Follow the Leader?

Uncategorized Mar 02, 2018

Recently I was working with a difficult client. The senior manager had invited me to present expressly because he had a very difficult team. Now there are tough crowds... and there are TOUGH crowds.

I was the second presenter of the week. Before meeting with them, I sent out a questionnaire so I could really understand their needs and mindset before coaching them. The last inquiry on the questionnaires said "Q: What else should the presenter know before the meeting?" Someone wrote, "A: This is a tough crowd. You won't get any participation. Good Luck!!"

Talk about a setup! 😔

On the day of my workshop, I mingled with the team and nearly everyone said the same thing, ‘Boy, good luck getting us to participate!’.

One person said to me, "If the guy [who presented] before you comes back next year, I am not coming." Apparently, the gentleman who was hired to inspire action in this team ahead of me got no participation and talked “at” this team for four (4) hours instead.

But I wasn't worried because I know the secret to getting people to engage. It isn't hard, it isn’t rocket science, but it does take guts. So I was ready.

The secret is to feel energetic and inspired yourself. If you want a drop of that from them you have to bleed it. And I mean bleed it.

As a leader, you have to go first. According to the 2017 Gallup Report on organizational behavior, “The values and behavior of senior leadership are especially influential in shaping organizational culture.” (Dickson, Smith, Grojean & Ehrhart, 2001). So if I wanted energy from them, I had to really show energy.

I was excited and ready to help them connect, learn, and engage with each other. As predicted, I had no problems getting the team to engage. They were one of the most fun groups I have ever worked with!

Here’s the moral of the story.  . . . If you want your team to be truthful, you have to be truthful. If you want your team to take responsibility, you have to take responsibility. If you want people to be accountable, you have to be accountable. As a leader, you go first. Your team will follow.

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