Lead Your Leaders

Annie Perdue-Olson

You've got real-life, feet on the ground kinds of questions that need answers so you can become the leader you want to be AND develop the next level of leaders around you. Each episode focuses on questions submitted by listeners just like you. Join in the discussion and get answers in each episode to the questions you've been asking.

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Get the Team You've Always Wanted
Dec 15 2021
Get the Team You've Always Wanted
Lead your Leaders is a podcast to answer those tough questions that surface when you're trying to build teams that work better together. You’ve got questions that need answers if you are going to develop your own leadership and make an investment in your team so they can become better leaders, too. Tune into a few of the questions leaders are asking about how to get the team they've always wanted: "I heard from a team member’s direct report that they feel micromanaged. I probably need to talk to the team member about it, but isn’t it micromanaging if I step in?" "We need to make some role changes on our team. Should I write the job description around their strengths or based on what the organization needs?" "How can I help my team when everything is so overwhelming? I want to be encouraging so they don't leave but I don't want to give them false hope that it will get better when it's been this way for a while." "How do you lead well when Covid has changed the landscape of how to lead people now that they are mostly working from home?" "We just finished a big event. Some things went well and others we need to improve. How do I offer feedback? Especially the corrective feedback?" "In a small organization how do I manage staff and provide effective leadership with my staff that have turned into friends?" Join in the discussion and get answers to your questions in each episode. Got a question you would like answered? 1. Record or write your question and submit it here: www.leadingbettertogether.com/questions 2. Email your question to annie@leadingbettertogether.com Leader Your Leaders: A podcast to get the team you've always wanted is a production of Leading Better Together Company.
Stepping Back to Gain Perspective
3d ago
Stepping Back to Gain Perspective
"It's been a surprising season in our ministry. Some great things are happening, and we've had a few setbacks, too. How do I step back and gain a little perspective and help my team do the same before we dive into this next season?" When things are a little busy in life and things are constantly coming at you – both the good things and the bad things, our vision can narrow and we might not notice some of the adjacent things going on that require some attention or even just noticing what we are learning or how we are growing in this season. Stepping back to get perspective is a leadership practice we can put in place in our life and leadership and that’s the focus of our leader’s question today. I’ve asked Lisa Lewis to join us in answering the question. The mindsets that we have as leaders that stand in the way of our leadershipAddressing the self-limiting leaders have on how and when they can step back Reflecting on the model of Jesus to step back and rest and care for self and othersHow to build in breaks into the different seasons of your life to care for the soulFinding rhythms of stepping back regularly or at times of transitionsChanging spaces changes perspectives so change it upResponding to resistance to stepping back with “regardless“ and “nevertheless”Recognizing the deeper need within yourself and others to gain perspective Links to Check Out: Send your question HERE – in writing or by recording Find out more about Lisa Lewis CoachingFollow Lisa on LinkedInCheck out Let Go Lean In PodcastEpisode 13: And People are SO differentLearn more about Annie
Starting Your New Team Off Right
Aug 2 2022
Starting Your New Team Off Right
My team is pretty new. How do I get a jumpstart on evaluating their capabilities? This honeymoon stage of a new team is a beautiful thing. A friend of mine recently started a new job and is living on cloud nine with excitement about the work, the role and her team. Everyone around her kept saying, “just wait a few months – you’ll see how much work there is to do.”  That makes me a little sad – I know the honeymoon stage has to end and we need to get into the nitty gritty of work, but I just don’t want to miss out on the good things that come in that season. Rather than just waiting for it to wear off, is there a way we can leverage that honeymoon season to establish some really great patterns and connections that make it better when we get to the hard stuff? I hope so . . . and the leader that offers us our question today is exploring the same thing. My first team that was new from the ground up was when I was managing a mental health clinic and we were awarded a grant that expanded our services significantly. I was a solo manager with one receptionist and we went to a team of five basically overnight.  After the frenzy of writing job descriptions and hiring and getting all the nuts and bolts in place it was my job to bring the team together. Now you have to remember this was pretty early in my leadership and I was pretty green. I think I saw the “task” or the job to be done as the most important thing we had to do. I organized, clarified, supervised – but was less effective at building team relationships. We stumbled our way through but I could have been a lot more intentional about investing in that honeymoon stage with more than tasks and structure. I wish I would have invested more in the relationships.  Now that I’ve gotten a little more seasoned, I would look back on that experience and offer myself three things: GET TO KNOW YOUR PEOPLE: Once you know what makes people tick – then you can help them design a quick win in those early stages which fuels their success and their willingness to stick it out later when the going gets tough. ADD A PERSONAL TOUCH: There is a role for friendship to play as we work together to achieve a purpose. Building that kind of relationship in that honeymoon stage would have really helped me when the honeymoon was over.  CELEBRATE THE CLARITY AND COMMUNICATION: I would also affirm my younger self for her ability to create clarity and communicate well. That really set the stage for my new team’s success. Research on onboarding your new team talks about three things in the first 90 days to succeed: build relationships, clear expectations and establish quick wins.  LINKS TO CHECK OUT: Send your question HERE – in writing or by recording Episode 9: Leading Your Friends First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up To Speed Faster and SmarterEmail me to ask about how you can use Myers Briggs, Clifton Strengths or Enneagram!Learn more about Annie
Leading Well While Grieving
Jul 26 2022
Leading Well While Grieving
