Intro to The 5 Voices of Leadership

The Problem With Personality Tests

Have you ever taken a personality test, only to forget what it means a week later? 

You might recall whether you thought your results were good or bad, but ask you what your letters were or which color you scored, and you stumble through a response that could generously be called a jumble of alphabet soup.

Well, fear no more. At GiANT, we devised a framework for understanding personality that is simple, intuitive, and designed with an educated thirteen-year-old in mind. In fact, the core principles of simple, scalable, and sustainable are baked into every concept and tool we create.

When it comes to personality, we realized that while systems like Jungian Type and Myers-Briggs are incredibly powerful (check out our ongoing series on Jungian Type!), we needed to create another system to help those of us who struggle to remember and communicate what we learn about ourselves to others. That’s why we distilled the multitude of personality types down to 5 basic leadership voices, and grounded each one in a distinct character narrative. Before we get going, however, we have a few ground rules to cover.

A Word About Ground Rules

One of the biggest complaints you’ll hear about any test related to personality is that “you can’t put people in a box.” That is certainly true and I promise we’ll never do it. In the 5 Voices system, everyone can and does speak all five voices. The issue in discussion is not about which one you are or are not.  Instead, our system acknowledges that we all have access to each of the five voices, but that some are more natural for us. Think of it as using your right and left hands, you might be able to use both, but one will naturally be more dominant and effective. Usually, there are two voices that represent how we typically come across to others, so as we run through each voice, try to consider what your order of most prevalently used voices might be in your everyday life. Now that we have the basic assumptions out of the way, welcome to your official introduction to the 5 Voices of Leadership.

The Nurturer Voice

A Nurturer voice is usually the quietest voice on a team. They are the champions of relationships and doggedly fight to maintain relational harmony if at all possible. Confrontation is often a last, highly unattractive resort. Nurturers, as a rule, are always thinking of other people. It’s incredible how hyper-perceptive they can be regarding the emotional realities of their team. This ability often compels them to champion others before themselves. Therefore, most Nurturers consistently (and stubbornly) underestimate the contribution their voice brings to the table. 

Because they tend to be quite sensitive and highly relational, their conflict avoidance often prevents them from standing up for themselves or voicing their ideas if others have already taken a position against it. As someone leading a Nurturer, you will have to create an environment where the nurturer voice feels safe to share their ideas before they are willing to put themselves out on a limb. Amazingly, 43% of people speak Nurturer as their first voice. If you aren’t sure whether someone is a Nurturer, they’ll be the one constantly advocating for “people before profit.”

The Creative Voice

As a future-oriented voice, you’ll often find the Creative dreaming about far-off visions and driving towards innovative possibilities. As champions of innovation, they’re always pushing the envelope in terms of new ideas, technology, thought, and better strategies. They also have a highly developed concern for social consciousness and will fight hard to maintain organizational integrity. Most creatives are constantly asking, “Are we being true to what we say? Are we people of integrity? Are we being authentic? Are we truly aligned with our values and strategy for the sake of our clients and employees?”  

However, others will generally find the Creative voice hard to hear because what the Creative thinks they’ve communicated versus what they’ve actually communicated seldom align. This comes from both their impressive ability to draw connections between dots at such a high level or so far in the future, that they leave out what seems obvious to them, or they otherwise feel afraid to be assertive for fear of being wrong or stepping on toes. Nevertheless, the Creative voice provides a huge competitive advantage to most teams because they tend to see the long-range opportunities and dangers way before the other voices. They’re like a long-distance radar for potential strategic or ethical pitfalls, but usually need help from the rest of the team to encourage them in sharing their message.

The Guardian Voice

As many will soon realize, you’ll never have trouble hearing the Guardian voice on a team. Guardians are the custodians of traditions, systems, and processes, and as such, they seldom shy away from speaking their mind. They thrive on due diligence and will remain stubbornly devoted to the detailed analysis of pros, cons, and hard evidence in the decision-making process. You’ll also find Guardians ruthlessly dedicated to asking the difficult questions, which can be off-putting to ideators and caretakers, but will ultimately prove invaluable in the long-run through the mistakes and poor decisions they prevent.

Their “party-pooper” reputation may gain some merit from the sometimes blunt tone they adopt, but you’ll never find a better steward of team resources.  The most daunting challenge for the Guardian voice will be their management of tone and tact, as well as reserving judgment of (in)competence just because someone disagrees with their strongly held opinions.

The Connector Voice

Connectors are the ultimate champions of strategic networking partnerships and people connections. This voice loves to play the role of translator and charismatic leader, thriving on their love of communicating vision and possibilities to everyone they meet. They always have a feeling for what people hear and work hard to ensure that what others are hearing is both accurate, and sparks a similar enthusiasm for the vision they want to build with everyone. 

Interestingly, a Connector can sometimes feel like a chameleon because they tend to shift their message to others based on what they believe the other person wants to hear to get on board. That sixth sense for what inspires others can be both a powerful tool as well as a potential to come off as a “slick salesperson.”

The Pioneer Voice

Lastly, the Pioneer. We’ve deliberately chosen this order, with Pioneers last, because the voices get louder in volume as we move down the spectrum of voices towards them. As the most assertive voice on the team, Pioneers tend to naturally assume command and champion big picture vision. Their capacity to align people, systems, and resources make them like a sort of field marshal that always wants to win, and win big. Pioneers love to compete and play the role of captain, relishing the challenge to move everyone forward. They always want to be the one to make the tough decisions, or take the last minute shot to save the day. 

