Final Thoughts on Leadership

Final Thoughts on Leadership

Over the last several weeks I’ve taken a look at a few topics about leadership that are near and dear to my heart and I hope that you’ve been able to find some good takeaways to apply to your life.  Whether you’re a leader, manager, parent, whatever, I feel like there’s something in there for everyone.

When it comes down to it, in order to be a great leader, you have to be great at relationships.  Now, of course, there’s a long list of attributes that makes for a great leader, but if you have no idea how to connect with people, regardless if you’re an introvert or extrovert, then you will have no followers.  And what’s the basic definition of a leader?  Someone who has followers of course!

I want to leave you with a final thought on leadership.  This is not going to be easy for many of you.  Especially for those of you like me who just really want to help others.  As a leader, if you are trying to develop leadership in adults, you have to get used to not helping.  Chances are, you work with an amazing group of people who are incredibly talented.  So, get out of their way and let them do their jobs.  This is a challenge for me because my brain is really good at figuring out systems and processes and so it’s hard to not dive in and tell everyone how to do something.  Who knows?  Maybe their way is better than mine, but I’d never know it because I’m in the way.  Your role as a leader is to be there if needed.  This is also hard when your team gets stuck.  If you are trying to build leadership skills in your team, then you have to stop yourself from jumping in and fixing problems.  Now, if you are working with teenagers or young adults, you have a bit more leeway because chances are, those folks just don’t have the experience yet and need some guidance.

This is partly why when I was teaching in the traditional classroom that I loved and also hated rubrics.  Rubrics can be the death of creativity.  Yes, there were those students who wanted to know exactly what was required (admittedly, I was one of them) and when I wouldn’t give that to them, they struggled really hard to get projects done and had 10,000 questions.  It truly breaks my heart to see creativity stolen away from students through the use of rubrics because it’s cuts corners on critical thinking.  I believe this is why so many Gen Z struggle in their first jobs.  School beat the creativity out of them and instead they were told exactly how to perform every task if they wanted that A so when they get out into the real world, they don’t know how to do work on their own.  Another reason that we should do away with grades, but that’s a topic for another day.

The point is, as a leader, sometimes you have to step back and let the chips fall as they may.  If you’re always doing to the work for your team, how will they ever learn to do it for themselves?  You have to be ok letting them “fail” so that they can pick up the pieces and start again.  It’s how ingenuity happens.  It’s also how team synergy happens.  You can’t always force the creative process as much as you might like to.  Finally, stop waiting for or expecting perfection.  It doesn’t exist.  If you are the type of leader who requires perfection out of your team, you’ll soon find you’ll be a team of one.

Let’s wrap this series up!  Here are the key takeaways:

  • Great leaders have integrity, are honest, and humble
  • Get to know yourself and your team
    • How do you work?
    • How do they work?
    • What motivates them?
    • What motivates you?
  • If you’re stuck in a toxic work relationship or environment, it’s time to move on – life is too short for you to be unhappy.
  • Looking to find a mentor or how to become one? Go back and listen to my interviews with Sheri Hart
  • Get used to not helping – even when you really really want to
  • And finally, when life’s challenges get tough remember that some things are just “over the L”

How to Become a Mentor with Sheri Hart

How to Become a Mentor with Sheri Hart

On the podcast last week, I interviewed my good friend Sheri Hart for round two of the topic of mentorship.  Sheri is an Associate Connections Director in Performance Content at VMLY&R. VMLY&R is a global brand experience agency made up of nearly 7,000 employees worldwide, with one of its principal offices located in Kansas City.

Sheri has been a leader of people for more than 10 years, and her passion is making sure that there is grace that allows for humanity in the workplace.  Here are the takeaways from that interview:

What made you want to start mentoring?

Like many people, I was introduced to the idea in the workplace. While I wasn’t always in a “people leader” type role when I first started out, I found that there were a lot of situations where I found myself listening to what others were dealing with and wanting to help. A lot of times people can find their own solutions just by discussing their problem out loud, and I enjoyed spending time listening and looking for questions to help guide them along the way. But you have to make yourself approachable or people won’t even think about starting a conversation in the first place.

Later in my career as I was promoted into roles where I had Direct Reports, it became my job to manage them, but I found that by not just doing the requisite reviews that the company requires, I really get joy from the opportunity to build relationships and extend the topics we were covering to broaden the process beyond Managing to Leading.

If someone is looking to be a Mentor, what steps should they take to make that happen?

