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Balancing Magnetism and Connection

I’ve been thinking lately about John Maxwell’s Law of Magnetism from The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership in relationship to working for inclusion. This law states that “who you are is who you attract.”

When it comes to creating inclusive groups and workplaces, sometimes we have to look past the obvious features of a person, features that might highlight differences, and find the features we have in common, things like values, goals, and mission.

When building a team, John Maxwell recommends finding people who are “like-valued” but with different strengths. That means being more intentional than simply looking at the people you are naturally drawn to.

I first started practicing this about 6 years ago. As an educator, I am frequently evaluated by students and administrators. For many years, my student evaluations consistently showed about 10% of my students LOVED me, 10% HATED me, and the other 80% liked me.

For years, I assumed it was an expression of the students’ personal preferences, but then I learned John Maxwell’s Law of Connection and realized it was my responsibility to connect with students who weren’t naturally drawn to my teaching style.

When I started intentionally reaching out to students who held back and seemed aloof, the change was remarkable. It created a new way of relating to my students (and my evaluation numbers improved, too!).

What amazed me was how little effort it took. All I did was greet the aloof students by name when they came into the classroom. That little action let them know I saw them and I knew them, that they were as important to me as any of the other students.

If you’re ready for a little help improving the relationships around you, let’s talk! You’ll be surprised how impactful little things can be!

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The First Step to a Great 2020

By the time I graduated from high school, I had a clear vision for my career; I knew I wanted to live and work in another country. I pursued an education in teaching English as a second language so that I could be paid to live in other countries.

At the age of 29, when I moved to South Korea, I achieved my goal!

But what was next?

In my early 30s, I wandered from one job to another, simply following the opportunities that presented themselves. In my mid-30s, I finally developed a new vision for my career that has propelled me ever since.

C. S. Lewis said, “You are never too old to set a new goal or to dream a new dream.”

What are you dreaming for your life today? If you are wandering, like I was, I invite you to join me for a new study to finish out 2019 and start 2020 – a new decade! – with a purpose and direction that can propel you forward for the next 10 years and beyond!

Details and register at https://troycommunications.net/product/preparing-for-a-great-2020/

Cultural Intelligence, Leadership, Our Blog

A Sure Path to Influence

By Tasha M. Troy

One of the key dimensions of culture is the “relationship-oriented / task-oriented” continuum.  As a product of American culture, and as an element of my personality, I began my career highly task-oriented.  I was focused on first, gaining the credentials and education necessary to reach my goals and second, getting as much information into my students as I could.

When I moved to South Korea, I had to learn a new method of operation.  In order to teach well, I had to build relationships with my students first.  It was in that season that I developed a greater appreciation for the people around me – their strengths, opinions, and values.

Today, I’d like to share a mini-lesson from my weekly Professional Development Essentials class on Developing a Greater Appreciation for Others.

In this mini-lesson, I made a reference to an earlier blog article I wrote last year.  Here is a link to that article.

Does Leadership Have to Be Lonely?

Leadership, Our Blog

The Most Difficult Person to Lead (part 2)

by Tasha M. Troy

I tend to be an independent learner and worker.  I love to shut the door and “get into the zone” with a project.

However, sometimes it’s hard for me to include others in my work.  They don’t move at my pace, and sometimes they interrupt my train of thought.

As I continue to develop my own leadership skills, this is an area of growth for me.

In his book Leadership Gold, John Maxwell gives us four keys to leading yourself well.  These keys are

  • learn followership,
  • develop self-discipline,
  • practice patience, and
  • seek accountability.

 

What stands out to me today is how many of these points involve other people in leading myself.  In my last article, The Most Difficult Person to Lead, I shared the first two keys with you, and now here are the last two.

 

 The third key is to practice patience.

Practicing patience is sometimes a big challenge for me. I am very task-oriented and results-oriented, and I get impatient with the process of developing those good habits that will lead to success.  I’m not often satisfied with the incremental improvements that I’m working towards. However, if we can practice patience and keep at our goals day by day, even if it’s a small step, small steps over time will get you to where you’re going.

 

The fourth key is to seek accountability.

This has been a key for me in the last couple years as I’ve been pursuing very challenging goals.  I’ve always been a pretty independent thinker, and sometimes it’s pretty humbling to sit back, take advice, listen to criticism. I always think I’m teachable, but when I am directly criticized, I find how unteachable I might actually be.

I still don’t always react well to criticism, but I’ve learned the value of listening to other perspectives and trying to see myself through other people’s eyes.  I’ve been able to connect with a number of people who help keep me accountable for my goals.  Now that I’m working on some of these daily goals like getting up at a certain time and developing certain habits that will help me be more successful, I’ve developed some accountability partnerships with friends and colleagues so that it keeps me on track to do things that I wouldn’t normally wantto do but I know that will lead to long term goals.

 

So those are the four keys that John gives: learn followership, develop self-discipline, practice patience, and seek accountability. They sound so simple, but don’t be fooled – simple actions can have powerful results.

