37 episodes

A servant leadership podcast!

Leadership Insight with Rising Sun Rising Sun Consultants

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 8 Ratings

A servant leadership podcast!

    Episode 36 - No, Thank You

    Episode 36 - No, Thank You

    • 15 min
    Episode 35 – Allow Me

    Episode 35 – Allow Me

    When it comes to building a healthy culture, there is no greater or more impactful example of culture than that of leadership.   
    Research continues to show that many of the world’s most profitable companies attribute a great deal of their success to their organizational culture.  At the forefront of these organizations are leaders who actively, regularly, and genuinely display the type of behavior desired for all of its members.   
    Some leaders equate their high visibility to constantly being put under the microscope.  They describe the dynamic as having a small margin for error as the world dissects their every move.   
    Conversely, some leaders capitalize on such heightened visibility as an opportunity to introduce or reiterate their culture.  Unlike the first group, they show less signs of stress because they are energized by the culture in place and have integrated it into their daily leadership.  Leading with their culture as a guide is not a burdensome task; it’s simply the norm.   
    Leaders who serve as role models set the tone by setting the example.  They aren’t always the most charismatic or outgoing leaders; they just say or do things they feel will have an impact.  And they say and do these things often.   
    Many workers are skeptical when it comes to the intentions of leaders.  The aforementioned charismatic or outgoing leaders sometimes do more to hurt their ability to be impactful than to help it.  Workers don’t necessarily see culture champions, but rather self-serving individuals who enjoy the spotlight or the grand stage of leadership.   
    Other leaders show that it’s possible to be less flamboyant or outspoken, but just as effective.  They may not do anything outrageous, but they are doing many of the small things that easily resonate with followers.  As a result, they establish trust and put to bed the skepticism other leaders struggle to overcome.  
    As employees begin to see this behavior as normal and genuine, similar behavior starts to permeate throughout the organization.  What was witnessed at the top of the organization has now worked its way down.  
    Leaders have a choice.  They can leave the importance of culture and values to the rest of the organization and simply go about their day.  Or, they can be the biggest and brightest example of culture within their organization.  One may or may not produce results.  The other will surely have an impact. 

    • 22 min
    Episode 34 - I'm Sorry I Asked

    Episode 34 - I'm Sorry I Asked

    Employee surveys can be a great source of information.  They can provide an intimate perspective of certain facets of the organization which may go unseen or unexperienced by leadership.  However, sometimes organizations are not prepared for the insight they receive.  They may feel that certain initiatives or decisions should be met with affirmation and positive accolades, only to find out that part of the employee population feels differently.   
    What do we do now? 
    Some organizations view the insight as a humbling experience and use it as an opportunity to improve.  They may reach out to specific individuals and ask clarifying questions or seek additional information.  They may pull project teams back together to discuss the feedback and determine how best to utilize it in future endeavors.  While it’s no guarantee that leadership will make changes (nor should they unless they determine it’s appropriate to do so), employees have visual and concrete evidence that their voices were heard.  
    Other organizations opt to refute or outright ignore the information.  They make excuses for the information, challenge the source(s), or downplay the insight as insignificant complaining from a few select or disgruntled employees.   
    This begs the question, why ask for the information in the first place?  
    It seems as though some organizations are comfortable with the message that simply executing a survey sends.  Hey, we asked.  Many organizations don’t do that much. 
    The message which goes unrecognized, however, is the one that tells employees their insights are wrong or just don’t matter.  If the survey is conducted annually, the exercise is reduced to an irrelevant tradition which ends up eliciting less insight each year and more confusion over why the organization continues to ask for it. 
    Such organizations need to ask themselves, where is this frustration or inactivity coming from?  Is the survey simply a means of checking a box?  Is there a denial (or directive) in place which says things are fine the way they are?  Does leadership not want to admit they got something wrong?   
    It’s hard to acknowledge our mistakes.  It’s even harder when there are high expectations for making as few of them as possible.  However, the hardest thing to overcome is a stubborn or inflexible culture.  Effective leaders and organizations don’t necessarily like to fail or admit they got it wrong.  Yet, the more they acknowledge and learn from what they did wrong, the more they eventually start to get right.   
    Our advice to leaders is to recognize that there is still work to be done after the survey is sent and the feedback subsequently collected.  Be deliberate and intentional about discussing what the feedback is or isn’t telling you.  Be curious and seek out answers to fill in the gaps.  Give employees the opportunity to have a voice and then show them that their insight is both appreciated and valuable. 
    If you’re only willing to accept certain answers to your questions, you may want to reconsider asking them.  

