Applying 5 Voices: Rules of Engagement (Part 1)

The Problem With Meetings: Voices Left Behind 

When it comes to getting the most out of your teams and the 5 Voices tool, few practices will take you further than learning the “Rules of Engagement” for leading meetings. 

In every team, there’s a certain rhyme and reason to the flow of meetings. For example, think about a start-up or quickly growing company in which its founder is the active CEO and he or she leads their executive team meetings. In these scenarios, the founder is usually a Pioneer with a strong vision for the company and firm beliefs about how to go about bringing that vision to fruition. As a result, that founder tends to lead meetings with more of a delegation approach than a discussion approach. 

 Or, maybe we’re not talking about the CEO, but the manager of a team within the company. Particularly in the corporate world, the person with the highest ranking title generally leads the meeting and, whether they’ve earned their team’s respect or not, they tend to present the agenda and voice their opinions on “discussion” items in such a way that either the strength of their voice, or the intimidation of their title, shuts down any dissenting opinions. Sometimes this is accidental, resulting from mere ignorance of the weight that their title or voice carries. In other cases, leaders deliberately wield their power to manipulate, bully, or push their way through to outcomes that benefit their own agenda.

Either way, a vast share of meetings tend to be unproductive and un-engaging affairs in which team members just have to put up with it, or otherwise stick it out with their heads down in the hopes that they don’t get berated in discussion for bringing opposing opinions to the table. 

The Solution: Rules of Engagement

The best strategy for combatting tendencies – whether intentional or unintentional – that leave some voices behind while elevating others, is to adopt a set of “Rules of Engagement” for meetings, with varying considerations given for each voice present. 

If you know the foundational voices for each member of your team, you can create an intentional environment where everyone gets to bring their best.  After all, Nurturers experience different roadblocks to participation than Creatives, just like Connectors need to be encouraged in different ways than Guardians in order for all voices to maximize their unique contributions. That being said, let’s dive into a summary of how to engage each voice in such a way as to create the environment that invites the best work from each member of your team.

Rules of Engagement: Nurturers

  1. We want to hear your opinion
  2. No one is going to critique you immediately

The first rule of the five voices in a meeting is to always let the Nurturers go first. As the lowest volume voice, they are all too often drowned out by louder voices, or otherwise tend to be more hesitant to assert themselves and speak their mind. That’s why it’s important to create an environment for Nurturers to feel comfortable speaking up (or choosing not to). Due to their ever-present desire to maintain relational harmony, they often feel pressure to suppress their own thoughts and feelings so as not to step on toes. Allowing them to ideate and give opinions first helps relieve their sense of obligation to mute their own voice for the sake of maintaining relational harmony. 

As representatives of 43% of people, Nurturers bring an invaluable perspective to the decision-making process for any team, and managers would do well to make sure their contributions are heard. Teams win when Nurturers are empowered to be themselves, which also means setting the expectation that no one will immediately critique the Nurturer’s input until everyone else around the team has shared. 

The opportunity to share before feeling the pressure of other voices, combined with an understanding that their input will not be critiqued until everyone else has contributed, will create a safe space for the Nurturers on your team to shine.

Rules of Engagement: Creatives

  1. Dream big – It’s ok to be wrong sometimes
  2. We promise to ask clarifying questions

 The most important thing to keep in mind with Creatives is to let them know that they have your permission and blessing to think outside the box. They love to ideate for the long-term and think about big picture strategy, so make sure they know that you don’t need them to play it safe, or to get hung up on due diligence to the point that it stifles their vision. Creatives are  wonderful innovative thinkers who can bring potentially game-changing ideas to the table. They just need to know that it’s okay for them to be wrong sometimes. Creatives tend to mute themselves and hamstring their innovative process when they come to fear being wrong, taking chances, or having to defend every little detail of their ideation process as soon as they share their ideas.

The second rule of engagement for Creatives is to promise that you will ask clarifying questions. Every Creative tends to hold back until they’re sure they’ve got something to say, which is an important tendency to understand. If the Creative is speaking out loud, they really do have a contribution to bring, but their frustration, as well as that of many teams, is that what they actually say first bears very little resemblance to what they actually mean. It often takes time for them to flesh out their big, future-oriented, complex ideas in ways that make sense to everyone else. So encourage them to talk, and pledge to ask clarifying questions rather than dismiss their thoughts as underdeveloped or too “involved” upon first hearing them.

 A simple, “Just keep talking – this is what I’m hearing you say right now. Is that what you’re trying to communicate?” will go a long way in helping them feel that you are trying to understand them. When Creatives feel unappreciated or dismissed, they will often develop a cynical, passive-aggressive approach in which their “Hulk” weapon system eventually surfaces. So, when it comes to Creatives, give them permission to dream big, make sure they know it’s okay to be wrong sometimes, and commit to asking clarifying questions in order to pull out their clarity of vision around future ideas, dangers, and opportunities. It’s a good idea to seek their input second, after Nurturers, as their voice is the second quietest of the five.

Rules of Engagement: Guardians

  1. Keep asking the difficult questions
  2. We promise to stay engaged as long as we can

The first thing to keep in mind when dealing with a Guardian is to make sure you and the team are committed to embracing the difficult questions that Guardians will inevitably ask. Guardians are incredible stewards of organizations, processes, traditions, finances, resources, and plans. While others tend to see their constant desire to vet ideas and conduct due diligence as a “party pooper” mentality, Guardian input is crucial. Encourage them to do their due diligence. Be honest, and admit, “Look, we know yours is a really hard role because it often requires pumping the brakes on ideas and projects, which is especially hard when all the other future voices are so excited about changing the world, and they think you’re pouring cold water on their ideas. But we need you to do the due diligence. Please ask as many questions as you need to, and we promise to stay engaged for as long as we possibly can.” 

