Leading and Managing in 2020 and Beyond with Andrew Bryant

In this episode, we have Andrew Bryant, leadership coach and author of Self Leadership to discuss what it takes to lead and manage teams during these testing times in 2020 and beyond.

In this episode we cover:

  • Managing remote teams
  • Adapting to the new normal
  • Identifying self-motivation

More About Andrew Bryant

Global Thought-Leader, Andrew Bryant, has been transforming individuals and organizations with his Self-Leadership Methodology through coaching, speaking and facilitation, for over 20-years.

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Transcription

Hello, everybody. Welcome. Good morning. Good afternoon. Good evening. Ever. You are around the world. We are going to have a great time talking about managing and leading in these times. It’s all about leading and managing in 2020 and. Beyond the look, the world has changed. The world has gone crazy over the last few months and the way that we manage and the way that we lead our teams, particularly remote teams, everything that we knew before has been thrown out the window and it’s changed and we’ve got to find new ways to adapt.

So that’s been a lot of my work for the last few months, and I’ve got a partner in crime with me. He’s waiting backstage. I can’t wait to unleash him. This is a buddy of mine, Andrew Bryant. So please join me in welcoming. My buddy, Andrew Bryant. Who’s been working a lot with leaders around the region and around the world.

So I’m going to hand it over to my buddy, Andrew, to do it quick intro. And then we’re just going to dive right in with some great content. Andrew buddy. Good to see ya.

Likewise, Tom, and good morning to you. And as you say, in 2020, we can. Operate around, but this morning I’m already, it’s 10:00 AM here in Singapore. I started my day at seven I’m 30 and I was coaching into San Francisco and yeah. Then I had a coaching call into the Midwest. And now here we are on Singapore.

Timeline for the last 20 plus years, I’ve been an executive and leadership coach to senior leaders and senior leadership teams. And this year, of course, focusing on supporting them deal with, adapt to and train as form four. What is the new reality? And that is the first and last time I’m going to use that on this, because I think we will.

Had enough of that term, the new reality. I’m gonna say new reality. We’ve got to say new norm. We’ve got to say unprecedented. We’ve got to tell people to pivot. Are there any other buzz words I’ve missed? I don’t know. another possibility. And that’s why when you asked me about coming on this and we talked about what we would call it, we call it 2020, because I think.

2020 doesn’t need any explanation. Now I think, we’ll bring our grandkids about 2020. They’ll be asking us what were you doing in 2020? So I think everybody knows what 2020 means in terms of disruption, pivoting adaptation. Shouldn’t we didn’t say that one yet. Well done, Andrew. We added that to the list and we could create a game.

In fact, actually, There was a game in Australia where if people use the cliche, you could call it out. I can’t tell you what the name of the game was because being Australian, it was suitably, irreverent, and angry. If you use corporate words and you overdo them, bear of course is unprecedented because this scenario isn’t, it unprecedented either has happened before or being a hundred years ago.

It did happen before. be careful of overusing buzzwords. Absolutely. not only in these times, but just overall, because there are some fundamentals of leadership and management, of course, and there’s some really important distinctions things, We need to do right now more. And and we’re talking about leaders and managers, what is the mindset that folks need to be having right now?

Okay, happy to talk about that. I just want to pick up something that you said, and I think we’ll be repeating this a number of times during this conversation. those things that are timeless principles of management and leadership and those things that are specific to now. And I think it’s, I will certainly try and flag that and I know you will.

And I think the first thing about. the mindset is the difference between perhaps the disruption of 2020 and a crisis. So one of the keynote speeches that I’ve been asked to deliver a number of times over the last few months is leading in crisis. And the question here, whether we are leading in a crisis, because you can actually plan for crisis.

My first degree was medical and doctors are trained to handle in an emergency room. A crisis. Firefighters are trained to fuck to run into a burning building. Military police are trained to handle a crisis and typically a crisis has a set time. The house is on fire. The budding. We know it’s a limited amount of time.

I just want to burst into song. The roof is on fire. Okay. I couldn’t read it. You set me up for that. I had to do it. I’ll do my tongue Jones burning down the house then. Okay. I’m not going to go there. The point being is I think that the what, 2020 we’re in, we’re talking about leading, managing in 2020, but at the end of September, there’s not much of this year left and yet for everybody on this call, I think you would appreciate.

It’s been a tiring time. It’s exhausting, but because there appears to be no end. It’s not a finite crisis. And yeah, a lot of organizations, companies that I’ve worked with had a contingency plan. If we had to evacuate the building of work from home, there was an anthrax attack or something. They had contingency plans for this.

But it was for two weeks, no, for nine months, 18 months or two years. I think firstly, that’s the distinction. It’s not actually a crisis. It is a prolonged change. And so when we talk about mindset, how do we handle something? That is so unknown, ambiguous, we’re hearing different information. W do we listen to the science?

