Leadership Development: Your Leadership Matters Now, More Than Ever to Boost Growth
How is the explosion of disruption, chaos, and uncertainty impacting your business and sales growth strategies, as well as your leadership development?
More importantly, what is the impact on your salespeople? When they look around them, what do they see? Do they have hope for the future? Or do they remind you of a new-born kitten, almost too scared to take a chance on venturing forward? It’s natural that we, and our salespeople might feel overwhelmed by the rapid changes taking place.
What might you do to awaken the spirit of the lion in your young sales leader – ready to take on any challenge of a disrupted world with courage and confidence?
Leadership Development in a Disrupted World
I recently spoke with a group of business leaders in Minneapolis at the monthly THRIVE meeting for Ambassadors for Business. These were some of the issues they brought to the table:
- Covid-19 Vaccine: It’s politically controversial. There are possible legal consequences for what we recommend to our employees. How do we navigate?
- Cancel culture: Senior leaders who live and act with more traditional values are at the brink of being “canceled” at any time. Their careers could be cut short instantly. How do they navigate?
- Fear is rampant: Employees are afraid…what will the next wave look like? How will it impact what we’re doing?
And, they are all asking, “How do I thrive, not just survive, in the midst of this craziness?”
This is why your leadership matters now, more than ever.
It’s ironic, even paradoxical, that in the midst of disruption, chaos, and uncertainty, we still need to be firmly grounded in strong moral character.
Identify Leadership Development Paradoxes
Paradox – It’s not a word we hear often. Or, if we do hear it, we don’t know exactly what it means. When I Googled “paradox,” this definition describes it well…
A seemingly absurd or contradictory statement which, when investigated, may prove to be well-founded or true.
So, how might Paradoxical Leadership benefit your sales teams in these disruptive times?
My eBook, Leadership Shift: Paradoxical Wisdom for Transformational Leaders, was written over ten years ago. I write about the paradoxes that we encountered on our leadership journey, as we deal with rampant changes and disruptions in our industry, market, and economy. I’m sure you’ve all wrestled with:
- How do you hold your salespeople accountable without micro-managing them?
- How do you motivate, and still make the tough, sometimes unpopular, decisions?
- How do you encourage change, without discarding foundational strategies?
How about today? Even compared to ten years ago, the paradoxical leadership wisdom still applies! Yes, change is accelerating. More frequently, we’re all dealing with paradoxes like these:
- The need to focus forward, while it feels that uncertainty is blinding.
- The need to be creative, while applying the discipline to put action to dreams.
- The need to capitalize on the opportunities of adversity, while feeling stressed out and tired.
- The need to remain hopeful, while hearing gloom and doom predictions.
Harness the Leadership Development Benefits from Paradoxes
What are some practical steps that you can take to turn these seemingly negative circumstances into win-win solutions, where we can create breakthrough results for all stakeholders?
Here are some tips on how you can use paradoxical leadership to deal with today’s complex paradoxes…
Leadership Development Paradox #1:
When the smoke of the present blinds you, embrace a Future-Focused mindset.
The chaos and disruption of our current circumstances can act as a dense cloud of smoke. It makes it impossible to see the way forward. If we allow the smoke to penetrate our thinking, we become stuck and unable to create a vision for a better future.
In Millennials Matter, I recommend using a goal-alignment process. During times of turmoil, clarity on personal and professional goals become even more important. One of the steps we follow is to ensure that our sales leader’s life goals are integrated, supporting each other. My e-book, Energize Your Dreams packed with goal-setting and goal-alignment ideas. With a future-focused approach, you can guide them to determine where they want to be in life five to ten years from now, in all areas of their life (relationally, physically, intellectually, spiritually, and financially.) If you’d like to check out this resource, send me an email at Danita@DanitaBye.com with Energize Your Dreams in the subject line.
Leadership Development Solution
Embrace a Future-Focused mindset. By asking questions that start with “what,” your vision-casting mindset stimulates your Millennial salesperson’s visionary sales growth plans. For example, you might ask them, “What” might you do to improve the robustness of your pipeline?”
Leadership Development Paradox #2:
Cultivate Disciplined Creativity.
Wow, another big paradox! We don’t normally link creativity to discipline, do we? However, “coloring outside the lines” requires lines in the first place. Just as, “thinking outside the box,” requires a box! Creativity, without discipline, will often fizzle out in the planning stage.
In our Millennials Matter survey, some business leaders were concerned with Millennials’ lack of resiliency and ability to bounce back from setbacks.
