Huge Human Experiment.
I finished up at my project work yesterday. It was a huge project over the past few months. So fun and yet so interesting.
2 seperate teams were bought together to work and deliver the same project, each with their own project leads and own way of doing things and they then had to combine teams and leadership and work out the best way forwards.
As my new workmate Jon called it, a big HHE, Huge Human Experiment.
It was fascinating, especially for me, who loves and is curious about humans and human behaviour AND I had a front row seat to it all. My team was essentially support to everyone else and I got to establish my own team so I didn't have the same circumstances as everyone else.
Here are my learnings from the past few months. Maybe there will be something useful in there for you.
Communication is EVERYTHING!
We know this, everyone knows this, but you can't help but be reminded of this when good communication doesn't happen. Everything doesn't run as smoothly.
I listen to a lot of therapy podcasts (in another life, I would have been a therapist!) and hear these questions almost every podcast.
"Did you communicate that?"
"Did you ask for that?"
"Did you tell them that?"
"Did you talk to them about that?"
We have this expectation that everyone will just KNOW what we need, think, feel, know and it couldn't be further from the truth.
How can anyone know, if we don't tell them?
My rule is better to over communicate over under communicate and as I was reminded by my new work mate Jon yesterday, we also have to communicate in a way that people understand. If you're saying something and someone isn't hearing you, don't just repeat exactly what you said, they didn't understand that, so change the language, change the tone, help people to understand in a way that works for them.
Communication - oh so tricky!
Leadership - The people are the job
A couple of friends and I have often talked about dong a leadership podcast. What works, what doesn't, as a new leader, what do you need to know. Again, it's a topic I find SO fascinating and this role allowed me to see all sort of leaders in action. Some experienced, some new to leadership and everything in between.
People often mistake leading for telling people what to do. And it is to some extent. But it isn't just that.
The great Mark Murphy says "The people are the job"
So often think that the people get in the way of the work, forgetting that the people are the job. As leaders, your job is the people.
People want to be known. They want to be cared for. Listened to. They want connection. To be supported. They want to belong.
Honestly, I think if you know someone's name, connect with them, care for them, that I think is one of the most important jobs as a leader.
Because then the people will follow you into battle because you are in it together.
I got to see all sorts of leaders in this work and I was especially fascinated by those leaders that tried to get people to do things, yet having having no connection or care and the others who connected immediately and bought their team along with them.
I also appreciate this quote above by Gary Vaynerchuk. Your job as a leader is to make it easier (not harder) for people to do their job.
It's simple, the people are the job.
What can you subtract?
As I was driving home from work one day, one of my therapy podcasts finished and this random podcast by Adam Grant came up. And it could not have been more relevant.
It's called The Zombie Guide to Bureaucracy and you can listen to it here. I sent it onto Jon, who sent it on to the leadership team and from the podcast, we started to ask ourselves;
"What can we subtract rather than add?"
When thinking about fixing things, we often think we need to add in more steps, more processes, more, more, more.
My friend Cath, says the professional term is "strategic abandonment" which I love.
When problem solving or just in life generally, ask yourself,
what can you subtract?
Other things I was reminded of.
You have more power than you think. Own your power.
Don't wait for permission. Ask for forgiveness,
Great people make everything better and easier.
Have curiosity. Ask lots of questions. Don't assume you know.
It's all about the vibes. You can read so much by people's energy and vibes.
How you do anything is how you do everything.
People are the worst. People are the best.
Life is easier when you can see the funny in it.