Michael G Rogers is the author of the bestselling teamwork book "You Are the Team" (over 20,000 sold), and has a new book, "Do You Care to Lead." He is also an Inc. Top 100 Leadership Speaker and our special guest on Do you CARE to Lead?
- You can learn from Michael that if you truly serve you unlock magical things with your team Care about your people and they will care about their work.
- How to take “Rocket” rides and not “Subway” rides with your team.
- Learn about the S.O.N.I.C. model and how applying it can truly propel your leadership impact.
- Find out Michael's top leadership hacks!
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Music: " Upbeat Party " by Scott Holmes
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The Leadership Hacker Podcast: Episode 4 Michael G Rogers – Do You Care to lead?
Steve Rush: Some call me Steve, dad, husband or friend. Others might call me boss, coach or mentor. Today you can call me The Leadership Hacker.
Thanks for listening in. I really appreciate it. My job as the leadership hacker is to hack into the minds, experiences, habits and learning of great leaders, C-Suite executives, authors and development experts so that I can assist you developing your understanding and awareness of leadership. I am Steve Rush and I am your host today. I am the author of Leadership Cake. I am a transformation consultant and leadership coach. I cannot wait to start sharing all things leadership with you.
On today's show, we are joined by the founder of one of the best blog on leadership in the world, teamworkandleadership.com and best-selling author of two best-selling books. Michael G Rogers. We will get to talk to Michael shortly, but first it is The Leadership Hacker News.
The Leadership Hacker News
Steve Rush: It is life Jim, but not as we know it. Now that is a phrase Star Trek fans would know all too well. But it's something we can all now also associate with; given that, COVID-19 pandemic has swept the planet. Depending on your worldview, some would say the reaction to the Coronavirus is an overreaction, others may say the end of the world is near, and whenever your worldview the world and the businesses that we lead has changed forever. If ever there is a need for leadership, that time is now. Here is my top three hacks on how to lead through this crisis.
- Number 1 - Stay steadfast and calm. I coined the phrase the “Leadership Barometer” and we all have one. This is where that metaphorical storm that we have to face in as leaders means others look to us to see how we're reacting so they can judge and how also to react in those situations. It is our responsibility to project a sense of calmness and surety, and that falls very much in the leadership space. Leaders who serve others can help their teams remain focus and productive even in the face of uncertainty. And as a leader, they will be watching you like a hawk to be true to yourself, to acknowledge their concerns and yours and help them assess the threats and emotions so you can guide them logically to effective solutions.
- Number 2 - Communication. In times of crisis - communicate like you've never communicated before. Gossip and rumour will spread like wildfire in your workplace, especially in the absence of any official communication. As soon as you know stuff communicated promptly and factually and if you don’t know, then say so because if you don’t you will have a another virus in your business and it will be the communication virus on top of what you already have to deal with. As the myths and the legends, start to form and misinformation would disseminate through your business and things will be tough to deal with.
- Number 3 - Keep the wheels turning. Do whatever it takes to engage your teams and keep them busy at this time. It is important to take advantage of technology like virtual meeting platforms like Zoom or WebEx or anything else that is a collaboration tool, that will help keep your people connected when they're less connected and isolated. Could also be a time to pivot your proposition and innovate and try new ways of thinking and new emerging technologies in crisis can also bring people together in adversity. So use this time well to forge deeper, more meaningful relationships with colleagues, friends and families. Perfect opportunity to learn about your leadership style and how you have dealt with the situation or not, as the case may be. One thing you do have to avoid, and that's doing nothing. It is now time for us to lead like never before, intentions is not enough. Action is what is required.
That is a leadership hacker news. If you have, any emerging stories or news articles that you think would be useful to share on the show. Please get in touch though our social media sites.
Start of Interview
Steve Rush: Our very special guest today is Michael G. Rogers. His first book, “You Are The Team”, sold over 20000 copies and his new book “Do You Care to Lead?” has just been published by Wiley. He is also an avid blogger. Michael, welcome to the show.