The rest of the team may still get frustrated from time to time, but when Guardians feel valued for their often unpopular, but necessary contribution, they will lean into their expertise. The worst thing you can do is silence the voice of a Guardian who is trying to ask the important, difficult questions about details, safety measures, profitability, and readiness. In the end, keeping their voice active and thriving will keep your team healthy, profitable, on-time, and out of the pitfalls you may otherwise stumble into without them.  

Since their weapon system is “interrogation,” help the Guardian work on tone and tact. Learning how to convey their strongly held opinions and ask the sensitive or difficult questions, will do wonders for helping the rest of the team feel safe enough to embrace their important skills. They’re the ones that will keep you from losing money and make sure the project stays on track. If you do a good job of getting them integrated into the rest of the team, then their seal of approval will always grant massive credibility to your initiatives when presenting the latest change or vision to the rest of the organization. That’s because not only do people know they are committed to ruthless and rigorous vetting, but also because Guardians make up 30% of the population. Think about that for a moment. That means that leaders who fail to utilize key Guardian and Nurturer voices (those two voices are highly under-represented in top-level organizational leadership), miss out on understanding and speaking to the concerns of over 70% of their population.

Just remember, the biggest threat to a Guardian’s influence will be the way their lack of tone and tact can come across as sharp relational criticism, even though it’s rarely meant in that way. So, if you want to get the best out of your Guardians, encourage them to ask the difficult questions, promise to embrace their process of rigorous inquiry as much as possible, and help them work on their tone and tact for the sake of connecting better with others.

Stay Tuned For Part 2!

With Part I in the bag, we hope you learned a few tips and tricks about how to create an environment in which all voices can be heard and appreciated for their contributions! In our next installment of this mini-series, we’ll take a look at the Rules of Engagement for Connectors and Pioneers, and tie it all together. 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 voice and the rules of engagement affect your leadership, I’m happy to schedule a meeting to discuss. Just click the contact button and let me know!

Source: GiANT

Take Back Control of Your Time

A Word About Time

How many of us wish we had more time in our day?

Most likely, the majority of people reading this post would jump at the chance to add a few more hours of “cushion time” to get everything done. That’s why time management is so crucial, and yet, as hard as we try, we never seem to be quite in control. Some of us end up giving up on the idea altogether and eventually surrender control over our own day as a lost cause. 

But if time is your most valuable asset, why be content wondering where it went, when you could tell it where to go?

People typically think of budgeting from a monetary perspective, which means many of us have a love-hate (or even hate-hate) relationship with the practice. However, we can substitute the word “time” into a conversation about financial budgeting, and the statement holds true. Dave Ramsey’s words – with a little substitution magic to adjust for time – form a mantra we could all use as a reminder to keep striving in our effort to gain control of our schedule:

“A {time} budget is telling your {time} where to go instead of wondering where it went.” 

Sounds nice, doesn’t it? I’m sure we all love the idea of simply “telling time where to go,” but we all know it’s not always quite so simple. That’s why today’s post will cover a few strategies to help you reflect on the ways you spend your time, then walk you through a few steps to guide you in re-prioritizing your time so you can take back control.

 That brings us to an important question:

When was the last time you wondered where your time went? 

Did you implement proper planning and intentionality to organize it, or did you manage your schedule on-the-fly, reacting as demands, obligations, and surprises ambushed you? 

Keep your answers to the above questions in mind as you following the tips below. These reflection questions and exercises are calibrated to help you figure out how to better prioritize and manage the precious time you have under your control.

Admit You Actually Have Control

Admitting responsibility is half the journey. If you ask people where they spend most of their free time, one of the most common responses will inevitably be, “Free time, what’s that?!” That answer is, of course, understandable, since we all know there are days that just happen to get away from us, or weeks where nothing we do seems to get us any closer to finishing our workload. 

But there’s an important designation that we need to make. 

Free time isn’t empty time.

Free time isn’t the moment you tell yourself, “Wow, I’ve got three extra hours today that I have no idea what I’m going to do with!” That rarely, if ever, is the case. The point, however, is that we always find activities with which to fill our discretionary time. 

When we talk about free time (discretionary time), we’re talking about time that we have control over – time during which we can decide to do activity A or B instead of activity C or D. During that time, we are the ultimate decision-makers and priority-setters with regard to what gets done and what does not.

Of course, we all have time that other people control, don’t we? We have an employer/work time where we’re responsible to somebody else who pays us for our use of that time. We may have family time where we’re responsible to a spouse and/or children, and others in our family. 

But, at the end of the day, each of us also has time that we alone determine how to spend.

Identify Time Barriers

So, let’s consider what your free time looks like. The following questions will help you paint a picture of how you currently use your discretionary time:

Reflection Questions

  • Where do you spend most of your free time?
  • The last time you had a choice about what you did with your time, what did you use that time for?
  • Think through your typical day. What do you typically fill your available time slots with? Consider your answer for both a typical weekday and weekend day.

 Application Questions

  • Make a list of the top five things that take up the time you control. Now, consider the following… 
    • “What are five things that you wish you had more time for?”
  • Compare those two lists: what takes up your time vs. what you wish you had more time for. Then consider the following… 
    • Why do you end up spending time doing the things on the first list (the things that take up your time) instead of the things on the second list (the things that you wish you had more time for)?
  • Oftentimes, the urgent things in life squeeze out space for the important things. 
    • When did you last experience this?

 Be sure to take the time and intentionality to be honest with yourself. Time is the one thing you can never take back, earn back, or buy back. So follow up the exercises above by making a list of the top five things that steal the time you control away from the things you wish you had more time for.

After walking through these questions and exercises, you should have a better idea of where your biggest time barriers arise. So leverage this knowledge to become more aware of those barriers and be proactive in taking back control. 

At the end of the day, where we spend our time reflects the priorities we place on those activities. The worst part is that many of those things we give preference to, are things we would gladly give up in exchange for something we value more, if we only took the time to step back and prioritize our time budget.