The science is updating. And then of course there are people who bypass the science and make their own conclusions older, all this information coming at us. And we don’t know how to sort that out. So what is the mindset? And when I was first hired, let me just jump in for a second, Andrew, because I think the distinction that we’re talking about here is really important, right?

So we’re not in a crisis right now. Now we were in a crisis for those of you in February, March, for example. when the covert hit the fan, we’re in a crisis because we didn’t know what was going on. I remember that feeling. I remember getting off a plane, I just came back from North America, did a few engagements there.

I transited through Taipei, I believe. And when I got off the plane, my wife dropped me a WhatsApp message and she was like, Hey, is everything okay? did you get through customs? Were you able to get on the plane to Singapore? And I’m like, yeah, of course. What are you talking about within that 13 hour period where I was in the air?

That’s when the Colvin hit the fan. And all of a sudden Asia was all about at the time. I think it was the woo hand virus at the time. So that was crisis. And I know for you and myself, Andrew, and a lot of speakers and trainers and coaches in our line of work. Events were being canceled, left right. And center.

And we didn’t know what was happening for how long this would go on. So we were definitely in crisis mode then, but look fast forward to September. Okay. This is the way it is right now. So it’s no longer a crisis, right? Yeah. And that’s the point around mindset, right? This isn’t a sprint. It’s a marathon.

In fact, it’s not even a marathon it’s training for a marathon because even a marathon, it has an end point it’s 42 kilometers. And a lot of people use the metaphor. Management is not a sprint. It’s a marathon. But in fact, if you’re a regular man marathon runner, you never actually stopped training for a marathon.

I’m not saying I do that. The first place to look at mindset is the length of time. We can all handle short periods of disruption and inconvenience. We don’t like it. But what has been fatiguing for a lot of people is that they had that very short term. It’s a crisis. We’ll get through it a couple of weeks.

We’ll get the vaccine. It will be sorted out. Problem goes away. We’re back to normal. And that’s where the term, the new normal came because people go Helene, can I travel again? When can I do my life speaking engagement? Okay. You want to cancel this, but you want to cancel it for two weeks a month and suddenly.

Never. So the first mindset is a level of acceptance of the duration. And that’s hard for a lot of people because we can control our environment, mindset. If we know, Oh, it’s only for this. If you’ve ever sat through a boring meeting or a boring part, and you never looking at your watching, that’s only 45 minutes to talk it out.

Tough it out. Yeah. But just to, just as an aside, And I’m English by birth, Australian by passport and Brazilian by wife. And I remember when I moved to Australia, when you leave a party in Australia, the Australians walk to your car with you and have another 30 minutes conversation through the car window.

My wife being Brazilian, never leaves anything. So you have to plan to leave a party. When we first started dating, she, we were at a party. She said, are you ready to go? I said, yes. And I got my coat. She said, not now we have to say goodbye to everybody. And that’s going to take 45 to 90 minutes. Are you ready to start getting ready to go?

Exactly. So the mindset I’m having a little bit humorously here is this sense that yeah. It goes on. So I love what you’re saying. Andrew, we’re talking about, look, it’s not even a sprint or a marathon. It’s just the way it is. We just have to be ready for it. I remember back in March, I was telling people, please do not try to survive the next six weeks.

You need to find a way for your business to succeed for the next six years. So what do I meant? What do I mean by that? It’s about the mind, except that we’re talking about, this was never going to be a short term, temporary thing. No one can predict the future. We don’t know what’s going to happen, but a lot of people were taking this wait and see approach.

And I know that with some. Fellow speakers and trainers as well. There was a lot of people going, Oh, let’s just wait it out. We don’t have to do anything different things will open up again. Soon. I heard a lot of people saying, yeah, this isn’t the time to sell. Have to just be there to see comfort and support it’s you know, are we tone deaf?

It’s come on. You’ve got to put food on the table. So now fast forward six months, there’s a lot of people out there across industries who are struggling right now because they didn’t plan ahead. They weren’t willing to accept that this would be a very prolonged. Situation. And this thing could go on for another one or two years for all we know all the programs that I’m running, we’re doing a really a great program on how to sell virtually.

That’s actually our most popular program right now for obvious reasons. And one of the key messages in that program is even if things go back to some semblance of normal, it’s going to be a hybrid in the way that we sell. It’s going to be maybe 50 50 at back to nos, but there’ll be less international travel for sure.

You will probably still be working from home because guess what many people are still as productive now as they were before. And also it helps reduce overhead for companies. So if you don’t like working from home, change your mindset, get used to it because you might be there for a long time. What do you think Andrew?

There’s two things I pick up from that. Firstly, work from home should be work from anywhere and as that’s where it will be. And the other thing of course is Charles Darwin’s quote, which is, it is not the strongest species that survives, but the most adaptable to change. Exactly. People get that wrong all the time.

I don’t know where they got that. The fittest survive. The strongest. It’s the adaptable. Isn’t it. It is adaptable agile and the management mindset here very much because it’s just not COVID-19 has been a catalyst to change and disruption that was happening. Anyway, I gave speeches in 2018, 2019 about disruption is coming.

