Through The Eyes of The Intern Post 4: Come Visit!

uLEAD is up to cool new things! We have moved into Goshen and we definitely have found great places to eat at ranging from wood-fired pizza to Indian food and of course Chief Ice Cream. We are even more excited to continue to meet our neighbors and fellow friends who work in Goshen.

Everyone will have the opportunity to check out our cool new space on August 4th during Goshen First Fridays.

I will give you a quick teaser of what to expect. As you walk into the space you will see hoola hoops, and a large whiteboard wall looking out onto main street. We have a comfy couch inviting you into our conversations around servant leadership.

We invite you to come and explore our space and get to know our staff team. I can guarantee it will be full of exciting engagements with our staff and we can’t wait to meet Goshen community members!

Through the Eyes of the Intern Post 3

Collaboration, it is something I have come to appreciate more deeply during my time with uLEAD. This has become evident during the different activities we have explored, where each staff member’s voice and opinion are valued.

While going through a personality assessment, we explored each person’s strengths and preferred modes of communication associated with their personality. This has been extremely helpful, as I have collaborated with all different staff members. It has shown me that to truly form a strong team we have to know everyone beyond the work they do. We have to understand everyone’s personality allowing our team to work smoothly with each other even though we each have a different personality make up.

uLEAD recently moved to Goshen, which forced us to focus on how to develop the BEST collaborative creative space. This is key for the uLEAD office as it helps us design creative and impactful leadership programs. For example, we now have beautiful big windows that look out on Goshen’s Main Street, we don’t just use them as windows, but as glass to write on with dry erase markers as we discuss our programs. A fun and exciting atmosphere happens in the office as we use the space this way. Another unique aspect to the new space is there is only one “office” separated from the entire room. This open space allows us to use our imagination in an arena that is inviting and screams uLEAD!!!  

I have been blessed to work for an organization that is focused on developing values and skills for servant leadership. During my internship I have read and discussed many times what servant leadership is and how we convey it. This has been incredibly interesting. I found it very interesting that in “The Servant as a Leader” by Robert Greenleaf, he talks about the key to servant leadership is to be a servant first and then lead out of this identity. This does not come naturally and can stretch one to take on a role they are not used to. The results are incredible when you flip your perspective. It develops an attitude that the leader is not the loudest voice, but instead listens in order to serve, and then leads out of that understanding.

Collaboration is key to a successful and impactful team. It is through values, and skills that we become stronger and better teams. As the saying goes there is no “I” in TEAM, therefore it is a group effort that gives us the best results. A group with the best values and skills will prove to be the most impactful.  

3 Leadership Practices To Deal With People Who Annoy You Most

3 Leadership Practices To Deal With People Who Annoy You Most

We’ve all been there.  He talks too much.  She asks the most annoying questions.  He reacts impulsively.  Her fixation on organization drives me nuts!  His head is in the clouds!

People.  I could get so much more done if I didn’t have to spend the bulk of my waking hours dealing with their annoying habits, traits, attitudes, and actions!  If more people would just be like me, this world would be a better, less crazy, higher functioning place!

Maybe you haven’t said it, but I’d suspect you’ve been abducted and brainwashed by an alien species if these thoughts never cross your mind.  Let’s be honest; communicating with others who are wired differently than us can be extremely annoying.

Educational psychologist and personality theorist David Keirsey said “Man’s Pygmalion project is to make all those near him just like him.”  I won’t go into the whole Greek myth story about how the sculptor Pygmalion decided none of the women of his day lived up to his image of perfection so he made a sculpture, fell in love with it, then the goddess Aphrodite brought it to life and he married it (her).  That’s basically the story in a nutshell.

The point is, we often have fundamental issues with the way others think, feel, and act.  If we’re honest, the continuum moves from being mildly annoyed to entering a vortex of total exasperation.  Tons of energy and time is spent dealing with interpersonal issues in the classroom and the workplace every day.

What if there were some ways to “lean into” what annoys us most about others in ways that increased wellbeing for everyone?  Today I share with you three practices leaders can use to deal with people who annoy them most.

First, set aside five minutes of mindfulness and ask yourself this question; “What’s it like on the other side of me?”  Or, for the purpose of our discussion here, “How am I most annoying to others?”  It has been well established that people have a “bias blind spot,” meaning that they are less likely to detect bias in themselves than others. In reality, it’s often our own blind spots, weaknesses, and growth areas that bring out a critical mindset toward others.  One of the things I continue to learn about myself as a leader is that what I sometimes feel I have been clear in communicating an expectation, that for a teammate, requires more explanation.   My bias toward movement and taking action can cause me to loose sight of communicating in ways that take into account different ways people hear.

Second, give others grace or the benefit of the doubt.  Researchers have defined a term called “fundamental attribution error” that describes how we judge others behavior while making assumptions about and assigning what we believe to be their intent.  This tendency to explain someone's behavior based on internal factors, such as personality or disposition, and to underestimate the influence that external factors, such as situational influences, often causes us to stumble into that dreadful ditch of assumption that shuts down listening and empathy while ratcheting up judgment.

