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Executive Podcast #199: Am I Really Responsible for Your Self-Concept?

August 4, 2022
Executive Podcast #199: Am I Really Responsible for Your Self-Concept?

Do the people on your team take initiative, proactively solve problems, and take an intentional approach to their work? If not, perhaps one of two problems may be occurring. In this week’s episode, Chris Goede and Perry Holley discuss two common reasons the people on your team might not be taking initiative.

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Perry Holley:

Welcome to the Maxwell Leadership Executive 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 Maxwell Leadership facilitator and coach.

Chris Goede:

And I’m Chris Goede, executive vice president with Maxwell Leadership. Welcome, and thank you for joining. Just as we get started I want to let you know that if you’re interested in Perry, myself, one of our executive facilitator,

Perry Holley:

Especially Perry.

Chris Goede:

Especially Perry, coaches helping your team, your organization with your culture, with your leadership, with developing people. That’s what we do. Matter of fact, a lot of stuff that we talk about here today comes directly from the field.

Perry Holley:

Almost always.

Chris Goede:

And we are helping people and organizations around the world with their leadership culture. What does that look like? What does it feel like to work inside your organization? If that is you and if we can help your team, I want to encourage you to go to maxwellleadership.com/podcast. There you can fill out a form. You can also leave a question or a comment for Perry and I, and we’ll respond to that on one of our upcoming episodes. Well, today’s topic is I just mentioned, I know Perry just by this topic right here is coming directly from the field. And the topic we’re going to talk about today is am I really responsible for your self-concept? No, I’m not. No. So this is a challenge that some leaders are having. Talk to us a little bit about where it came from.

Perry Holley:

I just tell you a coaching client actually called me with a question. I thought it was a good one. She said that there are people on her team that she noticed don’t take the initiative and they always wait for her to make the decision or to describe the work or define the work. They don’t really look out and see what needs to be done. And she was perplexed by this. There are others that do, but she had a couple that just were, they were good performers overall, but they didn’t take initiative. And she wanted to know what she could do about that. And I got to thinking on it. So the question, what do you thinks going on here and what should a leader do when people on the team don’t take initiative?

Chris Goede:

Well, I don’t know this leader. I don’t know her as well as you do, but when I hear you say that there’s two things that come to mind. Number one, she probably doesn’t ask any questions could be, this is just thoughts. Is it because of the way that she has a pattern of providing the answers for every situation?

Perry Holley:

Okay.

Chris Goede:

And not asking questions. The second thing that came to mind was do the people on the team believe that they can actually do the work, right? Like, do they believe that they have what it takes to be successful? So those are the two things that I came to. Now, you know her a lot better than I do, so.

Perry Holley:

Yeah. No I think it’s very good. Actually my brain went to the same place I was, let’s take your first question that you asked first was, and we’ve talked about this on a podcast before, about leaders who display behaviors that diminish capabilities of their workers. And this obviously comes straight from our friend, Liz Wiseman and the studies she did on multipliers. And I just was fascinated by that, that there are things we do that can either multiply the capabilities of our people, or we can do things that diminish the capabilities of our people. And do you remember some of these,

Chris Goede:

I do.

Perry Holley:

Diminishing behaviors?

Chris Goede:

Yeah. Yeah. I do. As a leader, right, this is what we’re talking about, as a leader you have these behaviors that will diminish the people on your team and why I remember this, it’s funny. Liz actually came and spoke for one of our events, several of our events.

Perry Holley:

Yeah.

Chris Goede:

She and John have a relationship. And I remember right after she spoke, John got our team together and said, okay, now, which one of these?

Perry Holley:

I remember that.

Chris Goede:

Yeah. Like I’m going to go through and think about these. And I remember Linda Eggers, his longtime executive assistant partner in all of our businesses. She was just like, oh no, we don’t need to think about that. Like, I’m going to tell you what they’re at right now,

Perry Holley:

Get a pen.

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Chris Goede:

John, here they are. Here we go. And so it’s a fascinating concept. And so I do. The two that stick out to me would be one was the rescuer,

Perry Holley:

That’s me.

Chris Goede:

And you and I are wired very similar. Right. And so we don’t want to see people struggle, even though, as they struggle, it’s the greatest learning environment that they can be a part of. You and I would agree with that. We’ve learned some of our greatest lessons from some of our struggles. We want to jump in and rescue them. And we don’t leave room for growth in that. The other one is the protector and this is where you are,

Perry Holley:

Guilty.

Chris Goede:

Yeah. Yeah, guilty. You are shielding your people from really what’s going on and you’re doing a disservice, you’re diminishing the opportunity for them to grow. And so both of these cases we need to make sure that we’re not doing this and that we’re looking at multiplying their capabilities, not necessarily diminishing that.