Yeah. Now I wasn’t as prophetic to know that it was this virus, but having been through SaaS and been through the global financial crisis, been through personal crisis, I knew that something was jus just because, cause I’ve been on the planet long enough. And so the mindset he is. Acceptance of the reality and not going into denial, not going because of course, denial is the first stage of grief.

And I could tell you stories of CEOs, C level executives, right? That in the early pop March, April, I was coaching through stages of grief. They had the year plan, they had their runway, they promised these things to their board, to their shareholders. And now of course they have to tear up their plans. We had a strategic planning session yeah.

In January and we were ready to take on the world. We were so pumped up. And then February, we’re like, let’s just make sure that we survive. How about that recap? Looking at that 2020 is not a crisis. 2020 is a pivot. This that are, give me a point for dropping that, but you know that friends episode with Ross and Rachel and Chandler trying to do a Google search on friends, pivot, it’s the funniest thing you’ve ever seen.

Maybe not the funniest, but it’s pretty darn funny. And we go ahead, Andrew. Since you said, manage and lead yourself. If people don’t know me, I am the author of two books on the topic of self leadership. And this has been an area of research study teaching of mine for over 20 years. And this allows us to pivot in terms of the sense of ownership, the sense of control that we have, what 2020 has done to those leaders that as I said in the fetal position is they felt that they lost control and they took the events personally.

And we know that a great way to end up being helpless is to make it about you. and one of the, yes, I positive, but one of the realistic things about 2020 is nobody can really play the victim in that it happened only to me because it has happened to everybody. Now, I know when hardship happens to you, it feels like your world is coming in and the universe the gods have transpired to punish you.

But what 2020 has given us is a great equalizer. To some extent, a level playing field that it has happened to everybody, but everybody stances are their circumstances. So if you’ve got medical conditions and you’re unemployed, you know me saying this, talking to you through a high speed internet connection, wearing clothes with food in my Valley, then it may sound arrogant.

But the reality is right. Everybody’s reality is everybody’s reality. And the mindset here is to take ownership of your and what can you control. So unless you’re working on the virus, working on an antivirus, a vaccine, then you all go outside of your control. What is inside of your company? And it may stop with mindset.

I think it’s always been Andrew. I think it always starts with mindset. And I love what we’re talking about here, because the reality is I love that quote. I think it’s a, I don’t remember who it is. I always get the name mixed up. Is it Mark Victor Frankel or, I don’t know. You just let me finish my thought there because I was going to get it.

So it’s dr. Victor Frankel, spelled F R a N K E L. Who was. A prisoner of war during the second world war destined for the gas chambers as a Jewish doctor. And after the war he survived. And his quote is the last of all human freedoms is the freedom to choose our own attitude. And, he said, these are the Nazis.

They can hate me. But they can’t make me hate them. And so when we look at mindset where we have to go back is that is the last of both human freedoms to choose my own attitude. So I have gone through business disruption. I lost everything. And in 2000 I was living in a backpack hostel in King’s cross $300,000 in debt, having gone from CEO to bum in a period of months.

And. And I had an epiphany when I walked out of that hostel and saw a drunk in a doorway smelling on his own. And I realized if I didn’t pick my, that was my clear future and to make a choice and that choice of mindset. It’s so important because we can feel overwhelmed, but we have a choice over taking our next breath.

I think that’s so important that it really does start with our mindset. The quote that I was going to cite is it’s not what happens to you. It’s what you do about it. So at the end of the day, we’re all living through this COBIT situation and we all have a slightly different experience. Again, w we all have this happening to us.

So it’s really not about that. It’s about how do we manage it and look, there’s always things the late great Stephen Covey talks about a circle of influence versus a circle of concern. And I think a lot of us, and it’s understandable my friends, and maybe you’re struggling with this right now, too, but a lot of us are concerned and worried about and constantly think about and try to fix things that are beyond our control.

And that really is a recipe for disaster and grief and frustration and feeling powerless. But when we, yeah, actually start focusing on the things that we can control and look, let me give us tough love here. We’re all victim, all guilty of this. We tend to spend a lot of time focusing on things we can’t control, but we don’t spend all the time.

We need you on the things that we can. The things that are within our control. So we’re talking right now about mindset. We’re going to wrap this up and then get to our another important topic around communication with your team as a leader. But I think mindset really starts with us. We got to focus on what can we do and make sure that we’re doing the most, that we can within our current situation.

So firstly, the quote that you were looking for was from Marcus Aurelius. Secondly, I had a conversation this morning with a manager who was complaining about. What she couldn’t do. And I said you had a choice to focus on the bunker or the flag, a golfing analogy. If a golfer says, must not put it in the bunker, must not put it in the bunker.

