an incredible value to leadership.

Here are the things it does for you:

1.  Story casts vision

2.  Story includes people

3.  Story causes people to laugh and feel, which makes the experience better

4.  Story reveals what is possible through what has been done before

5.  Story offers people hope

So are you a story teller?  Do you provide space with your team and when your with your people to tell stories?  Can you help people laugh?  Can you help people see what was and what could be?

Just for my own entertainment, make sure you deliver the goods...whatever that means?

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