Where do you need to grow? In what areas do you feel like you need to become more than you are today?  Could it be in the area of self-discipline? Could it be in the area of followership or developing patience? Who is there in your life who could help you become by becoming an accountability partner?  These are some things to consider.

 

Take It Deeper

Which of these areas is a challenge for you?  Do you have a hard time “trusting the process”?  Or do you need to find an accountability partner to help you move forward?  Good news – you can always start right where you are.

I know that sometimes it’s hard to know exactly where to start.

If you would like to go deeper on this topic, I offer an ongoing live online course on personal and professional development:  Professional Development Essentials.   We meet online every Monday night to discuss different elements of personal and professional growth and challenge each other to apply what we’ve learned.  Let me know if you’d like to experience one lesson for free (tmtroy@troycommunications.net)!

If you enjoyed this article and would like to receive these monthly posts in your inbox, you can subscribe at Troy Communications Blog.

 

 

Leadership, Our Blog

A Process for Greater Influence

By Tasha M. Troy

In the past 3 years, my level of influence has increased dramatically.

As a trainer in a professional development program at a university, I am often in a unique position of bringing a group together to create a learning community.  Where most workplace teams remain largely intact for long periods of time, every 4-6 months, I’m bringing a “team” together.

For many years, I had noticed – and accepted – that some students naturally connected with me and a small minority simply didn’t.  Whether it was a matter of personality difference, unmet expectations, or my teaching style that turned them off, I never knew.  It was a small enough minority (1 – 2 people in each class) that I decided not to worry about it.  I accepted that not everyone would “click” with me.

However, when I started studying leadership three years ago, I realized that, as the leader of the class, it was my responsibility to connect with the students, not the other way around.  Since that time, I have been intentional about building relationships and rapport with those students and clients who are not naturally drawn to my personality or teaching style – with dramatic effect.

 

The Five Levels of Leadership

One way to explain the changes I have experienced is to look at the Five Levels of Leadership as described by John Maxwell in his book Developing the Leader within You 2.0.  These are Position, Permission, Productivity, People Development, and Pinnacle.

Position (Rights) – As the instructor of the course, I have a certain position and authority.  It is reasonable to expect that my students and clients will participate in class activities and will complete assignments on time.  This was the level that I operated at for most of my teaching career.  I had a measure of effectiveness, but it was limited when students weren’t naturally drawn to my personality and teaching style, and this caused me trouble at times.

Permission (Relationships) – Especially now, because I work with adult professionals, I have found that depending upon my position as instructor is often not enough to ensure participants get everything they can out of the training.  I have to make a personal connection with each individual, and they have to trust that I have their best interest in mind.

One of the key things I had to change to truly be at this level of leadership was intentionally connecting with each individual student.  Today, when my co-trainers sometimes find they have little influence with any particular student, I find I have considerable rapport because of those intentional connections.

Production (Results) – This is the level where my competence in my content area must be demonstrated and passed on.  I have long been open about sharing my learning experiences with my students; I feel it helps them see that I understand the struggles they are facing, that I relate to their circumstances.  I also often talk about developing communication skills as an introvert, which many of my students are.

However, about 5 years ago, one of my students accused me of not practicing what I was teaching, which are the communication skills needed in a diverse workplace.  This caused me to reflect and examine whether I was living fully into my content or not.  It set me on a path of personal learning and development that gave me greater credibility in teaching these skills.

Today, I am very intentional about not only living what I teach but also increasing my knowledge, understanding, and skill in my content area.  As I model good communication behaviors, my students are better able to learn.

This is also the level at which my collection of students can become a learning community, a team who supports each other, even when their individual goals are different.   As I build rapport with the individuals (on level 2), I learn about their strengths and weaknesses, which enables me to plan class activities that help individuals shine in their strengths and learn to develop their weaknesses in a safe environment.  I often remind my students that we all have different strengths and weaknesses, and that we can function better together than individually.

People Development (Reproduction) – Because I teach in personal and professional development programs, my number one goal is to get to the point where my influence can help my students become the best versions of themselves, in particular in their communication skills, but also in their people skills.

Without the rapport I build with my students at levels two and three, I would not be able to move to the fourth level of leadership.  When my students and clients start experiencing success in small ways, I am able to move to the fourth level of leadership.  I try to structure my courses to give participants a quick “win” in order to establish myself at this level.  Then, as the course continues, I have greater influence and can coach them into greater successes.

Pinnacle (Respect) – I am not yet fully at this level of leadership, but it is my goal to positively impact an ever-widening circle of influence.  With each client I coach to reach their goal, with each student who becomes a more effective communicator, I move a step closer to this level.

 

 

Take It Deeper

I don’t know where you are in your leadership development journey, but I know that there is always more for you to reach for.  Yes, moving to higher levels of leadership will cost you in some ways, but it will pay you back richly for everything you invest.

Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start.  If you would like to go deeper on this topic, I hold free exploratory coaching sessions each week.  You can register online at Troy Communications or email me to schedule an appointment at TMTroy@TroyCommunications.Net

If you enjoyed this article and would like to receive these monthly posts in your inbox, you can subscribe at Troy Communications Blog.