Consider Your Ideal Week

Another helpful exercise involves thinking through your week and planning out what your ideal week would look like. Author Michael Hyatt wrote a great article to help you walk through this process (he even provides an Excel template you can use). You can check it out at the link below. If you need a little nudge to push you into action, look for natural seasonal change points to spark a time of reflection and action.

Check out this link for Michael Hyatt’s ideal week planning guide: How to Better Control Your Time by Designing Your Ideal Week

Protect the Flow of Your Day

Even once we have a clear idea about how we would like to spend our day, sometimes our reality fails to match the ideal. The fact is, most of us don’t have the luxury of completely dictating our schedules without the input of others. There are always obligations and meetings that demand time from us, as well as other external pressures over which we have little control. Too many of us are intimately familiar with the workplace phenomenon known as “death by meeting.” On top of that, unexpected interruptions will inevitably arise to derail our plans. 

Instead of being interrupted by meetings all the time, it’s helpful to block out designated times during the day that are available for meetings, if needed, while also setting aside strict “no meeting” work periods during which you can be productive. The best way to implement these protected time blocks is to schedule them in your calendar so people know when you are or are not available. Doing so ahead of time will make it that much easier to say no to people wanting to meet during one of your designated working blocks. If you do that, then you will have taken the first step in protecting the flow of your day.

Worth Fighting For

In the end, it all comes down to choices and priorities. Time is THE most valuable asset we have. It’s the thing that allows us to build meaning in our lives through the people we connect with and the work we do. Yes, some of the things we talked about in the paragraphs above will be difficult to implement. It will be challenging to say no to people – to stand firm in protecting the flow of your day or to be proactive in shaping the way you want your week to look. But if anything is worth fighting for, it’s the power to be in control of your own time. 

So step up, take a risk, and seize the day!

Become the master of your own ship.

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 to improve your time management for the sake of a healthier life and leadership, I’m happy to schedule a meeting to discuss. Just click the contact button and let me know!

Source: GiANT

Leadership Insights: Sensors vs. Intuitives

Alas, we come to the final post in our series on Jungian Personality Type for the Sensor vs. Intuitive type preferences. Now that we’ve thoroughly explored what your preference means for the way you process information, let’s take a look at a few descriptors that will help you round out your understanding of S vs. N tendencies. After that, we’ll dive into some crucial leadership insights that you, as a Sensor or Intuitive, can take away from this series for immediate, powerful application in your everyday life. 

Word Association

Start by reviewing the word pairs listed below. Read each pair, consider the contrasts, and decide which word in each pair best applies to you. The goal here is to determine which word describes your most natural tendency; not whether you do one or the other, but which one you tend to default to most naturally.


Details / Patterns

Present / Future

Practical / Imaginative

Facts / Innovation

Sequential / Random

Directions / Hunches

Repetition / Variety

Enjoyment / Anticipation

Perspiration / Inspiration

Conserve / Change

Literal / Figurative


Keep in mind that if you are an Intuitive who does micro-detail all day for your job, your first reaction may be to choose the word that fits that daily role, and vice-versa for the Sensor. So, be sure to question yourself honestly, and perhaps you might find your natural inclination lies in the opposite direction, with the nurture of your work environment conditioning you to go against that nature.

 Interestingly, S vs. N is the only preference set with a naturally occurring split within the population wherein 70% of people are Sensors, and only 30% are Intuitives. There is no skew towards gender one way or another, but as you can imagine, Intuitives are significantly overrepresented in leadership positions, particularly in America. That reality comes from a natural deference to those who exhibit the strongest inclination and talent for vision casting when looking to fill top leadership positions. 

Applied Word Association

It’s important to note, however, that just because Intuitives lean toward future visioning, it doesn’t mean they always make the best leaders. Ultimately, our ability to lead comes down to us – how well we understand ourselves and others, how we lead ourselves, and the choices we make in our personal development journey about how we will respond to the mix of nature, nurture, and choice with regard to the person we want to be. One thing is for certain: though the Intuitive preference may sometimes be able to envision the future more clearly, they can rarely deliver it without the help of Sensors doing the execution, or otherwise learning how to take on the Sensor’s skill to bring the vision to fruition.

Now that you’ve finished reviewing the word pairs, take some time to think about what those descriptors say about you. Does seeing them written out help you to own some of your tendencies? Are you conflicted over some of the pairs? If so, you may be finding a point of dissonance within your work or everyday life; one in which your nature is being overwritten by the pressures, expectations, and demands of your nurture environment.

Whatever the case may be, I hope you’ll find this next section full of helpful insights that will guide you in bringing balance to your everyday leadership challenges, both aiding in your ability to understand yourself, as well as those with a different preference than your own.

Leadership Insights: Sensors

Whether you are a Sensor or an Intuitive, the following list of seven leadership insights will highlight some valuable areas of growth that Sensors will do well do keep in mind. If you are a Sensor, read through these insights and choose two that you can immediately begin working on as learning opportunities for growth in your own life.  

Leadership Insights for Sensors

  1. Don’t be intimidated by the eloquence of the charismatic communicator; ask your questions about details and practicalities!
  2. Don’t assume what hasn’t been done before is reckless and bound to fail.
  3. Embrace change; be fully present in shaping it rather than becoming a victim of it.
  4. Don’t cage the Intuitive types; they need the freedom to dream, so encourage them to do so.
  5. Failure is an essential part of future innovation if viewed constructively.
  6. Let Intuitive types tell you when they have an idea they want you to critique!
  7. Learn to value the contribution you bring, you represent the majority!

 For example, Sensors, if you know you tend to struggle with insight #4 above, you may need to begin consciously telling yourself to allow Intuitives to speak for longer than you like, especially Extrovert Intuitives. As a Sensor, if you are always holding the ever-ideating Intuitive to given specifics and detailed execution plans before you’ll consider listening to their ideas for the future, all you will end up doing is handicapping the Intuitive’s greatest passion and asset to the team. 

Sometimes the Intuitives need a little bit of freedom to dream, create, and ideate without the immediate pressure or “chains” of proving their point right away. So encourage them to put their best foot forward by giving them room to strategize and explore all the possibilities they see for the future, then you can work with them to apply your rigorous criteria to filter out the good ideas.