When Pioneers work healthily with others, they are incredibly effective. However, when this voice trends toward immaturity or selfishness, they pose the greatest danger inside a team. Without self-awareness or a “for others” mentality, Pioneers can become domineering and dismissive of the other voices in favor of pursuing their own agenda. As part of their nature, Pioneers rarely shy away from arguments or sharing critique, but when harnessed effectively, they provide a powerful catalyst for team and organizational achievement.

So What?

Keep in mind that no one is all one voice, and yet, each voice matters and brings an invaluable, unique contribution to every team. The best thing you can do for your team is to take the time to learn about each voice, own your voice order, and be sure to value every voice at the table. Too many companies, leaders, and employees suffer because voices are either unknown or unappreciated.

This was originally posted by GiANT Worldwide and I wanted to share it here as well. If you’re interested in learning more about how your leadership voice affects your leadership, I’m happy to schedule a meeting to discuss. Just click the contact button and let me know!


Source: GiANT

Leadership Secrets: Leveraging Your Rest

Sometimes the best investment you can make at work is to step away from it for a while. To get out of the daily grind and make time for rest, peace, and recharging with family, friends, and reflection.

In fact, we would all love even just an hour of this time every day. When we take some time off during the day, we call it a break.

When we do it every week, we call it a weekend.

And when we do it for an extended period of time, we call it a vacation.

While there are some out there who believe that taking more than 5 minutes to go to the restroom and scarf down lunch equates to laziness and an irreparable loss of productivity (don’t even ask about vacation), much of the science behind actual productivity and human psychology would disagree.

Contrary to the claims of holiday naysayers, I’ll give you three reminders for the upcoming season of travel to help you hold on to the advantages that the occasional leave of absence affords. Whether you’re returning from Spring Break with the kids or hoping to get away for a week of vacation this summer, don’t let your vacation go to waste like a flash in the pan. Hopefully these three thoughts will help you bring your newfound rhythms and rest back home to your daily life.

1. Reset Your Pace 

Hopefully, you unplugged enough to actually rest while on vacation. This is the best time to reset to a healthy pace that allows you to be productive in your work. Don’t return to the frantic pace of your work-culture or your past stresses. Instead, reset what you do, when you do it, and how you do it. Consider your emotions, experiences, and how you think while on vacation, then implement a few strategies during your daily and weekly routines to cultivate the peaceful mindset of your best moments. Did you love playing volleyball on the beach? Try rejoining your old softball league or find a sand volleyball team. Did you get lost in a book for the first time in years? Carve out 30 minutes a day (before breakfast, at lunch, before bed, etc) or an hour on the weekend to indulge your love for the written word, whether fantastical adventures, practical self-help, or an interesting biography.

2. Capture the Trip

Many people run from one thing to the next on vacation – either out of excitement or a sense of responsibility to take advantage of every available moment – but too often they fail to capture the moment. And I don’t just mean through pictures, though those are certainly invaluable and a staple of memory-making for our nostalgic future selves. But what about your emotions? Your excitement or peace? What about the little things or the unexpected adventures that made the trip just perfect? Take thirty minutes at the end of your trip and write down what you learned (about yourself, your family, friends, destination, etc) during your time away. Surely there were 2-3 “aha” moments or opportunities to learn something you can implement in your daily life. Did you love drawing on your foreign language skills for the first time since high school? Maybe pick up a Rosetta Stone to help you pursue it further. Did you realize your family enjoyed a more relaxed pace of activities rather than a frenetic rush to fill every moment? Keep that in mind not just for future vacations, but for your everyday approach to family time or weekends. Capture your ideas so that you lead yourself better the next time.

3. Keep a Restful Attitude at Work 

For most people it takes at least 3-4 days until they can rest on vacation. There is an unwind period in order to get into a restful groove. So keep it. You put in the effort and time to get into a restful state of mind, why not keep it that way? What would happen if you were able to carry your restful groove into work. Maybe you developed some habits to recharge on vacation, or picked up a saying that reminds you of peaceful days on the beach or adventures in the wilderness. Whatever the quirks or routines you found, figure out a way to keep them embedded in your everyday life. Use them as anchors to those moments of adventure, rest, relationship, and joy. 

It’ll make your days go by faster and drain some tension from the moments of stress. You worked hard to get a break. Now, work hard to keep your newfound rest at work. 

Cheers, you deserve it!

This was originally posted by GiANT Worldwide and I wanted to share it here as well. If you’re interested in learning more about how your rest affects your leadership, I’m happy to schedule a meeting to discuss. Just click the contact button and let me know!


Source: GiANT

4 Ways to Get Your Team on the Same Page

Anyone out there trying to get a group of people moving in the same direction? 

It’s hard, isn’t it? When it comes down to it, there are only a few seasons in the life of a company where an entire team is aligned and moving in the same direction.

Few leaders are able to do this consistently, while most leaders get swept up into the drama of the week or otherwise get tired and unfocused. We’ve all been there.

But, for those of you who want to improve your ability to get your people moving together, on purpose, here are some ideas for you to consider.

1. Do People Know You Are For Them?

Our experience working with clients tells us time and again that if people believe you have an ulterior motive, they will not jump in. If, however, people know that you want the best for them and they believe your motives are earnest, then they will at least approach your ideas with openness and give you the benefit of the doubt. 

