No Such Thing As Wasted Effort

When I apply myself I expect to see a return for my effort. None of us want to do something for nothing. We want some sort of return. A reward of sort for energy used. Some gain for all the pain we might have gone through.

At different times, for different reasons the results will vary. Sometimes we will see a great return. Perhaps an exponential one. At other times we get what we expected. Then there are those times we seem to get less than what we hoped for. Even worse, we get nothing.

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Sixty Caution Potholes – Message Overload

I’m a student of communication in leadership (& yes, life too).

There is more than one message I get from this photo I took. The thing is, there is the speed limit sign and a mistake they made was add another message, causing “message overload”.

“Message overload guarantees a level of distortion in the messages being conveyed.

Great communication is core to great leadership. Make sure you never load other messages onto others.

Context

Be clear on the context and parameters a of each communique. It is always helpful to establish the boundaries of discussions and communication as it combats ambiguity. Ambiguity often births discord and division. The discord and division can be clear as well as subtle, hidden.

Load

Never piggy-back a message or communique on another. Respect the importance of each message and craft your message. Never communicate a lot of new ideas with a shotgun approach. Important messages deserve surgical treatment.

One Way

I’m sure the guy who put this sign thinks it’s clear; “Speed limit is sixty and be careful, there are potholes”. I laughed when I saw the sign because my initial interpretation was, “They have put sixty caution potholes?! What happened to other ‘traffic calming devices’?”

Never assume your message is as clear to others as it is to you, the sender [Click to Tweet]

This may be a rather obvious thing. Right? Wrong. Leaders and teams still stand to make this same mistake. Assumptions have destroyed teams, relationships and organisations. Rather err on the side of verifying that you understand messages and, likewise have been understood.

Hence the importance of feedback systems.

Related:
Why You DON’T Get The Feedback You Need | Part 1
Why You DON’T Get The Feedback You Need | Part 2

Recap

Remember: communication only takes place when message on the receivers end is received and understood as indented by the sender.

Never piggy back messages on each other. Always establish context and parameters for your message or communique. Have clear feedback systems to make sure that messages or communications are well understood by all parties involved and affected.

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Accountability | Dealing With Frustration As A Leader

Leaders who cannot manage frustration are ineffective. No one wants to follow them. One of the least attractive leaders is a tantrum bomb of a leader.

A leader’s ability to address frustration in his teams and manage his own is critical for high intensity and performance environments. Leaders who manage frustration well are more likely to lead well.

Related: More Than 5 Reasons Your Team Is Frustrated With Your Leadership 

The first step for any leader to address their frustration is being aware of their frustration triggers. He or she must be in touch with his internal state.

Accountability In Frustration

One of the next keys of managing frustration is accountability.

Accountability

Share with someone trustworthy when you’re frustrated. Try to get to the source and somehow create steps and measures keep you away from the frustration and its potential paralysis.

Agree on consequences when you have badly handled your frustration. In a healthy team environment, it might even be a great thing for the team to talk about their frustration triggers and thresholds. Leaders can participate in this space and share their shortcomings.

When leaders are open about some of their shortcomings, it helps those they lead to come alongside them in areas of their shortcomings.

(PS: Watch that you don’t mess up accountability.)

Companionship is another important key in the accountability mix. Dr. Henry Cloud says that research showed that stress could be reduced by up to fifty percent when it is shared. The importance of companionship cannot be overemphasized.

Related:
Step Away | Dealing With Frustration As A Leader
YOU | Dealing With Frustration As A Leader 
Ignore? | Leading a Frustrated Team [Part 1]
Hear | Leading a Frustrated Team [Part 2]
Cool | Leading A Frustrated Team [Part 3]
The Presence | Leading A Frustrated Team [Part 4]
Ground Rules and Fences | Leading a Frustrated Team [Part 5]
Communication | Leading A Frustrated Team [Part 6]

[Photo Credit: Zach Klein]

A Kryptonite For Leaders And Organizations

I’m a fan of obvious. I even did an entire post about why leaders need to make things obvious. Cool. Right? Yes. The reason I like obvious is because it is, well obvious. Not only that, it is way better and cooler than ambiguous.