"How do you lead well while grieving?" In leadership you will face a variety of different seasons. Sometimes those seasons can be rough, and we will have to walk through grief while also leading well. That’s the focus of our listener’s question today and I am joined by Dr. Michaela O’Donnell to explore how to do that well. Michaela speaks from her experience and research on meaningful work expressed in her book Make Work Matter: Your Guide to Meaningful Work in a Changing World. The book is for all of us who want to untangle ourselves from all the mantras about work that don’t quite work. Check out these highlights from our conversation: Managing loss and the risk of loss in the midst of adaptive change (5:32)Going through pain instead of around it without getting stuck in it (6:21)Understand the rhythms and name the layers of grief as you experience it (9:52)Collective grief to recalibrate to mission internally and the society at large (10:30)Learning how to lean in and let go in the face of grief (14:03) Three things you can do as a leader: Model effective capacity to manage grief in the midst of work (17:07)The capacity to enter into someone’s grief, but not take it all on (18:44)A team that knows how to go in and out of grief with each other (20:13) The capacity to grieve in tandem with hope (20:48)God that chose to weep with us and is present in our grief (24:55)The arc of things being better than they are now, of God making all things new (25:31)Hope leads to resilience and navigating through the grief of failure (25:55) LINKS TO CHECK OUT: Send your question HERE – in writing or by recording Learn more about Michaela O’Donnell and Max De Pree Center for LeadershipFollow Michaela on Instagram or LinkedInGet Michaela’s book: Make Work MatterConnect with our narrator Jeffrey Hardwick and A Transforming Word MinistriesEpisode 11: Stop the Stress, Please!Episode 3: When the Workload is Too MuchLearn more about Annie
Questions: To Ask or Not To Ask
Jul 19 2022
Questions: To Ask or Not To Ask
Questions are a great way to draw out the great potential with your people: to solve problems, to grow, to perform better. We can use questions as leaders to explore, to listen, to understand.  You’ve got to ask yourself, though, is there a time where questions are not useful?  My answer is definitely yes!   WHEN YOU ALREADY KNOW THE ANSWER These are the kinds of questions that start with “Have you thought about …” and then you offer the answer. Asking a question like this can feel condescending without meaning to. It may insinuate that your team member didn’t know what they needed to know. Your intention to empower and draw out the best in our team is not the impact you actually had with the question you asked. If you already know the answer, it’s best to just share it rather than ask a question. Sometimes as a leader your job is to offer a directive rather than use a question. WHEN YOU NEED TO GIVE ADVICE Advice as questions sounds something like, “Why don’t you just do THIS?” Advice disguised as questions can shut down the conversation rather than adding to it. For advice to be effective, it needs to be accepted or rejected by the receiver of the advice. When the conversation shifts from questions to advice, it’s best to signal your shift in the conversation. Ask if you can offer advice or simply say that you would like to share some insights from your own experience. If it’s advice and not a directive, then they have the option to take it or leave it. If it needs to be a directive, simply tell them what they need to do.  CORRECTING PERFORMANCE Rather than being direct and clarifying expectations, leaders can sometimes think it will soften the blow if they phrase their performance expectation as a question. It sounds something like, “Why did you finish the report like that?” It can accidentally put your people on the defensive feeling like they have to justify their behavior by answering the “why” of your question. You’re better off just clarifying what you need by saying something like, “Thanks for doing the report. I was looking for additional information about X. Can you add that in by Friday?” We will keep playing with questions in this podcast. They are a great tool to help you build that team you’ve always wanted and help them become the leaders they want to be. LINKS TO CHECK OUT: Send your question HERE – in writing or by recording Episode 1: Asking powerful questionsEpisode 10: Questions to help you make decisionsEpisode 20: Back pocket questions to save the dayLearn more about Annie
Making "No-Win" Decisions
Jul 12 2022
Making "No-Win" Decisions
The team is split on a decision we need to make. It’s a no-win situation. How can I approach making an “unpopular” decision? Before I dive into today’s question, let’s talk about what you could do to avoid or minimize those no-win situations. YOUR PRO TIP: Talk about how you will decide before you have to decide. For example: (1) Define what decisions can be made by individuals, the team as a whole and what goes to the leader. Talk through specific examples to see where they fall. (2) Open up the conversation with a qualifier – If you set the expectation of what you need from them at the beginning of the conversation, you’ll do less clean-up work. When you are about to make the unpopular decision – and you might not even be sure it’s the right decision, here’s a few tools to have ready in your toolbox: Tool 1: THE MEETING BEFORE THE MEETING You probably know which people on your team are going to be unhappy with the decision. Talk to them before you make the announcement to give them a heads up on the direction you are going OR use that conversation to get clear on their concerns so you can be prepared to manage the resistance that will come after the decision. Tool 2: EMPATHY AND UNDERSTANDING Sometimes people don’t need you to agree with them or decide their way – they can move forward if they feel understood.  Restate their position in your own words so they know you get their pointValidate ideas that you would consider even if the timing isn’t rightAffirm the value you place on their input even if you decide different Tool 3: ALIGNMENT NOT AGREEMENT So your third tool is to think of your goal as alignment (moving in the same direction) rather than agreement (they share my stance or opinion on this decision). What is it that they can align to and move forward even if they don’t agree? Try these two questions: I know this isn’t the decision you expected. How can I help you support the decision?What will you do going forward to make this decision work for you? The biggest mistake in making unpopular decisions is moving too quickly away from them to avoid the backlash.  LINKS TO CHECK OUT: Send your question HERE – in writing or by recording Meet our narrator, Eric Nevins of Halfway There Podcast Join Eric in Christian Podcasters Association today.Episode 27: Disagreements and Team CohesionEpisode 24: What If We Disagree On Direction?Episode 10: Questions to Make DecisionsBlog: Need a Team Decision-Making Framework?Learn more about Annie
What is a Moment of Holy Uselessness?