If you want people to know you are for them then you need to spend time with them, listen to them, make sure they know you have heard them, and then speak to them with respect, as you would want someone else to do with you. Practice being “for people.” Ask them if they believe you are for them. If they don’t believe you have their best interest at heart, then you have an opportunity to grow with them. It may seem like an oddly personal subject to broach in a work environment, but even having the presence of mind and intentionality to ask them about it will communicate your motives powerfully.

2. Communicate in Their Language/Voice:

At GiANT, we teach a framework called the “5 Voices,” which helps people understand their leadership voice, from how they interact with and lead others, to what they value and how they make decisions. In our system, people fall into one of five voice tendencies -Pioneer, Connector, Creative, Guardian or Nurturer – though we can all exhibit tendencies of each voice to some degree. The point here is to make sure that you are communicating effectively to each style of leader. 

If you are moving your team forward, have you answered the questions for those who value people and want to make sure they are taken care of (Nurturer)? Are you addressing the issues of the Guardian who safeguards systems and wants to make sure the logical details have been addressed? Think about the various voices on your team and make sure you answer the questions that they would ask.

3. Set a Deadline to Hit a Project:

While simple, very few tactics elicit a better way to get teams working together than having a goal or deadline to hit. When project or initiative timeframes are ongoing, the natural lack of urgency allows busyness and other issue to creep in and erode both morale and momentum. If you want to get your teams moving on the same page then choose a date like New Year’s or the end of summer, or an anniversary date of the company as a motivation to move towards. Setting both project deadlines and overall company goals with tangible finish lines can do wonders for fighting complacency, maintaining focus, and keeping engagement high.

4. Celebrate!

Some of us are better at celebrating than others. Now, that doesn’t mean how hard you can party or how well you throw a fancy get-together. Appropriate celebration means calling out and raising up the things we see and value in others, particularly in a genuine, meaningful manner that honors your people in front of one another. 

You would be surprised how powerful something as simple as a celebration dinner can be in which you simply stand up and share something you value about each one of your team members, then invite them to do the same with the rest of their colleagues. It’s an incredibly effective means of creating memories and inside stories that build a strong, cohesive culture. And the truth is, very few professionals ever get to be on the receiving end of such a personal, specific moment of edification from their peers. Most of us don’t even realize it’s the jolt of appreciation we need to nudge our hearts and minds back to our team and its goals, until we experience it ourselves.

So, choose a proper time once the your team has hit a big deadline, then create some celebration events or moments to stop and publicly share successes. This makes future initiatives easier to launch, while binding your team closer to one another in the process.

Let’s get our teams moving together. It starts with you!

This was originally posted by GiANT Worldwide and I wanted to share it here as well. If you’re interested in learning more about how you can use the 5 Voices and other strategies to get your team on the same page, I’m happy to schedule a meeting to discuss. Just click the contact button and let me know!


Source: GiANT

Leadership Foundations: Pride vs. Humility

Each of our leadership styles are framed on a foundation shaped by personal experience, nurture, and learning. We have all picked up good and bad habits from those who have led us and we inevitably learn certain leadership skills in school, through informal reading, blogs, news, etc.

Have you ever thought, however, that there may be different foundations of leadership? 

Different philosophies that take you in different directions?

While various degrees and nuances exist, there are 2 fundamental foundations for leadership:

1. Humility-based Leadership

2. Pride-based Leadership

Humility & Leadership

Humility-based leadership is grounded in security, knowing who you are and what you are good at (and not good at) and being comfortable with both. Humble leaders are secure leaders who are confident without being arrogant. They are realistic about their skills and passions, while also embracing the wisdom and expertise of others. Since they don’t feel the need to prove anything or hide anything they are easier to follow and more often endeared.

Pride & Leadership

Pride-based leadership, however, is grounded in insecurity – not knowing who you are and what you are truly meant to be. Those without grounding become uncomfortable in their own skin. Prideful leaders are insecure and tend to compensate by pretending to be different (arrogant), trying to prove themselves often while hiding when they are afraid someone might find out their insecurity – be it financial, emotional, relational, experiential, or a deficiency of competence.

Consequences

The ramifications of these two styles are groundbreaking. If you lead in humility there is less drama, both internally and externally, not to mention greater productivity. However, when you lead from pride then the pattern becomes increasingly volatile, marked by rampant abuse of power and a lack of peace of mind.

If you’re wondering which style you’ve rooted your leadership in, here are a few questions to help you find out and make adjustments as needed:

1. List the significant leaders in your life. Which platform above did they build off of?

2. What was the wake of their leadership impact on you?

3. Do you have a tendency to be insecure or over-secure (arrogant)?

4. How would those you lead describe you?

5. Finally, which foundation do you believe you lead from? Pride or humility?

If we are going to grow as leaders we must be willing to ask ourselves the hard questions. Let’s all choose to start now by building our leadership platforms from a base of humility and then begin raising up leaders from that foundation. Doing so will not only benefit those around you, but most importantly, yourself.

This was originally posted by GiANT Worldwide and I wanted to share it here as well. If you’re interested in learning more about how your foundational leadership style affects your influence, I’m happy to schedule a meeting to discuss. Just click the contact button and let me know!


