We’ve all heard people we work with say, “I’m going to PT.” That’s when they pause from work and use their allotted time to do a workout of some sort. There are many squadrons that allow PT during the duty day, but some members are able to workout individually. After all, it is part of the mission, we must include it in our mission time, right? Unfortunately, there are some that aren’t allowed time during the duty day. (sorry folks)
I typically have physical fitness time three days a week if I’m able to finish up and head out of the office. Lately, I haven’t done it as much as I’d like to, but that’s okay. Some days are busier than others and the work has to be done. This has been the normal for the last 7 years of my career. Although, I’ve done it as a squadron during the duty day, as an individual during my lunch break, and sometimes at the end of the duty day when I’m finished with my work.
Many other people take PT time during the duty day as an individual or with their office or squadron. It’s great! We need to be fit, right? It’s a part of our mission! It’s necessary that we are able to invest in our fitness wellness.
Today, I finished up what I needed to and since it was my ‘PT’ day, I left the office to get a run in. That’s my go to workout. I love running! I got home to change into my gear and thought to myself, “I ran Monday, what I really need is mental time.” I felt I needed time to gather my thoughts and emotions. Have you ever felt that you just needed time to think? It was one of those moments.
This sparked another thought. “What if I needed spiritual time? What if I needed social time?” Why is it always PT time and not other parts of resiliency? Perhaps we can, but we just need to be deliberate about it. And I’m not talking about whatever classes your base offers that require you to sit and watch a powerpoint. That’s extremely formal and almost seems superficial.
I’ve never heard anyone say, “I’m going to mental, spiritual or social time,” during the day and I believe it’s because our culture has bred the idea that it’s only about PT during this ‘free time.’
“Cultivate resilience.” – Brene Brown
I want to challenge you, as you use your ‘PT’ time and think about the other areas of resiliency that we typically don’t set time aside for like we do PT. We all need to be at the top of our game and to be well rounded we need to build our strength in our physical, social, mental and spiritual areas. So if you are good in your PT area for that time, think about other areas you could spend time on in order to build up your resiliency. After all, isn’t resiliency a part of the mission too?
Let’s not neglect the other areas of resiliency just because the standard has been taking that specific time for PT only. If we want stronger team members, we need to change how we look at PT ‘time’ and make it ‘Resiliency Time’ so you can focus on whatever area you feel you need that day or that week. Maybe you need to work on more than one area during that time. Doing PT is great for PT, but let’s not forget the other areas that make us resilient too! The cultured approach has to be challenged and perhaps, this is how we build a culture of resilient team members: by changing how we think about that ‘free time’ we get in the week to ‘work out.’
One of my Twitter followers shared a quote the other day by Napoleon Bonaparte that says, “Leaders are dealers in hope.” It even had a nice picture with it. I thought quite a bit on that quote and I have to respectfully disagree. Leaders are actually not dealers in hope at all.
Hope can be defined as wishful thinking. A feeling or an expectation of a desired outcome. Though the idea sounds good, it can be quite dangerous to give someone hope when there is no data to back it up. It can also be a hinderance when you hope someone gets something done and then they don’t do it.
Hope involves too many what ifs. You wouldn’t lead your team with what ifs, would you? I wouldn’t.
Risk is similar to hope. It’s an uncertainty, but risk can typically be measured. Hope is not measurable.
“Hope is not a sustainable strategy.” – S. Chris Edmonds, The Culture Engine
We can’t create a strategy with hope as our driving fuel. We don’t have the time, resources, or manpower to take chances on such outcomes. Putting your strategy on hope is foolish and a gamble. Leaders do not gamble outcomes nor do they gamble their team’s future. People are too valuable for wishful thinking or planning.
“Make the goal expectations specific, measurable and trackable.” – S. Chris Edmonds, The Culture Engine
Leaders do, however deal with goal expectations that are specific, measurable and trackable for the positive growth of their team, organization and culture. Don’t give your team a false sense of outcomes. We need to give them clear visions(goals). If you gave someone hope and that hope didn’t play out like you expected, what would that do to the trust they have in you? Give people visions(goals) that are reachable and realistic in order to help them be better, do better and know better. At least that way, if things fail, the path is trackable to know where things went wrong.
Failing the mission. Team disfunction. Loss of resources, time, money, and people. These are all outcomes when leading. It’s scary to step into the role of a leader. Once you have decided to care for others the people and the mission become your responsibility. It’s terrifying knowing that the decisions you make could hinder the mission or the people around you. And if everything does go south, all fingers could point to you.
There is risk in leading, but that’s what makes a leader a leader. They understand things may not always work out and that the outcome is never guaranteed. Leaders take on the risk in order to achieve success, but they make decisions using their knowledge and experienced combined with the team’s knowledge and experience to make wise decisions. Leveraging the power of the team is necessary to reduce the risk. Leaders do this constantly and consistently.
Bottom line, it’s going to be scary. It’s going to be challenging and it’s going to be tough. There is no avoiding it. The greatest part about risk is that when it works right everybody wins! Innovation requires risk and without leaders pushing the boundaries of the line between failure and success innovation will not occur.
