Authority loves being in charge.
Influence loves to serve others.
Authority is a transactional interaction. Influence is earned through relationship.
Great leaders care so much about their people that serving them isn't something they do, it's just who they are.
Would you rather follow someone into battle that you trust or be watched by someone that will criticize you if you fail?
Pretty ridiculous question.
One that should be a gut-check for anyone in a leadership position.
I've heard it said before that if you are a leader and look behind you to see no one following...you are just out for a long, lonely walk.
The only way to turn a lonely walk into a genuine movement of the people you want to lead? Humility. Walk back towards them. Ask them how you can serve them. Anticipate their needs. See them as people first, not just what they do on your team. What they do is influenced by what you say, how you say it, and how you walk out those words.
When you walk out kind words that are rooted in your vision and core values, it's likely you'll turn around to see an army of people right there with you...ready to conquer the challenges in front of you.
A leader who wants to be seen as the authority and in charge is more concerned about their appearance and need for control. They love a good pat on the back...as long as it's theirs.
A leader of influence wants to serve their team and is more concerned about the needs of each team member, and helping them grow as individuals. The result is a group of people who want to, and ultimately do, grow as a team. They become a family. An influential leader's hands are used to serve their people, not pat their own back.
1. An authoritative figure dictates and talks down to their people.
2. A leader of influence inspires and lifts up their people.
3. Be option #2.
Transactions vs. Relationships.
What is the difference?
In a nutshell...
Transactional interactions are when people do something for someone until it doesn't serve their needs any longer. It's selfish, and driven by arrogance.
Healthy relationships exist when people pour into one another's life with no strings attached. It's selfless and driven by love.
If you don't know how to spot the difference, there are key characteristics of a culture where relationships are healthy...and the exact opposite...where people's actions towards others are based on what they can extract from one another.
Unhealthy cues include (but are not limited to...)
Healthy cues include (but are not limited to...)
5. Unconditionally loving
Transactions are the appearance of friendship based on convenience. We are there for someone because we think they can do something for us now, or down the road. It's conditional love at all times. It comes with restrictions. It will put on the happy face, sing the song, and do the dance it needs to as long as it will come back in dividends later.
Building relationships is about the privilege of serving someone out of genuine love for them. It is being there for someone because of a deep and genuine care for them. It's unconditional love because it couldn't be any other way. No pretense. No judgement. A 24-7 commitment to do life with someone...through the ups, downs and in-betweens.
1. A culture of transactions can't sustain itself. Emotional bankruptcy will set in.
2. A culture of healthy relationships will create teams of influence because love wins.
3. Be option #2.
Having the best of intentions.
The mindset battle we are talking about today sounds like semantics.
The two are actually very different.
I said it the other day, and it bears repeating because it's so true.
The intentionality of our approach will impact our results.
Having the best of intentions means to get it done, but ultimately finds an excuse as to why it didn't. Intentionality prepares for it, and makes it happen.
Best of intentions puts lipstick on lazy and tries to call it amazing.
Having the best of intentions loves the appearance of being productive, but isn't. It usually sounds like this..."We would have won, but...", "I meant to, but...". The work needed to turn "would have" into "we did" isn't remotely attractive to someone who has the best of intentions. They want to see their name in lights, but don't understand you can't earn credit for something you never made a deposit into.
Intentionality wants accountability because it's a growth opportunity.
Being intentional means you aren't afraid to dig in and do the hard work of discovering what it takes to improve. You crave the details that bring that process to life, so that your team can have an edge on your competition. You understand that learning is part of the process, and eat up any chance you get to sit at that table.
Be intentional about learning so your team can keep growing.
Your team loses. During the game there is a sense that things happened that weren't fair. (An officials call/non-call, the weather, behavior of an opponent, etc...) It affected your team's ability to focus mentally and achieve the results you had hoped for. The next day comes and you want to be intentional about improving, but there is this sense that some of it just wasn't your team's fault. That frustration ("this isn't fair!") has created a distraction.
Being intentional brings accountability to the forefront, and the opportunity to grow from it to the table.
Team activity:(Do this first thing the day after a tough loss)
1. Grab a dry erase marker and find a wipe board on a wall. Ask your student athletes to call out every single thing they didn't think was fair about the game the previous day. As they share them, write them down on the board so everyone can see them.
2. Ask your team which ones they, and you, could have controlled.
3. Let go...what is outside your control.
4. Have a great practice focusing on what you can.
1. Put down the lipstick, and pick up a shovel. Do the hard work of being intentional.
2. Let your competition complain about "fair". Complaining is emotionally draining.
3. Learning from what was creates leverage for what is coming next.
Excuses vs. Decisions.
Excuses are emotional, preferential, and individual. Excuse makers look for a way out based on their need for security.
Decisions are intentional, relational, and cultural. Decision makers see the big picture when they are faced with adversity.
We tend to see these two foes square off when the chips are down, when a team is falling behind, or chaos of some sort has been ushered into their world.
Here is what they might sound like:
"I shouldn't have thought that, but..."
"I shouldn't have said that, but..."
"I shouldn't have done that, but..."
"I thought that because..."
"I said that because..."
"I did that because..."
Two words that mean more than we realize.
"But..." creates the excuse. "Because..." explains the decisions.
The teams that make excuses are uneasy and nervous when unchartered waters hit their boat. Their next move is often made based on how they are feeling in the moment. When emotions are running high, mistakes are made. Mistakes can be the breeding ground for...you guessed it...excuses. The recipe for a great excuse also adds in preference and individuality. Personal preference steers choices, as individuals fight to protect their image and place on the team. All of that adds up to people looking to divert attention to others, avoid taking responsibility, and find a way out of the discomfort. They are on constant look out for the fastest route to their personal security. To excuse makers, adversity isn't opportunity, it showcases their immaturity.
The teams that make decisions are steady and calm when rough ground is under their feet. They look around and calculate their next move based on who they are, where they are, and where they want to go. They knew they'd be in moments like this, and have prepared for it intentionally. Their next move is to honor the relationships that got them there...their leadership, their teammates, and the organization they are part of by making choices based on their core values...collectively. All of that combined has created who they are culturally. To decision makers, adversity isn't difficulty, it's opportunity.
1. Excuse makers are rattled when adversity hits, and cause a team to fracture.
2. Decision makers are committed to who they are and the big picture.
3. Healing a culture of fractures begins with a commitment to see the big picture.
4. The big picture is about building and honoring a healthy culture...with each choice.