Honestly, some things you can’t MAKE it happen. But for the most part, it is about building relationships and being a good role model or example in the workplace or whatever field that you want to be known in. People will tend to migrate your way if they see you modeling empathy, doing good work, and being good on your word. Trust is a huge factor. If people see you as trustworthy, they are so much more likely to feel comfortable opening up and discussing what can be some personal topics. Feedback can be difficult for many, trust is key.

If you’re moving this direction because you have direct reports, set up a formal structure. I typically meet with people for an hour each month, formally, and then whenever they ask if I have a minute we can find some time to talk if something more immediate comes up.

Things to consider:

This is THEIR career or situation….they should be the owners of the time. Think of it like they are driving the car, you are the GPS. Help guide them through the conversation, providing “are you supposed to turn here?” or “you might want to make a U-Turn here”…along the way.

That sounds great, but how do you do that?

As for them being the drivers, let them know that they are responsible for bringing the agenda to each meeting. It can be a certain situation they want to discuss or general questions that they have, so nothing major…but they can’t just sit down and expect you to make it all happen for them.

As for guiding….I find it is all about asking the right questions. I try to never ask a question that can be answered with “yes” “no” or “fine”. It’s the difference between saying “How are you?”, which can easily be answered with “fine” and the conversation stops, and saying “What is going well?” and letting them search their thoughts to provide any small wins they might have had.

So, clearly, questions and seeking more information are a key piece of the puzzle…what other things do you look to have in your toolbox?

There are a ton of different assessments and activities you can explore to either help you understand your mentee better as well as help them understand themselves.

Not the least of which is the Enneagram test which you have explored on your podcast and in your blog.

There is the old standard Myers-Briggs. There are free versions out there and a lot of content available on how to read and understand the various types. I’m an ENJF….but the N and J are flexible…the E and F are NOT. J These things are helpful to know if you were going to be mentoring me.

I use a short list I created with the different types of things that motivate people to explore what drives them. Do they love public praise or does that mortify them?  Are they driven by how much money they make or what benefits are provided? (PS…that’s not a bad thing and it’s OK if that’s your answer.) It just makes a difference in the types of goals you set and the type of workplace you may be looking for.

I have a list of, I think 16 different motivators….we go through them together and rank them. It doesn’t mean that the 16th thing on the list doesn’t matter, it just means less than the one they ranked as #1. Those things help me know what they can be doing to find those things in their career, as well as what I should focus on when given them positive reinforcement or guidance.

For example, I’m a “celebrate every victory, no matter how small” kind of person, but someone else might think tiny wins are nothing, they just want the big GOAL. Neither of us is right or wrong, but it’s helpful information to have as I work to provide leadership for them.

There are also exercises about writing your own personal mantra or finding your core values. Again, some people respond to these exercise with enthusiasm, and some would rather poke themselves in the eye with a fork than go through them, so you can’t just blow in with all of them and overwhelm with your “toolkit”, but it’s helpful to have a lot of them so that you find the right mix for each individual.

It’s a lot to think about, what would be your final thoughts on Being a Mentor?

I guess one additional thought would be that while you are a mentor and a guide, unless you are trained to do so, you are not a mental health expert. If someone is dealing with something serious and needs help, your role is not to try to fix that, but to help them find the resources to do so.

Mostly, that it’s not about YOU. It’s about THEM.

But, that if you find yourself with an opportunity to be a mentor, you will find that it is highly rewarding for you as well and that sometimes you’ll have a session where you learn way more than they do.

To hear the entire episode, go to www.adultingwithcj.com/podcast/021.

Enneagram Types 5-9

Enneagram Types 5-9

This week we are carrying on with the second half of the Enneagram types.  Last week we covered types 1-4 so you’ll want to make sure and go back to the last blog post to get the info on those.  As I said last week, there are all sorts of personality tests in the world but one of my personal favorites is the Enneagram.  The cool part about the Enneagram is that it teaches you all about your personality as well as how other people think and feel.  In my opinion, the Enneagram is one of the most comprehensive personality inventories out there. If you’ve never heard of the Enneagram, here’s how it breaks down.

The Enneagram itself is a geometric figure that maps out the nine fundamental personality types of human nature and their complex interrelationships.  It is a symbol that is made up of a circle with a triangle and a hexad in the middle that connects to nine outer points.  The nine points are what represent the nine personality types – type 1 is The Reformer, type 2 is The Helper, type 3 is The Achiever, type 4 is The Individualist, type 5 is The Investigator, type 6 is The Loyalist, type 7 is The Enthusiast, type 8 is The Challenger, and type 9 is The Peacemaker.  Again, if you want to learn more about types 1-4 go back and check out Enneagram Types 1-4.  Let’s move onto types 5-9.