Source: GiANT

How do You Process Information? Sequential vs. Pattern Processing

Sequential vs. Pattern Processing

Welcome back for Part 4 of our Sensor vs. Intuitive series in Jungian personality preferences! Last time we took a closer look at the varying relationships sensors and intuitives have with the past, present, and future. In the course of uncovering why sensors tend to fear the future and intuitives often scorn the present, we also discussed the different approaches to change taken by each type. Sensors, for example, often engage a methodical, incremental approach to change management, while intuitives typically spring for radical, “game changer” strategies.

Building on that understanding, today’s post will dive into the processing tendencies employed by sensors and intuitives. When it comes to processing information, the two types could not be more different. 

Sensors: Sequential Processing

Keeping in line with their methodical disposition, sensors generally tend to communicate and learn in very sequential, ordered steps. Their linear style of reasoning makes them very easy to follow in logical discussions, which is why they also make great teachers. Rather than jumping off on questionably related tangents, sensors stick to the trail of evidence, stringing together their arguments one step at a time.

If you think about how you approached math in school, every sensor would admit to having written out their work completely, being sure to detail every painstaking step just in case they made a mistake or wanted to retrace their progression. After all, if you don’t show your work, how can you check it for the 100th time and be sure you did it right? How else can you reproduce your steps to generate the same precise result when needed?

Similarly, when taking in a their surroundings, sensors pay attention to the sequence of tangible details. The color and placement of items, the textures and details of what’s right in front of them. By gathering each concrete detail, they can gain a precise picture of the world they are experiencing as it exists.

Intuitives: Pattern Processing

Intuitives, on the other hand, always assume that there is a pattern and meaning behind the data they’re processing. If they are looking at a picture or taking in the surroundings, they might focus on what’s missing, or why the stage is set in just such a manner. The facts of the present reality are of little interest to the intuitive, but the “why” and the “why not” of that reality are enticing.

If you give an intuitive any piece of information, they’ll always assume there’s a specific reason why you’ve given it to them, and then get really exciting about discovering the things they can’t yet see. Rather than processing the information before them as it is presented, the intuitive generates a multitude of possibilities and connections to other facts or outcomes, doing their best to link its significance to some other piece of data that makes for a more exciting whole than the straightforward appearance of what’s in front of them. In the end, they’re looking for the underlying pattern or high level connections that reveal a deeper, truer reality.

When intuitives approached math problems in school, most would look at the scenario and try to figure out how to jump to the end result as quickly as possible. They become easily bored by the rigid, laborious process of working out each step in its entirety, preferring instead the rush of puzzling out the connections from a more conceptual approach.

Confusing Conversations

Contrary to sensors, intuitives will oftentimes jump from thought to thought in a conversation without realizing they’re leaving out three or four steps in the logic chain that connects them. They don’t want to spend time fleshing out the details when they could continue following the rabbit trail of possibilities and implications. Consequently, intuitives, particularly extrovert intuitives, tend to litter their conversation with tangents and random thoughts. You might even hear someone say, “Hang on. Stop. Two minutes ago you were talking about subject A, and now you’re talking about subject K, and I have no idea how you got there.” That’s because the intuitive brain usually has about three or four possibilities in any given moment where the conversation could go, therefore, they’re always looking to track down the tangents. 

What Does It Mean?

In the end, intuitives are just wired to assume there’s always pattern and meaning behind data, whereas sensors fixate on the need to gather the concrete, accurate, precise information of the task at hand. One type inspects and presents their analysis of the situation at hand as it is, while the other makes conjectures about the reality as it might be.

Each tendency comes with it’s own unique perspective on a given scenario, task, or situation. Their assumptions, processes, and conclusions may vary widely, but we would all do well to remember that even those who process the world very differently from us have unique insights to contribute. Sometimes it’s not a matter of which approach is best, but rather, what can I learn from a different manner of seeing the world.

This was originally posted by GiANT Worldwide and I wanted to share it here as well. If you’re interested in learning more about how your personality affects your leadership, I’m happy to schedule a meeting to discuss. Just click the contact button and let me know!


Source: GiANT

The Cost of a Hardened Heart

An Important Conversation 

These days, there’s a lot of conversation in the workplace around the idea of hard skills vs. soft skills. Various camps adamantly defend the virtues of technical excellence or emotional intelligence, but the truth is, both are incredibly important.

In this article, however, we’re going to dive into a topic that, while impactful for the working world, it holds even greater influence over our lives as a whole. Let’s begin with a simple question to frame the conversation:

What if one of your goals for the year was to keep your heart from becoming hard?

Hard Hearts vs. Soft Hearts

Some people grow softer with age, enjoying the changes of seasons and rolling with the punches that inevitably appear in the everyday circumstances of life. They grow, adapt, and face the unknown with an intentional humility.

Other people grow more bitter and cynical. The pain of the last let down casts a shadow on the potential hope of the new. The heart becomes hard. The pain becomes seared in the memory so deeply that any potential new opportunity is mitigated.

To keep your heart softened is to believe the best in others – to fight for their highest possible good, no matter the outcome.

To keep your heart hardened is to do nothing intentional, but rather to just keep taking the hits and talking circles in your head about why this person should have done this, or why that opportunity should have played out differently, but didn’t.

The Cost of a Hardened Heart

The hardened heart becomes a protective shell that keeps the light out of the right areas and eventually suffocates the life that was once there. The hardening might protect for the short term, but it kills the soul in the long term.