Jul 5 2022
What is a Moment of Holy Uselessness?
It’s a holiday week, so let’s take a little “vacation” break from answering a question. One thing I like about holidays is that they are like periods in a run-on sentence. A moment to pause and take a breath so you can say or write the next sentence more thoughtfully.  After traveling through a very busy June with a little guilt that I should have been balancing my life better, I took a few days on the lake with girlfriends. I was reading a magazine and the author of the article posed a question, “Can we afford a moment of holy uselessness?” I don’t really like the word uselessness so it caught my attention . . . then pairing it with holy? It did bring to mind the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10 when Martha is pulled away by the bustle of the kitchen and Mary chose to sit at Jesus' feet.  As I reflected on usefulness, I felt this release from my overbusy June and the guilt that I had been too much of a Martha. I’m confident I was in the right place and it was the right time to be in my Martha-moment. I’m also confident that I want to be in that simple space of learning how to receive from Jesus in this Mary-moment I am now entering.  Sometimes I need to be a Martha and sometimes I need to be a Mary. The secret for me is discerning which moment I am in.  Holy uselessness is those moments simply for no other purpose than to know Him. To RECEIVE. To hang out with Jesus. What moment are you in? I considered holy moments of uselessness where people in the bible simply RECEIVED. Maybe they will be an invitation to you like they were to me: NOTICING AND WANDERING – like Adam and Eve walking in the garden in the cool of the morning noticing the goodness that God has created. LISTENING AND SOAKING – like Mary responding to the invitation of Jesus to sit at his feet. EATING AND SLEEPING – like Elijah in his exhaustion and disappointment with God was led to the brook where the Spirit fed him, and he rested and then fed him and he rested. PONDERING – like Mary, the mother of Jesus as she heard great things and took them into her heart to think and meditate on them. EXPERIENCING – like the wedding party and the feast where Jesus performed his first miracle of turning water into wine so the crowd could experience celebration and joy. Isn’t it interesting that Jesus’ first miracle was “useless”? RECEIVING– like the lame man who could do nothing but receive from four friends who brought him to Jesus and tore the roof off to receive the healing and forgiveness of our savior. RELEASING – like Peter at the sea of Galilee with Jesus after his denial and Christ’s resurrection. Jesus asks Peter 3 times if he loves him. Each time releasing the doubt, the grief, the shame, the lies to receive truth and love. I’m going to practice some of these other moments and invite you to do the same. Let me know how it goes for you and what you notice! LINKS TO CHECK OUT: Send your question HERE – in writing or by recording Episode 11: Stop the Stress, Please!Episode 3: When the Workload is Too MuchLearn more about Annie
The Biggest Mistakes Leaders Make
Jun 28 2022
The Biggest Mistakes Leaders Make
What is a mistake you witness leaders making more frequently than others? We are bound to make mistakes as leaders. Some of those mistakes can turn into patterns. And these patterns can really get us in trouble – and make a mess of our teams. Well, let’s stop those patterns before they start in this discussion with Tim Winders, strategic coach, author and host of SeekGoCreate, a podcast and youTube interview show. From his own journey, Tim shares with us three principles of leadership he has observed over the years and the mistakes that emerge from the opposites of these three principles: Love, Faith, Peace. The “fix” for leadership mistakes is not more techniques but learning how to be a better human who demonstrates these qualities in every area of life and leadership. LOVE INSTEAD OF APATHY Considering others - schedule time to think about what your people need from youOffering timely praise (and correction)Balancing task-driven results with nurturing and caring for peopleStudy people who work with you and adjust your approach FAITH INSTEAD OF SELF-FOCUS Being a steward instead of “being in charge”Shift from the mindset that it’s all up to youRecognize there is more to life and leadership than youSee that you need to return what you steward better than you received it PEACE INSTEAD OF CREATING CHAOS Bring peace instead of creating chaos to create job security or dependance on youRemove roadblocks for your people and create an environment to succeedWhile there is true urgency, if you sense chaos step back and look at whyUnsubscribe, turn off notifications and instead build in quiet . . . or even silence!   LINKS TO CHECK OUT: Send your question HERE – in writing or by recording Find out more about Tim Winders and SeekGoCreateCheck out the book, Coach: A Story of Success RedefinedFind out more about Jeffrey Hardwick and A Transforming Word MinistriesEpisode 11: Stop the Stress, Please!Episode 3: When the Workload is Too MuchLearn more about Annie
Disagreements and Team Cohesion
Jun 21 2022
Disagreements and Team Cohesion
We are having a hard time getting through disagreements on the team. What can we do to move through disagreements and create more cohesion? Let’s take a deeper look at what could be the source of those team disagreements. Which of these is tripping up your team? Or if it’s more than one, where would you start? FACILITATING MEETINGS You will need a brave soul who can facilitate and guide the team through disagreements. Someone willing to learn how to navigate group dynamics to address things like: One person monopolizes the conversation, others don’t say a peep You start on topic, only to have the group get lost down some rabbit trailSomeone has a “pet” issue totally unrelated to the topic that derails the conversationMeetings feel unproductive and people are complaining about them A seasoned facilitator uses techniques to keep the group focused while accommodating new information that surfaces and redirecting when necessary for future discussion.  MAKING DECISIONS If you are seeing things like unproductive meetings, returning to the same topics or people lacking commitment later after they agreed to something, you may have a decision making process problem.   