Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast #173: Do You Have a Voice Your Leader Wants to Hear?
What level of influence do you have with your boss? Chris and Perry talk about the importance of having a voice that your boss wants to hear.
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Read the Transcript:
Perry Holley: Welcome to The John Maxwell Executive Leadership podcast, where our goal is to help you increase your reputation as a leader, increase your ability to influence others and increase your ability to fully engage your team to deliver remarkable results. Hi, I’m Perry Holley, a John Maxwell facilitator and coach.
Chris Goede: And I’m Chris Goede, Vice President with John Maxwell Company. Welcome and thank you for joining. We’re excited to be back in the studio once again and I love the fact that our team is upping their game and now they’re making us a little bit of a video-
Perry Holley: Cameras in different ways.
Chris Goede: That’s right. That’s exactly right.
Perry Holley: Can they get us both at the same time?
Chris Goede: No, please don’t do that. We just want to say thank you, as again, we’re well on the way in 2022 for listening and being a part of really this growth journey that you and I love talking about leadership. We just spent five to seven minutes just talking about leadership with a different topic, but it’s all relevant. So thank you for joining us. I want to encourage you to visit johnmaxwellcompany.com/podcast. If you have a question for Perry or I, even if you have a comment and, and why I mentioned that today is because today’s lesson is all around a question and or a comment that we got from one of our listeners. Yeah. And so Perry took that and built a lesson around it. We want to do the same thing. And so we want this to be a resource for you.
So don’t hesitate to visit there and leave us a question and Perry will get right on that. Well, today’s topic based off this comment is do you have a voice your leader wants to hear? And…
Perry Holley: This is not an intervention?
Chris Goede: Yeah, I was going to say, we’re not talking about a singing voice, because if we were, that answer is no immediately for me. But really this comes from a listener’s comment, Matt, we appreciate you sending that in. But he commented on how his dad and kudos to his dad, by the way, some incredible leadership stuff here, trained him early on about the importance of knowing when to speak up as a leader, knowing what to say. And then I think probably how much to say. And then my favorite part is what not to say as a leader, because I’ve been on the other side and have said some things. And so again, hats off to Matt taking time to send us this and to your dad for training up well. So this is a great topic that captures the idea of leading and, or maybe influencing up, which is around John’s 360-Degree Leader. You and I are both passionate about it. So talk to us a little bit about your takeaways from his questions and comments.
Perry Holley: Yeah, I was intrigued because Matt really thinking about as you’re a part of an executive team and you’ve already… Actually you’re on a team and you’ve got a boss and you want to speak up and you want to add value to that boss. But Matt wrote quite a bit about his father teaching him how to pay attention to the size of your voice and knowing what your leader’s tolerance was for hearing that voice. So you can imagine that you’re talking as the leader, you really want to hear this. And John teaches so much of leadership as timing and knowing what to say, but more importantly when to say it, when to take action. So I thought his comments were outstanding, it occurred to me that there are probably two sides to the challenge that he presented. Was knowing what to say and when to say it would be one part.
And then the second part for me was, do you have the influence with your leader so that they want to hear from you? And I actually think that I’ve had people on my teams over the years who felt incredible needs to tell me what they thought, but who I really didn’t want to hear what they thought. And I was thinking back about that, what drove that. It could have been that I questioned their motive in telling me they might have been trying to manipulate me to get something they wanted. Their level of knowledge and what they were telling me might not have been… I didn’t think they had a good point of view from where they sat, maybe a general lack of trust that I had in what were telling me. So I make… Hard to put your finger on that, but however you slice everything must point that they did not have a voice with me. And so I think it’s intriguing, that topic-
Chris Goede: Yeah. It’s interesting. You went down the road of saying, “Hey, here’s why someone didn’t have a voice with me.” There could be the other side. But the first thing I think about is the same thing. Like why in my leadership journey, have I been in a position to… Where maybe an individual didn’t have that leadership voice with me? And so I wrote down a couple things, like you did. Which, first one was, too much talk. We’ve all been in situations where we have a team member, a peer, maybe someone that’s leading us or that we’re leading. And we hear a lot of good things, a lot of good ideas, but we don’t see the action or the walk behind it.