To soften your heart means that you learn to become secure, confident, and humble so that you can actually learn to live again. The best way to do that is to deal with forgiveness, focus on others with consistency, and prioritize connecting with your values in a real way. 

The Choice is Yours

When we refuse to extend forgiveness, we tend to not receive it from others, not to mention the fact that we often struggle to find an ability to forgive ourselves. When we focus on ourselves more than others, we eventually find that life is lonelier with our own interests at the center, rather than investing in relationships and the good of others. And when we skim over the things that make us who we are and give life it’s meaning, we lose our compass and become a rudderless ship tossed about by the whims of life.

But a person with a softened heart garners greater influence.

A person with a hardened heart drives everyone away.

The choice is yours.

This was originally posted by GiANT Worldwide and I wanted to share it here as well. If you’re interested in learning more about how your heart affects your leadership, I’m happy to schedule a meeting to discuss. Just click the contact button and let me know!


Source: GiANT

An Outdated Philosophy: “Us vs. Them”

Have you ever heard someone, maybe even yourself, say this:

“If they’re not for us, they’re against us?”

Many leaders love to adopt the philosophy of “us vs. them” to help define and solidify a sense of camaraderie and organizational identity. It also serves to reinforce – or coerce – loyalty and competition among employees by characterizing the tendency to question or operate differently as a form of betrayal. And though the coercion motive is mostly frowned upon, most people tend to believe there is some degree of truth in the “us vs. them” mentality.

What If…?

But what if we’re wrong? What if the “division for the sake of unity” tactic actually harms you and your business? Do you truly understand the ramifications of cultivating such a negatively-based competitive environment like this?

Here are few obvious repercussions:

  • A culture of paranoia
  • Posturing and intimidation as standard workplace behavior
  • Vindictive communication
  • Passive-aggressive behavior
  • Short-lists of “good” and “bad” that foster more rivalry than collaboration 
  • Hyper-competitive actions in the marketplace with loose moral standards
  • Slander and malice as everyday tactics
  • Disloyal culture

All these things affect people and the families they go home to every night: Stress increases. Productivity decreases. Conflict grows.

Blackballing every group or person whom you deem is not “for you,” and is therefore adamantly “against you,” is no way to live. Nor is it an effective way to do business. Last time I checked, there is little research to suggest a net-positive effect on productivity, culture, or competitive advantage when the workplace encourages burning bridges, fostering enmity, or adopting a cut-throat modus operandi. Ask Enron how that worked out for them. Better yet, watch the documentary “The Smartest Guys in the Room” and then determine whether you want to emulate such a culture.

Flip the Script

Instead, try flipping the philosophy to something resembling this:

“Anyone who is not against us, is (or could be) for us.”

This statement highlights only those who are obviously and notably against you, which for most of us would be a very small amount. It assumes, then, that unless it’s clear someone is actively working against you, then they are or have the potential to be for you. Such a change in approach fosters a mindset and strategy of growth, opportunity, and collaboration – the hallmarks of sustainable profitability and company culture.

Meanwhile, the alternative outdated philosophy puts the pressure on others to be notably for you in order to avoid condemnation as outright enemies.

In all fairness, it’s easy to slide into the habit of pressuring others to be over-the-top “for me” – as if they must become dedicated heralds of your business and no other, or else they are against you. 

Honest and regular evaluation of the competitive landscape is not only good, but healthy and essential. However, paranoid and vicious demands of “my way or the high way” shut down the benefits of varied perspectives and partnerships, whether inside or outside of your company. If others feel a heavy pressure to declare constant and unwavering support for each idea or decision you make, then you are endangering your business rather than helping it. 

Stop Burning Bridges

Though the following statement may vary based on situation (inside or outside the company, etc), a friend of GiANT once put it this way, “Relax. They are on our side. They want to do good things for others, let them. Don’t claim that only you can do that. They are obviously not against us so let them be.”

For many of you, we hope this blog post will serve as both a confession and a profession. A confession to perpetuating a philosophy that may actually be hindering you rather than serving you, and a profession of collaboration that will extend further and wider than you previously thought possible. Try to consider that everyone who is not obviously against you may actually be for you, or at least in concert with you, even if they bring a different perspective to what you do. 

Ultimately, it’s up to you, but rest assured that if you start viewing others as partners to be embraced rather than enemies to be eliminated, you will find more partners than traitors, and your business will grow stronger for it. 

This was originally posted by GiANT Worldwide and I wanted to share it here as well. If you’re interested in learning more about how the “us vs. them” mentality affects your leadership, I’m happy to schedule a meeting to discuss. Just click the contact button and let me know!


Source: GiANT

Is Worry Affecting Your Leadership?

It was an early morning, dark with a glint of frost in the air. John was quietly packing up his briefcase for another week’s trek through the jungle maze of traffic on the way to his downtown office, careful to not wake up his family in the process.

The weekend had been more relaxing than normal. He and the kids had fun, yet the tension remained between John and his wife. The tension seemed like it had been around for years… and it had.

John grabbed a power bar and poured his cup of coffee into his favorite traveler’s coffee mug. He went through the mental checklist in his mind – keys (check), wallet (check), cellphone (got it), briefcase, and computer (check). He had everything he needed. As he stumbled through the dark house he opened the door to the garage and opened the garage door, hoping not to wake any of his family. The fact was that his family was used to the sound.