It is definitely going in the bunker. We have to focus on the flag. And the piece that I have been sharing with, the managers, the leaders that I’ve been working with through this year 2020 actually comes from a great book by Jim Collins. Good to great. And in good to great Jim Collins interviews, Jim Stockdale now Admiral Jim Stockdale was the most senior ranking officer who was captured by the Vietnamese during the American Vietnamese war.

Or the Vietnam American war, depending on which side you were on, when you talk about this and he was imprisoned and tortured for over eight years, he survived torture and he left the troops that were imprisoned with him. When Jim Collins interviewed him, he said, you survived. What was the difference between you and those that didn’t survive.

And I will stop there and said, that’s easy. The optimist didn’t survive. And this surprised Jim Collins, because the mindset of the day is you have to be optimistic. And he said, why didn’t the optimist survive? He said, because they would say, Oh, we’ll be out by Christmas, Christmas would come and go. And they would say, Oh, we’ll be out by Easter.

Easter would come and go. And they said, we’ll be out by Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving came and went and Christmas came around again and they died of a broken heart. And the, to wrap this up, the mindset here is that this isn’t going to be over shortly the need to take a longterm view. Why are you looking to 20, 20 to 2023?

So therefore working back from that, what is within your control to do right now? Yes. Moving towards, and hopefully we come out of this in 2021, but if you’ve planned for 20 to 23, you are much more likely to be successful and stay the course than if you were thinking it will be gone by Christmas. Yeah, I love that.

Andrew. That’s really great. I think really valuable insights for everyone. I need to think about that. And I’m very particular with language. I’m not even thinking about coming out of this because coming out of this means that this is something that’s happening now that will just come out of, and then it’s like ancient history.

I think things have just changed and it’s really about getting used to the change. We don’t know what the change will look like. We don’t even know if there’s going to be like second waves or new spikes or we don’t know anything. So I think again, to quote Charles Darwin, if we can, yeah. Be adaptable, flexible, agile.

These are probably the number one tools that we need. Not only is it managers and leaders, but as sales professionals and employees. So speaking of employees, I think one of the things that leaders and managers are I’m really struggling with right now is how to communicate more effectively with their employees about the situation in this situation, given that people are working remotely.

What are your thoughts on that? Andrew? Let’s just unpack. What leaders need to be doing now, maybe what they’re doing wrong. If we can start with, what’s not working with how leaders and managers communicate and what they could be doing better. Okay. So segwaying from the Stockdale paradox that I just shared from Jim Collins, his book is what’s.

The wrong thing to do is to be, Oh, it’s all going to be okay. There’s no problem. And to be in denial or false optimism, whether you are a business leader or a political leader. That is not the way to gain credibility. And that is not doing service to your employees. If I went to see a medical professional, I expect them to give it to me as it is, give it to me straight.

Then I’m in control of my health. If you’re hiding things from me, then I am out of control and I can’t manage myself. So what I want as an individual is I want honesty. I want honesty with vision and what the Stockdale paradox is the courage to face the reality, however brutal. But we have the faith that we will.

Prevail. And so I’m advising the managers and lead us to talk and say, Hey look, it’s tough. Supply chains were problems. Sales problem. Health is problem. We will prevail because we can, and to do this, we’re going to do this. We’re going to do this. And then everybody’s focused on the action rather than focused on the problem.

Love that so important. So what are some tips for some leaders and managers? What do you think they need to be doing? And a whole bunch. We’ve got this management man management mastery program manage remotely. There’s a few key things that they need to be doing now more than ever, but let’s give some people, some ideas of what are some really great ways that we can be communicating with our teams more effectively right now.

Firstly, because we are managing remotely. Everybody is now remote or distanced or distributed workforce. I think the situation like this when we’re talking to each other through a camera is it’s so easy to be transactional. What is this meeting about? What do we want to do? We want to keep it sharp. You want to keep it punchy.

We’ve got to get a result. And what that does is of course it takes away the relationship. And we need to be empathetic that the person right speaking to might be, they’ve got five kids in the back room that they’re trying to keep quiet. Then mother-in-law is sick in the other room. And so we need to stop honestly, with how you’re doing.

So we need to be a transformational leader to start with being concerned about. How are people at because their best performance is going to come when they are feeling supported, valued, and connected to. So that’s 0.1. I love that. So let’s, let me unpack something a little bit here before we just get, we’ll give people some breathing room to digest this a little.

One of the things I find is so important for leaders. And I talk about this quite a bit is we have a tendency sometimes as leaders to micromanage. And I know that in this particular. Situation where our teams are working remotely. They’re working anywhere. They’re working from home. It’s harder. It’s harder for me, managers and leaders to really know, Hey, what exactly is my staff doing?

There’s an element of trust. Are they getting their work done? Are they scrolling on Facebook all day? Are they on this live right now? Hey, that’s okay. You tell your leaders that this is professional, no development. You’re investing in yourself. So well done. Give yourselves a hand for being here, but I think what’s really important is for us to avoid micromanaging.