Type 5 is The Investigator and is an intense, cerebral type who is also known as the Thinker

They are hyper-aware of their surroundings; they are insightful and curious.  They love to pursue knowledge and are able to develop complex ideas.  A 5s basic fear is of being useless, incapable, or incompetent and as you can imagine, their basic desire is to be competent. The strengths of this type include the ability to remain calm in a crisis, constantly learning and picking up new skills, and are often ahead of their time.  Weaknesses include a tendency to be perceived as condescending, disconnected from their feelings, and isolating themselves from others.  This occurs because they are always striving to be independent and so by detaching from people fives oftentimes feel very lonely.  In order to effectively communicate with fives, you need to allow them plenty of personal space and time to think and make sure you express your thoughts clearly and logically.  Meetings should be productive and worthwhile and make sure you ask for their insight or observations.  Like fours, they don’t have time for chit-chat so be direct with what you need.  When giving feedback, just be honest about growth areas and offer constructive criticism.  Common jobs for fives include engineers, mathematicians, computer programmers, writers, and scientists.

And now what I’m sure you’ve all been waiting for, Type 6 aka the Loyalist aka me.  When I very first took the Enneagram test, I tested as a 1 and it completely made sense to me.  Ones feel the need to be perfect, they are highly organized, etc.  Then time went by and I took it again and tested as a Six.  At first, I refused to believe it and I swear I took the test two more times before finally paying for a test and sure enough, it came back as 6 along with an explanation that sometimes sixes misidentify as ones. Then I started studying the six and lo and behold, totally me.  Sixes are committed, reliable, hardworking, responsible, defensive, evasive, and highly anxious.  Check, check, check, check, check, check, and check.  They are often cautious and indecisive but can also be defiant and rebellious.  Their basic fear is being without support or guidance and their basic desire is to feel secure.  Sixes are good at making responsible and practical choices, honoring commitments, caring for others, thinking about other people’s perspectives, and they are both logical and emotional.  However, they can struggle to control anxious thoughts, they tend to expect the worst outcome, and they have high levels of self-doubt and insecurity.  The best way to communicate with a six is the help them feel safe and secure by listening and offering support.  Again, just like 4s and 5s when emailing them avoid small talk and get to the point.  When giving feedback keep it on the gentler side by expressing encouragements and constructive criticism.  You’ll typically find sixes as paralegals, bankers, professors, administrative assistants, and caregivers.

Type 7 is the Enthusiast aka the life of the party

Sevens are busy, productive types who are optimistic and spontaneous.  While they are highly practical, they can also be scattered and undisciplined.  Their basic fear is being deprived or trapped in pain and their basic desire is to be happy.  Sevens can think quickly and creatively.  They can easily handle change in plans, and they are great at acquiring new skills or abilities.  Weaknesses can include difficulty committing to plans in advance, they quickly get bored, and because of this, they can make impulsive or rash decisions.  When communicating with sevens be upbeat and optimistic, let them know what you need from them, and include casual conversation and dialog in emails.  When giving feedback be honest and constructive.  Sevens like to come up with multiple solutions to problems, so let them help you when you get stuck.  Good careers for sevens are artists, interior designers, bartenders, tour guides, photographers, and publicists.

Type 8 is the Challenger also known as the Protector

This type is powerful, dominating, self-confident, and assertive.  They feel they must control their environment and are often confrontational and intimidating.  They love getting into debates and are good at making tough decisions.  8s basic fear is being harmed or controlled by others and their basic desire is to protect oneself.  They tend to act quickly and decisively, can lead their team to success, and they are typically fair and logical in their decision-making.  Eights struggles with others’ opinions, following rules or orders, and being perceived as being intimidating.  When it comes to communicating, be upfront and direct, allow them to share new ideas or suggestions, avoid casual conversation, and share feedback respectfully and constructively.  Because this type strives for control, in order to resolve conflict with an 8, stand your ground and call them out on their inappropriate actions while also considering their side.  You’ll find 8s working as lawyers, ad execs, politicians, marketing strategists, and business owners.

Chad and I recently watched The Last Dance on Netflix which is the docuseries about Michael Jordan.  If you haven’t watched it, you should because MJ really is an impressive human.  During the show, I kept wondering which Enneagram type he is so naturally, I Googled it.  There is a strong debate on whether he is a 3 or an 8.  Remember, threes are the high achieving type but I’m convinced he’s an eight.  I mean, look, he’s powerful, dominating, and self-confident.  He led the Bulls to multiple wins, he’s a logical decision-maker and strives to control his environment.  Hello?  And as I mentioned, marketing strategists and eights go hand in hand.  Do you know how much money this man has made in his career, which let’s be honest, playing basketball was only for a short time all things considered?  He’s made his money through strategic marketing.  MJ if you’re reading this post, take the test and let us know what you are once and for all.