Perry Holley:

And I wish that we could stop there, but I was also looking at the list because I was guilty on both of those, but also they had one called the rapid responder. Oh man, I was guilty of this. A request would come in from a client. It was sent it to the rep or to the technical person and copy me. But I would see the opportunity to jump in and would rapidly respond. And I didn’t realize I was training my whole team to say, just wait. Perry will handle it.

Chris Goede:

Yeah.

Perry Holley:

And then they took no action. I just diminished their behavior. Another one that described me was the optimist. Again, a positive can do leader who thinks, and my belief in people that I believe you can do so much, that will inspire you to do even more. Unfortunately that I usually wear people down by pushing them into too many things they shouldn’t be doing. So, one thing that I was really encouraged about and Liz probably wasn’t, but she had to re-release the book because it used to say that you’re the diminisher and then they had to change the title after she went back and looked at the research, it was called an accidental diminisher. And they had to rerelease the entire book because of that change in wording. You said that almost every leader has the best intentions, the ones you described want to be protecting or helping or being optimistic or helping responding. Those are all done with good motive. They’re just not good for the team.

Chris Goede:

Yeah. So yeah, no, I love that. I didn’t know that and that’s good to know, but we really got to pay attention to these as leaders. This is real as Perry and I just kind of quickly shared the two that came to our mind that we deal with. And so this is something that we’ve got to be aware of.

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Chris Goede:

What about my second thought there, my second question, do the people on the team believe they can do the work? Do they believe they have what it takes to be successful?

Perry Holley:

Yeah. And that’s really the question that generated the title for the podcast is am I responsible for your self-concept? And I think it’s another challenge that leaders face with how people on your team see themselves. Now you start thinking really. And that’s what this leaders said, really. I’m responsible for how they see themselves. No, not really, but the self concept if you look at it is described many ways, but it’s your self image, your self-esteem, your self-belief, now these are all things about how you see you. And it’s not unusual this day and time to find people that think they don’t have what it takes, that they can’t do the job up to your expectations or that they either talking to themselves in a way that says I’m not good enough. I’m dropping the ball. They run themselves down a bit and it really is a great place. You’re not responsible for somebody else’s self concept.

Chris Goede:

Right.

Perry Holley:

But if I told you, you could affect their performance by positively speaking toward that self concept, wouldn’t you want to do that?

Chris Goede:

Absolutely. Yeah. I also see this as just a lack of self confidence in certain things that people do and listen leaders. When you have people that are on your team, you get that whole person.

Perry Holley:

Yeah.

Chris Goede:

That means you get the baggage that comes with it. We all have it. Right. And I know that some of our team members have different levels of confidence in themselves in different areas. And one of the ways I see this show up and lack of self confidence is man, they just they’re asking excessive instructions and or questions of how to do something, or what does this look like? And you know that there’s more in there, but they’re just continuing to ask these questions. And I think that shows one way they lack self-confidence. They may check in with you a little more frequently than you want them to on their progress. They may need a little extra reassurance. They may even need your approval. I have certain situations of people that I’ve led over time, where there are little things along the way that they just want to hear yes, that’s the right check. Yes. That’s the right. Yes. You’re headed in the right direction. Even though deep down inside, they know, and I’ve challenged them on that, they still come back because of maybe this lack of self confidence.

Perry Holley:

I really appreciated that.

Chris Goede:

Yeah. Thank you.

Perry Holley:

You’re talking about me, right?

Chris Goede:

That’s right. That’s right.

Perry Holley:

So the question I guess we should answer is how would one positively affect another person’s self concept?

Chris Goede:

Yeah.

Perry Holley:

And this may sound very basic, but I thought, can you express your personal belief in them? And I’m flashing back to last week’s podcast. We talked about, do you believe in someone’s potential? Can you see potential in them? And I have my own reflection of my own growth through this was, and you and I were talking before the microphones came on earlier about my self concept. I realized I struggled with that because the way I was raised, I’m the oldest and my dad’s firstborn son. And I was pushed pretty heavily into sports and other things. And I’m big and so I was expected to do things and he did it with the best intentions. He wanted the very best for me, but he always left me thinking I needed more.

I wasn’t good enough. I didn’t have what it takes was the term I came out of that with. And so I noticed with my own kids that I realize my dad had the best intentions, but I came out of it thinking I was lacking and I didn’t have that real strong self-belief. So now when I look at my team or even my team at home and my team at the office was I’ve adopted this terminology that you have what it takes. It’s going to be hard. You’re going to get knocked down. There are going to be challenges. You have what it takes.

Chris Goede:

Yeah.

Perry Holley:

It’s going to be uphill. You’re going to make some mistakes, but you have what it takes. You’re going to struggle. There are going to be days when you lose, but you have what it takes.