Michael: Yeah. Thank you, Steve. Glad to be here.
Steve Rush: So I will be useful for our guest to know, Michael that your career actually has been born as a very successful executive, having led some senior roles in Fortune 50 companies. You come from a place of experience rather than theory, too. Tell us a little about how you ended up here?
Michael: Yeah, sure, I started off in the learning. Well, actually, almost all my corporate career was in learning and performance, corporate training that area and I quickly moved it up into leadership positions there and took an interest in leadership. I had a particular leader that was a strong, strong mentor to me, still is actually. An inspiration behind the two books that I have written. He is the one that got me interested in doing leadership workshops and, you know, be a part of learning performance. I had that opportunity to do a little bit of that. And it really just got me super jazzed about leadership. I started reading a lot; I started speaking more and more. I started doing some development with teams on the side while I was working and started getting asked more and more to do deep dive kind of team development with senior leadership teams. I mean, it just was a lot of fun for me. I have been blogging for about 13, 14 years. I believe now. And that was kind of a strong catalyst behind the writing of the two books as well.
Steve Rush: So, Michael, what was it really sparked that interest and desire in you to want to lead and help others?
Michael: Yeah, I mean, that leader I had talked about, his name is David Ferris. He was just such a strong mentor to me and he was like the perfect model of leadership. Again, and so inspiring, and the way that he led me, the way that I watched him lead teams, people were fiercely loyal to this guy and they still love him even, you know, years later. Having the opportunity to have conversations with him about what made a great leader because of our relationship in terms of him mentoring me, it was really what sparked a lot of it for me. I decided to leave corporate about three years ago and do something else. I have always known I wanted to write a book, but it was not something was on my mind when I left corporate to try to do something else. I want to get it a different industry, do something around that. I started writing the first book and it came out really well. When I started promoting it, it started selling really well. I said, I will take this and do this full time. Go around, speak, and write. I love it. I am a passionate, passionate about team development, leadership and speaking and writing. I mean, I really, really, Steve, love what I do.
Steve Rush: Michael, in the time that we got to know and that's incredibly evident, passion and energy comes through rapidly and in the time that you start to write You Are The Team. What was it that cause you to have the team focus around leadership?
Michael: Yeah, so I had been doing some team development on the side. I had read Patrick Lencioni book, ‘The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”, and if any of your listeners out there have not read that book, to me it is the Bible on teamwork.
Steve Rush: Right!
Michael: At least in terms of teamwork and relationships, which, you know, that is what teams are. I mean, fundamentally, at their core, they are about relationships. He just does a phenomenal job at talking about relationships, but I decide to focus a little bit differently. The book You Are The Team is about relationships, but it's also about commitment and it's about stepping up and committing to the team. And so a lot of people ask me all, why you title it, You Are The Team. You know, Mike, there is no I in team.
I know that technically, there is no I but figuratively there is, and it always starts with you. Teams don't just magically come together because you create a team and you say, okay, go out and conquer. Teams have to first commit and connect and this book is based on six values of commitment and connection. I had not at the time seen any books out there that had focused just on teammates, the person. There is a lot of books have focused on leaders and how to lead teams, but nobody was focusing just on the teammate. There is an opportunity here. There is a little of a niche here and I really feel that teams are only as successful as every person's commitment on the team and their own success, towards the team. You know, great teams are made up of great teammates, so that was really the reason why I wrote the book.
Steve Rush: Michael, how would you define team? In my work, I find myself often speaking to leaders who are in a team in a board environment, but are also leading teams. How do you square that activity through the team that you serve verses the team that you lead?
Michael: Yeah, well, there is different types of teams, right? There is a lot of different types of teams. I mean, one of the exercise I do quite often is I ask people to talk about the greatest team that they have ever belonged to. That could be a family team. It could have been a team that, you report into, it is a team that reports to you, because even as a leader, you are still lead a team.