Type 9 is the Peacemaker

This type is easygoing, accepting, trusting, and stable.  They are good-natured, kindhearted, and supportive.  But for all those wonderful traits, they can also be too willing to go along with others in order to keep the peace.  The basic fear of nines is the loss of connection and their basic desire is to be at peace not only within themselves but also in the world around them.  What makes a nine a great peacemaker is their ability to see multiple perspectives, remaining calm and adaptable, reassuring those around them, and being open-minded.  Weaknesses associated with nines are the tendency to minimize problems, avoiding difficult or upsetting situations, and being passive-aggressive rather than addressing conflict head-on.  The best way to communicate with a nine is to encourage them to be open about their needs and ideas but avoid pressuring them to share their opinions or feelings.  Allow room for small-talk and personal connection and avoid being overly negative or critical when giving feedback.  Nines make great counselors, veterinarians, social workers, diplomats, and religious workers.  This is Chad’s type which is why I think we go together so well.  I need support, he wants to give it.  I’m the pessimist, he’s the optimist.  I struggle with anxiety and he’s stable.  Plus, he’s really cute too.

And there you have it – those are the 9 types of the Enneagram.  If you still haven’t taken the test to figure out which type you are, you can go here and take the thing: https://www.crystalknows.com/enneagram-test. Take the test and let me know what type you are!  You can either email me at cj@adultingwithcj.com or you can leave a comment below.  You can also check out this site: https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/type-descriptions which I hope you will because there is a lot of great information as well as a deeper dive into the wings of each type and how each type interacts with the other types.  For example, if you are a 5 and your partner is a 3, it’ll show you how to communicate with one another and where there may be areas of improvement for you.  It also talks about how to work with each type in a professional setting.  All in all, I think the Enneagram is one of the best tools out there when trying to determine how to best lead a team at work or to work on the relationships in your personal life.

 

Enneagram Types 1-4

Enneagram Types 1-4

I’m a firm believer that in order to be a good leader you should also be good at relationships.  I think it is helpful to first determine your personality type or leadership style and then see how your employees stack up next to you.  There are all sorts of personality tests in the world but one of my personal favorites is the Enneagram.  The cool part about the Enneagram is that it teaches you all about your personality as well as how other people think and feel.  In my opinion, the Enneagram is one of the most comprehensive personality inventories out there. If you’ve never heard of it, here’s how it breaks down.

The Enneagram itself is a geometric figure that maps out the nine fundamental personality types of human nature and their complex interrelationships.  It is a symbol that is made up of a circle with a triangle and a hexad in the middle that connects to nine outer points.  The nine points are what represent the nine personality types – type 1 is The Reformer, type 2 is The Helper, type 3 is The Achiever, type 4 is The Individualist, type 5 is The Investigator, type 6 is The Loyalist, type 7 is The Enthusiast, type 8 is The Challenger, and type 9 is The Peacemaker.  Each of the nine types fit into a sub-category called the triads.  Eights, Nines, and Ones fall into the Instinctive Triad meaning they are concerned with maintaining resistance to reality – they also tend to have issues with aggression and repression.  Twos, Threes, and Fours are in the Feeling Triad.  They are concerned with self-image, however, underneath their ego, they carry a lot of shame around with them.  Finally, Fives, Sixes, and Sevens fall into the Thinking Triad and are concerned with anxiety and they will do what they need to do in order to feel safe and secure.  When you look at the triads, what you see is that each personality type has a basic fear as well as a basic desire.  Now, I could do 9 separate posts for each type but for the sake of time, I’m going to break it up into two posts.  I’m going to give you a high-level overview of types 1-4 today and next week we’ll do 5-9.

Type 1 aka the Reformer is an idealistic type

They are very conscientious and have a strong sense of right and wrong.  While they are always striving to improve, the kicker is they are scared of making mistakes.  They tend to have problems with repressed anger but at their best, they are wise.  When I first took the Enneagram test, I would have sworn I was a one.  I have a strong need to be perfect and I’m also highly organized.  But then I read that Sixes often misidentify as Ones, which is when I discovered I’m actually a Six.  The basic fear of Ones is a fear of being bad, corrupt, evil, or defective and their basic desire is to have integrity.  Strengths that are typically associated with ones are their awareness and attention to detail, they have an optimistic worldview, and they defend the rights of others.  Weaknesses include the tendency to be perfectionistic, difficulty accepting hard realities, and being highly critical of themselves and others.  When communicating with a One, you need to take them seriously, focus on conveying a clear message, encourage them to share their thoughts, and express feedback in a constructive way such as giving specific examples of ways to improve.  Common careers for Ones are lawyers, judges, social workers, politicians, counselors, and journalists.