Third, become an avid student of the whole spectrum of personality temperament.  Yes, there are over 1000 assessments and counting, including “Which Disney princess are you most like?”  Most of these instruments find their source in the four streams or psychological types of Carl Young – Meyers Briggs, Keirsey Bates, and True Colors created by Don Lowry.  They all possess valuable tools to assist you in the process of understanding yourself and others.  Here are several brief examples from True Colors.

The Blue temperament is all about relationships.  Blues like to act out and participate fully in the human dramas of life. A lot of their energy is spent paying attention to how they and those around them feel and what they are going through personally and emotionally. Show care when they are sharing to promote a receptive atmosphere for them to express their feelings.

The Gold temperament is all about values. Golds are reliable and consistent. They want you to place full confidence in them because they are very serious about doing a good job. Golds enjoy opportunities for leadership; give them the responsibility of coordinating events. When they say they will do something they will follow through, making sure they have addressed every detail.

The Green temperament is all about knowledge.  Greens are extremely curious; they have a need to learn and comprehend. You can gain their cooperation by being objective and avoiding power struggles when their strong sense of logic challenges your ideas and data. Admire their intelligence; let them know you value their wisdom. When you make it a point to ask for their opinion and supporting arguments on a topic, you will enlist their cooperation and maintain a positive atmosphere.

The Orange temperament is all about action.  As natural performers, Oranges need the freedom to express themselves. As natural fun-seekers, they like to recruit others to play along with them. For the most part, whether they admit it or not, they enjoy being the center of attention. They love any opportunity to show their skillfulness, cleverness, agility, and precision. Give them immediate feedback and praise for the clever way they handled a situation.

Being mindful of how you come across, giving others grace, and being a consummate student of human personality differences are leadership practices that have the power to transform the way you communicate with others, as well as their perspective of you.  Any leader worth their salt will take the risk to deal with annoying people in ways that open spaces for positive interactions.

Check out our infographic on the True Colors Personalities here.

Passing the Bobton

Let me introduce you to uLEAD’s “Bob”. Bob has recently joined our staff team as the resident "recognizer." As far as staff teams go we do a pretty good job of encouraging and appreciating one another. I am sure some staff teams do better and I am confident that some teams are much worse. However, most of our recognition of each other is pretty informal. So Bob has joined the team to really step up our appreciation game!

Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen address this need for appreciation in their book Thanks for the Feedback.

“Appreciation motivates us—it gives us a bounce in our step and the energy to redouble our efforts. When people complain that they don’t get enough feedback at work, they often mean that they wonder whether anyone notices or cares how hard they’re working. They don’t want advice. They want appreciation.”

This is where Bob comes in. Each month we sit down as a staff team and one member takes time to specifically recognize another team member for his or her work over the past month, specifically pointing out one area or project in which he or she went above and beyond. It is during this time that we assign Bob to their sidekick for the next month. He serves as a reminder of how much the team appreciates hard work and serves as inspiration to continue striving to do your best. During that month, the recipient must add a personal touch to Bob. This may be the addition of a piece of clothing, a new hairstyle or even a little tattoo. We personalize Bob to make sure that he is also transformed by the culture of our team. At the end of the month, it is then this person’s responsibility to pass Bob along in the next meeting. So Bob also serves as a reminder for us to keep an eye out for the amazing work our team members are doing on a daily basis.

So thanks to Bob, uLEAD is working at being more appreciative of our fantastic team members and all each one does to help better serve our clients.

My question for you is: What is your BOB? What serves as your reminder to show appreciation to your team? And, how will you find ways to tangibly express this appreciation for those that work so hard to make your organization amazing?

Through the Eyes of the Intern Post 2: Secret Sauce

The secret sauce to facilitation is not intentionally classified. It is a secret because to know the perfect ingredients you have to experience facilitation. The sauce is one of those not written down, rather it is adjusted to create the perfect taste for each particular audience. Exploration and engagement are essential in the creation of each individual's secret sauce.

My first program as a facilitator was for the LEARN Resource Center in New Haven. It was great to be part of the program and see it through the eyes of a facilitator. Watching the reactions and growth of the participants was one of the best parts of the day. We focused a great deal of our timeon the True Colors Personality Assessment. During this time we were able to help participants better understand who they are and how to work well with their group.  It was extremely interesting to watch as participants began to understand each person has and their unique personality that creates different perspectives.

My favorite activity to watch was “Ideally Working." This is when participates have to focus on using their weakest color from the assessment. During this activity everyone split up into groups based on their weakest color from True Colors Assessment. Then, they had to collaborate as a group and make a poster based on what would be appealing to that color. This activity truly stretches all participants out of their comfort zone and into the growth zone as they have to dig into their weakest color. In this activity participants were able to place themselves in other's shoes and could understand what another person might need when working together.

The experience in New Haven allowed me to understand the role of a facilitator more clearly. It gave me the chance to understand the process and background work it takes to create a strong program that is focused on developing values and skills for servant leadership. This day gave me a taste of the secret sauce of facilitation and I am excited to begin developing my own unique taste!