You are still a teammate on that team to some degree. You know, there's volunteer teams, athletic teams, lots of different types of teams. To me, the definition of a team is a group of people that come together for a common cause that want to do something extraordinary together. That is how I would define team. I mean, that is like how I define leadership. I mean, to me, leadership is only leadership when people make a choice to follow you. If nobody wants to follow you then you fail to be a leader and a team fails to be a team, if they are not accomplishing extraordinary things. Every team has the potential to do that with the right ingredients.
Steve Rush: So what do you think it is then Michael? Create that connectivity that emotional closeness that brings teams together?
Michael: One of them and this is the same for leaders Steve is service. It is such a simple concept, we think about it and we talk about it, but we really never act upon it. I think there are so many opportunities around us. If we have this mind-set of putting others first to be selfless instead of being selfish, which I think a lot of us naturally that is just kind of how we are wired is to be more about us, but when we're more about them, when we're more about others, when we are putting other people first. We begin to serve others and I know of no faster way to create connection on teams than to have teams begin to serve each other. It is the same of leadership. I know of no other much…faster way to unlock your leadership than to serve the people that you lead. Not just doing your job, not just saying, hey, I have an open door policy. I am going to be with you once a month or whatever. I am talking about above and beyond. I am talking about really thinking and putting others first because it is completely magical on teams and it is completely magical and leadership as well. That is one big part in terms of connection. That is to me the fastest way you can create connection.
Steve Rush: Sure and that also builds trust, doesn't it?
Michael: Oh yeah for sure. Because a couple of things happen when you serve. First of all, it shows that you care and when people know you care, they're more likely to trust you. But when we spend time with people outside of what we normally do and service opportunities allows us to do that, many times we get to know people and the more you get to know people. Well, the more you trust the people, so, yeah, from both of those perspectives. You are absolutely right it does build trust. Trust that is part of the product of a connection, trust is built through action.
Steve Rush: So, Michael, if I am a team leader or a manager. I am struggling with consistent performance, so I have a big differential performance in my team. On the left hand side, I have my high performers on the right hand side over here. I have the people who are just taking up space and a bunch of people in the middle of the steady eddies. So how do you manage to pull that dichotomy together when coming to leading team performance?
Michael: Yes, I love that question, Steve. In my second book, Do You Care to Lead? I talk about five different classifications of employees and I call them all stars. They are all stars because I think all people have the potential to become great, but you as a leader, you need to act, and I think this is where a lot of leaders fail to act with their teams. You have got to either people moving people up, over or off, and the fourth option is never a choice, which is to do nothing.
Unfortunately, that is what a lot of leaders do. They just hope the problems will go away, but I really believe you should be spending ninety nine percent of your time or more on proactively nurturing people and trying to move them up. If you look at these five classifications of employees, I have what I call rock stars and we all know what the rock stars are. These are the folks that just get it done and then some. They are just amazing performers; we wish we had a whole team like them. They are innovative they are creative. They really are truly rock stars, and then you have your rising stars. Your rising stars are rock stars; they just don't have the experience yet and with the experience, they will become rock stars, but they are rock stars in what they do currently. They just don't have the experience yet, and then you have what you referred to steady eddies or I call study stars or middle stars. These are the folks that will meet expectations but not necessarily exceed expectations. Then you have your falling stars and we know who these people are. We wish they would just leave, and we kind of hope that at some point they will. We just fail to act to move them up, and again, leadership is a nurturing process.