How are decisions made on your team? Who has the authority to make which kinds of decisions?Do people know when they have say-so and when they don’t? Do they know their roles and responsibilities even if they don’t agree?Do people have enough information on the decision to execute it? PERSONALITY AND RELATIONSHIPS If it’s a personality or relationship source of disagreement, you may still see conflicts surface. Maybe you’ll be fielding some frustrations directed toward individuals instead of the topic. People might start taking things too personally and shutting down.  What I am about to say is going to sound crazy simple – are you ready? Sometimes people just need to feel heard and validated instead of having their idea or comment challenged every time they speak up. Listening and validating perspective is not the same as agreeing – but it is like a master key that unlocks the gateway to understanding what people need to be able find agreement OR figure out how they will manage themselves if they can’t agree. Cohesion is built by this basic regard for each other in the process of disagreeing. It takes time to listen and seek to understand – but if you do it, you will probably move faster through the disagreement and have more cohesion. LINKS TO CHECK OUT: Send your question HERE – in writing or by recording Episode 24: What if we disagree on direction?Blog Series on MeetingsEpisode 1: Asking powerful questionsEpisode 10: Questions to help you make decisionsEpisode 20: Back pocket questions to save the dayLearn more about Annie
Retaining Creativity As Your Team Grows
Jun 14 2022
Retaining Creativity As Your Team Grows
Now that we are a bigger team we’ve become more like “silos”. I miss the creative thinking that came naturally to a smaller, adaptable team. What can I do to hold on to that creative thinking? There is something beautiful and wonderful about the creativity and innovation that necessarily emerges in the early growth stages of an organization if the vision is going to survive. As organizations grow they necessarily need to organize some of that chaos of those innovative approaches that are actually working to sustain growth.  So, can we have both structure and creative thinking? I vote yes! I’m an idealist and I always think there is a way – I will almost always answer yes to a “both / and” kind of question like what you are asking. Now, I don’t think it will happen naturally. I am not that much of an optimist. You need to be clear on what you want to take with you into the next season of growth and what you are willing to leave behind. Then, you need specific strategies you can experiment with to retain creativity. Here’s a few to try: CROSS FUNCTIONAL TEAMS – a cross section of the “silos” in your organization that come together for a specific initiative or to address a challenge that the whole organization is facing. Others start seeing the bigger picture and can share the load of growth of the whole, not just their area. A “BRAIN TRUST” – Put smart, passionate people in a room together, charge them with identifying and solving problems, and encourage them to honestly share ideas, opinions and criticisms – of the idea and not people! Facilitate it well and hold to ground rules so it doesn’t get off track.CLEARNESS COMMITTEE. It’s a quaker practice of convening a group of people to join you in seeking Holy Spirit guidance and engaging communal wisdom in a specific situation. The goal is for the participants to utilize listening, questions and discernment to draw out the inner wisdom you already possess but may not currently be aware of. Evaluate the experiment to see what worked and what didn’t. Be okay with failure. Challenge your failures so you don’t end up with a culture of “we tried that already and it didn’t work.” Keep experimenting with new things to find what works right for your team’s creativity.  LINKS TO CHECK OUT: Send your question HERE – in writing or by recording Check out past podcast episodesMore on Brain TrustMore on Clearness CommitteeScott Reavely and Aeirc Estep in City on a Hill PodcastLearn more about Annie
What If We Disagree with Direction?
Jun 7 2022
What If We Disagree with Direction?
How do I align myself with the leader of my team when I don’t quite agree with the decision or the direction we are going? Can good things come from disagreeing with someone? I imagine when you hear the word disagreement your brain goes to arguments, positioning, power plays or even broken relationships. We do live in a world that struggles with disagreeing in healthy ways. Often unity and agreeing are seen as the same. Is it possible to pursue unity with a desire for moving forward together and still make room for disagreements?  The word that catches my attention in your question is “align.” Agreement is having the same opinion about something. Alignment is about the positional relationship between things – an alliance or linkage for the purposes of working together. We need teams that are aligned – but not necessarily in agreement. Listen in for my own story of finding alignment. Here are a few things I learned:  Timing matters – I brought it up early before we moved to execution so there was room to make changes without having to stop the engine and redirect.Humility matters – I was honest and direct in bringing up my concerns but not oppositional. It gave my leader space to explore alternatives instead of digging in his heels.When the decision was final, I chose to follow – You see, I still respected aspects of the decision. I learned more about how the industry works in the process and found the linkages of alignment where I was able to work together.  How do YOU align? It’s a personal journey that you have to walk your own journey.  We don’t naturally hold space to engage in disagreement well. Respectful dialogue takes practice … something that we don’t give ourselves or others the grace to do very easily.  The kind of dialogue you're trying to do is about slowing down, asking questions, listening respectfully – all things we know we should do but are sometimes hard to do in the heat of the moment.  LINKS TO CHECK OUT: Send your question HERE – in writing or by recording Meet our narrator, Tim Winders of Seek, Go, Create PodcastCheck out Tim’s book Coach: A Story of Success Redefined Episode 16: Talk to Your Boss About BoundariesLearn more about Annie
Strengthening a Disconnected Board
May 31 2022
Strengthening a Disconnected Board