And I think that really helps having some trust. And what I think we as leaders need to do is we need to be focusing on the, what the teams need to be doing. So having this strategy, this vision, they’re looking to you for direction, guidance, coaching, vision, right? What do we need to do? Why is it important?

So they have the sense of purpose, but then we leave the, how the execution, the implementation, the doing to the team. I think that’s so important. I agree. And so the word I use here is cocreation of goals. So whether your smart goals or using OKR is objective and key results, instead of saying, do this, realize that we’re all in the boat together in terms of 2020, and tap into the unite intelligence of your people and say, okay, here’s what we need to achieve.

Let’s talk about how. We can do this together and then it doesn’t matter if they’re on Facebook or they’re watching this because we know that they are clear about the objective setting, that expectation. This is what we need to do. We need to build a buck. Great. How can we do that? What resources do we have?

What expertise do we have? What would be your stretch goal? What do you want to take ownership for? Putting people in the driver’s seat, instead of saying, okay, you go get the word, you go get the nails, you go get the hammer. And do we have a carpenter co-creating and tapping in on the innate intelligence, because this is now a level playing field.

We’re all in zoom or WhatsApp or go to meeting or whatever it is we’re in. And the. Proximity bias that people in the head office previously had has gone away. So now it’s about everybody stepping up and being a member of that team. And if you are leaving that kind of team embrace that diversity, the inclusion that you have, these individuals, and you want to discover, they have talents and ideas that you never knew existed before.

I love that it’s a very unique opportunity and we can either see this as a real problem, a real struggle, a real challenge. Or an opportunity to learn and to grow. One of the things I’ll share with you, I’ll just a very simple tip that I love to share what leaders need to be doing right now. Very simple thing is at the start of the day.

First thing when your team starts their day, whether it’s seven, eight, 9:00 AM, whatever. Just get everybody to say hello, get everyone to say hello, get everyone to say, good morning. For example, we’ve got a remote team all around the world. We’ve got people working in Singapore, Canada, the Philippines, and we’ve been doing this for years.

So we’ve been quite. easy to adapt to this current situation, but we always talked talk to each other on Slack. It’s one of our favorite platforms. Anybody here using Slack type yes or no in the chat or what’s your experience with Slack? We love it. And it’s just a really great way for everybody to see they connected because that communication, that connection.

Can be more difficult to have kind of spontaneously or organically, but when we can use technology, it certainly helps. So get your team to say good morning to each other at the start of every day. And maybe as leaders and managers, you start by example and walk the talk. What do you think Andrew? Oh, absolutely agree.

I’m one of, one of my remote members of my team was a little bit absent for 48 hours and I said, is everything okay? He admitted his father in India. Yeah. In the hospital with COVID. If I’d been managing and micromanaging, that would have made me look like a. A whole, yeah. So starting with, yes. checking in with everybody else and for employees to address this, what are you doing right.

To avoid your manager micromanaging. You need to do, if you’re using Slack or whatever message a channel you’re using is to F Y I N a. I N a R FYI, NAR. So FYI is for your information. No action required at the end of each day or the end of each week, depending on the cadence of your business is let your manager know what you’re working on.

So that because they’re humans and they have anxieties too, and their manager is managing them close the loop. It might not be completed before your information. No action required working on this complaint is work in progress. It’s an update. So if you’re the, if you’re the managers say, Hey, I don’t want to micromanage you just drop me a Slack and say, FYI, NAR, if there’s something I do need to then reach out and then we could have a conversation on that.

I love that, Andrew, I think what we, as leaders need to be doing with our teams to avoid micromanaging, but at the same time, not looking like absentee leaders, because I tell you there’s a whole bunch of different leadership styles. And then there’s the, let’s say fair style, which is it’s French for leave it alone.

Let it happen by itself. Let’s say fab. And with the less a fab style, these are more hands off leaders. And they often say, I don’t want to micromanage. And I totally get that, but sometimes that not wanting to micromanage is a code word for I’m clueless. I have no idea what my team is doing. So you still have to check in and I want to make an important distinction for all of our friends joining us here right now.

Checking in very different from checking on. Okay. Very different checking in. Is this hand, or I just want to check in and see how everything’s going or Andrew, I know that you mentioned the start of the day that you wanted to follow up with 10 of your opportunities in your pipeline. How’s that going?

It’s checking in. And I think we, as leaders need to make sure that the team has clear direction. Do they know what they need to do? And then do they have all the resources available to get the job done? That’s really what we need to do. My friends, make sure they have clarity of the goals and do they have the resources?

They need to get it done. You focus on that and you’re good. Yeah. And just following on that in my 2012 book on self-leadership, I make the distinction between responsibility countability, a good make sure that the people working for them know what their responsibilities are. I’m responsible for my thinking, feeling my words and my actions.

You’re a grownup, Tom. I’m not responsible. For you right. And vice versa. But we are accountable. You said we’re going to be on this call at 10 o’clock Singapore time today. And you didn’t, you wouldn’t even concern yourself whether I was going to turn up or not, because we have a track history of accountability to agreements, and you knew that I have.