When we’re struggling to reach our goals, the easy way out is to shift blame or make excuses. Unfortunately, the only result is that we discard our creativity and genius. You need your salespeople to maintain focus on what can be done, versus what can’t be done.
Leadership Development Solution
Ask questions that include the words “might” and “do.” This ignites the Innovation Mindset that drives creative problem-solving. When creativity is tied to the discipline of an Action Mindset, salespeople generate the momentum needed to set the wheels in motion for achieving their dreams. For example, ask, “What “might” you “do” to turn your weak pipelines around?”
Leadership Development Paradox #3:
Capitalize on the Energy of Adversity.
When adversity strikes, fear, anxiety, and increased stress can sap our energy. It’s natural to go into panic mode. Or, get depressed. However, a productive mindset strives to turn big problems into stepping stones to bigger success.
In Millennials Matter, I write about a word that is part of my heritage and my childhood. Sisu. To explain the meaning of the word, I quoted the work of Emilia Lahti, who’s working toward her PhD on sisu. Emilia says, “At its core sisu is the idea that there is more strength to us than what often meets the eye. Sisu means to exceed yourself, take action against slim odds, and transform barriers into frontiers.” Salespeople with a sisu spirit will take the necessary actions to shape those outcomes.
Leadership Development Solution
By asking questions that include the word “I,” we strengthen the Ownership Mindset. By taking ownership of their reality, your Millennials expand their flexibility, effectiveness, and influence. For example, they can ask, “What might “I” do to make a positive impact on this difficult situation?”
Leadership Development Paradox #4:
Instill Hopeful Realism.
Can you be realistic and hopeful at the same time? I believe the most optimistic leaders are also the most realistic. They don’t ignore the challenges and roadblocks. However, when faced with uncertainty, chaos, and disruption on all fronts, they never give up.
I often reflect on how my dad managed to “rescue” his brand-new John Deere tractor from a thawing sinkhole. The situation was hopeless. Many would have given up on that tractor. Not my dad! That day I learned that being stuck, literally or figuratively, is no match for one’s mental strength and external resources. His attitude toward adversity was one of realistic optimism. He had a hopefulness and confidence that got him through many difficult situations. This kind of optimism expects good outcomes even when facing tough circumstances.
Leadership Development Solution
By asking questions that include the words “to make a positive impact,” we think about our future actions. An Optimistic Mindset uncovers the opportunities hiding behind the big rocks on your Millennial sales leader’s path. These opportunities include serving others. For example, suggest they ask, “What might I do “to make a positive impact”?’
What other leadership development paradoxes do you encounter in your work?
Paradoxical Leadership Development Inspiration for 2021
In a surprising turn of events, I met the author of a very special poem, The Paradoxical Commandments. (Note: To learn how I met the author, please see this post.)
I asked for permission to publish the poem, and created a plaque to give to my clients. I still have it on a shelf in my office.
Dr. Kent Keith’s “Paradoxical Commandments” is an inspiration to me, as a leader. I invite you to read and reflect on the myriad of opportunities they provide. Then, encourage and challenge your salespeople to grow with you as you plan your success journey for the New Year …
Watch this short video on my favorite Paradoxical Commandments for 2021
The Paradoxical Commandments
by Dr. Kent M. Keith
People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.
© Copyright Kent M. Keith 1968, renewed 2001
We’re living in a paradoxical world. Disruption is everywhere.
Uncertainty is rampant at every level – within ourselves, as well as in our teams.
Thinking about a few of the disruptive trends is mind-boggling. Previously unheard-of words and concepts are becoming more and more familiar. There’s DNA sequencing, gene editing, robotics, drones, AI, cybersecurity, blockchain technology, bitcoin, and other crypto-currencies. In space development, we read approximately 30,000 satellites will be orbiting the earth in the near future.
I don’t know about you, but for someone like me, raised on a ranch in North Dakota, with no running water, an outdoor biffy, a wringer washing machine, and a party-line telephone where ten other families could listen in on your conversations, it’s a bit overwhelming.
Much of this is new territory for your salespeople too. They need your guidance. Grab the opportunities to coach them on how to overcome the leadership development paradoxes that are keeping them stuck. Work with them so that they will move forward with the spirit of a lion – courageous and confident.
Use your Paradoxical Leadership Development Strategies wisely, so that you, your business, and your salespeople will thrive in 2021. Your leadership matters.
Leadership Development Lesson:
Be intentional in coaching your salespeople to look deeper than the seemingly impossible – then they can turn paradoxes into leadership development triumphs.
Leadership Development Question:
What will you do to coach your salespeople to find the paradoxical wisdom in every situation?