"The impact of the pandemic has left the board less connected to what we are doing in the organization. How can I strengthen relationships with our board of directors." The tension of many Executive Directors I talk with is the delicate balance of reporting to the board and leading their board. The board governs the organization and yet as Executive Director the health of the board is your responsibility.  Well, it’s not surprising that the pandemic took a toll on relationships! Crisis has a way of doing that and with the separateness and isolation we experienced in this particular crisis, you’re probably not alone in having to manage some of the relational impact on your board. WHERE HAS THE CONNECTION MOST SIGNIFICANTLY BEEN LOST? If they’re disconnected to the mission – they might not know all the things you are doing because you’ve been meeting less or not “in person” it’s easy to lose pace with what’s going on. It’s worth taking the time to bullseye what has been lost so that you can target that bullseye with how you want to re-connect.  WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT THE CONNECTION BEING LOST, WHAT DO YOU NEED FROM THEM? Once you have a “bullseye” it’s time to drill down and get specific on what it is that you really need from them. If you were to imagine a future where your board is “in it with you.” What would they be doing? How would it help you? What would they gain? If you were to ask them to do the one thing that is most important to you, what would it be? WHAT DO THEY NEED THAT THEY DON’T HAVE TODAY TO PURSUE THAT CONNECTION? If you’ve been thinking through the questions I’ve mentioned so far . . . and you see what’s disconnected and what it would be like to have the connection you want, then it’s time to ask yourself: What does your board need that they don’t have right now to strengthen that connection? INFORMATION: Do they have the information they need? IMPACT: How do they experience the realities of work you do and its impact?INSPIRATION: So, what’s the long game? How does that inspire your board members?   Hey, it could just be that your situation is a board of directors composed of friends and colleagues that came together to launch this ministry. It could just be simple relationship building strategies to get back to that space as friends and colleagues on a mission.  So, get on the phone, behind zoom or over coffee and ask a few questions. Find out where they are at and what they need because needs may have changed! You know me, I’m always a champion of questions. LINKS TO CHECK OUT: Send your question HERE – in writing or by recording Meet our narrator, Eric Nevins of Halfway There Podcast Join Eric in Christian Podcasters Association today.Episode 9: Leading Your FriendsLearn more about Annie
Impossible Deadlines
May 24 2022
Impossible Deadlines
Two employees left my team just before the deadline on a big project. How do I change my approach to meet the deadline? We’ve all been there when our carefully laid out plan goes awry because of circumstances outside our control. Our impulse is to dive in more and drive harder to reach the deadline.  I really like your perspective here about thinking through how you need to change your approach. If you just keep on the same trajectory with fewer people and try to keep it going in the same way that spells disaster. The project will be compromised and you will be compromised because you will be tired, frustrated, burnout and ready to quit.  Taking the time to step back and think about it or talk about it might be more helpful than any thoughts I might share. Let’s talk about three approaches: YOUR PROJECT APPROACH One option you have is to take on the tasks of the two people that left and just work harder. You might have some volunteers you can recruit or a temp staff you could hire. And, if this is the first time it’s ever happened for you then that might be a great one-time approach.  If it’s a worn down path, it’s time to rethink the project. Maybe the deadline can be moved, maybe the project can adapt or become more focused. In nonprofits we have big ideas – they really can be tempered and still be effective. It’s hard to let go of some of the “cool” ideas we might have but are really time consuming. YOUR PEOPLE APPROACH To narrow the scope of the project probably means having some influencing conversations with people involved in the project >> it might be other leaders in the organization. Board members. Volunteers. Communication is going to be a key to rethinking your people approach. Some people will be on-board and some won’t. You’re under a time constraint so you may not have the luxury of getting everyone on board.  If it’s a repeated pattern, as a leader, you might have to re-think your leadership approach. YOUR LEADERSHIP APPROACH Look at your own work patterns – is your personal drive driving your people crazy? Organizational patterns can be a reflection of the leader – and it cascades down in the organization. Look at your priorities. You probably have too many. Sharpen your focus on those things which are critical or core. Release those which are essential but maybe don’t have to happen right NOW and those which are supplemental – great ideas, but not critical to your mission. Putting priorities in those three buckets can help you bring more focus to the projects of your team and be helpful when you have to say “no” to a really good idea. LINKS TO CHECK OUT: Narrator, Beka Kopenski, host of Open Door PodcastSend your question HERE – in writing or by recording Annie’s Blog: Series on OverwhelmEpisode 3: When the Workload is Too MuchLearn more about Annie
Managing Resistance from Mandated Training
May 17 2022
Managing Resistance from Mandated Training
How do I bring out the best in an employee who has been mandated to a program of professional development — and they absolutely do not want to engage. This sounds like an “eat your vegetables” kind of moment. Am I right? When I first hear this question a knot in my stomach forms >> mandated training just goes against my grain. Yet, when I settle myself down a bit. I know of several situations where I am a firm believer in mandated training. Let me reflect on three of them . . .  