Personal responsibility. So tiny business people tend to use the word accountability to me, responsibility. No, it makes sure each person is responsible for themselves, their ownership, their motivation and clear accountabilities. So we agreed that this would happen by Friday and then that’s the expectation.

So how close are you to here? The target I’m going to hit it. I’m going to miss it. I’m going to overshoot it and then we can troubleshoot. Oh, celebrate if it’s yeah, love that. Actually I love what you say about celebrating because I think, yeah, one way that leaders can communicate more effectively and more favorably or positively with their teams is to actually celebrate wins.

Now more than ever, your teams need some encouragement, some support, some validation, a Pat on the back for a job. Well done. Now look, when you were working in an office before, it was a whole lot easier to walk by your team. Take a look at their desk, look at their computer, look at their monitor and see what they’re doing.

Communication was a whole lot easier, was more. Dynamic or spontaneous or impromptu. You could have a quick brainstorming meeting or whatever, but now it feels like my gosh, we have to schedule a zoom meeting just to talk to people. Look, that’s the reality right now. So we, as leaders have to make that extra effort to either drop our team messages on Slack or WhatsApp.

We need to drop them emails. We need to schedule zoom calls, but we need to be checking in with our team, not checking on, but checking in and just seeing how they’re doing all the time. So look, I think the number one thing that we need to do as leaders is, or one of the number one things is to really encourage the team, port them at to help them feel good in terms of, in situations like this, we need to over communicate, not under communicate when times are uncertain and people don’t know what to do, or what’s going to happen.

We need to give them more direction. Not less. We need to give them a bit more structure. You’re not last. We need to communicate a lot more of my friends. And I love that. Andrew, you’ve got the perfect topic for your book that you released in 2012 and that’s the core. And that’s why we wanted to have this conversation with you because when it comes to self-leadership, you’re the man and self-leadership is where it all starts.

It’s like everybody wants to control other people. When you hear people going, Hey, if only my manager was better or if only my team was more autonomous or more responsible or what have you, but we can project these things onto other people. We can have expectations, but at the end of the day, you can either change it.

Yeah. How’s that working for? You change your view of the situation or change yourself. And I think we need to start with ourselves. Yeah, mastering others is strength. Mastering self is true. Power loud, sir. Yeah, something I just want to share is that working with executives or people want to becoming executives.

I always say you can’t leave out as, unless you first lead yourself and what people. Us super surprised about I predict fit for them. And then it happens is that they become more confident, more grounded, which is humble. And they start stepping into that vessel of confidence, having some executive presence and then people around them respond to them differently.

So what was previously a problem? The problem goes away and we didn’t do anything to the other people. We changed ourselves and then the other people’s reaction to us transformed. And then we become more influential and people, I didn’t do anything. I said, yes, you did. You change your mindset, you change your outlook, you adjusted your communication.

And that’s why the shift has happened. . That changes the situation when you change your outlook and you change the way you approach something that actually changes the situation. Doesn’t it. It absolutely does. And we can get into blue mysticism or synchronicity or a whole bunch of things, whether it’s energy or it’s dynamics, but it just human beings are constantly interacting.

And, as a, then since we’re into quotes, I’m going to give you another one. Carl Young said the meeting of two people is like the meeting of two chemical substances. if that’s any interaction. Both the transformed and that’s what management and leadership is. Every time we’re talking to somebody, we have both changed.

You, coach people. I am super grateful that I’ve had 20 years coaching leaders because I learned more from them than they learned from for me sometimes. And so every conversation I come out richer and I grow more. And if managers have that kind of thought process, when I’m talking to my subordinates, my employees, my team, I’m going to learn from them.

Then imagine that the growth of that kind of culture. Yeah. I love this for me. We, as you say, we learned as much from our clients as they do from us. And what’s really interesting is when I meeting with the sales leader and I’m trying to figure out what’s going on with their team and what are some of the struggles they’re having, I learn about their environment.

But then it also allows me to reference back with the conversation I had with another sales leader in a different part of the world. And maybe how did they handle that situation? So learning. Compounds and it builds on itself and it’s like making deposits in an account or an investment and it just keeps compounding and keep growing.

It’s an, there’s an infinite amount of learning we can have that we can apply to situations. One thing that I want to mention for all the leaders out there is not one leadership style is going to work with everybody on your team. of course we’ve gotta be flexible. You’ve got to style flex. You need to have kind of this, what do we call the situational leadership?

And it depends on the situation, the context, but also the person you’re leading. Some people need more hand holding and some people need to be more hands off. Yup. I agree. Yeah, I do. Although I like the term situational leadership Hersey and Blanchard’s book on situational leadership needs a little bit of updating to a modern context.

And we now can actually predict or give you an indication of what your default leadership style is from your personality. But so the point is situational leadership, right? Sometimes the directive leadership style he’s important. And at the beginning of this pandemic in 2020, I was advising people step into a more directive leadership because if you’re on there, yeah.

