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Leadership Isn’t About Getting It Right…

So many leaders think that leadership is about being right.

I get that.  Who like’s being wrong?

But true leadership is about making adjustments.

When I first launched EricDingler.com I thought for sure I’d only be doing workplace leadership.  Then, I started to dabble in family leadership.  Then, I added some videos about marriage.  In a short period of 1 year; I lost the vision and drifted right into complexity.

Now that my wife and I have our speaking, writing and membership site going all around being Family Life Consultants.  Now that my day job is busier than ever.  Now that my kids need more of my time.  Now that my marriage is such a priority that I need and want to feed it.  Now that; this and that.  I need clear vision more than ever.

I need to be as productive as I can with every moment I’m working.  I need to be focused on the things that get the greatest results.  (Come on, some of this has to be hitting home for you.)

So, I will use EricDingler.com as my vehicle for capturing my workflow, training our virtual assistants, experimenting with technologies, and more.  I’ll clarify my thinking about leadership as I write out plans and training materials here as blog posts.  I’ll learn from your comments.  As a community we will learn and grow together.

Now, you know.

Why and How To Lead With Grace

 

Leading can be messy.

Leading can be exhausting.

Leading can be the most rewarding thing you ever do.

There are so many opinions on what “THE KEY” to being a great leader is.

Frankly, there isn’t one. Leadership is the high school janitor’s giant ring of keys. Leadership is complex and multifaceted.

Image courtesy of graur codrin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of graur codrin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

With that image in mind. We now have this questions. “What is the key ring?”

What’s the thing that keeps all of the keys of successful leadership held together?

I believe the key ring of leadership is Grace.

Let’s define Grace. If you are speeding down the highway and get pulled over, here is what could happen.

  1. You get a ticket. This is because you are under the law and your ticket is justice, and what you deserve.
  2. You get a warning. This is forgiveness. The cop could have given you the ticket, but decides to be forgiving.
  3. The cop walks up to your window and gives you a jelly donut. You are getting something you don’t deserve for being in the wrong, this is Grace. (Just a side note to my fellow believers of Christ…consider this analogy for a moment in your relationship with God. Powerful to consider God gives us jelly donuts everyday.)

When’s the last time you extended Grace to someone you lead?
How are you going above and beyond the expectations of those you lead?

Don’t you want Grace extended to you? My marriage wouldn’t be what it is if my wife and I didn’t exchange Grace regularly. My relationship with my children…same thing. My team at work, ditto.

Now, before someone comments that, “but sometimes you don’t have a choice. As a leader a time will come when you have to fire someone.” True. But do it with Grace. Make sure you really know the whole story first. I’ve never fired anyone who was surprised. Everyone is gifted and capable at doing the right work, But if you judge a tree for it’s ability to have empathy and walk with an upset costumer towards a resolution, you’ll end up with the a big pile of wood chips and no oxygen.

THE IDEA:

Hand Out Jelly Donuts Every Day

TIPS AND SUGGESTIONS:

  • Look for new ways to develop the skills of your team.
  • React to screw ups by working with them to fix it.
  • Overreact to right decisions and under-react to mistakes.
  • Get out of your office every day and be present with your team.
  • When you think you have given enough, you have almost started giving enough.
  • Remember, what gets rewarded gets repeated.
  • Create a great environment by getting the wrong people off the team.
  • ?What other Tips and Suggestions Do You Have?

WHAT YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW:

  • Consider a situation you are facing. What will the jelly donut look like?

RELATED POST:

Question: What other tips do you have to lead with Grace? Where do you disagree with me in this analogy of Leadership? What do you believe the key ring is?  I’d appreciate your thoughts, please comment. 

 

 

How To Be Understood Better By Everyone

This is one of the workshop topics we cover in training our summer camp supervisors.

In fact we cover it with our camp counselors before they work with kids.

And, my wife and I talked and practiced this before we got married.

In fact, I first learned about it reading a parenting book.

This post is a trifecta for my blog. Three of the most common things I write about our marriage, parenting and workplace leadership. This is one of those, Leadership Happens Everywhere kinds of post.

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Unintentional Covert Messages.

I see three things that mostly effect communication.

  • The words we use,
  • The body language we use,
  • The filters the other person uses to process what we’ve said. These are built on previous life experience.

For the remainder of this post, I want to focus on the words we use.

I used to believe that it wasn’t my responsibility if I accidentally offended someone. But, are people not responsible for car accidents?   I accidentally pushed my brother through an open window when we were kids. I can assure you that my mom held me responsible.  Side note: my brother has reflexes like a cat and caught himself before falling from that second floor window. I believe I deserve the credit for his reflexes by running him through training drills like the window when we were younger. My mom still disagrees.

It’s time to be responsible for our part of clear communication.  

Here are three examples of unintentional covert messages.

MARRIAGE EXAMPLE:

Wife says; “You didn’t do that the way I asked you to.”

Husband hears, “I don’t believe in you, I think you must be stupid.”

Husband becomes defensive.