Perry Holley: Well, actually and I was…. Just that you’re saying that John talking about self leadership, self managing yourself, and you thought you manage your time, priorities and all that. But he has one in there that and thought about that you just said it was, manage your words and say less, mean more. Don’t be so verbose that people don’t know when to listen to you.
Chris Goede: That’s exactly right-
Perry Holley: So I like where you’re going with that.
Chris Goede: Second one is really around arrogance and it’s all-
Perry Holley: Why are you looking at me when you say that?
Chris Goede: It’s all about them. Or when they’re talking, you hear a lot of me and what I’ve done and I’ve accomplished. And so when I hear that… And for me, this is my own bias, I feel like someone’s trying to sell me on something that’s not true, which aligns with the talk for slack. Last one I wrote down, then we’ll dive into the content you got for us, which is don’t talk in circles. I want to lay in the plane.
Perry Holley: Right.
Chris Goede: And I start to check out and I hope my wife’s not listening to this podcast here today. Maybe she’s the one that sent it in. But sometimes I’m like, “Are we still talking about that?” And so not that she doesn’t have a voice with me, she has a very loud voice with me and I love her dearly, but-
Perry Holley: Do you need Jake to edit any of this?
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Chris Goede: Yeah, if we could take care of that before we publish it, but for me, it’s like I begin to check out. And so as I have peers or team members that are rehashing, or sometimes people call it politicizing a point or a comment, I tend to check out and not land the plane. And so that’s a communication style for me, not a personality thing. And so that’s how I like to be communicated to which we’ll talk about a little bit more in just a minute.
Perry Holley: Let’s start with the… On my two points about this. The second one about, do you have the influence with the leader that opens the door to you having a voice with them, with the team? For this I always turn that you mentioned earlier, The 360 Leaders from our flagship pieces of content that influences 360 up, down and across. But some of the principles that… I went back and was looking at some of the principles we teach on how to lead up about, do you lead yourself well? Are you making your leader’s load lighter? Are you helping? Are you a go-to player for that team? Are you growing and learning? Are some of the ones that really jumped out at me that start to build how you lead yourself and how your leader sees you will help your voice when it comes time to share.
Chris Goede: Yes, it will. So when you think about that, let me add just a couple more to it. Because I think what we want to do is, in order for them to hear your voice, you’re saying, “We got to increase our influence” and I wrote down three things here. Number one is self-awareness, which you just talked about. We talk about this on our sessions quite a bit. So I’m not going to go into that. The second thing I want to encourage you to do is to identify problems and opportunities that you may see in your business, whatever that might be. Remember, we’re talking about increase your influence in order to increase your voice. And I love it when a team member comes to me and says, “Hey, here’s an opportunity I think we’re missing out on. And I just want to explore this, I want to talk about it.”
And when I begin to hear that, I go, “Now I want to hear their voice.” Or, “Hey, this is a problem that I see that you may not be aware of, I’m bringing it to you.” Now I want to hear that. So you think about that influence. And then the third one I wrote down was, you want to increase your influence and this is what we are… Really our DNA and what we’re made of which is I want to see people adding value to all people. There’s no partiality. I don’t want to see us like, “We believe that inclusively we should be leading and connecting with our team.” And so again, those were just a couple things I think, again, give you the idea of increasing your influence in order to increase your voice with your leader.
Perry Holley: I love the point on self-awareness. I’ve seen people lose influence completely because of being not self-aware, unaware of them or how they affect… How people see them. They think they’re being heard when they’re not being heard.