The oxygen mask do fall from the ceiling. If the captain came out of the carpet and said, ladies, gentlemen got a bit of a problem, want to create some focus groups and get your buy in about what I should go about this. A participative leadership style. we’d all suddenly the atheists would get religion at that point.

So at the beginning, when nobody knows what’s going on, when there’s a lot of uncertainty, we need to step in as a leader and be more directive as things stabilize as well, people start taking ownership responsibility, and they’re clear about their accountability. We can step back and be much more participative.

Or consultative. So reading yourself, reading the scenario and reading your people, the three skills that you need to develop if you want to move to the top of your organization. Alright. So we’ve talked about the mindset that we need to succeed in sales, or just to succeed in this current situation.

As a manager, as a leader, as an employee, we’ve talked about communication and how to do that. Look, I’ve been working with team. That’s what I’m doing right now. Teams in Australia, India, Singapore, Malaysia. Pretty much all across APAC and around the world. And some of these people, many of them are working from home and then some of them are working in an office.

This or some are split. They’re doing 50, 50 split shifts sometimes in the office, sometimes at home. But no matter what it’s like in your country or at your office, what we can all agree on is the way work is being done, the way we work. Has changed. And I think it’s really important for us to embrace this working from anywhere thing that you mentioned earlier, Andrew.

So let’s talk about this working from anywhere idea or approach or mindset. Okay. The people would have come across WordPress as a blogging platform. And WordPress is created by a company called Automatica and the CEO of Automatica created that when he was an absolute youngster, it’s one of those startup companies and they built WordPress.

As a distributed company. So instead of saying remote workforce, because that has the presupposition, that there’s a centralized workforce and a remote workforce. And I mentioned earlier, there’s proximity bias. If we’re in head office, then we’re close to the decisions. If you’re in. Back office or you’re somewhere else, then you don’t have the same influence.

Whereas if you say it’s a distributed work and that’s the mindset that we are all a pod, all a network, a hive. So instead of looking at a hierarchy, we’re all like bees connected to each other in a hive and shifting that mindset and culture. And so it doesn’t matter if somebody is in Poona or if they’re in Alaska or if they’re in San Diego or if they’re in Buenos Aires or Rio de Janeiro.

Underneath doesn’t matter. The issue is what are they contributing to the hall. Everybody works together, that hive process. And what do they bring? And absolutely, I think it’s a huge event for anybody who wants to really project their executive presence. Step up with confidence and say, Hey, you might not have noticed me before.

Cause I’m finding it in from Sri Lanka. This is my insight. This is my car now. See me on zoom on full screen and you can’t ignore me. So always, even in the old days when we had a Polycomm in the middle of the table and everybody was phoning it in, I say the old days, that was probably 2019 for some is that if you’re on a call, don’t stay silent.

Now don’t take up air time. Yeah. At least contribute an insight. Or agree to an insight that has been shared. So it’s important that everybody at least contributes I’m here. I’m listening. Here are my insights. You don’t have to have the finished answer, but here’s my contribution, everybody. The whole is greater than the sum of the individual paths.

And so thinking about this as a level playing field distributed, rather than centralized remote is the shift in mindset. if you want to look up Matt Mullenweg and don’t ask me to pronounce his last name, he’s written quite a number of posts on how WordPress that for a while, they didn’t even have an office.

They had a problem because they had to have shareholder meetings in Starbucks. So they got themselves an office so they could have shareholder meetings. I love that, dude, I think of distributed. Workforces is probably the way we need to be referring to things. And this is the way the world operates. Many of us have been dealing with freelancers for years.

So we have this distributed workforce and I love that mindset, that approach around there’s no head office. There’s no centralized place where decision making happens all over the place. So to your point, Andrew, and let’s say you’re an employee. And you’re working from home or wherever, make sure that your voice is heard.

This is your time, right? The time is now for you to step up and get noticed where maybe in the past you weren’t. So I want to open this up. Look, we’ve been going for 52 weeks and it’s, this is awesome. Andrew, I’m loving this really great topics we’re covering we’ll probably go. And just to the top of the hour, so about six more minutes or so we’ll let everyone get back to work.

What are your thoughts on leaders either having their own default style versus being able to be flexible as Regina mentions here? My personal Metta metaphor is, or Maxim is blessed. It are the flexible for, they shall not be bent out of shape. And absolutely it’s, it is know if it’s not working there’s a many years ago when I studied and taught NLP as a principal that where there’s risks, there’s this resistance there’s lack of rapport.

So if we’re not, if people are resisting us, we have not connected with them. And so the first place to look is in the mirror. I did I not, if I’m not being responded to, I didn’t connect with what’s important to that individual. I have not let them know that I understand, and that I connect them, that I kept care about them.