And people on your team are watching you. They know who is moving up and who is not. You are going to have trust issues on your team if you are not proactively nurturing people. The fifth star is what I call deceiving stars. Deceiving stars are falling stars in rock star clothing. In other words, they are bringing the morale of your team down. Everybody on your team struggles with these people. They are the people that hoard information. They don't collaborate great, they take the credit for it for everything, but you as a leader, see them as a rock star. Until you do something with these folks, they will continue to drag some of the morale down. I have lots of stories I can share on that that particular area but your role as a leader and your team is watching you is to continually, again, you owe this to your team to, continually nurture it. I said, ninety nine percent or more, your time is spent on finding ways to move these people up. If you can't move them up, then you may have to make the difficult decisions to move them over or move them off. Moving over does not mean that you take your problem and give it to somebody else. You make sure that you find the right seat or the right bus for them to be on, and then of course, moving them office is really difficult. I mean, anytime you have to let somebody go fire somebody that is a hard thing. If you are doing it from a place of your heart, then it is the right thing for you. It is the right thing for that person, the right thing for the organization and your team.
Steve Rush: You are right, and as difficult as that might be. Your new book, Do You Care To Lead? We talked about earlier is now available across the globe. You've created some really practical approaches and focus on the philosophy of care and how transform performance and people, tell us a bit about that?
Michael: I will, and you know, I was thinking this morning it is interesting you asked that question because I was thinking this morning that really the two books are linked in terms of the word care. I really feel if teams will practice what I call my six Be’s of being an effective teammate, they will care more about those on their team. Caring is an important characteristic on teams because as you talked about trust and connection, I mean, caring is a product of that as well. So it is, but yeah in the second book, Do You Care To Lead? I come from a place of putting more caring into leadership. If I ask any leader whether they care about their people, they are going to say, yeah, I definitely care about my people. I had a leader once that if somebody had asked him if he felt I cared about him, I am pretty sure he would have said yes, but the reality is I didn't feel that way. And there was a recent Gallup Survey done where four out of ten people strongly agreed with the statement that no one at work, including their supervisor, cared about them. That means six out of ten people don't feel cared about, which is a startling number if you think about it.
Where leaders feel like people know they care about them. People don't feel, you know, the majority of people don't feel like they're being cared about. I go back to this leader that I had. You know, we would have regular one on ones. And I'm sure he thought by having those one on ones and by telling me that he was grooming me for his position and he was giving me some opportunity, it put me in a new senior kind of role to expose me to more of the business, to give me this opportunity. I am sure he thought from his perspective that he was showing he cared. To a small degree, it did, but here is the thing. He never spent time nurturing me. He did not develop me. He did not spend time helping me understand what his expectations are, what my new role was. Here is a resource. Here is your tools. These are all things that show that you care, let alone the fact that when we did meet, he never asked me about me. He never asked me about my family.
He never showed vulnerability himself. I would ask him, for example, about his family, but he would never ask me about mine. But when I asked about his family, he never opened up. He never opened up about mistakes that he had made or directions we had taken that we should have done differently. He did not feel real human to me, and so all of those types of things I talk about in the book around, you know, do you care to lead? Which is really about two questions. You know, first of all, do you want to lead? Because a lot of people are put in positions of leadership because they're just better technically or because they want to make their parents proud or their wife or their husband proud or power or more money or whatever it might be. But do you really want to lead people? Because if you don't want to lead people, it's going to be pretty difficult for you to care about people, and that really is the main question around the book is do you really, really, truly care about the people you lead? It makes an impact. It makes a difference on loyalty as well as results.
Steve Rush: Sure, in your book to help people come to grips with how to help people on that journey. You come up with five strategies serve, open up, nurture, inspire and commit. And I thought it be useful just to explore with our listeners a little bit about what lies behind each.
Michael: Well, absolutely. And this is what I call to Steve, my sonic approach leadership. It's an acronym that just fits really nicely, truly propels your leadership if you'll do these five things.
So Serve as I talked a little bit about that already. It is the quickest way to unlock your leadership, and there is lots of research that shows that when you serve others. There is scientific things that are happening. You know, there is these great chemicals in our body, neurochemicals in our body that are throwing a party when we serve others. In fact, when not only when we serve others, but when we just watch others serving others or when we anticipate service or we think about the service, these neurochemicals start to get released in our body, they feel really good. One of those neurochemicals is oxytocin, which is the same chemicals it is released when a mother is feeding her baby. It is a connection chemical, and that is why when I talk about service and connection, the quickest way for us to connect with others is to serve others. That is what is happening, and so and there's more I could go into around the magic and the science around it, because it starts with you as a leader and creating a culture of selfless service on your team and your organization starts with you as well. But it starts with you because of this connection chemical and the law of reciprocity in which people want to turn back and give back to you, and the law of multiplicity, which says that if one person is served. Not only do they want to reciprocate that service to you, but they also want to serve up to three to nine more people.
