Posts Tagged ‘support’

Changing Choice to ForceIn a previous post, I asked whether choice or force was the methodology of quintessential leadership. Now I want to discuss the effects of force when choice is the default. 

In other words, what are the effects when people are forced to do something that is, by default, a choice that they can opt to do or not to do? 

Does forcing people to do something that is presented as a choice for them bring them around to whatever the intended effects are that the people who are exerting force are trying to get or does it make those people even more resistant to opting ever for the choice?

I always go for practical, this-is-what-it-looks-like examples of the topic we’re discussing, so we’ll look at a couple of real-world scenarios.

Let’s say that your organization does a weekly blog on random topics that are interesting, perhaps, but not mission-critical (whether team members read it or not will not have any effect on productivity, project completion, or successful outcomes).

Let’s say, as well, that your organization has a weekly video presentation that, again, is not mission-critical. Instead it is, in essence, a promotional video for the organization that continually pats the organization on the back and talks about how great the organization is. The video is posted on the same website as the blog and team members can opt to watch it or not.

What I’ve presented in these two scenarios is choice. Just like the choice you are exercising right now by reading this post (anyone who doesn’t read it is also exercising choice). 

Now, let’s say that the organization’s web analysts have been told to monitor how many hits the blog and the video get each week and their report shows that almost nobody’s reading the blog or watching the video. Remember, this is a choice that team members have to read, to watch or to not read and not watch.

Commandeering Team Meets to Make Choice ForceThe people in leadership positions decide the response among team members is unacceptable, so they commandeer each department’s weekly status meetings and have the blog read to each team and the video played before the actual meeting about what everybody’s actually there for begins.

There are a myriad of reasons why each of us, as unique and highly-individualized creations from the very hand of God, choose to opt in or opt out of the millions of choices we are presented with daily. 

In the scenario with the blog, some people don’t like to read.

Others want to stay focused on the things that are linked to productivity, to project completion, and to successful outcomes without a lot of extraneous – and, in many cases, distracting or unhelpful – information in the mix.

And still others find themselves in frequent disagreement with some of the subjective and erroneous information (we’re all guilty of it at times, my friends, and to pretend or deny that we aren’t is the height of pride and arrogance) included in the blog, so they don’t read it because it would end up being detrimental to them in the big scheme of things.

In the scenario of the video, some people simply will not watch videos. I’m one of those (the same is true with listening to audio).

Because of my learning style, which requires me to see words on a page, I need to read to process, to comprehend, and to think about whatever I’m choosing to invest into and make the focus of my time and attention.

Others don’t watch the videos because they are simply self-promotion of the organization and they’re not interested in “cheerleading” videos.

And still others don’t watch simply because they’re not interested at all.

However, because the blog posts and the videos are now part of weekly status meetings, the choice for each team member and their reasons for opting out has been taken away.

So what are the effects now that choice for each team member has been replaced with force?

The first effect will be a combination of anger and resistance.

And this is what unquintessential leaders who use this tactic – and it happens a lot – don’t understand or comprehend. The reason – the motive – behind force is to compel people to buy in to whatever is being presented. The belief is that force will lead to choice because team members just “aren’t aware of what they’re missing” or “team members just don’t know what the value of the information in the blog posts or videos is.”

In other words, team members are perceived as ignorant children who don’t know what’s good for them, so by forcing them to read (or listen) and watch, they will see the light and become devoted readers and watchers.

Wrong. Force will only drive those team members who have opted out of choice further away from a buy in. 

These team members will be angry because they are viewed by people in leadership as being ignorant and childlike (in other words, they can’t make good and/or right decisions for themselves). These team members will also be angry because they will see the force for what it is: an attempt to manipulate unconditional loyalty and support for the organization.

The team members who chose to opt out and now are facing force will also be resistant because their choice was taken away. These team members may sit there, but they’re not listening and they’re not watching. Instead, they are committed to the authenticity in their reasons for why they opted out to begin with. In other words, these team members will “check out” for the duration.

Another effect of choice being replaced with force is an outgrowth of resistance: attrition.

The reality is that once an organization replaces choice with force, it has embarked on the slippery slope of attempts to control everything and everybody in the organization. Choice is no longer available. Everything becomes force.

Resistance to that force, which is actually oppression, eventually leads to attrition. When continual and increasing attrition rates affect an organization, the organization has dealt itself a fatal death blow. 

Anger and Resistance Against Force Instead of Choice Leads to AttritionIt may take months or years to shudder into its eventual demise, but the outcome is, nevertheless, certain. Potential team members always look at an organization’s viability before committing to become a member of the team.

Viability is evident in the relationship among what kind of leadership is in place, organizational policies, and the rate of attrition. The higher the attrition rate, the more evident that unquintessential leadership is at the helm and an organizational policy of force is in place. 