There is purpose to why we spend so much time developing our leadership abilities. The more prepared we are the higher chance we have at succeeding. The approach to risk always has the same liabilities, but the action to challenge it gets easier every time you take risk. It’ll never feel perfect or guaranteed, but the fear, the uncertainty goes away because you know it has to happen. People need to grow and the mission needs to be accomplished. We can’t halt everything just because we have to face a decision with risk.
Keep in mind risk will come in many forms, but don’t approach it alone. Use your team, the mission and the values that guide the culture to overcome it.
We all know a bad leader from a good one. It’s like a superpower. We just know. How well a leader leads can sometimes hinder the culture of the organization and or performance of the team.
How often do we call out what leaders are doing wrong? How do we know what to look for? It’s tough to identify every detail leaders do wrong, but there are some more common than others.
As a leader you have to evaluate how you’re leading. The more trust the team has the stronger the team is. If you were to fall, you would want someone there to pick you up, right? If you reach your hand out, would your team be there to lift you up? A successful team works together and you are a part of that team. Here are what I feel are five ways you could be failing as a leader.
You devalue your team members. Every team is diverse to some capacity. Each person brings a set of skills and experience to the table. A bad leader overlooks talent and experience and undervalues their team members. Teams are not things. They are people. You can’t see people as objects. They hold a different value. They are the life force of any organization. Never underestimate the power of your team. Diversity is a great team asset. Teams work best when they are used to the best of their abilities. A great leader values the abilities of their team members.
It’s your way and only your way. This aligns with the value of the team. Plain and simple, not every decision has to be made from you nor does every idea have to generate from you. Part of a leader’s job is to grow others into leading. You can’t do that when you’re the only person making decisions or providing ideas. You have to allow others to contribute as well. If you don’t use your team you will end up losing your team. A great leader provides the opportunity for others to contribute.
You don’t listen. Communication is a two way street. Your team members may have great ideas and solutions. Sometimes the best solutions come from those around you, but you’ve got to listen. Listening is crucial to interacting with your team. Someone may be having a bad day and it’s your responsibility as a leader to help them bounce back. Listening isn’t just an audible action, it’s also a visionary action. Body language, moods and performance can be seen and interpreted. You’ve got to listen to what others are saying even when they’re not actually saying it. Leaders listen.
You’re looking out for yourself above others. Nothing disconnects a leader more as to when they’re only looking out for their self. Being a leader is putting others first. Leaders give team members the glory and the recognition. Your team won’t succeed if you only look after yourself. Leaders look out and help their team rise to success.
You don’t lead by example. One the most powerful ways to lead is to lead by example. If you enforce a standard for the team, but you’re not following it, then it just shows that you are above the standard and them. Just like a child mimicking their parent, a team will mimic their leader. What you do, they will do. What you tolerate becomes the normal. If you have bad habits, they will adopt them because that’s the culture you have allowed to take over. Before you expect others to act the set standards be sure that you are doing so as well. Leaders lead by example.
I’m a millennial and all of the stereotypes you hear about us being entitled, selfish, lazy, uninspired is quite well, I guess you could say “doesn’t apply to all.” Maybe it does apply to some millennials. Maybe even most, but could it apply to other generations? Yes, it could.
I believe millennials want to see purpose in what they’re being told to do. They want to remove the “do more with less” mentality. Why is it always more with less? Why can’t it be do what’s possible with what you have?
Do millennials question what they do? I believe so. I certainly do, but it’s not to avoid doing it. It’s to question why it’s done this way when perhaps another way could be better. Easier. More resourceful. I mean, isn’t that what innovation is about? After all, didn’t that mentality birth the technology boom?
My work ethic is found on the same values of many previous generations. I believe in working hard for the things I want and deserve. I believe in contributing. The world doesn’t owe me anything. I owe it. Why? Because we were never born to work individually. We were born to thrive as a team and with that, my attitude, my purpose is to help others be better, do better and know better. Life isn’t about me. It happens because of me and selfishness is not a normal operation of our hearts. It’s created and cultured from people who think of only themselves first. A toxic way to live. My children will learn to put others first even when others’ desire is to take, take, take. When my eulogy is read I will not be known as the dude that only thought about himself above others. What a horrible way to be remembered, but yet, there are those who choose to live that way.
What does this have to do with millennials? Perhaps we’ve been trying to contain them into a society that doesn’t want change. A culture content with how things are. Perhaps the millennials have it right and the rest of the world has it wrong. We’ve evolved this far. Why stop here? Millennials are the future leaders. Regardless if you think they feel entitled, you have to lead them. YOU have to be selfless and help develop them to be successful when they do transition into leading. When they question things, educate them. When they have ideas, listen to them. When they challenge the status quo, learn from a viewpoint that isn’t yours. Use their perspective and strengths to mold them into leaders.
So we have some, maybe most, that really do want bean bags in the office and free stuff, but their capability is no different than any other generation. I’m not trying to justify those that really do act selfishly and feel entitled, but there are some us that don’t act in ‘that’ way.
Leadership is universal. It applies to every generation and no matter what a generation is like, leadership could be the answer to moving them forward. So lead well.