The morning routine was almost over as he weaved his way through the bikes and normal garage clutter and flung his bag in the car, while carefully placing his coffee in the holder. As he reached for the driver side door handle he realized he had forgotten to take his morning tonic.

As he maneuvered back through the tight garage fixtures and toward the kitchen cabinet, John reached in to pull out his bottle. With a habitual gulp John had taken his morning dose. His tonic didn’t make him feel better, it actually made him feel far worse. Yet it was his routine and it was just what he did.

Not All Routines Are Good

His tonic wasn’t a medicine, however, but rather more like a poison.

As John started up the car for his 56-minute commute he began his normal conversation with himself. Though the tonic didn’t really help him, he used it to rationalize how it helped him navigate the realities of life. Over those 50+ torturous minutes in the car, John would think about everything that was going wrong at work and what he needed to do. He would then shift to his marriage and his kids. He was careful not to miss one issue. His natural process would end with a visit to his dreams and wants, yet the tonic would cause him to think of how he would not be able to reach them. As he pulled into his downtown office parking garage he would think about the litany of expenses that pile up every month, including the daily parking cost, which only led to more frustration.

The crazy part about John’s life is that he continues taking his tonic every morning. In fact he started taking it before he went to bed too. His assistant would often see him take it mid-day as well. Everywhere he went he seemed to take more tonic as if it helped him. It was a coping mechanism, but it was actually killing him on the inside.

Why would John take a tonic that didn’t help him, but actually made him feel worse? Before we pile our judgment on John we need to understand that the majority of us take this same tonic most days of our lives. 

We All Struggle To Resist The Tonic

No, we don’t actually take a physical product, but we do consume it faithfully and we do it at almost the same times of the day as John – mornings, evenings, drive times, etc.

On the label of this “tonic” you can see a fuzzy word that seems harmless, but is really a form of poison. That word is called “worry” and it is one of the most dangerous things a leader can consume.

For John, his worry caused him physical problems like heartburn and ulcers. He even suffered cold sores several times a year when his tonic use spiked. His worry hurt his sleep – he rarely got 4-5 hours of pure sleep a night. You can imagine what it did to his emotions. He was a wreck on the inside. He began worrying about everything and that began hurting his relationships, especially the most the most important ones.

John’s “tonic” had horrible side effects that tended to affect those around him such as colleagues, friends, and his boss. His demeanor changed as worry began to make him bitter. altering his world for the worse.

That is what worry does.

To Worry Or Not To Worry, That Is The Question

Are you taking this tonic? Is worry ruining your life like it did John’s?

If so, it’s time to stop. Stop taking what is killing you. Whatever it takes to stop your mind from obsessing or fixating on pain, frustrations, and concerns, do it. Prudent people consider actions, consequences, and challenges, but those who give up control over their life and emotions to worry, ultimately give up the life inside that makes them who they are.

Worry leads to bitterness, indecision, and insecurity. It hinders a leader’s capacity and poisons the well of friendships and relationships.

Instead, try substituting worry with an invitation for the love, advice, and perspective of the friends, family, and colleagues around you. Try being intentional about creating regular time to process challenges, as well as to protect the time and activities you need to recharge. Sometimes keeping a handle on our emotions or nipping worry in the bud comes down to simply staying recharged and maintaining intentional perspective on the things that matter most to us.

In the end, we all struggle with the temptation to worry, despite the fact that it never does us any good. We think it gives us control, when in fact, it causes us to lose it. So bear in mind the side effects of worry and choose to take back control instead of downing the tonic.

This was originally posted by GiANT Worldwide and I wanted to share it here as well. If you’re interested in learning more about how worry affects your leadership, I’m happy to schedule a meeting to discuss. Just click the contact button and let me know!


Source: GiANT

The Boomerang Effect: Be Interested Before Interesting

Developing Your “CORE”

At GiANT, we develop our tools from a combination of research and our own first hand experience in failure. We’re committed enough to finding better ways of doing things that we’ll gladly highlight our failures in an effort to help others avoid them and at least make different mistakes than we have made. Some of those shortcomings resulted in what we call the “CORE” framework. 

As with any athlete, your core (abs) plays a remarkably central role to one’s level of performance in any sport. People are no different when it comes to everyday life and leadership. We all have CORE capacities that must be mastered in order to perform at our peak ability and health. When we invest in these competencies, we become happier, healthier, and gain greater positive influence with those around us. 

Our personal and leadership CORE includes our Intelligence Quotient (IQ), Emotional Quotient (EQ), and our Personality Quotient (PQ). Most people have heard of IQ. Many people, though fewer than the first, have heard of EQ. As for PQ, we came up that one on our own! Essentially, each component boils down to a vital area of personal growth, whether in our technical competence and skills (IQ), our awareness of and connectivity with other people (EQ), or the self-awareness we develop around our own tendencies (PQ).

Want to listen to more about this subject? Check out our recent podcast episode: https://giantworldwide.com/liberator-002-the-power-of-self-awareness/

The Boomerang Effect

One all-too-common tendency we often bump into in the PQ space (with a little overlap in EQ) involves what we call “The Boomerang Effect.” The Boomerang Effect is a conversational tendency in which we listen to what other people are saying and, rather than being interested in their story or perspective, we are more focused on being interesting and finding a way to bring the conversation back around to ourselves. 