Safety – You just can’t opt out of this kind of information that could save your life or the life of another person. In this case I would be an advocate for mandated training.Legal - Some churches and nonprofits can get themselves into a mess because they didn’t know what they were supposed to know. Mandating this kind of training may be the only way to emphasize its importance because it will never feel immediate until it’s too late.Skills development – This third one is probably a little “on the fence” for me. What if you have someone on the team who doesn’t have a particular skill that the job really needs. If their job is at risk and it's a critical skill you might need them to develop to do the job. Let’s say this third situation is your dilemma. What can you do to reduce resistance? WHAT IS THE “INVITATION” BEHIND THE MANDATE? As a leader we are often the instigators of decisions so we see it deeper. We’ve had more time to let it “soak” in. You might need to give them the same “on ramp” and time that you have had to see the need and soak in the impact. That’s the invitation behind the mandate. Max Yoder in Do Better Work says, “People don’t change when they are told to. They change when they're inspired and motivated to.” WHAT IS THE SOURCE OF THEIR RESISTANCE? If you do decide to dig into the resistance, you might find a key that you can unlock to bring out their best – even if it’s mandated training that they absolutely do not want to engage. Download a list of questions to brainstorm ways to get below the surface and gain insight into the resistance. UNDERSTAND THEIR LEARNING STYLE People do learn in different ways. I recently did a blog series on different ways we like to learn based on our Myers Briggs Personality Style. Some people are more hands on, others more academic, others learn better with others, still others might be interested in some kinds of content and disinterested in other kinds. Check out more in the Learning Styles Blog Series. If you know their learning style you could look for ways to supplement the mandated training or adjust the training in ways that might connect to how they like to learn.  SOMETIMES YOU CAN’T MANAGE RESISTANCE… Even if the conversation doesn’t lead to less resistance, you’ve still planted a seed that may have an impact even if it wasn’t readily received. The best you can do is keep the conversation going.  LINKS TO CHECK OUT: Send your question HERE – in writing or by recording Annie’s Blog: Learning Style SeriesEpisode 19: Recovering from MistakesLearn more about Annie
Back Pocket Questions to Save the Day
May 10 2022
Back Pocket Questions to Save the Day
If you ask profound questions … you’ll get profound answers. If you ask shallow questions … you’ll get shallow answers. If you ask no questions … you’ll get no answers at all.  ~Bobb Biehl Master Planning Group International Asking great questions is a #1 leadership skill to practice over and over and over.  Good Questions will save you from making mistakes. Good Questions will save you from offering advice when people aren’t ready.Good Questions will save the conversation when you discover hurt feelings, offenses created or resistance to your leadership direction.  The secret to these kinds of conversations is pacing … to slow down. As leaders we are often driving to the conclusion of a conversation – getting to a decision, establishing agreement, planning a next step, collecting the information to take the next step… While not every question needs to be profound, pacing conversations and slowing down with deeper more thoughtful questions when you notice some of those non-verbals: facial expressions, squirming in the seat, looking away or looking down, wringing hands, stunted responses like “I don’t know” or “I’m not sure” is your secret to great leadership.  If you’ve got a challenge, I have three options based on our quote today.  A: I can just let you talk, because you’re not looking for answers and questions aren’t what you need right now. You haven’t found your answers and if you follow my advice, what you do will likely be unsustainable for you and your success will drop significantly.  B: I can ask: “What do you want to do about that?” This narrower question timed right can still be a good question. Timed wrong and I might hear – “I don’t know” “I’m not sure” and those shallow answers are unhelpful.  C: I can ask more profound and expanding questions like: “What makes this difficult for you?” or “What is circling in our mind because of this situation?” or “What’s the message that you're telling yourself about this?” These kinds of questions tell you that I think you’re capable and I care about you The better you get at it, the better your conversations will be. LINKS TO CHECK OUT: Send your question HERE – in writing or by recording Annie’s Blog: Want to Be A Better Leader? Focus Your Conversations Episode 1: Asking Powerful Questions Episode 10: Questions to Help You Make DecisionsLearn more about Annie
Recovering From Mistakes
May 3 2022
Recovering From Mistakes
"I know everybody makes mistakes. How can I turn mistakes into opportunities for learning and growth?" We all make mistakes and sometimes they can be hard to recover from so we tuck them away someplace safe and hope we never make them again. You're probably noticing that it’s not a great strategy. Those mistakes haunt us unless we can turn them around and learn and grow from them. To answer your question I am joined today by Laura Padgett host of Livin' What You’re Given podcast and a multi-published, multi-awarded author and dancer. She holds a Master’s degree in storytelling through creative movement. Laura’s writing, storytelling and dancing is surrounded by the purpose and passion of helping others see their worth and value through the lens of Jesus. I think that lens is so important when we are reframing the mistakes in our life. Listen in to more of our discussion on: Finding hope in mistakes when we look through the lens of JesusRecognizing that “pobody’s nerfect”, Laura’s signature sayingHow perfectionism leads us to deny mistakes and fail to learn from them“If you can’t get real, you ain’t gonna heal”It’s difficult to grow under the umbrella of blame and shameLeaning into the Holy Spirit to reveal the baggage that might be holding us backSimple daily practice to accepting our humanity and the humanity of othersHold space in our life for the lessons from mistake to come to usDenial costs you a lesson. Pushing it down the road means it will happen againMaking amends after a mistake is for YOU not others or the relationshipAdmitting your mistakes ripples through teams creating grace and authenticity   A shout out to J. Rosemarie Francis who offered us her voice as narrator to today’s question. She is host of Tools of the Podcast Trade taking the confusion out of podcasting AND Solo Moms Talk, connecting stories of solo moms globally.  LINKS TO CHECK OUT: Send your question HERE – in writing or by recording Annie’s Blog: Mistakes: The Unexpected Leadership GiftLivin’ What You’re Given PodcastLaura’s Books: Dolores Like a River & Jesus in ShortsMore about Laura Padgett Follow her on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, TwitterLearn more about Annie
How Do You Hire the Right One?