If you’re an Intuitive, I hope you didn’t skip over this section thinking it doesn’t apply to you. This is a great opportunity to review the list of Sensor insights in an effort to better understand the majority (70%) of people who process and understand the world differently than you do. Intuitives – you would do well to choose two Sensor insights of your own. Then you can can begin to look for those tendencies in the lives of your Sensor co-workers or friends in order to better understand, relate to, and collaborate with them.  

Leadership Insights: Intuitives

As in the previous section, whether you are a Sensor or an Intuitive, the following list of seven leadership insights will pinpoint valuable areas of growth that Intuitives will do well do keep in mind. If you are an Intuitive, review the insights below and choose two that you can immediately begin applying as learning opportunities for growth in your own life. 

Leadership Insights for Intuitives 

  1. Build a bridge (of details and proof) for Sensors so they can connect the present reality to the future vision.
  2. Take the time to make sure Sensors have all the data and information they need. Let them ask the difficult questions and communicate your gratitude for their wisdom and expertise.
  3. Details are really important, ultimately they will save you time and money!
  4. Learn to smell the roses! Your future orientation will often mean you miss the beauty of today.
  5. Learn to be physically, emotionally and intellectually present with your friends and family.
  6. You will always be innovating but beware change for change’s sake.
  7. Beware the Intuitive superiority complex! 

One of the most common complaints Intuitive leaders have about the Sensors on their team, especially the Guardian voices, is that they view the Sensors as always being negative about change or future ideas. The charismatic Intuitive tends to view those who slow down the rush to a grand vision of the future as “party-poopers,” or people who just “don’t get it.” But it would be a serious mistake to characterize such members of the team so negatively when, in fact, it’s the Sensor’s attention to detail, as well as their commitment to asking the hard questions, that helps the team avoid costly mistakes and poorly planned execution strategies. 

In light of such a common misconception of Sensors among Intuitives, all you Intuitives out there would do well to spend some time on insight #’s 2 and 3. Make sure you are recognizing and valuing the concerns and contributions that 70% of your people share.

Now, Sensors, just as we cautioned Intuitives not to skip over the section about your leadership insights, be sure to not skip over this section on Intuitives. Take this opportunity to gain greater clarity on the struggles that your Intuitive counterparts may have in relation to you. If you can better understand where Intuitives have trouble connecting with your own way of looking at the world, then you can be proactive in your relationships – whether at work or in everyday life – making them healthier, stronger, and more understanding than ever before.

Wrapping Up

It’s hard to believe, but we are now finished with the Sensors vs. Intuitives mini-series, and halfway through our overall series on Jungian Personality Type and GiANT Best Fit! We hope this mini-series on “S vs. N” has been informative, engaging, and most all, helpful in guiding you to a better understanding of yourself and others with regard to how you process information and see the world. 

If you take nothing else away from this series, always remember: even though Sensors may tend to prefer details and process, while Intuitives galavant around with their visions of future and change, we all have an ability to engage both hands. And it’s precisely our ability to understand, value, and speak to the contributions of each type, that will determine the health of our team. 

Join us next time as we dive into the beginning of a brand new mini-series on the Thinking vs. Feeling type preferences!

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 Dangers of Unintentional Living

Can you imagine a world where people are unintentional with their lives? A world where you don’t aspire to grow or learn or dream? Can you imagine living in a place where your time is dictated by television schedules and your dreams inspired by ads showing a fake world of fantasy?

Yes, I actually can.

Unintended Outcomes

It sounds ludicrous, but it is true – we are trained to live uninspired, unintentional lives dictated by messages to become some person we are arbitrarily told to be.

This world – our world – often creates unintended outcomes because there is not intentional living.

Don’t believe me? Here’s an example…

What is the outcome of being bombarded with messages encouraging you to eat certain “fun” foods like sodas, desserts, juices, candy, etc.? 

The answer, diabetes. Health issues. Limitations on life.

The unintentional over-consumption of sugars produces large amounts of diabetes in our world, not to mention a myriad of other ailments and illnesses. However, developing an intentional plan to eat in moderation dramatically lowers the chances of this disease along with many other side effects. It gives us energy, vitality, and longevity to do and become what and who we want.

Case after case and story after story reveal unintended consequences and the pain that comes from lives lived without intentional focus.

Maybe unintentional living is actually intentional when you stop to think about it. After all, people have a tendency to replace pain with medication, boredom with activity, and distress with distraction. Maybe we intend to live unintentional lives after all.

It is time to reverse unintentional living, to stop and think about the consequences that naturally follow. The outcomes are as devastating as they are predictable: uninspired lives, useless affairs, neglected children, untrained employees, and impotent companies.

When you live intentionally, you will lead intentionally. 

On the other hand, if you take the time to live your own life with intentionality and meaning, you will begin leading your employees better and your family with excitement. The outcomes will show up in your organizations fruitfulness and in your family dynamics as you are increasingly able to give them the very best of who you are and what you have to offer. This kind of change creates an abundance of life, compassion, hard work, energy, and focus that you can invest in your teams and your children to help them become the best versions of themselves while following your example. 

Some of us need wake up calls like when a doctor or dentist challenges us to change our ways. Perhaps, in a small way, this blog will do that for you. Maybe, just maybe, you will stop and ponder ways you can live intentionally towards a purpose bigger than the binging the next big television series.

To live intentionally is to lead intentionally. 

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 intentionality affects your leadership, I’m happy to schedule a meeting to discuss. Just click the contact button and let me know!

Source: GiANT

3 Ways Self-Preservation Erodes Influence

Self-preservation occurs when you obsess about protecting the things you are afraid of losing.

Your job. Your authority. Your salary. Your bonus. Your title.

Your carefully curated image.

The Source of Fear, Insecurity, and Selfishness

Just a few examples of the things we tend to hold onto with a white knuckle grip that often causes us to lose the very things we’re trying to protect.