There is a great story in the book that I tell about a CEO and owner I think the business become fairly large. She had made the choice to create a service program and it changed everything. It changed how people feel. It changed the morale of the organization. It changed how their customers looked at them and the referrals they started getting. They started getting bigger and better referrals from customers and clients because of just the way that they treated their clients, which came all from just this idea that this leader had around creating a culture of service. It is just, truly absolutely magical in your leadership, so, yeah, that is the first one service.
Steve Rush: And that is amazing because it then becomes infectious. Not only are we triggering that neurotransmitter and those happy chemicals into a delightful space, but also becomes infectious for those people around us and it creates a self-perpetuation of that energy. We end up with a double bubble of winds.
Michael: Absolutely. Yeah, that is a double bubble. I like that. I should have put that in the book.
Steve Rush: When you talk about opening up as leaders. Is this about showing humility, some more of the human us?
Michael: Yes, being invulnerable and really the concept is something called psychological safety. It really is kind of a hot term right now. Vulnerability is a hot term right now in leadership. A lot of people realize now as a leader, it's important for you to come across as human. But a big reason why that's important to open up is so that you create the psychological safety. There was a graduate researcher by the name of Amy Edmondson. I think at Harvard University who had decided she want to study what made teams effective. She studied medical teams, and you would think that the medical teams that were most effective were the ones that have fewer errors. But she found out that it was actually the teams that made the most errors that were the most effective, and it wasn't that they made more errors. It is just that they acknowledged those errors more readily. As a result, she said this team had psychological safety. She is the one that coined it, psychological safety. People felt that they could talk openly about their mistakes. They could learn from their mistakes quicker because they were talking about those mistakes and acknowledging those mistakes. But people only acknowledge admit mistakes when they feel safe in doing so. A lot of people hide their mistakes, so creating psychological safety on teams is about creating an environment where people feel like they can raise their ideas, perspectives. They can disagree with people on the team. They feel like, again, they can humbly say, you know, I made a mistake. Or they can say this is a wrong direction that we are going or hey, you are better at this than I am. As a leader, that is your responsibility to build that on your teams, and I talk more extensively about that, in the book, how you do that.
But it definitely starts with you as a leader. You want to be vulnerable yourself. Sara Blakely is the founder of Spanx Company. She is a wildly successful female entrepreneur. A billion dollar company, and she talks about when she was growing up and this is so interesting, I love this. She said that when she was growing up, her father would ask them at the dinner table what they had failed at that day. And if nobody could come up with something that they had failed at, he would seem almost disappointed. He wanted them to talk about their failures because he knew it was the quickest way for them to become successful, and at her company Spanx, she created what she calls the whoops moment. Where they as a company talk about their mistakes openly as well and how they are learning from their mistakes. She shared hers as well; again, it starts with her. That is how the culture is created. You can't just say as a leader, I want everybody to be open. I want everybody to tell us when you make a mistake, but you are not willing to admit your own. That does not fly because you have not built the trust necessary. And there's some other things you need to put in place that, again, I talk about in the book, but that's a main one is for you personally to be more vulnerable.
Steve Rush: And leading by example is where it starts the whole psychological say because it easily be eroded if people in responsibility and leaders don’t practice that safety themselves, right?
Michael: You are right.
Steve Rush: How do you describe nurture, Michael?
Michael: Nurture is the opportunity for you to realize that people are different, they have different needs, and you have to spend proactively time on moving people up, over and off, and the fourth option, as I said before, never an option, which is to do nothing.
