Cheer Leader or Drill Sergeant (WT661)

Cheer Leader or Drill Sergeant (WT661)


WT 661 Cheerleader or Drill Sergeant

What’s the best way to motivate you?

Do you prefer the cheer leader or drill sergeant?

What’s the difference and why is it important?

Let me give you an example.

One time I was at the gym. It was a small ladies gym, in the back of the owner’s house. The owner had employed a young girl to assist with training. There was only enough room for about 4 ladies to train so it was quite cosy and everyone could hear and see what was going on.

I was on the rowing machine. It was 6:00am.

I was moving very slowly and deliberately as I wanted to concentrate on getting my technique right.

The young girl approached me and as she did she yelled “Oh, come on. A bit more effort.”

I was shocked and also embarrassed because the other ladies stopped and looked.

“Come on”, she said again. “Put a bit more effort into it. Stop being lazy.”

Now I was furious.

I was deliberately going slow to practise technique. Yelling at me like a drill sergeant is not the way to motivate me.

What would have worked better for me would have been for her to come over quietly and say something like, “Great technique Shirley, how about we just speed it up a bit more now so you get a bit of a cardio workout with it”.

I was so annoyed and upset by the way this young girl yelled orders at us, I decided not to go back. In hindsight we both missed out. The owner missed out on the revenue and I missed out on the exercise.

This young girl had no idea about how to motivate and inspire people. It wasn’t her fault. She most likely hadn’t been trained.

If you own the business, it’s your responsibility to train your people how to lead and manage. It’s your responsibility to make sure they know how to motivate and inspire your people.

There’s a huge difference between acting like a cheer leader or a drill sergeant.

Both have their place. What is important is that you know when, with whom and how to use the techniques.

You have to know your people.

You have to know what they need.

This week I encourage you to observe your people or simply ask.

“How do you like to be motivated and inspired?”

“What’s the best way for me to support you?”

It’s not a secret. People will tell you. They’ll be impressed you care enough to ask.

Based on what you know already, which of your team members require a cheer leader and which require a drill sergeant?

Now might also be a good time for some self-reflection, what’s your predominant motivation style? Does this work for everyone?

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P.P.S. Claim the date. Our next Loyal Lieutenant Masterclass Series starts Thursday 30th March 9:30am Sydney time for 9 weeks. Hands on training, creating and streamlining systems and processes for your team and organisation.

How It Lands (WT660)

How It Lands (WT660)


WT 660 How It Lands

How often do you give feedback to someone about something you’re not happy with and end up in a big argument?

Until I learned some amazingly simple communication skills, that’s what used to happen to me.

Not backward in coming forward, I often expressed how I felt.

Nothing wrong with that and in fact, we encourage you to share how you’re feeling and what’s going on.

What was wrong with it was the way I expressed it; the language I used and we’re not necessarily talking about swearing.

“Why didn’t you put the butter back in the fridge?”

“You did a terrible job of typing that document.”

“Great job! Woohoo, well done, NOT.”

You can imagine that being on the end of remarks like this wouldn’t make you feel good.

In fact, you’d probably feel resentful and possibly even look for an opportunity to take revenge in some form or other.

If you choose your words carefully when giving negative feedback, your message will “land” better for the other person.

They will be more likely to hear what you have to say and make any changes.

For example, “I didn’t see the homework in my inbox” versus “You haven’t submitted your homework”.

“I’d really appreciate it if you could put the butter back in the fridge when you’ve finished with it please.”

“I have a number of comments and changes to make to the document please.”

“I think we can improve on how we do this. Let’s work together to streamline the process and make it more accurate.”

Did you notice that all four examples above started with “I”?

We call these I-Messages or I-Statements.

With I-Messages we take responsibility for the message. We are sharing how it is for us so others cannot argue that what we’re saying isn’t right. They might not like hearing the feedback, however they can’t dispute that’s what you think or how you feel.

In our Leading Yourself and Leading Others Experience we spend a couple of days learning how to communicate better; learning how to word things so the feedback lands better for the recipient.

There’s a saying that “People react to the manner rather than the message” reminding us not to yell and scream and be overly dramatic, however people do also react to the words you use.

Next time you have some negative feedback to give someone, think about how your words will land.

Have a go at using an I-Message and describing the situation without looking to blame or make up a story about what you think happened and why.

And on “why”. Don’t use that word if you want to gain more information from someone.

For many, the word “why” feels like a judgement or an interrogation.

“Why didn’t you leave earlier than that?”

The implied meaning is that “I should have left earlier. I am wrong. I am bad. I am in trouble.”

This language can cause us to become defensive and hostile.

Even if you are annoyed that you have been kept waiting, you can assert yourself using language that will be more easily received, e.g. “I was expecting you to leave at 9:00am to arrive at my place at 9:30am this morning. I’m curious as to what happened causing the delay.” 

Give it a go. Change your language and see how it lands.

The last thing you want is a crash landing.

Let me know how you go.

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P.P.S. Claim the date. Our next Loyal Lieutenant Masterclass Series starts Thursday 30th March 9:30am Sydney time for 9 weeks. Hands on training, creating and streamlining systems and processes for your team and organisation.