The problem rears its head when our obsession to protect and retain begins to inhibit us from what we give and how we lead. If you are over-protecting what you have received or earned to date, you are showing the signs of self-preservation.

If you are constantly over-asserting your authority or questioning others’ then you are likely displaying self-preservation in an attempt to ensure others see you a certain way and know you’re in charge. When you implement self-preservation like a shield around you, it actually does more harm to you as a leader than good. Here are just a few ways that such a knee-jerk response will undermine your influence and long-term leadership capacity:

1.) Self-preservation drains a lot of energy and focus.

When you self-protect you spend more hours and energy on you instead of on what you are paid to do. Losing valuable mental energy and time cripples your productivity while also disrupting your routines. That makes self-preserving leaders less effective, which compromises the very things they are trying to protect.

2.) Self-preservation makes people more defensive.

When the shields go up to preserve so does the non-verbal language and the cynicism based on fear. Defensive strategies to protect what you have usually result in unexpected outbursts, mounting stress, uncharacteristic behavior, and a shift in values that undermines what people have come to expect of you. Fearful, defensive leaders become a blight on all good cultures, introducing selfishness and uncertainty. It’s the natural expression of an attitude consumed by self-centered self-preservation.

3.) Self-preservation emits a repelling odor of self-absorption.

When others view a leader as self-absorbed, people tend to keep their distance and make the leader’s influence less effective. When employees begin constantly wondering whether their boss or colleagues are “for” them or “against” them, the whole team is sure to suffer. That in turn leads to lower performing teams. In the end, when a lack of trust permeates the team, division and decreased motivation manifest throughout its members.

Self-preservation is a self-fulfilling prophecy and it happens every day.

When a leader becomes obsessed with protecting the very things they are afraid of losing, they tend to lose them more quickly because of the issues above.

Conversely, when a leader breaks through their walls of self-preservation they find more influence with more people by focusing on what they can give instead of becoming obsessive about protecting what they have received.

Self-preservation is everywhere. It is like a cancer to leaders but the only cure is for a leader to give themselves away.

If you’re interested in learning more about how self-preservation affects your leadership, we’re happy to schedule a meeting to discuss. Just click the contact button and let us know!

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 self-preservation affects your leadership, I’m happy to schedule a meeting to discuss. Just click the contact button and let me know!

Source: GiANT

5 Voices Series: The Power of Your Voice

Every Voice Has a Weapon System

In our first post about the 5 Voices, we covered the tendencies of each voice and what they bring to the table. Today, we’ll be diving deeper into the voices to identify their “weapon systems.” A voice’s “weapon system” describes what it feels like to be on the other side of that voice, while also providing a memorable visual cue to help us remember how they tend to engage with those around them. Every weapon system can be used for positive or negative influence, therefore, our goal as leaders should be to learn the various weapons and understand how we tend to employ them in a given situation so that we can use them for good rather than harm.

It’s important to reiterate the need to refrain from putting people in a box based on voice or weapon system. When used correctly, this system will empower you to more quickly and easily recall helpful insights that will guide you through engagement with differing voices in the moment.

Nurturer Weapon System

Funny enough, when you think about a Nurturer, you don’t usually think of weapons; at least not in the sense of guns, knives, etc. go. A nurturer is actually more like a medic. The best way to think about Nurturers is to envision that you’re on a battleground – it’s D-Day on Normandy beach – with the bullets flying and everyone shooting and rushing to fight. Everyone, that is, except the medic. The Nurturer, like the medic, doesn’t care about firing back at their enemies or protecting their own interests, they just run headlong into the fire to take care of people and patch them up.  Oftentimes they’ll sacrifice themselves  to bring healing to the people they care about, whether at home, at work, or in the community. It’s fascinating to watch how many moms, as well as teammates at work and people in general, will actually sacrifice themselves to take care of others. As a group, Nurturers make up a large percentage of the population, yet they tend to have the quietest voice because they’re too busy tending to others’ needs to speak up for themselves.

Creative (Feeler) Weapon System

What’s interesting about the Creative Weapon System is that the weapon actually differs depending on whether a person is a “Feeler” or “Thinker” in the Jungian Personality Type preference.

What takes place then, from an emotional standpoint for a Creative Feeler, is that people or circumstances continually push them on their boundaries and values, or even threaten the people and causes they care about, until they’re backed into a corner. They keep taking it and taking it until all of a sudden, they’re fed up and they Hulk-out on whatever or whomever is threatening them and that which they hold dear. If you’ve ever seen the Hulk movie, it’s quite a sight to see the normally docile, and seemingly harmless, Bruce Banner reach a noticeable trigger point, and then he just blows up.

That’s what happens with the Creative Feeler. Due to the driving desire to maintain relational harmony and peace, they tend to play the diplomat in every situation. This compulsion becomes unhealthy when it leads to the kind of passive aggression that encourages the Feeler to sweep things under the rug until they reach a boiling point. Pretty soon, they’ll blow up in a meeting and everyone will sit there, shocked at such an unthinkable outburst from the person the would least suspect, and everyone’s wondering, “What in the world is happening?” Because such outbursts seem so contrary to the Creative Feeler’s regular nature, these “Hulk-out” moments can cause a great deal of damage to reputation and influence, ultimately causing people to question to person’s reliability, since others no longer know how to tell their true emotional statement. A “healthy” hulk-out moment, however, will take the form of a controlled, but assertive defense of the people or values they cherish, rather than letting insults or misdeeds slide by for the sake of relational harmony or conflict avoidance.

Creative (Thinker) Weapon System

Thinkers, on the other hand, tend to take things in a lot more rational, logical, analytical, and less personal manner than the Feeler version of the Creative. You’ll rarely find a Creative Thinker sweeping  things under the rug. Instead, they’ll just come right out with their unvarnished opinion in the moment, preferring to express themselves as they wish, rather than carry the weight of regulating people’s emotions and relational concerns. 