If the existing team members are bailing, then potential team members are going to look elsewhere as well. It’s just the inevitable and logical outcome of the effects of force replacing choice.

So, my fellow quintessential leaders, now is the time for us to look in the mirror. We can always point at other people in any scenario we use, but that does us no good. We must instead look at ourselves, because we’re committed to the highest standard, to a different standard, to doing the right thing all the time, no matter what we personally may have to sacrifice in the process or what it may personally cost us, with every team we lead in life. It’s a matter of our character and our integrity.

Are we guilty of replacing choice with force? Are we in organizations that dictate that we replace choice with force? Do we go along because we don’t want to rock the boat or do we have the courage to say “No, that’s wrong. If it’s a choice, then we’re not going to force it on anyone?” 

Are we willing to lose everything – our position within the organization, our income from the organization, and our teams in the organization – to be authentic, genuine, and to stand up for and do what’s true and right, or will we compromise, becoming unquintessential leaders, because it will negatively impact us personally if we don’t?

I can only answer these questions for myself. You can only answer them for yourselves.

How are we doing?

 

 

 

The Quintessential Leader Always Lends a Helping HandQuintessential leaders are always looking for ways to practically help other people whose paths intersect with ours. This is part of the integrity of our character and the authenticity of who we are.

What this means practically is that we are conscious and continual observers of all the people we cross paths with, whether it’s just one time, occasionally, frequently, or continually. It also means that we have a heightened awareness of all situations and genuine needs that arise in these relationships.   

In other words, quintessential leaders are always paying attention for opportunities where we can practically lend a helping hand to others.  

Quintessential leaders don’t look at these opportunities as a burden, nor do we look at them as a one-time obligation that we check off a list and move on from. Because quintessential leaders are teambuilders and relationship builders, we stay involved and we keep lending helping hands with the goal of assisting others to be able to stand on their own again, so that they can then lend a helping hand to the people who cross their paths in life.

Quintessential leaders do this all their lives. They prefer to be anonymous, in the background, and quietly providing the practical help that others need. The greatest satisfaction for quintessential leaders is to see those we’ve endeavored to persistently help along the way in practical ways succeed and move into a position where they are able to help others.

What are some ways that quintessential leaders practically lend a helping hand to others?

You more than likely will never know about any of this because quintessential leaders never talk about what they are doing (we don’t take out billboards, literally or virtually, and announce it to the world) for others. Instead, we just do it, freely, modestly, and continuously lending our hands whenever and wherever there’s a genuine need that we can fill.

However, because we are striving to be quintessential leaders all the time, we need to know the what and the how of what practically lending a helping hand to others so that they can get back on their feet and pay it forward looks like in practice.

There are impractical and practical ways to lend a helping hand.

If (and this seems to be an increasingly rarer “if” in our “what’s in it for me?” society, where most people either simply don’t care, are totally oblivious to the needs of others, or they glance at needs and then promptly forget that the needs ever existed) people are inclined to lend a helping hand, the help is often short-term and immediate (impractical in the big scheme of things because it doesn’t address the root cause of the need), instead of long-term and big-picture (practical because it works to lessen or eliminate the root cause of the need).

So we’re going to look at a few practical ways that we can lend a helping hand to others and show how quintessential leaders use all our networks to enhance our help and work to reduce and eliminate the need.

This, by the way, was supposed to be the functional outcome of professional networking and social networking, but both have failed miserably.

Professional network to lend a helping handThese networks, however, have ended up being nothing more than, in the first case, a closed club with a college sorority/fraternity feel involving bar meetups to drink and hook up, and, in the second case, social-networksa closed inner group of select people (the wider group of contacts and friends is off the grid and nobody even notices – it’s as though they were never there) who just hang out with each other all day.

The first way that quintessential leaders practically lend a helping hand is by volunteering their time and expertise whenever and wherever they find people in need. They create opportunities to volunteer by establishing and actively participating in specific groups to meet specific needs.

Throughout their sustained efforts in making these groups a place for information, education, and help, quintessential leaders also invite and respond Quintessential leaders volunteer to lend a helping handto ongoing individual needs within the groups. 

While most people aren’t even aware of it, quintessential leaders always spend a lot of one-on-one time with individuals within the group when the needs arise, with the goal of lessening the burden for those individuals and helping where they are able in a practical and proactive way.

Another area where quintessential leaders are constantly practically lending a helping hand is in the area of helping people who are looking for employment and financial stability. These are tied inextricably together, but it seems that society, in general, doesn’t realize this. 

There are a few people who see the financial aspect of someone looking for employment and they give a little bit of money to the person. While this is appreciated, there is a better and more practical way to lend a helping hand in terms of the long-term and big picture need, which is employment and being financially self-supporting.