Chris Goede:

Yeah.

Perry Holley:

So and they just give people that I believe in you and so I’m looking for you to believe in you. And I think a lot of people, if I think you said it last week, if people believe in you, that was what a lot of people say yeah, that’s what got me going,

Chris Goede:

That’s it.

Perry Holley:

To do that.

Chris Goede:

Yeah. This is why Perry and I and our team, this is why we do this podcast right here. This may seem like a simple principle. Right.

Perry Holley:

Almost embarrassed to bring it to go [inaudible 00:12:00].

Chris Goede:

Yeah. It seems simple, but here’s the deal, right? Every single one of us that are leading a team, leading a department, leading an organization, leading a family, whatever it might be, you have to understand this. You have to know this because it is real. And it is very relevant to influencing and leading people. We don’t know the story that people are coming to your team with telling them themselves.

Perry Holley:

Right.

Chris Goede:

Like we don’t know that story.

Perry Holley:

Right.

Chris Goede:

And there’s a great video that Chick-fil-A did years and years ago, it was a training video that says everybody has a story. And what’s awesome about that video is that it just goes around one of their locations and it just shows every individual within about an hour span of time and then puts a little caption above it. No one’s talking, but it’s telling you their story. And it just says, Hey, everybody’s got a story if you’re willing to just ask it.

And so I think that we need to understand that people are bringing and telling themselves a story. We got to let them know back to that word, belief that you just talked about, that we believe in them, that we value them, that we unconditionally love them. Now that’s a soft word. Perry and I have done some talks on this in the past. And Joel Manby, who’s part of our team does some great work too, about the word love and it’s actually an action and a verb, but we have to unconditionally love our people. And they need to know that they feel needed as part of our team. They need to feel relevant. Now we’re saying all this, and we’re not saying we don’t hold them accountable, that we don’t hold them to high expectations, that we don’t challenge them. I think,

Perry Holley:

That’s a really great point.

Chris Goede:

Well, I think any leader that we’ve had that led and handled the first part of my conversation here just a minute ago was a really, really good leader in our life. But if they can do that and push you and have high expectations and want to challenge them, that makes them a great leader in your life. And here’s my last thing before I throw it back to you. We say all the time, we need to lead people the way they need to be led.

Perry Holley:

Right. Right.

Chris Goede:

For this reason specifically, it’s so important. You can’t lead everybody the same.

Perry Holley:

That is so good. I’m thinking about the opposite of, you mentioned the word self-confidence and some people lack that self-confidence, but I’ve also learned kind of what the opposite of that is. There’s a little self sabotage going on.

Chris Goede:

Yeah. Yeah.

Perry Holley:

And how we talk to ourselves. And that’s probably enough for another podcast on how do you do positive self talk. But you don’t know, like you said, what somebody’s telling themselves. So I’ve just spent, I was just telling young man that I’m working with that you got to maybe quit listening to yourself and start talking to yourself.

Chris Goede:

Oh, that’s good. That’s so good.

Perry Holley:

And so I’m listening to these internal voices, but can I start talking to myself in positive terms? And as a leader, that’s really our gift to them is to, we mentioned last week, I think putting a tin on their head, seeing them in a positive light. We’re going to develop you, we’re going to equip you. We’re going to challenge you. It’s going to be uphill.

Chris Goede:

Yeah.

Perry Holley:

However, I believe in you and you have what it takes. And we’re going to give you the resources and things you need, but I’m encouraging people to step up and fulfill that potential, that capacity that we talked about last week by us helping them with their self concept and how they see themselves.

Chris Goede:

Listen, as I wrap up here, here’s what this message is all about. We believe that we want to help leaders create powerful, positive change, and that everybody deserves to be led well, everybody on your team. And so one of the things that as leaders, you need to be aware of that you need to communicate to your team. It’s not that it’s not important. It’s very important to see ourselves as we are. Right. That’s awareness. We’ve talked a lot about that, but don’t just stay there. It’s a starting point. It’s the foundation. And what we’ve got to do for ourselves as leaders, as well as those that are on our team, we got to step back and say, what could we be? What is our real selves? What’s the potential? Back to last week’s lesson, and then grow into that and understand that we have the ability to write a different story as we continue to grow and to change that self concept that we may have, and then the story that we’re telling about ourselves. And so we control that narrative.

Perry Holley:

Yeah. Fantastic. Well, thank you, Chris. And just a reminder, if you’d like to learn more about our offerings or download the learner guide for this episode, perhaps leave a question or a comment. We always love hearing from you. You can do that at maxwellleadership.com/podcast. We’re always grateful that you would spend this time with us. That’s all today from the Maxwell Leadership Executive Podcast.

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