As a result, they carry what we call the “sniper rifle,” because the creative thinker will often sit in the “bell tower” of the team meeting, watching, analyzing, and waiting. You won’t hear a great deal from them, but every now and then, you’ll hear a laser-like, piercing round of logic strike someone whom they disagree with on the other side of the table. It’s usually right when their target is in the middle of presenting their contrary point of view. The risk for the Creative Thinker is that they need to be careful in how and when they deliver their critique (which is often legitimate and insightful), because an armor-piercing round from a high velocity rifle somewhere in the bell tower usually takes somebody out with it. It’s those types of out-of-nowhere, piercing attacks that tend to feel personal to others and cut them deeply, which can cause the Creative Thinker to lose influence over time. Such instances of repeated “sniping” will result in a reputation of being mean, callous, or insensitive. Used healthily, the Creative Thinker can provide powerful moments of deep insight, bringing a precision and clarity to issues that few can match.

Guardian Weapon System

Since Guardians tend to champion infrastructure and systems, their weapon is interrogation. Guardians value the thorough vetting and analysis of each situation and decision, which means they become dogged in their determination to collect all the facts and ask the hard questions. They’re like detectives. They excel at puzzling together a host of details and minutiae, ready to interrogate anyone and everyone they can until they get the information they need. Due to their insistence on concrete facts and cold hard logic, Guardians will often express frustration with those who disagree or don’t seem to value the role of logic over other considerations, such as relational harmony or other intangible factors. 

Since their straightforward approach tends to be heavy on bluntness and light on tone and tact, meetings and questions from a Guardian tend to feel more like an interrogation. Other voices might get the sense that the Guardian doubts their truthfulness and competence, or otherwise is trying to back them into a corner with “gotcha” questions. The danger with this weapon is that such intimidating experiences can cause people to pull back and become reserved around the Guardian, ultimately resulting in resentment and/or loss of influence. Unfortunately for the Guardian, they might be left wondering why people seem so hesitant around them or why they have lost influence with their colleagues. To them, it’s never been personal, just a mission for honest, logical fact-finding. Wielded healthily, however, the interrogation powers of a self-aware Guardian and their ability to root out detail for the sake of protecting systems and strategy, can become a valuable weapon for any team.

Connector Weapon System

The Connector weapon system contains a powerful, but dangerous capacity for great good or disastrous harm. As specialists in communication, the Connector weapon system is best described as being a master of cyber warfare. Their capacity to craft engaging messages and communicate effectively gives them a unique ability to influence the hearts and minds of people. When abused, Connectors tend to use their cyber warfare skills to drop bits of negative propaganda into teams and communications about those with whom they disagree, or when they feel unsure of someone’s loyalty. 

Consequently, they tend to avoid head-on confrontation, preferring instead to undermine that person or advance their own agenda through manipulation and poisoning the well. Before you know it, everyone’s starting to ask questions about the individual they’ve targeted, or the Connector has planted enough seeds in the organization that everyone feels the pressure to get on board with their idea. The tough part is that, actually, the Connector is usually pure in heart with their motives. They just believe in their vision or cause so much that they can come off as “overly sales-y” because they instinctively change their messaging to fit what they believe the other person wants to hear in order to buy into that vision.

When healthy, the Connector’s capacity to understand what people want or need, and then how to translate those things into an inspiring message they want to hear hear can be quite powerful. Combine that talent with their seemingless endless network of friends and connections, and you’ve got quite a powerful force that can be brought to bear for a good cause.

Pioneer Weapon System

As the loudest and most assertive voice, Pioneers carry what we call the “grenade launcher.” Even this weapon, as ominous as it sounds, has both a mature and immature setting. When wielded by an immature Pioneer, the Pioneer will use it to force their opinions and influence onto others, brandishing it as a threat against those who might disagree. Through a combination of competitive stubbornness, cold logic, and tactless delivery, they can dominate the airwaves of a meeting. Sometimes this is unintentional and results from their natural assertiveness wherein they’ll start a meeting by describing everything they think should be done, then assuming everyone else agrees, or otherwise laying down an unspoken gauntlet that dares someone to challenge them.  

When someone else disagrees, or simply tries to propose an alternate option, the immature Pioneer becomes protective of their opinion and brings out the Grenade Launcher to defend it, either by insult or by a withering barrage of fire in the form of harsh logic and critique. Once someone gets taken out (humiliated, embarrassed, shut down) by this grenade launcher, everyone else in the meeting takes note of the empty chair where the Pioneer’s challenger used to sit, and then they just shut down their opposition and dissenting opinions. When people are afraid to speak up about their questions and opinions, they are unable to bring the valuable perspective their voice provides. 

On the other hand, a healthy Pioneer uses the strength of their voice to support the other voices and motivate them towards organization and action. Mature Pioneers are some of the most valuable leaders because they champion success and prove extremely capable in allocating resources, tapping into their people’s potential, and getting things done. When this happens, Pioneers actually use their grenade launcher to eliminate log jams that inhibit the proper functioning or growth of people, systems, and organizations. 

So What?

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that all voices and weapon systems have both an immature and mature side to them. What we care about here at GiANT is helping people become mature in their voices and weapon systems so that they can so they can know themselves to lead themselves. If we can help them do that, then we can help them become the best leader they can be, rich in positive influence and liberating leadership in all areas of their lives.

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 voice and its weapon system affects your leadership, I’m happy to schedule a meeting to discuss. Just click the contact button and let me know!

Source: GiANT

Leadership Landmarks: What Do You Represent?

Landmarks As Symbols

Big Ben is a landmark.

It’s a powerful symbol of an important city with a storied history. 

Whenever we see a landmark, inevitable associations pop into our minds. For example, when we see the Eiffel Tower, our thoughts might wander to French bread, crepes, and the enchanting streets of Paris.

The same phenomenon of unconsciously evoked ideas, images, and perceptions – both positive and negative – blankets every landmark we encounter, whether it’s Big Ben, the Washington Monument, or the Grand Canyon.