Type 2, aka the Helper, is a caring, interpersonal type

Twos are empathetic, sincere, and warm-hearted.  They can also fall into the trap of incessantly trying to please people.  Because they are driven by their need to help others, they sometimes neglect their own needs and forget to take care of themselves first.  At their best, Twos have unconditional love for themselves and others.  Not surprising, their basic fear is the fear of being unworthy of being loved and I’m sure you can guess that their basic desire is to be loved.  Fun fact about Twos.  Women often misidentify as Twos because when they are taking the test, they will unknowingly answer the questions from a place of who they think they should be, aka helpful/caring.  This is not to say that there aren’t Twos out there who are women, but if you are a woman who first tests as a two, check out the next closest type you test as because it may be closer to the truth than the Two.  Twos are typically supportive and encouraging of people around them, they have a positive attitude, and they love getting to know people.  However, oftentimes, Twos seek out approval from others, they are sometimes perceived as overbearing, and the are easily offended by criticism.  In order to communicate well with Twos, you need to be attentive and encouraging and help them to recognize their value.  Let them help you problem-solve issues, and make sure you let them know how much you appreciate their hard work.  When you must give feedback to a Two, avoid being overly critical and share any concerns you may have with sensitivity.  You’ll usually see Twos as nonprofit leaders, religious leaders, nurses, teachers, and customer service reps.

Type 3 aka the Achiever is very success-oriented and is sometimes called the Performer

They are self-assured, attractive, and ambitious.  They are extremely competitive even to the point of becoming workaholics.  At their best, they are very authentic people who inspire others to do and be better.  Their basic fear is being worthless or without value and their basic desire, obviously, is be valuable.  They are driven to succeed, motivating and encouraging those around them, they easily connect with others, and are very charismatic.  However, oftentimes Threes focus too much on how they look, they have difficulty accepting failure, and like I previously mentioned, they can be overly competitive.  To communicate effectively with Threes, be as clear as you can and let them know exactly what you want or need.  In other words, being concise is the name of the game with Threes.  The best way to provide feedback to a Three is to let them know how much you value them while showing them how they can improve.  Common jobs for Threes are consultants, marketers, entrepreneurs, surgeons, lawyers, and politicians.

Type 4 aka the Individualist is the romantic, introspective type

They are self-aware, reserved, and quiet.  However, they can also be quite moody.  They have problems with self-indulgence and self-pity.  At their best, they are highly creative.  A Four’s basic fear is being without identity or personal significance and their basic desire is to be oneself.  Fours can deeply connect with their feelings and they are sensitive to the feelings of others, they know their growth areas and are also very deep-thinking and creative individuals.  As for weaknesses, they often withdraw when the going gets tough, they fixate on what they don’t have, and they tend to overreact emotionally when life gets hard.  Good communication with Fours should include sharing your feelings, being optimistic and encouraging, and letting them share their voice.  Avoid chit-chat – those deep thinkers don’t have time for that.  And when giving feedback, turn negative feedback into an opportunity for growth.  You can find Fours working as actors, writers, artists, photographers, designers, and hairstylists.

Is your head reeling yet?  I know, this is a ton of information to take in in a short amount of time.  I find all this stuff completely fascinating because I’m so curious to know that makes people tick.  If you’ve never taken the Enneagram test before, check out either of these websites to learn more:

https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/type-descriptions

https://www.crystalknows.com/enneagram-test

After you take the test, I’d be curious to know what type you are!  You can let me know via the comment section.

Next week we will finish up with types 5-9, which I’m excited about because I’m a Six and I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

 

 

Episode 16: Enneagram Types 1-4

There are all sorts of personality tests in the world but one of my personal favorites is the Enneagram.  The cool part about the Enneagram is that it teaches you all about your personality as well as how other people think and feel.  In my opinion, the Enneagram is one of the most comprehensive personality inventories out there. If you’ve never heard of the Enneagram, today I’m breaking it down for you.

In this episode, you’ll hear:

  • Enneagram Types 1-4
  • The basic fear and desire of each type
  • How to effectively communicate with each type

Resources mentioned:

Connect with Me:

Please leave a Rating and Review:

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