PARENTING EXAMPLE:

Parent says, “Do I need to remind you again tomorrow to remember your lunch for school?”

Kid hears, “I don’t believe you are smart enough to remember things on your own.”

Kids start to think, if you don’t believe in them: why even try.

WORKPLACE LEADERSHIP EXAMPLE:

Leader says, “Does that make sense to you?”

The team hears, “I don’t think you are smart enough to understand me.”

The team starts thinking, “My boss must think I’m stupid. I’m never getting a promotion or credit for anything.”

Here are three ways to consider rewording the above examples.

Wife, “I see you did it different then I suggested.” The husband can reply with “yep.” They are now free to continue a conversation.

Parent, “How are you planning to remember your lunch tomorrow?” The kid is now empowered and knows you believe in them.

Leader, “What do you see that I’m missing or not explaining well?” The team realizes they work for someone who thinks they are intelligent and values their opinion.

THE IDEA:

Nobody cares what you said, they want to know what you meant.

TIPS AND SUGGESTIONS:

  • Identify what wording is in your current vocabulary that needs to go. For me, it’s “Does that make sense to you?”
  • Ask yourself. “If I say this, does it only say what I want it to?” “How can I make this statement positive and uplifting for others?”
  • Identity things others say that annoy or bother you. Do you say them?
  • ?What other Tips and Suggestions Do You Have?

WHAT YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW:

  • Think about the last conversation with your spouse, child or a person at work. Did you unintentionally “say” something you didn’t mean to?
  • Ask someone you’ve built a bridge strong enough to bare the weight of truth with if you have anything you say or do that is hurtful and you aren’t aware of it.

VARIATIONS:

  • If you are on the other end of conversation like this, speak up. Say, “I know you just said “xyz” but what I heard was “Lmnop”.”

RELATED POST:

How To Make Feedback a G.I.F.T.

 

I recently heard a guy at church tell this story about his son, we will call his son Ted.

Ted goes golfing for the first time with some friends.

His friends were all hitting the ball more then 150 yards.

Image courtesy of pat138241 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of pat138241 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Now Ted, golfing for the first time, could only hit the ball 50 yards.  And, he had a terrible slice.  His ball kept landing almost off the fairway, but at least he was still in the open fairway and could see his ball.  One of the other kids had a pretty much equal slice.  But, he was hitting his ball about 200 yards…his ball was in the trees, in water, in the sand…pretty much anywhere it shouldn’t be.

The only difference at play between Ted and the other kid was distance.

We also see this principle in workplace leadership.

The further you allow someone on you team, or the team itself, to go in the wrong direction..the greater the error.

If you avoid a conversation with someone because it will be uncomfortable, the eventual conversation will just be worse.

If someone is causing dissension amongst the team with a negative attitude, negative talk, laziness, gossiping etc.  The longer you allow the issue to go…the greater the damage.

THE IDEA:

Error Increases With Distance.

TIPS AND SUGGESTIONS:

  • Don’t wait for annual reviews to give feedback.
  • Have regularly scheduled one-on-ones with your direct reports.
  • Empower supervisors to immediately address problems.
  • Make Gossip a fireable offense.  (Here’s a post with more on that)
  • What gets rewarded gets repeated.  (tweet that) Pay more attention to positive decisions and beneficial attitudes then to negative ones.
  • Make feedback a GIFT:
    • Genuine – Don’t give blanket statements such as, “Good Job”.  Read Matt McWilliams post for more on this.
    • Immediate – Don’t wait, give feedback as soon as possible.
    • Friendly – Don’t be a jerk. You aren’t in your position because no one else can do your job, you are there because you got there first.  Check your ego at the door.
    • Tailored – Read The Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace.  Reinforce desirable decision making by showing appreciation to each person on your team in the manner that they most appreciate.  For some it will be a quick email.  For others a conversation at lunch.
  • Never put an end date on your training for new hires.  Training never ends.  Perpetual training, mentoring, coaching…whatever you want to call it…fosters the greatest teams.
  • ?What other Tips and Suggestions Do You Have?

WHAT YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW:

  • Order The Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace. If you already have it, read or reread it.
  • List all of your direct reports.  Schedule a reminder for each person this week to check in with them.
  • Consider having a weekly or bimonthly one-on-one meeting with each direct report.
  • When’s the last inservice you had?  Maybe it’s time to schedule another one.
  • Subscribe to my blog so you never miss a list of suggestions and tips for better leadership.

VARIATIONS

  • What variations or alterations would you suggest?

RELATED POST:

Thanks For Reading

Avoid The Biggest Mistake In Setting Goals

The boldness in declaring this The Biggest Mistake in goal setting, is from observations leading several hundred staff and facilitating tens of thousands of people in workshops, conferences, retreats and other personal development experiences in 16 years.

Like many people, I use to have terrible goals. In fact, they weren’t even goals at all.

I had a list of desires I was working towards accomplishing.

ID-100107791

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Even using S.M.A.R.T. goals. ((see this post on Top Achievement for great information on setting SMART goals), I didn’t have good goals.  And my forward momentum reflected this.