Nurturing is about not being a cookie cutter manager as well. I had a director that reported to me one time who was an absolute cookie cutter manager. She loved performance management. Performance management, to me kind of has a bad connotation. I get it in theory, how it should work and I think it can work as long as you don't cookie, cut it. She was really good at getting people if they did A, B would happen, if they did B, C would happened. She did not take an account individual people; she was really good at firing people. She did that quite a bit more than any other leader I knew. We had a lot of conversations about this. Try to help her to think more about people personally. Is like if I took an avocado tree, for example, and planted that tree in the mounds of Utah and avocado tree would not do well, it would not thrive. It need to be in the climate and the soil of Southern California where I grew up. If I took an apple tree and we have apple trees in my backyard here, I took an apple tree and planted it in the desert of Southern California. It would not do very well there either it would not thrive. And that's because each tree needs different nurturing, different sunlight, different climates, different soil, different care and people do as well. I mean, if you think a tree is complex, think about people. We need to be spending actively, proactively time with people and developing them again, moving them up over or off, never exercising that fourth option, which is to do nothing. We have to proactively be nurturing people.
Steve Rush: I love that tree metaphor. Thanks for sharing that, Michael. The I, when it comes to inspire. Leaders would with tell us, for sure. It is my responsibility to inspire and motivate my teams. Yet, some people really struggle with that. What do you think the reason is that they do?
Michael: I think many times it is because they forget about what I call the where, why and how. The where is where are you taking people? If I have you, Steve, in a rowboat in the middle of dense, heavy fog on a lake somewhere, and I'm telling you and the team to keep rowing, but you have no idea where you're going. But I just keep shouting, we got to keep rowing, guys. We got to keep rowing, you are saying where are we going? And you don't see land, You don't see any hint of where we're going. How long are you going to continue to roll? You know, you are eventually going to lose your motivation to row. In fact, maybe half of the team will row and half won't and you'll just keep going in circles. So letting people know clearly, where you are taking them is the difference between teams that kind of flounder and teams that are wildly successful.
They know where they are heading. Also important is to know the why. Why are we going there? If you are not clear on the why - people are going to have no desire to get up in the morning and try to go to the where, but if you can put that why in, it becomes more intrinsically motivating. People wake up and they want to come to work or they want to be a part of this team and succeed because you have been very clear on what that “why” is.
Then there is the “how”, and the how is you know, the strategic planning, the goal setting, all that other stuff. One of the things we often forget about in, goal setting or strategic planning is we do a really good job with an organization. We say, okay, here is our strategic plan. I like teams to consider how to create a strategy or having a strategic plan as well. I call these success lines so people have goals. As a leader, you are helping them because you are nurturing them, finding out what goals are best for them this year and having a success line. Being able to clearly demonstrate in your team's strategic plan and your goals and your individual goals, how they line up ultimately to the overall goal of the organization and success. What is the successful impact look like? And we have to talk more about that. The achievement of a goal itself, the completion of goal is not the achievement of a goal. The achievement of a goal is the successful completion of a goal and oftentimes we talk about the goal being completed, but we don't spend much time talking about what success look like for the goal.
Because that is really all to me. What we should be measuring, not just the fact we checked it off and so that where, why and how and I've got a number of other things I talk about in there, like celebration, recognition, rewards, upping your expectations of people. People will perform at the level that you expect and thanking people. I mean, these are telling stories. These are always you can inspire. But first and foremost, foundationally, the where, why and how you've got to be clear on that as a leader.
Steve Rush: It is a really neat principle of the whole “success lines”, I like that. It gives people the opportunity to visualize where they are going and how they going to get. Then, of course, for those people who are less visual. It gives them the context in that journey. So things that they have to do, the activities of all of the journey, and of course if we don’t have that, they start making up their own stories and fill in their own versions of events. Right?
Michael: Right. Yeah, absolutely.
Steve Rush: The fifth one, “C” for commit. How does that underpinning the other strategy?
