A few weeks back, I was pleased to be a guest on Doug Brown’s “CEO Sales Strategies Podcast.”
Here’s some of what we discussed:
The Three Perspectives of “You”
The ‘three you’s’ — There’s the ‘you’ that you think you are. There’s the ‘you’ that others think you are and there’s the real ‘you.’
To reconcile the three ‘you’s’, you got to be able to trust some of the inputs you get from other people that you may not like. The first ‘you’ is whom you think you are. I can look in the mirror and convince myself that I’m a pretty cool guy! When you ask others to give you input as to who you are, you may not like what you hear. In some cases, people discount it because they didn’t like to hear it. They don’t learn from it. The third part is that reconciliation. You don’t want to be all things to all people.
A daily audit is about asking questions of yourself, such as: “What did I do today to see myself effectively? What did I plan to do that I didn’t do? How did I help grow other leaders to see themselves effectively? What am I going to do tomorrow to move the needle a little bit more…?”
Intellectual and emotional honesty opens communication lines. Impression management tends to put up, create and reinforce barriers in communication skills individually and collectively. Yet we all have to realize that they’re out there. People don’t want to look ignorant so they don’t ask questions. That’s a part of our human nature that we’ve evolved into. We have to be aware of that and work hard at not allowing impression management to dominate our interactions.
Military Vs Corporate Impressions
We need to project an image as military leaders of confidence and competence, as well as empathy. The majority of my colleagues who set the example for me along the way and served with me when we were senior officers together did just that. They projected the image and walked the talk of that image. In the corporate environment that I’ve been in as a senior leader in companies, as well as advising senior leaders, which is what I do now, I feel as though some of the methodologies are not as well understood. We don’t have uniforms, rank insignia, flags outside the door and these kinds of things. I don’t know if we necessarily need that…
It’s more important perhaps in the corporate leadership framework that we become very effective listeners to garner respect. I’m not saying we don’t need to listen in the military. I am saying that you don’t have that obvious separation or identification sometimes. For corporate leaders, it’s more important to set the conditions via your personality, given that you’re not going to have on a uniform.
Compliance Vs Commitment
For a long time in my early life, I lived in a culture of compliance, where we were directed to do things and do them right now. We didn’t have a lot of conversations about the ‘why.’ We were to follow orders. In the world that we’re in, it’s more important to have a culture of commitment instead of a culture of compliance… to commit to the culture, to buy-in and say, ‘we’re all in,’ and believe that you’re in. Senior leaders have to nurture that buy-in among their team members.
In the Army, we had ‘battle buddies.’ Every rifle squad and crew section had a battle buddy. That person was in charge of taking care of you and you of them. It wasn’t something you could divest yourself of at points in time during the day or you could become a jerk from noon until 6:00 PM and then go back to being a decent human being. That transparency was pretty absolute in those days. I encourage corporate leaders to seek out a battle buddy.
Whatever our position, we need someone who can be our trusted advisor, have frank conversations, and not feel threatened when they give us honest feedback this week, next week, next month, or next quarter… You can coach people in your chain of command to seek out those battle buddies. That could be a huge positive in your journey going forward to have that trusted advisor.
Empathy gets a lot of press as a key component of emotional intelligence. I don’t think it’s been appreciated and practically applied as well as we could do it.
We transmit some of empathy into sympathy, which is much different… Empathy is putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. If we did more of that, then we’d be able to reconcile the ‘three you’s’ far more effectively and help other people do the same thing.
If you’d like to dive into the entire conversation, my guest visit on the CEO Sales Strategies Podcast can be viewed here:
The podcast episode in audio-only form, along with a full text transcript, is available on the CEO Sales Strategies website here.
For more interviews and leadership insights, you can check out other CEO Sales Strategies episodes here.
You can also follow Doug on social media at the following links:
The CEO Sales Strategies podcast is also available on all major podcast apps.
Enjoy the journey!
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