For example;

  • I had a desire to get married.
  • I have a desire to raise kids that have happy marriages.
  • I have a desire to increase enrollment at events at work.

I’m not saying these are bad things to want. I’m saying I can’t accomplish them as goals.

  • I couldn’t getting married until someone wanted to marry me.
  • I can’t choose my kids spouse, nor can I choose the behaviors and decisions my kids or their spouses will one day make.
  • I can’t make more people come to an event at camp.

My goals use to rely on other people for success.  Which in turn really made them desires.

Now, I have goals for my desires.

Mark Batterson shares in his book, Circle Maker, that we pray as if it depends on God and work as if it depends on us.

For me, my desires are up to God to fulfill and my goals are up to me to accomplish, with God’s help of course.

My desire to get married. Is what I prayed for.
My goal was to better myself to become the person I wanted to marry wanted to marry. This is the work I did. And now I’m married to my best friend and the most beautiful woman of God I know.

My desire for my children to have successful marriages. Is what I pray for.
My goal: When I say, “I love you” to my wife, it’s only after I treat her in a way that shows her I love her; all in front of my kids, everyday. I remind myself daily; more is caught than is taught. This is the work I do.

My desire for increased enrollment at work is what I pray for.
My goal: Increase guest satisfaction at every encounter  by studying evaluations monthly looking for innovative solutions to improve quality of service, experience, communication, facilities and deliverables related to Mission and Core Values.  This is the work I do.

THE IDEA:

We Work Towards Goals, We Pray For Desires

TIPS AND SUGGESTIONS:

  • If you haven’t, write down your goals.
  • Look at your written goals. Do they rely on someone else to accomplish them? If so, re-title your list Desires.
  • Pray hard for your desires, work hard for your goals.
  • Read the Circle Maker by Mark Batterson (affiliate link).
  • Review your Desires and Goals everyday.
  • Are you married? If so, do you and your wife share any desires for your marriage or, if you have any, your children? Pray together and work together. Couples who pray together stay together.
  • ?What other Tips and Suggestions Do You Have? Comment Below

WHAT YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW:

  • If you don’t have time to work on this, schedule time on your calendar right now.
  • Write down 1 desire and then write 2 goals for that desire.

RELATED POST:

Thanks For Reading

Be A Better Leader, Leverage Feelings

 

“What you do with what you feel is more important than what you feel.” – Dan Rockwell

Feelings are good and bad.

Good if you understand the reason you have one.

Bad if you let your feelings lead you.

Good if you understand you behave your way into good feelings, you don’t feel your way into good behavior. (I’m blushing, but sure…you can tweet that)

Bad if you ignore them.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

There is always a reason behind the reason. There is always a reason behind a feeling.

A feeling is our sub-conscience telling us something. But what?

  • Anger and frustration signals a blocked goal.
  • Anxiety signals an uncertain goal.
  • Depression signals an impossible goal.

We shouldn’t make decisions based on feelings.

We can however, judge or test our decisions based on our feelings.

If you put your hand on a hot stove top, you don’t leave it there while you apply burn cream or run cold water over it. You remove your hand first. You address the reason behind the burning first.

The same is true in emotional or spiritual feelings.

If you are preparing for a meeting and feel anxious. You shouldn’t go into the meeting with that feeling and simply push through or hope for the best.

Instead, ask yourself, “what’s the uncertain goal here?”

Maybe your are anxious because your goal is to leave the meeting with a raise in pay. Your uncertain how to make that happen. The reason this goal is uncertain is because it’s a desire, not a goal. The final outcome is up to someone else. Go into the meeting with the goal of clearly communicating your desire with confident humility while speaking the truth.

THE IDEA:

Behavior creates feelings.

 

TIPS AND SUGGESTIONS:

  • Don’t ignore your feelings.
  • Seek out the blocked goal. If you, your spouse, your child or someone you lead at work is angry, don’t address the anger…address the why behind the anger. Example, my team at work can get angry when I block their ability to perform their job well by not clearly communicating my expectations. My daughter gets angry when I block her goal of playing with the iPad when I say, “no,”
  • Karin Hurt at letsgrowleaders.com recommends documenting your anger for 2 weeks. An awesome tip to help you look for trends.
  • Write down your goals and think about potential threats to them.
  • ?What other Tips and Suggestions Do You Have?

WHAT YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW:

  • Reflect on the last time you felt angry, anxious and/or depressed. What was the real reason you felt that way?
  • Schedule an in-service with your team at work to talk specifically about “feelings”. When my team and I all feel anxious about a groups arrival, a new project or anything else. We can have a conversation around, “What are we uncertain about? Have we set a goal for this event that is out of alignment with our mission? Have we failed to process this goal through our core values? Do we have a goal that really a desire?”


I’d love to hear your thoughts, please comment below.

My blog is now two months old.  I’d love to hear which post you enjoy, which ones you could do without.  Is there a design or function of the blog you like or wish I had?  Your feedback will be greatly appreciated.  You can comment here or email me.

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