Chris Goede: All right. So let’s just stop for a minute. Wherever you are listening to us, maybe you’re in the car. Maybe you’re exercising, maybe watching us on the YouTube channel. I want you to think about right now, the number one unaware individual that… We’ve all had it. Now, listen, if you’re sitting going, “I don’t really know of anybody.” The problem is it might be you. So let’s get work on that, but we’ve all had that. And so we know what that looks and feels like.
Perry Holley: Say you do have positive influence with your leader. Matt’s bigger point was on, how do you develop your voice and the wisdom to know when to use it? As I thought through it, I thought it really is… I want to have that level of influence. I want to be thought as wise and that my leaders want to hear from me. Others on my team want to hear from me. To do that… And again, I’ll see this in two parts, get your comments on this. And it comes back to some of the 360 concepts, but do you know when to push and when to back off? That’s key. Again, that’s the timing issue thinking about, “When do I talk and when do I not? And do I have anything meaningful to add to the leader?” Jumped out at me as saying sometimes… and maybe it’s what you’re saying about just talking. Are you trying to add value? So take the second one first again, how do you ensure that you’re able to add value to your leader?
Chris Goede: Yeah. When I was thinking about this, I’m going to give you some real life practical examples of what it looks like in the day and the life of Chris as a leader. One of the things that I love about our team, our culture, our organization, is often times you’ll hear people saying this word… this phrase really, “How can I take something off your plate? What is it that I can lighten your load, lighten leader’s load?” And I think for me, that’s the first thing I think about. The other thing was back to what I mentioned just a minute ago is really understanding how your leader likes to be communicated to. We talked that there is a communication language, there’s communication pathways. It can get down as simple as the how or the why. And then we can get into how do they like to receive emails. What is the best form of communication? So all of those things for me… Those two things for me are really big when it comes to that part of them increasing their influence in order to have a voice with me.
Perry Holley: So if you have this influence and you have something valuable to add, can you just blast away? Can I just open up?
Chris Goede: Yeah. No. It goes back to the right timing, the right environment for me. It may be in a meeting and Mark Cole and I often talk about our CEO, about how he’s worked with me for years about that leadership voice and he’s given me really a full permission to at any point in time, because we’ve had to work through this. So he doesn’t want me to fall back into it to when I’m thinking something, whether it’s relevant or not, to say it, to speak it. Because I built a little bit of credibility with him to be able to do that. And so he allows me to do that.
And so I think certain situations may require it. Other situations, it may be something to where it’s your discretion. But I think as leaders, I would give your permission to your team of when that’s appropriate, when it’s not. Because there are conversations that we have that are one on one that aren’t handled in a team, that I want to hear their voice versus a team. But then there are situations where it’s okay to have that conversation in front of the team.
Perry Holley: Love your thought about credibility there and that you earn that voice a bit and he’s encouraged you, in that, but-
Chris Goede: More and more.
Perry Holley: You said that as you built credibility, that he encouraged you more and more. So…
Chris Goede: That’s exactly right. Yeah.
Perry Holley: Some of the… When to push and when to back off. I noticed that if you know something… We always tease if you know something the leader doesn’t know, but they need to know. I always think of that as from my seat, from where I sit in the organization, I see something that my leader may not see. Is that a good time to push into that?
Chris Goede: So there’s a… In The 360-Degree Leader, we talk about almost this card exercise where it’s, what are your leader’s rules?
Perry Holley: Yeah. Unwritten rules.Chris Goede: And unwritten rules. And one of mine is when you know something is up, I need you to bring it to me right away. Like I would rather know ahead of time. And so it depends on again what the situation is, whether you’re pushing or backing off. But we’d like to ask four questions really to know if I should push forward. And here’s the four, they may be in the show notes where you can take a look at them and I’ll just read them off and I’ll let you respond and give me some of your thoughts after I read them. But number one is, do I know something my leader doesn’t know, but needs to know?