Instead of showing interest by asking thoughtful questions and getting them to unpack more of what they’ve said, we go with the classic boomerang phrase, “Yeah, that reminds me of when I….” or “That reminds me of this circumstance…” It’s the classic “one-up” move where we subconsciously (or consciously) use the excuse of engagement as a means to brag on or talk about our own interests and accomplishments. 

The Problem: Desperate to be Interesting

Unfortunately, when the inevitable conclusion of a conversation is to always end up back with you, people start to pick up on the fact that whatever the other person says will be used as a stimulus to talk about yourself. The most frustrating part is that we typically think we’re practicing active listening, but instead of garnering respect and influence from true engagement and attentiveness, we’re actually eroding our influence by signalling a lack of respect for the people with whom we are talking.

Ironically, our desire to be interesting and to prove ourselves usually causes others to lose interest. To be clear, everyone is susceptible to The Boomerang Effect. And to some degree, we’ve all fallen into the trap at times. But we’ve also found that certain personality types tend to struggle with the habit more than others. ENTP’s and ENFP’s, for example, find themselves Boomeranging often until the issue surfaces and they finally confront the tendency. That’s because ENTP’s like to prove their competence while ENFP’s are natural storytellers who love to talk about their experiences. Both attempts at being interesting lend themselves towards frequent boomerang conversations.

As for how to address this tendency, we cover some practical strategies for maintaining situational awareness and connectivity with others in our book called “The 5 Gears.” The whole purpose of the book is to help people build influence with those in their life while connecting better and on a deeper level. Many of the strategies found there can effectively help you counter the boomerang temptation. But to provide you with some immediate examples and insight…

The Solution: Be Interested Before Interesting

The key is to be interested before trying to be interesting. And the foundation of being interested comes from tapping into either a natural or a cultivated sense of curiosity. Our founders, Steve Cockram and Jeremie Kubicek, even engaged in a sample roleplay exercise on their Liberator Podcast (Episode #2) in which Jeremie used his natural curiosity to maintain focus on being interested before interesting. Here’s an excerpt of how the role playing worked out: 

Jeremie Kubicek: So Steve, where are you from? Where’s your hometown?

Steve Cockram: Live just outside London.

Jeremie Kubicek:  So is that where you were born?

Steve Cockram:  Nope, I was born in a little place called Exeter in the SW of England. 

Jeremie Kubicek:  Exeter. You know I’ve heard of Exeter. Exeter city? 

Steve Cockram:  Yeah.

Jeremie Kubicek:  It has soccer, a football club right?

Steve Cockram:  The Grecians. Yep. My team. 

Jeremie Kubicek:  Is that your main team?

Steve Cockram:  Well, when I grew up in Exeter, to play in the playground you either supported Manchester United or Liverpool. In the 70’s, Liverpool was winning so I supported them and it’s been pretty depressing ever since. So I claim Liverpool and Exeter, one by birth and one by a league so I can watch something on television.

Processing the Example

So, in the exercise, Jeremie used his curiosity and naturally flowing questions to find out more about important personal information while also establishing a connection to something Steve is passionate about. From there, they can continue the conversation in a number of ways and build rapport, all without Jeremie bringing in a story of his own or bragging about an accomplishment to one-up Steve. 

For example, if Jeremie was really good at soccer growing up, he might have taken the excuse of engaging with an interest of Steve’s to boomerang back to bragging about a State Championship he won or school record he set back in high school. That would have been prioritizing being interesting before interested. But Jeremie resisted the temptation to make it about himself, and showed Steve that he was “for him” rather than himself.

But it’s not all extraverts who struggle with this issue. Some of you may be very shy and struggle to interact in that kind og social environment, which can lead to boomeranging back to what you know (yourself), or otherwise cause you to pull away and remain unable to truly engage and connect with others. That’s where learning how to ask good questions can become a powerful tool to improve your connectivity and self-awareness. Some questions to keep in your back pocket might be “What do you like to do for fun?” or “If you had a million dollars, what would you want to do with it?”

The Takeaway

All that being said, we could talk about IQ, EQ, PQ, and The Boomerang Effect all day, which we will certainly explore in greater depth with future posts, but for now there’s a few important points to take away from all this:

Rather than trying to tell others about your own interests, take the time to really hear what makes other people come alive. The key to mining out such life-giving elements comes down to respect and intent. As leaders and individuals, we have to go into conversations with a commitment to being “for others” rather than “for ourselves.” 

This is important not only for meaningful connection and building influence, but also for your reputation. So, in summary, cultivate respect, commit to positive intent, and embrace the depth relationships that will surely follow!

This was originally posted by GiANT Worldwide and I wanted to share it here as well. If you’re interested in learning more about how The Boomerang Effect or other PQ and EQ tendencies affect your leadership, I’m happy to schedule a meeting to discuss. Just click the contact button and let me know!


Source: GiANT

S vs. N: Past, Present, & Future

S vs. N:  Past, Present, & Future

Our last post in the continuing “S vs. N” series on Jungian Typology and the GiANT Best Fit focused on one major question: “What is the biggest pitfall for each preference set?” In the end, we discovered that intuitives’ constant focus on the big picture, future vision often means they forget to pay attention to the smaller details in the present that could hinder their ability to get to the future. Sensors, on the other hand, while not ignorant of future possibilities, tend to become so focused on the details that they end up missing the forest for the trees, their wariness about the intangible uncertainty of the future making change difficult to embrace.

