“Everyone has a plan ’til they get punched in the mouth.” (Mike Tyson)
That was one of my favourite lines from a conference I took in a few years ago. The speaker shared about how many people did not enjoy the politics of the organization, but came on staff, trained, but then threw up their hands over any challenge in the community of the organization. I personally have been guilty of this on more than one occasion.
He compared it to becoming a boxer, training for your big fight, letting your fans cheer your walk up to the ring, probably at Caesar’s Palace, then you get in the ring and you realize Mike Tyson is in the other corner.
In that moment you can’t tell people you are not a fighter.
This past week I was treated to a round of great and challenging speakers as part of the Global Leadership Summit. Everyone brought their own flavour of inspiration for the leaders around the globe taking in the talks. Purpose, creativity, management, dreaming, resiliency…there was something for anyone. As is often the case, we hear the message that speaks most acutely to our present needs when we come to such an event. That is definitely not a bad thing; it is simply part of the process and effect of being shaped through the experience we are in.
One of my favourites had to be Todd Henry, the host of The Accidental Creative Podcast. His talk was based on leading and managing creatives, but as I listened it became evident that the principles carried into many areas of life and leadership. In essence, you want everyone that you have the privilege of leading to see themselves as creative beings. That requires creating a system based on autonomy and stability.
People want to feel free in what they do, but as part of the system in which they belong. People love to talk about change and flexibility, yet they thrive in a place of stability.
A caring and trusting leader causes others to flourish to the benefit of your purpose and the united mission of all involved. That is something we can all get behind. A clear purpose that sets clear parameters and objectives brings people on board. Unwritten rules, taboo topics, restrictive attitudes, etc. all result in people doing their least, and eventually checking out completely.
Do you create an environment of care and trust in your organization? Or are we helping people step into the ring and decide not to fight?