That’s not going to come right away. It’s going to come with experience and over time because as I have new team members that may get abused more than it does, the longer the tenure is with our organization. Second one is, is time running out? Is it time sensitive? Not about the timing of asking it, but it is, is time running out. Number three are my responsibilities at risk? And I would also say not only responsibilities, but is the organization at risk. We call that a fatal flaw, when we got to be aware of. And then the last one is can I and how can I help my leader win? And I think if you can, and the path is very clear, then I would encourage you to continue to push.
Perry Holley: Well, knowing when to back off is a critical skill, I think for leading up and we all need to know what that is. The leader may not know that you didn’t push when you could have, or could be very obvious that you didn’t know when to back off. But I love where you’re going about, are you promoting your own agenda? You’re not thinking big picture. You’re pushing your own ideas. You’re manipulating things to get what you want. “Have I already made my point?” Like you said to land a plane of that, do you have any part of the risk? Is this… The leader’s got all the risk and here you are trying to guide something you really don’t know that much about. Does the atmosphere just say, “No” with another one we often teach. Pay attention to that environment and what’s going on. Is the timing right only for you? You need it now, but the leader’s saying there’s other things in play. There’s a bigger picture. I picture we probably put you in that position quite a bit. We want now-
Chris Goede: You have to accept that.
Perry Holley: And one final thought, before I let you wrap up is, thinking as a leader, can you or should you be coaching your people to help improve their voice with you? As I was thinking about this I was thinking, “What’s my role in helping the people on my team have a better voice with me?” If they think they’re adding value and they really are, or are they pushing when they should be backing up. Can I coach to that? I don’t how you see that but, –
Chris Goede: Yeah, the answer is yes. And I would encourage you do that. I’ll give you another example, just happened to me this week in regards to our team members. So bringing on a newer team member, been here several months, highly exceeding expectations. And I’m beginning to see at times maybe some questions that I know that individual can’t answer, should answer, but maybe the confidence is not there yet. And so my coaching was, “Hey, I trust you. I empower you. I want you to trust yourself. And so here’s what we’re going to do going forward is pose the question, but I want to hear your thoughts and your answers before I tell you mine.”
And so I said that just as something I saw in this individual and just incredible belief in the individual. And so we had a conversation yesterday on the phone. And the individual said, “Hey, I have to walk through this with you. I need your input. You need advice and here’s going to be situation.” I said, “Okay, but you understand what’s going to happen, I want to hear it, but then I want to hear your thoughts first and then I’ll give you mine.” And the individual said, “Oh yeah, I remember your email and I’m prepared. Thank you for pushing me and, or coaching me.” And so I encourage yes, absolutely you should have that-
Perry Holley: You’re growing their voice.
Chris Goede: That’s right. And so that’s what I’m doing. I’m trying to get them to trust their voice in order to grow their voice. It may be the opposite though. You may have some leaders be like-
Perry Holley: Got a lot of voice.
Chris Goede: “I don’t need to hear it right now, go handle it.” You can do that pushing or backing off to your point. So well, as we wrap up, thanks, Matt for sending in those thoughts in the comments. Absolutely love that feedback for us to even have a conversation around it. I think it all comes down to me is if we have an accidental culture, it results in accidental communication. And so what I want us to do is be very intentional about our communication to our leaders, to our peers, to our voice. I want it to be very intentional. Take some of these questions Perry’s presented to us. When am I pushing? When do I need to back off? How am I increasing my influence?
But for me, communication is such a big key. You could probably speak to this, and I’ll let you close here in just a minute, but I would say eight out of 10 leads that we get saying, “We need help.” Has to do something with the foundation of communication. And I think it stems with everything that we do. And so we talk about culture being think, act, and interact. And so what does that look like with your leader and pertains to your voice. So…
Perry Holley: Yeah. Communication’s key in that, but there is a learner guide for this episode with notes, if you’d like to get that. Leave us a comment, learn more about The Five Levels or 360-Leader we’ve talked about today. You can do all that at johnmaxwellcompany.com. We’re so grateful that you would spend the time with us each week going through this material. And we’re grateful for you being here today. That’s all today from the John Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast.
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