The same is also true for every person we encounter in life. Today, as colleagues at work pass you in the halls or converse with you, you will be like a landmark in their life and within your company. 

In the same way we associate words, thoughts, or emotions to the above landmarks, words and thoughts are associated with you too. In the minds of others, you stand for  something.

Be A Landmark  Worth Imitating

What associations come to mind when people think of you? Do they see you as a landmark symbol of liberation in their work, family, or community life? Or do they think of something else?

Whenever we encounter someone that has meaning to us, we retrieve a set of associations from the “computer files” stored in our brains, complete with a host of memories and judgments attached. Those thoughts may be positive or negative, but the reality is that they are there nonetheless, and they form our perception of that person. The same is true about other people in regard to us.

This doesn’t mean you should pander to people’s perception of you or try to persuade them to think a certain way. The important point is to bring attention to the fact that we are known by association, and if we desire to change the words associated with us, then we must alter our style of leadership so that others know that we are for them.

With time and experience, we can change the landmark assumptions made about us and our impact on others. 

Be a landmark worth imitating.

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 affects your influence, I’m happy to schedule a meeting to discuss. Just click the contact button and let me know!

Source: GiANT

20 Things to Stop Assuming


The silent underminers of influence. They take us to a dangerous precipice of misattribution and blinded action. On the surface, they seem solid and reliable. After all, the very definition indicates a certain level of certainty about a conclusion, whether based on past experience or ignorance of additional facts and perspectives.

Assumptions Undermine Influence

But it’s that foundation that makes assumptions so dangerous. They often lead us to make hasty, misinformed, or potentially offensive judgments without seeing the true situation clearly.

If you look back at your own journey, it will probably surprise you how many leadership snafus or personal mistakes have come from misplaced assumptions. Success, greatness, breakthrough, liberation, and overall personal or relational peace are all at risk when we assume.

So, because a “Stop Doing” list is just as crucial as a “Start Doing” list, here are 20 things you should refrain from assuming in the future (in no particular order).

20 Things to Stop Assuming

  1. Don’t assume it’s a simple task and others should just “get it.”
  2. Don’t assume asking for help will harm your credibility.
  3. Don’t assume gossip is accurate! Better yet, just stay away from gossip. (Tweet This)
  4. Don’t assume if they read “this” book, they will change.
  5. Don’t assume they don’t feel entitled to all that you give.
  6. Don’t assume your awards, your numbers, and your things prove you are a great leader.
  7. Don’t assume everyone will love you if your plan succeeds.
  8. Don’t assume your idea will motivate others if you haven’t taken the time to know them.
  9. Don’t assume they won’t value your view or opinion.
  10. Don’t assume their annoying behavior will go away on its own.
  11. Don’t assume they are ready to jump on your objective without a “good morning” and cup of coffee first.
  12. Don’t assume their intent based on their Facebook post.
  13. Don’t assume your family sees how much you love them based on how hard you work. Tell them.
  14. Don’t assume your kids love it just because you do.
  15. Don’t assume they’ll just say no.
  16. Don’t assume your vote doesn’t matter.
  17. Don’t assume they won’t embrace the card, the letter, or the apology.
  18. Don’t assume things will never change.
  19. Don’t assume you can’t start over.
  20. Don’t assume you’re in good health. Be proactive, manage routines, and go to the doctor.

Oh, there’s one more.

If you just skimmed this and assumed none of them pertain to you, you better read it again.

Wishing you all the best!

This was originally posted by Dan Frey, Senior Associate with GiANT Worldwide, and I wanted to share it here as well. 

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 assumptions can affect your leadership, I’m happy to schedule a meeting to discuss. Just click the contact button and let me know!

Source: GiANT

The Effect of Culture and Environment on Preference and Creativity

The “Oughts and Shoulds” of Culture

Today’s fifth, and second-to-last, post in the ongoing “S” vs. “N” series will focus on the impact of cultural expectations on Sensors and Intuitives. We’ll also take a quick detour towards the end to explore how physical environment and art affect Sensors and Intuitives differently.

For those of you who have studied business or psychology in the context of different cultures, it will come as no surprise that many cultures tend to idealize various personality types and tendencies. These differences are especially distinct between East and West, but even within those larger groupings, a myriad of deviations exist. 

Cultures Idealize Specific Personalities and Tendencies

America, for example, constitutes a very extroverted culture. It idealizes the charismatic leaders and bootstrappers who rally and inspire those around them to great heights. In fact, as a culture, America tends to emphasize extroversion, intuition, thinking, and judging. This ENTJ depiction of the “American Ideal” fits closely with the country’s pioneering, self-driving, outgoing, and competitive focus on competence and winning.

Scandinavian countries, however, tend to highlight introversion, preferring contemplated thoughtfulness and a respect for others demonstrated by staying out of their business, which contrasts sharply with the free-wheeling, gregarious style of the typical American. Neither ideal is “right” or “wrong,” it just serves to highlight the differing values that individual cultures place on how people operate and behave. These cultural “oughts and shoulds” are critical to understanding a society’s impact on individual growth, self-leadership, and self-concept. You can imagine how liberating it might be for introverts in America, who have grown up feeling like they always had to be more outgoing and charismatic due to cultural expectations, to finally feel free to be themselves and own their need for introverted recharge without apology or guilt.

Consequently, these expectations affect every personality preference set, including the Sensor-Intuitive dichotomy.

Cultural Expectations and Dissonance

Take the “American Dream,” for instance. How would you describe it? In general terms, The American Dream is to stake your claim, to build something which is not there yet, and work hard to realize the entrepreneurial longing of a pioneer’s lifestyle and legacy. It’s about envisioning a future and bringing it to fruition. As a result, America has an incredibly strong cultural pressure to be an Intuitive, despite the fact that only about 30% of people are actually Intuitives. That means 70% of the American population feels some degree of pressure to lean into a tendency that may not come naturally to them.