Michael: So you as a leader have to be all in. I think what happens a lot of times with leadership is it's like the shoemaker. The shoemaker makes shoes for everybody else except himself. As a leader, I think oftentimes we are really good at giving others development opportunities, but we don't spend much time on our own. You I think, you know, it is important at the end of the book that I talk about your commitment to this process. Your IT listener’s audience out there. Maybe you have heard this story others probably have not. It is like the story of the pig and the chicken. They were walking down Main Street one morning and the chicken and pig had noticed a brand new restaurant that it opened up that was serving breakfast. The chicken turned to the pig and said we ought to open up a restaurant someday that serves breakfast. The pig says that is a great idea. What shall we serve?
And the chicken says, ham and eggs, of course, the pig says, well, that's great, except you're just making a contribution, I am making a full commitment. I like to tell leaders that you have to be the ham and the ham and eggs. And I'm talking about the fact that you have to give your life for it, but you do have to sacrifice a lot, you have to be all in! As the story goes with Cortez, you have to burn the ships. Your people have to know you are all in your committed. You are moving forward. If you don't have the commitment to these things, it becomes like any other book, any other workshop, any other opportunity. It is just spray and pray. You know, a lot of times the books they spray what they have to say and pray that you retain it. But until you commit, until you apply the things that you've learned. It ultimately does not become anything of value. It is just another book. It is just another concept. It is just another workshop. You have to be fully committed. You have to be ham and eggs.
Steve Rush: That is neat, and Michael, I just wanted to say, I think you have definitely been the ham when it comes to helping people on their leadership journey. We come to the part of the show where I am going into your mind Michael, so that you can share your leadership ideas and tips with others. So, were would you like to start?
Michael: Yeah, so I will give you some specifics around three of the ones that I kind of talked about already. The first one by far, I mean, to me, the most important one is to care about your people and really is the basis of what we have talked about, right. Because if you care about your people, they are going to care about their work. They need to know you care, when people know you care. They tend to be more loyal to you. As a result, they are going to want to do anything that you desire of them to do to become phenomenal as an individual, as a team, as an organization. They are going to be willing to take what I call rocket rides with you, not subway rides. Subway riders, same place every single day. You can get from A to B, but you very rarely get from A to Z. Leaders who care about people take their people on rocket rides. They get to Z, they go to places they have never been. They are inspiring. They are not boring like subway rides. Just really, truly show that you care about people.
The second is to be open. People want leaders now more than ever that are human. We talked about this before, how openness leads to trust and creates, you know, lots of benefits to teams.
But your ability to say, hey, you know what? Here is something that happened in my life that was difficult, that was challenging. Is a key to helping you feel like or people to feel like you are more human. Just sharing things and I'm not ask you to share your deepest, darkest secrets, although if it's appropriate, you can't have had leaders that have done that, that have had amazing results. I actually share one story in the book like that about a leader who talked about an alcoholic father and opened up about that, and everybody knew who this guy was. They knew who his father was but that openness did just create miracles on the team. Just be human, open up, and be vulnerable.
Then third is to nurture. And I've got a grid, if you go to doyoucaretolead.com, you can actually download a grid there that you can proactively classify people into those five star categories. That to me is a big hack; you have to be spending time proactively either moving people up over or off, and that tools a great tool. It is a great hack, I believe, anyways, for leaders to use.
Steve Rush: In the spirit of opening up Michael, this part this show is call Hack to Attack. This would be were something's not quite worked out as you planned or it went wrong but know you have used that learning as a useful activity and a useful tool for your work and your life. So what is your hack to attack?
Michael: My hack to attack and something that happened to me early on in my career, I won't give you a specific example, but I will demonstrate something that I learned from this in a way again, it goes back to caring, which is my number one hack. A big failure that I had as a leader initially was that I was afraid of conflict. I did not want to have difficult conversations with people. I know a lot of your listeners can probably relate to that.