Technical Skills OR Leadership Skills (WT659)

Technical Skills OR Leadership Skills (WT659)


WT 659 Technical Skills or Leadership Skills

Here’s an interesting little fact that I learned recently from Paul Findlay, CEO for the REACH Ecosystem in Australia; the average leader is in a leadership position for about 10 years before receiving any leadership training.

Wowza!  How often do we hear people discuss how important leadership is and experience the dire consequences of poor leadership and yet our leaders are not receiving the training they need to succeed in their roles?

This topic came up a couple of times this week as I coached executive leaders from different industries. One leader owns a very successful coffee shop, another a real estate agency and another is in the sporting business.

It was a real eye opener for us to realise how much training they provide for the technical skills to do the technical work and yet very little for the emerging and recently promoted leaders and managers.

In the coffee shop, we wouldn’t think of not training our barista to make a perfect cup of coffee.

In real estate, property managers must know the legislation and how to deal with landlords and tenants. There are checklists for ingoing and outgoing reports; criteria for assessing tenant applications.

In the sporting business, employees need to know how to measure and quote for the right amount of materials and how to design and construct sporting fields.

Technical skills OR leadership skills.

When our people move up the ladder, usually because they are very competent technicians, we expect them to be able to:

  1. Recruit
  2. Train
  3. Lead
  4. Manage, and
  5. Hold the team accountable.

And yet, we rarely give them any support or training in how to do this.

Graduates of our Leading Yourself and Leading Others experience leave with their own Train The Trainers manual. I encourage them to share what they learned with their people.

If you have had the privilege of some leadership training, I believe you have the responsibility to share what you know both through your training and your experience.

New managers need to understand and accept that their “tools and equipment” are now the people they lead and manage.

Unlike physical tools, such as hammers or coffee machines, people are emotional. They have their own set of values and beliefs. They come laden with what we call spaghetti (emotional baggage) as well as their own individual personalities. They have different learning preferences and they like to be appreciated in their own way.

When you think about it, it’s a huge responsibility to place on new leaders and managers with the expectation that they are to “get the most out of their people”.

Technical skills or leadership skills.

Remember the Peter Principle? We promote people to their level of incompetency.

Let’s not let that happen in your business.

Let’s not wait 10 years before training your leaders.

Give them the training and support they need, just as you would for a technical person doing a technical job.

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When You Are Learning (WT658)

When You Are Learning (WT658)


WT 658 When you are learning

What are you like when you’re learning something new?

Do you have patience with yourself and your teacher or are you like me and chuck a temper tantrum until you master it?

This week in The Loyal Lieutenant Masterclass Series, I had to remind participants that they are learning and that I don’t expect them to submit perfect work.

If they knew how to do the thing they were learning to do, they wouldn’t need to attend the class.

In fact, one of my favourite quotes is from Aristotle, “For the things we have to learn before doing, we learn by doing them.”

Here’s what happened.

Last week I showed participants how to look at the world through little boxes. Their homework was to create a workflow diagram and submit before the next class.

In the class, I went through each workflow and gave feedback.

All participants got to see the other workflows and learn from the feedback as well.

What was interesting, was that a number of participants apologised for not having a perfect workflow diagram.

No apologies please.

You are learning.

I don’t expect you to submit a perfect diagram because you don’t know how to do everything yet. I only introduced some basic concepts the week before.

It reminds me of a time years ago when I was learning how to host my own online TV show. Each week, Ross would set up the greenscreen and lights in the garage and I would go on camera to learn how to set up greenscreens and lights and how to host.

Each week before class I would get stressed because my lights etc. were not perfect.

“Shirl, this is what you are learning”, encouraged Ross.

“You don’t have to be perfect, because you don’t know how to do it yet.”

I had to agree.

It helped take the pressure off.

If you’re someone who thinks they have to have it perfect before they know what they are doing, think again.

When you are learning, whatever you are doing is not going to be perfect. Be happy with that and focus on improving what you are learning.

When you’re in a stressed state of heightened arousal (ie the Primal State), you cut yourself off from the flow and joy of learning.

Relax and enjoy it.

When you are learning, allow yourself to make mistakes and have fun. You’ll master your topic much more easily and much more quickly.

Again, as Aristotle said, “For the things we have to learn before doing, we learn by doing them.”

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Confront the Brutal Facts (WT657)

Confront the Brutal Facts (WT657)


WT 657 Confront the brutal facts

I don’t know where this saying came from, however this week it has popped up for some of my clients and myself.

The phrase in and of itself can be confronting. “Confront the brutal facts.”

What are “the brutal facts”?

Brutal facts are things we may or may not know that are getting in the way of us achieving what we want to achieve.

We use the word “brutal” because there can be no denying the facts, even though on some level that’s exactly what we want to do.

Brutal because sometimes that’s how we receive the feedback.

One time I was complaining to Ross about how unhappy I was with something he had done. “That’s your shit Shirl”, he said. “You deal with it.”

Ouch! He was right.

Is there an area of your life that’s not working as well as it could be right now?

If so, are you willing to confront the brutal facts?

Are you willing to take a deep dive into the issue?

Are you willing to hear and accept the feedback?

Are you willing to take the necessary action to change it?

Now’s a really good time to do so.

Let me know what you discover and if you need support, reach out.

Another saying for you that was written under an image of a person being doubled on a bicycle on the handlebars, through rain, “You won’t get to where you want to go, if you only travel on the sunny days.”

Be brave! I know you can be.

Confront the brutal facts.

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