In case you’re still not sure:

A Kryptonite For Leaders And Organizations

Ambiguity is an enemy to effective leadership. Leaders that aren’t clear about where they’re going aren’t likely to get many behind their cause.

When leaders allow ambiguity to be a part of the enterprise, in relation to steps that need to be taken now, they will cause the demise of their enterprises.

One of the ways ambiguity is allowed to reign is when leaders answer by giving options. They are presented a situation and think out loud about how they could address but don’t give specific actions. Teams are presented with options and still left hanging.

If you’re a “victim” of the many options response, it is wise to ask for a recap. Or simply play the “I just want to be sure I understood you, what’s the bottom line?” (Aka “I didn’t get what you said we must do. I heard the options but not the steps we ought to take”)

Ambiguity is to leaders and organizations what the kryptonite is to superman [Click to Tweet]

There were times I used to be that leader who thought out loud and gave implicit, indirect and unclear actions to my teams. When I did that, my teams only became aware that I could apply my mind to possibilities but were left not knowing what to do in those pressing times.

Ambiguous leaders are at the epicenter of their teams’ frustrations and failures [Click to Tweet]

Ambiguity can make a competent team useless. It doesn’t matter how passionate or how capable your people are when they don’t know exactly what they should do.

Oh, I’ve also been that leader who says, “in a couple of days or weeks”. What on earth is that? Seriously. If you’ve been there the times I led like that, I’m sorry for the misery I caused you.

Ambiguity, for the roles of those you lead, doesn’t help them serve your cause the best they can [Click to Tweet]

Ambiguity is fruit of leaders avoiding or postponing making a decision. When leaders don’t want to or are reluctant to make a call, ambiguity is makes an appearance.

Leader, you’re not always going to have the assurances you like to have before you can make a decision. Sometimes you don’t need more information but to make a decision. Make a right decision or make your decision right. Just don’t linger in ambiguity.

Decisive leaders tend to be less ambiguous. They generally push to make a point. A clear one. Be one; a decisive leader.

Leader, be a fan of clarity and dis ambiguous. Be boldBe /ˈherətik/.

[Photo Credit: Resio]

Really? All In The Name Of Truth And Honesty

Too many crimes are committed in the name of honesty and truth. Some people claim to be very open people because they always speak the truth. They claim they are honest in dealing with people when they don’t like something.

That is what they say. There are times I may have also used their language. Rather, they’re excuses.

Often it is just a cover for being nasty. Mean. Stop giving honesty and being truthful a bad rap because of your meanness.

truth and honesty

I’m not suggesting that we never speak the truth. I’m saying we must be careful how we speak the truth.

We must be honest with people but it matters how we translate that honesty in the context. Care enough about your message to package it well.

Also, don’t mistake being rude for being honest with people. That makes you worse than a jerk. As I encounter people who do such, I write these things as notes to myself.

There are many opportunities to be a jerk. The question is, “Will I take them?” [Click to Tweet

Will you?

I know that I can be just as bad. You too. I’d like to think that I can’t be as bad as everyone else but that is not the truth. Sometimes I do cross the “jerk line”.

I’m glad to have people around me that love me enough to pull me back over that line without being nasty but truthful in a kind way. It hurts, sometimes, but it helps. I end up a better person. These people help me become more.

I want to be honest about how I feel with people I care about and leave relationships intact. In fact, I want, I need the relationships to be stronger. I want people I lead to love me for the truth I bleed, with love.

“I’m just saying the truth” or “I’m just being honest” must not be used, as a cop out for not delivering the truth in a way it deserves.

Truth is a beautiful thing. It deserves to be delivered in a manner that exalts not demeans it [Click to Tweet]

Truth is like a hammer. If it is used well it can build great things. It can also be used destructively. We get to choose how we use it.

Love people and truth enough to use it to build up; not destroy [Click to Tweet]  

When you’re done using truth, the hammer, may be there more standing and not rubble.

Honesty strengthens the foundations of relationships, don’t deface it.

[Photo Credit: Marc Wathieu]