Here in our third post, we’re going to mine out more insights from the relationships between sensors and intuitives with the past, present, and future. We touched on this topic briefly through some of our conclusions in the last article, but I think you’ll find a deeper dive in this area to be fascinating, but also extremely practical in the effort to better understand yourself, your colleagues, and those who process the world a bit differently than you.

The Sensor’s Relationship with Change

Given the choice between living in and focusing on the past, the present, or the future, which do you think sensors would prefer?

If you said the present, then you would be correct. That one should be fairly easy since we’ve talked a great deal about the sensor’s ability to maintain great situational awareness and perceptiveness in the present where they can use their concrete experience, observations, and data to make informed decisions. Given such preferences, which do you think would be their second most preferred state: Past or Future?

Yep, it’s the past. That’s because, while not as accessible as the present, sensors can get hold of sensory data about the past. History can be read about, studied, analyzed, and prodded for information that brings meaning to the present moment. Concrete information is available.

The problem with the future is that there will never be any tangible, reliable, definitive data about it. It’s all guesswork and conjecture. Theory and predictions. One can attempt to gauge it through the lens of the past, but even then the future is a fickle thing. And if there’s anything sensors fear most, it’s the uncertainty of things that seem untethered to reliable understanding and information. This inability to taste, touch, see, hear, smell, or dependably analyze data about the future can even cause sensors to stay in jobs they don’t really like, or continue relationships that are unhealthy.

And if you ask them why they stay, it usually comes down to a fear of change. A fear that rocking the boat, even a less than ideal one, is preferable to stepping onto a distant shore inhabited by unknown dangers they can’t meet with preparation. Sensors find themselves stuck wondering, “But how do I know that change will be for the better? At least I know what I’m dealing with in this environment.” 

Why Intuitives Love Change

Intuitives, on the other hand, can often be found puzzled by the sensor’s resistance to change, wondering, “Why would anyone not change things?” With such a strong compulsion towards the future, intuitives are always wanting to live and move towards that future they envision for themselves, their businesses, and their world. They’re always standing on tiptoe asking how they can find a way to get to the horizon. As we’ve noted, that tendency can be dangerous, since they may trip over important details in the present, or fail to stop and smell the roses due to their relentless march onward to the promise of tomorrow.  

Intuitives obviously prefer to focus on the future, but what do you think that means for their second preference: Past or Present?

This may or may not come as a surprise to some, but intuitives generally rank the past as their second preference. Why? Because they can make sense of what happened back then. Intuitives like to sift through the patterns of the past in the hopes of finding one that will help them predict and reach the future they want to create. It becomes all about finding the hidden patterns and meanings behind things – events, people, movements, and eras. Such knowledge can equip them to shape and materialize the future they want.

The present, much to the contrary of sensors, seems largely dull to the intuitive. That’s usually due to the fact that they can’t really change the present. You can understand the past and change the future, but we’re all pretty much stuck in the present moment. An intuitive’s greatest appreciation for the present is to the extent that it allows them to move towards the future. It is a vehicle for change, though often isn’t the changed world they seek, thereby feeling like some sort of limbo for an impatient intuitive. 

But that’s what makes intuitives more comfortable with change. You can’t get to the future without actually moving into that reality, which requires change and theoretical planning. 

The Abstract vs. The Concrete

Due to the differences between a sensor’s and an intuitive’s preference for the past, present, and future, they tend to have a corresponding preference for either abstract or concrete forms of work, creativity, and thinking. 

For example, the intuitive’s love of the future often imbues them with a love for theoretical models. Most intuitives would rather conceptually build something than build it with their own hands. Consequently, it becomes a domino effect whereby Intuitives realize that their search for the meanings and patterns behind everything helps them build theoretical models that enable them to forecast the future so they can work towards it. That’s why many intuitives fit the mold of philosophers, writers, political leaders, and industry pioneers.

Sensors tend to be much more pragmatic and hands-on. They often prefer and enjoy building things they can feel. Sensors typically like to take things apart to figure out how they work. It’s why you will find sensors to be more methodical and process-oriented, often excelling in roles – whether managerial, technical, or legal – that focus on strong investigative and detail-management skills. 

Methodical Improvement vs. Radical Change

At the end of the day, sensors generally prefer the “tried-and-true,” seeking to begin with what’s already working and then making incremental, methodical improvements along the way.

Most intuitives, however, are uninterested in 3% improvement year over year, they want a 30% change. Instead of steady, step-by-step improvement, they love the idea of finding an entirely new way to do things that will bring about a radical new reality. 

Every sensor listening to the intuitive’s latest “game changer” of an idea is not so much impressed as they are thinking that there’s a reason no one’s done it before. As in, maybe a lot of people have actually tried it before, but they all died horribly, lost all their money, and left no records for us to find. 

What’s Up Next

That’s a bit dramatic in the sarcasm department, but you might be surprised by how accurate it can be with regard to the gulf that sometimes separates the sensors and intuitives when it comes to their comfort level with change.

That being said, in the posts to come we’ll be tackling tendencies of sequential vs. pattern processing, the “oughts and shoulds” of cultural pressure with regard to sensors vs. intuitives, as well as a bevy of leadership insights for each preference type to take away from this series.

Until next time!

This was originally posted by GiANT Worldwide and I wanted to share it here as well. If you’re interested in learning more about how your personality type affects your leadership, I’m happy to schedule a meeting to discuss. Just click the contact button and let me know!


Source: GiANT

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