Apr 26 2022
How Do You Hire the Right One?
Hiring the right person is really tough right now. What do I need to know to hire right and how do I find the right person? Finding the right person – especially as a small business or nonprofit – is challenging. You’re in a hurry to get that new candidate in place to do the job but it's slow.  WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW FIRST What are the qualifications and qualities for success…specifically? You need to know specifics – but not just big bucket words like, “organized” “detail-oriented” or “good communicator” or “great at building relationships”. Look at the job description and pick 3 skills to do the job that you can’t live withoutThen identify 3 culture qualities based on your org values or leadership competencies     What are your criteria for evaluating top 3 qualifications and culture qualities?  Develop your own system to prioritize resumes or sort out top candidates after the first round of interviews. Try a (1-5) rating system for each quality. See more HERE. You can’t evaluate the culture qualifications in the same way – they most likely won’t show up on the resume, but you could create a similar system of evaluation post interviews using a 3-point system or even be a pass/fail scale. How do your interview questions reflect the 3 Qualifications and 3 Culture Qualities? Ask interview questions to evaluate your 3 qualifications and 3 culture qualities. Your questions should look and sound like the qualifications or qualities you are hiring for. Click HERE for ideas to get you started. HOW DO YOU FIND THAT RIGHT CANDIDATE? Document or Talk Through Your Evaluation After you have completed all your interviews and gotten to your final selection or two or three. Document your comparison of candidates for a more thoughtful decision. You might be a verbal processor – so instead find someone talk through each candidate based on the top 3. Seek Wise Counsel Wise counsel is so important when you are on the fence.. Bring in a board member as a sounding boardAdd others in the organization as interviewersConsider hiring assessments to compare final candidatesSpend time praying in through with moments of quiet reflection     It was a broad question and it’s a broad answer – but narrow it down! What is most important to you for your next hiring decision?What do you think has been the sticking point for you in the past?What connected most on what could make a difference for your team?   Start with ONE thing you want to try with your next hiring decision. LINKS TO CHECK OUT: Send your question HERE – in writing or by recording Complete Show Notes HERELearn more about Meg Glesener and Letters from Home PodcastPatrick Lenccioni’s Hungry, Humble, SmartAnnie’s Blog: Hiring Right the First TimeLearn more about Annie
Can Competition Be Good for a Team?
Apr 19 2022
Can Competition Be Good for a Team?
What is motivating to one person isn’t motivating at all to another. And as a leader, you’ve probably figured out that not all incentives work the same.  “Some people on my team are motivated by competition. How could I nurture a little competition without compromising the health of the team?” You’ve done something differently with competition in how you are asking the question. It’s that positioning that is key to unlocking the answer to your question.  WHAT IS COMPETITION? Let’s start by talking about competition as a strength. That’s how you started the question – some of the people on your team are motivated by competition.  A compare and contrast way of seeing the worldMotivated by rising above some standard they can compare to others Looking for something they can measure themselves againstCheering on others to pursue the goalFueled by people who can push them to be better     LEVERAGING COMPETITION You might be concerned that competition can turn unhealthy in a team setting if you get caught up in comparing. Couldn’t it be a vicious cycle? Stop the cycle by anchoring into what success means to the whole team. The beauty of teams – and a healthy team culture is embracing and leveraging this strength for the good of the team. AND sometimes dialing it back so that other team strengths can come to the forefront. Call out other strengths that you see and figure out how you can leverage those in motivating the team.  EXPERIMENT WITH A LITTLE COMPETITION Experiment with an idea. Check in on it with the team about how it felt for them. Reflect on what you would do differently and based on the feedback how often you want to spice it up. Then, try it again. You can use the same approach - experiment, check in, reflect, try again – as you identify other motivations of the team so your only spice in your spice rack isn’t competition. Besides it will be more flavorful if you add in a variety of spice combinations. Thanks for the question! You’ve probably got more questions and you don’t have to settle on one. Because in leadership we’ve got plenty of questions as we live in that tension.  LINKS TO CHECK OUT: Send your question HERE – in writing or by recording Gallup’s CliftonStrengths Theme: CompetitionEpisode 13: And People are SO DifferentEpisode 9: Leading Your FriendsLearn more about Annie
Talk to Your Boss About Boundaries
Apr 12 2022
Talk to Your Boss About Boundaries
"I work for a boss who does not have good boundaries around work and time. He expects me to continually live in crisis mode...responding to his urgent requests. How do I set and keep boundaries in my workplace so I don't sacrifice my family or my own health?"   Our last episode Eric Bailey and Annie Perdue-Olson discuss the first part of the answer to this question. How do you know what your boundaries are for YOU? Setting purposeful boundaries is the starting point to dive into the second part of the question in this episode. Once you know your boundaries, how do you have the conversation you need to have with your manager? HOW DO YOU MANAGE THE DIFFERING PERCEPTIONS IN THE SITUATION? Perception guides our behavior NOT reality. Perception is not reality!What you say or do matters less than what they hear or what they feel.Shifts the onus of communication to the communicator – “if I need you to hear me right I need to communicate differently.”     HOW CAN YOU DOUBLE CHECK YOUR PERCEPTIONS? Most boundaries are perceived expectations – check in to see if they are trueClarify what they expect and co-design good boundaries with them.As a boss, check on what implied rules you might be communicating.Making demands creates defensiveness; curious questions disarms them     HOW DO YOU MANAGE THE EMOTION AMIDST THE CONVERSATION? Recognize your physiological symptoms that serve as clues.Breathe, ask yourself a difficult question to re-engage your executive thinking function.Tell them the conversation is difficult for you to encourage empathy.Assume they have your best interest in mind – the “how” might be different.Watch for their physiological signs and pause, check in and make them feel safe again.     The most amazing feeling is when we feel completely and totally understood by another person. Why don’t we spend more time trying to give that experience to others? It doesn’t mean you have to agree. It’s this space where you acknowledge you HEARD them. It releases all kinds of oxytocin in our brain that can shift the conversation.  LINKS TO CHECK OUT: Send your question HERE – in writing or by recording Learn more about Eric BaileyFollow Eric on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook or TwitterCheck out the Cure for Stupidity: Using Brain Science to Explain Irrational Behavior at WorkLearn more about Annie