And so therefore they’re putting up a barrier. So flexibility, the net with other people is a key to success in any endeavor. Love that. I think that’s so cool. It’s all about understanding someone’s perspective, their point of view, where they’re coming from, are they feeling heard? Appreciated.

Understood. So that’s awesome how to get staff to not be demoralized due to a lack of face to face interaction. leaders’ time is limited and with the firefighting, it’s tough to set time for everyone. How do we handle this? I’ve got some thoughts. I want to hear what your take is on this. I put a fire behind me here and I have a whole bunch of stuff around firefighting.

I actually absolutely understand firefighter. It’s a great question. Look. The important thing to get them to own their own motivation. The psychology motivation is that we are motivated to do something because we have an expectation that if we put in effort, we will get a level of improvement. And if we get a level of improvement, that level of improvement will be rewarded and that reward is important to us.

And so the important thing to talk to your people is it’s not a set about hitting the goal, right? It’s about the Delta. Have they put in the effort? Have they made a difference? Have they moved now? Obviously they hit the goal, huge celebration, ring the bells, but acknowledging to people. Hey, you put in the effort.

I see the effort. I see you moved. You’ve moved the dial. There’s more to do. But I’m acknowledging you in a way that’s important to you. Yeah. And that’s the way that you keep motivation. You let people know they need to stretch to grow themselves. Your job is not to keep pumping people up like a beach ball, but to get them to take ownership of what are you doing to grow yourself, grow your skills, grow your visibility, grow your confidence.

As we were talking about. What are you doing? And then I’m going to watch to see how that moves. That’s how you shift motivation to the individuals rather than try and keep pumping everybody up like a cheerleader. I love that sometimes motivation can appear fake or contrived or forced, right? So you don’t want to motivate for the sake of motivation, but there’s gotta be an intent behind it, something tangible.

So here are my tips. Here’s something that I think that you should be doing to make sure that your team is. Feeling not demoralized. Look, obviously if there’s a lack of face to face interaction, all we can do right now is to try to simulate that as best as possible. So number one, make sure you’re having weekly team meetings on zoom, for example.

So make sure that everybody can see each other. So again, we’ve got a small team about eight people spread around the world, a distributed workforce, as Andrew would say, and what we do every single Tuesday morning. And we do it on Tuesday mornings because in North America, it’s still Monday. So we have our team meeting on zoom, everybody joins, and it’s a really great wait for everybody to see each other, at least on screen.

And they can see each other’s faces and hear each other’s voices. So I love that. For team building and everybody shares what they’re working on, what are their biggest priorities for the week? So that’s a really great way to build this sense of teamwork and fellowship and comradery. Another tip that you might find useful as well, a petite and everybody else as well.

Schedule impromptu. Zoom calls. So for example, during Ramadan, we have someone on our team who’s Muslim and during Ramadan, we broke fast together and that was so special. So we all had dinner. We all ordered food from where did we order food from blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. From a staff Ron’s shout out to Safran’s.

The food was amazing. They were so busy. Amazing. We ordered food for the whole team from saffrons and that we broke fast together. Just these really special moments where we’re not talking about work. We’re just checking in and talking about our hobbies and interests. What are you going to do this weekend?

I probably talked incessantly, leave out playing tennis or watching tennis on TV or something, but just a really good way to connect on a personal level. And then last but not least. And we do this every single Friday. So we’re going to do it today. Is we always end the day by asking the team, what are you most proud of this week?

What do you accomplish this week? That you’re really proud of that you’re happy about. That’s got you excited and we celebrate those wins no matter how big or small publicly. So people feel appreciated. People feel like, Hey, everybody knows what I’m doing and that you’re making a difference, The company.

So I hope you found that useful. I think this is probably a good time for us to wrap up Andrew buddy. We’ve been on this for over an hour. We could probably you and I, dude, we could go on for three hours. This was awesome. A lot of fun. Any final thoughts? One last little thing too real quick to send people off on their day.

I think just to you can’t lead others unless you first lead yourself. And I think we all need to do a personal check in, am I leading myself? Because if you’re not, if you’re not looking after yourself, you’re sending a terrible message to everybody else. So for being on here that you’ve invested in your learning.

You have it, that’s the greatest investment you’ll ever make. Congratulations to you. You love your last point about what are you proud of when you look back at it the last nine months, what are you most proud of? So I think that was a great message. And I will reinforce that from Utah. Thanks a lot.

Awesome. Cool. Thank you, buddy. Great to have you here. Great to see you, Andrew. I’m glad we could do this little collaborative. You can always reach out to him at self-leadership. You can find him on any social media platform. He is not hard to find everyone. Take care, have a great day, everyone, wherever you are in the world, stay safe, have fun and be the best that you can be.

Take care.

Author Profile

Tom Abbott
Tom Abbott is the author of 'The SOHO Solution' and 'Social Selling' and the creator of the online sales training platform SOCO Academy. Sales leaders engage Tom for his proven solutions to building high performance sales teams that exceed targets and for motivational keynotes that energise their audiences.

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