Those are some of the most difficult things we do, as a leader is to tell somebody that, you know, they need to improve or else, but I learned early on that courage is not the absence of fear, but it's caring about something more than what you fear. I learned this from an experience I had when my children were younger.
I have eight children. I know, that is a lot of children. One wife, we have been married 30-plus years, happily married 30-plus years. I have a lot of experiences I can draw on that family, and this is one of them. My four-year-old daughter at the time, my 2-year-old son, Kelly and Jeff, who were playing in our living room. We lived in a fairly small house at the time. So they weren't very far from us, but Jeff had fallen asleep on the couch, and Kelly, our 4 year old, had come in and a bit of a panic telling us that he had fallen asleep and she was really worried about the fact that he was in the dark, because they were afraid of the dark. We, you know, as parents just kind of brush her off a little bit, unfortunately. I will tell you two different lessons I learned from this, but we kind of brushed her off and told her it was okay. Don't worry about it, Kelly he is fine. You know, there is no such things as monsters, and she went on her way and she was just really obedient. She is still like that today; she is just a good kid. After a few minutes, my wife decided, go check on her, and she did. She rounded the corner. She saw Kelly lying over her brother, protecting him from the things that she feared most. She had these tears streaming down her eyes, and I learned a couple things from that.
One is that, you know, people all of us have difficult moments. And it does matter if you’re 4 year old or a 30 year old, 40 year old, 80 year old. I mean, we all have our own challenges. We all have those things that we fear, and so empathy is really important. That is important thing for all leaders, right.
But the second thing I learned, is what I quoted you before, is that courage is not the absence of fear. It is about caring about something more than what you fear. As a leader, what I learned as I continue to grow and develop my own leadership is that the more I cared about those that I lead, the less it became about me and the more it came about them and the more it became about them, the easier it was for me to do those difficult things. Still hard, but I was more willing to do it because just like Kelly, I cared more about them than I cared about the things that I feared.
Steve Rush: And it is a great story and is course, proof that parents can learn from their kids, too.
Michael: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I have learned a lot of lessons through my kids.
Steve Rush: And I am sure many more stories to tell. So finally, I would like to ask you Michael, if you were able to do a bit of time travel, go back and bump into your 21-year-old self, what would be the one bit of advice you would give Michael at 21?
Michael: Yes, so what I would do it is I would definitely serve more. I would serve; I would be a lot more selfless. I would be less concerned about myself like I was at twenty-one than I was about others. I would be much more concerned with others and what they needed. I would be focused on being a servant. This is something that we are learning more and more about in the leadership world, how to be an effective servant. I think we are far from practicing on a regular basis, but my 21-year-old self-leadership position, instead of I would do less telling, I would do more serving. Definitely, that is what I would do.
Steve Rush: So, folks listening to this Michael who want to get a little bit more closer to the work you do at the moment. Where would you like to send them?
Michael: Thank you for asking, Steve. You can go to my website michaelgrogers.com. Michael G as in Gary, Glenn, Garth. rogers.com, michaelgrogers.com. You can also go to my blog. I have a lot of content out there because like I said; I have been blogging for 13/14 years, something like that. I have multiple interesting articles that might be of interest to your audience. That is teamworkandleadership.com and if you go to doyoucaretolead.com, I have some bonuses out there. If you get the book that, you might be interested in as well.
Steve Rush: Leadership Hackers love a bonus. Thanks for that, Michael it goes without saying you have been a true servant to us today. It has been delightful speaking with you. Super lessons and models for our listeners to take away with. Thanks for being on The Leadership Hacker Podcast.
Michael: Yeah. Thank you, Steve. I was happy to be here, and it has been a lot of fun.
Steve Rush: I genuinely want to say heartfelt thanks for taking time out of your day to listen in too. We do this in the service of helping others, and spreading the word of leadership. Without you listening in, there would be no show. So please subscribe now if you have not done so already. Share this podcast with your communities, network, and help us develop a community and a tribe of leadership hackers.
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