There’s an old saying that if you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, you feed him for life. There’s an parallel in this saying that applies to someone looking for employment and financial stability.

As noble and as kind as the gesture is, the reality is that handing somebody who’s looking for a job a little bit of money doesn’t give them employment or financial stability. In fact, it usually, at least emotionally and mentally, makes things worse for that person.

Why?

There are several reasons:

  1. A one-time small amount of money doesn’t pay the bills;
  2. The person doesn’t want to freeload or mooch, but instead work and earn the money they receive;
  3. The money doesn’t – and can’t – address the long-term and big picture need of employment or financial stability.

So let’s talk about better and more practical ways to lend a helping hand to someone who is looking for employment and financial stability instead.

Anybody who is looking for employment has undertaken a full-time job. It’s a job with no pay, a substantial time investment, mostly silence or rejection as the outcome, and a hiring process that makes Dante’s hell seem like a stroll in the park

Quintessential leaders lend a practical helping hand to people looking for employment in the following concrete ways:

  1. Engaging with the people looking for employment to know what their skills and experience are, what areas they are looking for, and what their soft skills are.
  2. Getting resume or website links from people looking for employment and actually reading them.
  3. Sending the resume or website links to their professional contacts with a brief summary of qualifications, areas of competence, as well as a recommendation (i.e., a reference) and a request for a time-delimited followup. If their professional contacts don’t do the followup, quintessential leaders do, both as a reminder and as an advocate for those looking for employment.
  4. If there’s interest, setting up a face-to-face for the potential employer and potential employee to meet.

What does impractical look like (although some of these are the best people know how to offer – which is why we all need the education provided in this post – if you want to make people’s employment searches even more frustrating and hopeless, do any or all of these)?

  1. Reviewing the resume or website links and saying “Oh, that’s great experience” or making suggestions to change it, but doing absolutely nothing else with it.
  2. Indicating, by a weak or lackluster response, that you’re not going to go out of your way to do anything with the information.
  3. Promising that you’ll do something and then promptly and forever forgetting about it.
  4. “Advising” people looking for employment in a way that is condescending (when this is a person’s full-time job, they’ve already turned over every rock we can think of and many we can’t even imagine) or deceptive (dishonesty in any form is unacceptable – if we suggest it, we are definitively not quintessential leaders).
  5. Sending generic newspaper articles or job fair notices of hiring that you’re not connected to and don’t have any direct influence (or interest) with to people looking for employment.
  6. Giving people “leads” on jobs they aren’t remotely looking for, are overqualified or unqualified for, and/or are infeasible because of location differences and expense involved.

Another practical way that quintessential leaders lend a helping hand to people seeking employment and financial stability is to support their other attempts to create revenue streams and use their networks to help generate revenue from these streams.

Many people who are seeking employment and financial stability have looked at every possible avenue for earning an income and being self-sufficient. In addition to their full-time employment searches, they have put in long hours creating things of value (using skills like sewing, knitting, crocheting, woodworking, jewelry-making, baking, confection-making, writing and self-publishing books to educate and inform, etc.) to offer for purchase, so that they can not only earn the money they receive, but the person who pays gets something of value in return.

Esty revenue stream lend a helping handThese items are generally sold through venues Amazon lend a helping handlike Etsy or Amazon, where the seller gets a fraction of the purchase price for each item sold (for example, for a $10 printed book, Amazon authors get less than $2 in payment, while they do not get anything for the Kindle version unless someone buys it after purchasing the hard copy).

Quintessential leaders invest the time and interest to find out if people looking for employment have these kinds of items for sale. If they do, instead of handing cash to these people, quintessential leaders lend a practical hand by:

  1. Committing to buying their products (once every three months, for example);
  2. Reviewing the item at the purchasing site;
  3. Getting a firm commitment from a certain number of people in their social and professional networks to buy the item and asking those people to do the same with their social and professional networks and to pass the same instructions on with each iteration of getting social and professional networks involved in the process.

This is win-win all the way around. The people purchasing are getting something of value at a great price. With enough volume from the cumulative social and professional networking and purchasing, the people selling are actually earning the money they receive and it may give them enough financial stability to be able to hang in there until employment materializes. Or it may lead to something totally different that opens new doors and new opportunities for the person who is seeking employment.

Most importantly, it gives these people the ability to pay forward being able to practically lend a helping hand to the people in their lives.

As always, we as quintessential leaders need to look in our own mirrors to see how – or whether – we are doing.

Do we practically lend a helping hand to other people? Or are we guilty of being impractical in our attempts to help, pulling further down the very people we should be making every effort in our power (and we have a lot, but it takes our attention, our time, and our effort) to pull up?

What are we doing? How are we doing?