RELATIONSHIPS AND PURPOSE
Todd Dewett | May 3, 2021
I’ve been thinking about my next book and trying to answer a simple question. How does a leader create a successful team? There are so many answers out there, and I’ve taken a few swings myself.
Authors focus on things like building trust, adopting a service mentality, accountability, quality communication, proactively dealing with conflict, and a host of related ideas. There are usually between five and ten main factors considered in most articles and books.
The more I think about it, the more I’ve come to believe there are only two best answers. It is through these two ideas that all other concepts and tactics have meaning. They are relationships and purpose.
Relationships are the general idea that subsumes trust, communication, managing conflict and so many other people-related concepts. Purpose speaks to goals, motivation, commitment, perseverance, and related ideas that explain whether or not we show up at work really ready to get something done.
Think about these questions. “Who are these people, and do I care?” “What are we doing and why are we here?”
When you can help people successfully answer these questions, you’re very likely going to be an effective leader. When the team has clear and positive answers to these questions, they are very likely to perform at an impressive level.
How effectively we engage all of the more mechanical things we must do at work (e.g., goal setting, evaluations, training, surveys, all routine daily tasks) depends on how people feel about these two main issues.
Importantly, these two issues are interrelated. The more our relationships are sound and productive, the more likely we are to feel purpose. The more we see purpose in the work, the more likely we are to care about the relationships that help us get the work done.
Maybe I’m just scratching the surface here, but I think I’m on to something. What do you think?
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| Let’s see… I just turned 50, my oldest is about to go to college, and I’m trying to love a dog who just doesn’t want to be potty trained. You know, normal stuff.
One difficult moment recently involved the passing of a woman I considered a “second mom.” You know that concept, right? It’s when you’re young and, for whatever reason, a lady in the neighborhood, or one of your friend’s mothers, plays a wonderful role in your life. She’s like your mom when you’re not with your mom. When I was young, mine was Leigh. In fact, she was a second mom to many. Cancer sucks… We can’t stop time, but we can strive to use it correctly. So, be generous when you feel like saying “thank you” and “I love you” while you still can. Thanks, Miss Leigh!
I Just agreed on a topic for my fourth TEDx talk – it’s about perspective, perseverance, and personal transformation. The event is being put on by a student group at a high school in Houston, though the event is virtual and anyone can attend. It is May 14 – join us! https://www.ted.com/tedx/events/44917.
Finally, I thought I’d share this super kind review of Live Hard that a client just posted: I started reading Live Hard by Dr. Todd Dewett, prior to sponsoring him as a keynote speaker for an industry event. During his live presentation, I was shocked just how accurately his printed words totally match not only the message but the personality of the author/speaker. Live Hard has burst a bubble of “just fitting in” or acting to living and being who I am. I highly recommend reading the book, as well as listening to as many audio files as you can find with Dr. Todd Dewett. (get your copy here: https://amzn.to/2Sg4Dux)
FYI – I will be live streaming with my pal Sara Canaday this Tuesday (5.4.21) at noon central – topic: Leading for Creativity – what can leaders do to maximize creative output in their teams? Just follow me on LinkedIn and you will receive notice when we go live. Your questions are welcome!
Sometimes building stronger relationships at work is about certain things you should do. For example – be kind, say thanks, do what you say you’ll do, etc. Other times, it’s appreciating a few things you should not do.
In no particular order, keep these in mind:
Don’t multi-task when interacting with others. That is almost universally interpreted as a form of mild insult. Instead, work on nothing else, look at them, and pay attention. If this is too much for you, stop interacting with them!
Don’t correct their grammar. If you’re close friends and you wish to do it offline, okay, maybe. If they are in a customer-facing role and you feel you must, again, okay – do it respectfully offline. However, the vast majority of the time, let it go!
Don’t interrupt them when they are speaking. This is another no-no that is always problematic. No matter how useful your comment might be, you seriously risk offending the person who was speaking. Wait until they take a breath.
Don’t start responding with a negative evaluation. For example, “That won’t work” or “That doesn’t make sense.” Those types of statements kill positive vibes and creativity. Strive instead for affirmative responses, or at a minimum try to affirm some portion of what they said. If that is too hard, at least be inquisitive and appreciative. Anything but immediate negativity.
Until next time – stay safe, go learn something, maybe help someone, or at least do something interesting!
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