It’s these “oughts and shoulds” of cultures all over the world that end up causing many personality test-takers to self-report letter preferences that are actually quite different from their natural tendencies. Years of nurturing influence from our parents, communities, cultural groups, and broader society have placed a set of powerful expectations on our lives that both consciously and subconsciously affect the decisions we make as well as the way we view ourselves and the world.

Personality Ideals Indicate Cultural Values

In some cultures, to work for the government is the pinnacle of achievement, and if you can’t do that, then you work in education, because they’re the two most stable, recognized professional systems. This often tends to be the case with some Western European and Asian nations. 

In America, however, most people idolize the start up entrepreneur, the small business owner, or the industry pioneer – people who take risks and chances, and build something they can call their own. As a result, working for the government is seen as less prestigious, and the salaries tend to reflect that notion. teach someone else how to do it, and if you’re really struggling, work for the government. On the other hand, places like Germany, Switzerland, and the Scandinavian nations tend to pay teachers extremely well, on average.

So for those of you Americans who are borderline about whether you are an “S” or “N,” it’s most likely that you’re a right-handed Sensor by nature, but that you’ve simply been conditioned by the cultural oughts and shoulds of America to be a pioneering “N.” 

Impact of Environment on Creativity

It’s good to remember that all of us use both “hands” – that is, Sensor and Intuitive capabilities –  every day. And while we don’t get to utilize our dominant hand all the time, it’s really helpful to know where we start from naturally, and how our work environment impacts our productivity and creativity as a result. 

In this case, a Sensor’s productivity tends to be highly impacted by their physical environment. Bedrooms, workspace, offices, etc. – the condition, organization, and aesthetic of these environments will provide either a huge boost, or a daunting obstacle to task-achievement and creativity. Most Sensors can’t get down to serious work if everything is not in exactly the right place on their desk, or if their house feels cluttered and unkempt. 

Intuitives, meanwhile, can often remain blissfully unhindered and unaware of their surroundings when they get caught up in their work. They may prefer or like some sense of order, but when push comes to shove, they tend to be so caught up in their thoughts and work (especially Introvert and Feeler Intuitives) that the state of their environment ultimately has little affect on their productivity.

The Role of Art: Sensors and Intuitives

Whereas Intuitives simply need warmth, WiFi, and a computer plug in to start work, Sensors have their creativity deeply affected by what’s going on around them, due to their constant vigilance for the details of the present experience. As a result, being amidst nature or surrounded by your preferred colors, textures, and lighting, can do wonders for a Sensor. One of our Intuitive team members recounts how his Sensor wife once asked him how many pictures he thought they had hanging about their house. When he responded with a confident approximation (10 pictures), he was shocked to be informed that they in fact had 140 pictures throughout their home.

For Sensors, these artistic reminders tend to represent physical places they’ve been, people they were with, or some other tangible connection or reminder of the people they know and love. Art often serves as a form of tangible memory around things that are real, concrete, and meaningful.

Many Intuitives, however, are much happier with the more abstract concepts of art. They might like the fact that looking at a certain painting from various angles or in a different light, takes them to a different place, or otherwise serves as an aspirational reminder, such as a climber summiting a mountain they might never get to climb. 

When it comes down to it, a great deal of Intuitives use the things they see as triggers to the future, while Sensors usually prefer to store memory and preserve the knowledge of concrete places they’ve been. 

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 culture and 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 Humblebrag vs. True Humility

“I just did something very selfless. But more importantly, it was genuine & I know it means a lot to the person in the longrun #soworthit”

If you’re like most people, you might be scratching your head after reading the above statement. Unfortunately, as self-congratulatory as it sounds, that’s a real quote from a twitter post. 

Fortunately, thanks to hilarious storytellers in the golden age of television, we even have a word coined for what you just read – in fact, the person who posted that message literally gave us the definition of a “humblebrag.” 

Have you ever committed a humblebrag?

Humblebrags gained widespread popularity across Twitter when Harris Wittels, a writer on NBC’s Parks and Recreation, coined the phrase to describe a brag clumsily couched in falsely humble phraseology.

False Humility

Since Wittles started the Twitter account, which he uses to post examples of humblebrags, he’s gained almost 200,000 followers (His Twitter profile photo? A woman giving herself a gratuitous pat on the back).

“I think bragging sucks, don’t get me wrong, but I get it,” Wittels told the Wall Street Journal. “What I hate about a humblebrag is that people try to come off like they aren’t bragging. It’s people not being honest about their intention. Just tell us you are at an exclusive party. Don’t hide it behind a complaint about your dress not fitting.”

Humblebrags present an interesting question: What is true humility? Is it genuinely thinking less of yourself? Is it trying to sound less prideful than you actually are? Or is it something else—something deeper?

True Humility

True humility isn’t about lowering yourself for the sake of keeping up appearances simply because it’s impolite to brag—but to do so for the sake of serving others. “Humility isn’t about thinking less of yourself,” as the British writer C.S. Lewis once put it, “but thinking of yourself less.”

The existence of humblebrags underscores the idea that our pride has a way of leaking out, despite our efforts to disguise it in seemingly humble language. It also illustrates the chasm between authentic humility and faux humility.

The dictionary defines humility as having a “low view of one’s own importance.” But humilitas, the Latin root of the word, means “to lower yourself,” as Macquarie University Professor John Dickson notes in his excellent book Humilitas: A Lost Key to Life, Love and Leadership. As he explores the origins of humility—which he says was first used in Roman culture during the second and fifth centuries AD—he defines it as “the noble choice to forgo your status, deploy your resources or use your influence for the good of others before yourself.” Dickson’s definition of humility goes miles deeper than our culture’s comparatively crude use of the world.

True humility isn’t thinking less of yourself. It’s not being outwardly humble, while harboring pride. And it’s not being weak. True humility is service to others, service to a cause greater than your own personal ambition.

Question: How would you define humility? What does it look like in your everyday life, or the lives of others? Leave a comment below.

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 humility (and pride) affect 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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