Purposeful Boundaries at Work
Apr 5 2022
Purposeful Boundaries at Work
"I work for a boss who does not have good boundaries around work and time. He expects me to continually live in crisis mode...responding to his urgent requests. How do I set and keep boundaries in my workplace so I don't sacrifice my family or my own health?"   My guess is that this kind of situation is all too common. Listen in to the session with Eric Bailey, best selling author and president of Bailey Strategic Innovation Group. His book, Cure for Stupidity: Using Brain Science to Explain Irrational Behavior at Work draws on a variety of personal experiences and is in depth understanding of brain science to help us understand what drives us nuts with the people around us and their common sense errors and irrational decisions. Then, how we can break through those common communication barriers to improve every relationship in our life. Without boundaries and barriers people don’t have the chance to recharge themselves which makes the work harder to do creating a downward spiral. “The only people that will remember your long hours, remember the late nights, remember the extended trips are your family. It’s not your boss. It’s not your company. It’s not your co-workers. It’s your family.” ~Eric Bailey   How do you know what your boundaries should be? Challenge the ambiguous concepts we hold onto about when we workIdentify what you need to protect in your time, energy, spaceGet clear on what is restful, recovery time for you and hold it sacred   What helps people stick to their boundaries? Clarify perceptions of what YOU THINK your boss wants. Ask about expectations – move from perceptions to clearly stated expectations.Know the difference between your desire and your expectations Beware of multi-tasking and the illusion of productivity   Two checking questions for you: What do I truly want out of this moment, conversion, work, relationship…If that is what I truly want, how would I behave right now? If it’s a mismatch and you want congruence, you can change behaviors or change what you want. Then, once you get clear on boundaries that are purposeful and congruent for you . . . it’s time for a boundaries chat with your boss. Next episode Eric will give us more guidance on how to have that conversion.   Links to check out: Send your question HERE – in writing or by recording Learn more about Eric BaileyFollow Eric on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook or TwitterCheck out the Cure for Stupidity: Using Brain Science to Explain Irrational Behavior at WorkLearn more about Annie
Invite a New Leader to Hire a Coach
Mar 29 2022
Invite a New Leader to Hire a Coach
Every leader I am talking to today is having challenges finding and hiring the right people. It’s tight right now and there are people looking, but you’ve got to work to find them. What if you spend all that time hiring . . . and it doesn’t work out!! Heart breaking, right?!! Gallup found only 12% of employees strongly agree they received good onboarding. That means 88% don't believe their organizations do a great job of onboarding.Research by Brandon Hall Group found strong onboarding improves new hire retention by 82 percent and productivity by over 70 percent.Retention and turnover are among the biggest challenges you will face in 2022. Now that I’ve got you sufficiently motivated about this leader’s questions. Let’s find out what they are asking … "I really want this new leader on my team to start off right. How do I invite him to meet with a coach as part of his onboarding process without making it sound like I don't believe in him to do the job?" You’re onto something here…onboarding is so much more than just making sure they have a computer and read the policy manual. Foundational to a new leader’s success is their ability to start off on the right foot. First impressions really matter. Those first 100 days are critical to building relationships and defining success. You want to help that new leader succeed . . . I love that you are using the word “invite”. When it comes to coaching you can’t require it or demand it. The process requires engagement – so they have to want it.  You're worried that if you extend the invitation, it might sound like you think they don’t have what it takes to do the job. When, in fact, the opposite is true.  What about something like this? "You're doing great in this new role. I have really found that my coach has been a great sounding board especially when I am facing new territory. I am wondering if you would like to have the same resource in the next few months as you take the reins in this role. If you're up for it, I'd love to offer you some sessions with a coach. What are your thoughts?" Before you launch into the conversation you might want to have some idea on the process. You want to be prepared if they say – “YES! I’d love a coach.” But what if they hesitate . . . maybe they’ve had a bad experience, or don’t feel like it’s the right time. You might hit some resistance.  “I’ve got so much to do, I don’t know if I have the time”“Do you have concerns about me that you would like to address?”“I don’t think I need a coach to get started right.”   Everybody learns and grows differently. As a leader you get to ask questions to uncover what they need to succeed!  Links to check out: Send your question HERE – in writing or by recording This episode’s question narrated by Jennifer Uren of This Mom Knows PodcastEpisode 1: Asking Powerful QuestionsEpisode 12: Setting A Leader Up for SuccessEpisode 5: Write a Job Description that Fits Right Onboarding: When the Work of Employee Retention Begins Start the New Job RightLearn more about Annie