    Episode 33 - Crawl Before You Walk

    Episode 33 - Crawl Before You Walk

    John Maxwell said “A leader is great, not because of his or her power, but because of his or her ability to empower others.” 
    All too often, organizations are held hostage by their own people. 
    What does that mean?      
    We’re so glad you asked.   
    Being held hostage by your people is a dynamic that explains leaders who do more to withhold knowledge and experience than to share it with others.  When these leaders leave for new opportunities, the organization is left scrambling to recreate that knowledge or experience from scratch.  
    As we’ve discussed in the past, servant leadership is coaching style of leadership which emphasizes the need to develop an organization’s greatest resource – its people.  A big part of coaching and servant leadership overall is delegation.  And while some leaders might indicate that delegation is a prominent component in their leadership, we would challenge everyone to assess just how well they delegate.   
    Much of the research on delegation shows us that the practice is carried out with either the wrong intentions or with improper execution.  A task or responsibility may simply be passed off with no real intent to grow or develop the employee.  Additionally, the leader may assign a new responsibility, but then fail to adequately follow up or check in with the employee in order to gauge progress and address challenges.  In both cases, the employee is left feeling frustrated by either a task that was pawned off on them or by the lack of support given with which to complete the task.   
    Delegation can be a great way to ensure an organization is raising up its next set of leaders in order to reduce the “hostage effect.”  However, if not performed correctly, it could also exacerbate the effect through the risk of not only losing leaders, but high performers and high potential people as well.   
    Empowerment is a great leadership buzzword; but to be effective; it requires more than a simple transfer of power.  It requires a leader to determine that the task or responsibility being given to the employee is a good match based on their skills and potential, and, subsequently, that the leader provides the necessary follow up so that the employee is given the proper encouragement and guidance to be successful.   

    • 24 min
    Episode 32 - The Bold and The Atypical

    Episode 32 - The Bold and The Atypical

    We often hear that effective leadership requires bold decisions and behavior.  However, servant leadership principles tend to illustrate a very different type of leader from what most people are accustomed to.  While we don’t disagree with the premise that leaders need to be bold, we want to look at the term through a different lens in this episode.   
    One definition illustrates the word “bold” as showing the ability to take risks; to be confident and courageous.  Here, again, we wouldn’t disagree with that interpretation.  However, it’s our belief that some leaders apply a narrow perspective to risk taking and courage.   
    Being bold does not always imply blatant action or outrageous thinking.  Sometimes being bold comes in the form of simply opting not to act how the world expects us to or pausing to reflect on our thoughts instead of constantly forcing others to agree with our thinking.   
    As servant leaders, we view listening as bold in a world where many leaders love to hear themselves talk or repeatedly show you how smart they are.  Boldness may come in the form of slowing down at times and re-assessing when others have established a breakneck approach at a breakneck pace.  And bold leadership may actually be equipping and empowering others to lead in tandem instead of always assuming a fixed position at the front of the line.  
    You may say, how will I stay relevant, competitive and innovative with this quieter, slower approach?  Well, as they say, sometimes the answer lies in the question.   
    Slower doesn’t mean stop.  Quieter does not imply total and lasting silence.   
    We love how one author referred to bold behavior.  To them, they equated being bold with that of a predator’s stealth.  The predator is not so loud as to startle its prey to where it might run off.  It isn’t so quick that it can be seen approaching from feet or even yards away.  The predator’s boldness is evident in how it acutely views its environment, slowly and steadily; and how it listens for clues which may or may not provide additional insight.   
    Sometimes the bold leader isn’t always the loudest person in the room or the most animated.  If you pay close attention, the bold leader may just be the person who is watching and waiting for the right time to strike.       

    • 24 min
    Episode 31 - Getting Around to Dealing with Conflict

    Episode 31 - Getting Around to Dealing with Conflict

    Why are we still so afraid of conflict?  Why do we assume the mere presence of conflict is always negative? 
    When it comes to addressing conflict, there is an immediate assumption that the conversation/interaction will go poorly and possibly lead to something much worse.   
    Years ago, we used to rate a successful marriage by how little a couple fought.  It wasn’t uncommon to hear a story about a husband and wife who had been married for forty years and how they “never had a fight.”  The statement may or may not have been entirely accurate, but it gave the impression that for a marriage to be effective that conflict couldn’t or shouldn’t be a part of it.   
    Recent research paints a different story.  Today, couples who learn how to have productive conflict are more likely to stay married longer than those who don’t.  Organizations and leaders should take a similar page from the playbook.   
    It isn’t that conflict in and of itself is bad, it’s the negative messaging and reactive behavior that drives this misguided narrative.  The more that leaders express their frustration over conflict and subsequently choose to avoid it, the louder the message they send to the attentive eyes and ears of employees.  In the end, any attempt to view the conflict in a different light is destroyed.    
    Additionally, because so many leaders tend to avoid conflict until things essentially “blow up” and force them to address it, they typically do so in a heightened emotional state.  This approach to resolution can lead to accusatory or judgmental statements, as well as the need to immediately defend oneself.     
    Yet, when leaders portray conflict as healthy and normal, the culture begins to change.  Remaining calm in the face of conflict can show employees that it is possible for a rational discussion to take place despite the circumstances.  Furthermore, leaders who keep the focus on the conflict itself as opposed to assigning blame or behavior to others, are more likely keep the experience positive and not ignite emotional defensiveness.   
    While much of conflict resolution is essentially reactionary, we submit that there are opportunities to be proactive.  One way is to set a healthy tone early and to prepare your team for inevitable conflict.  Striving for a culture which is completely free of conflict simply isn’t feasible.   
    Another way is to establish guidelines for how the team will approach a conflict when one occurs.  This could be agreeing to enter into discussion with an open or curious mind.  It could be ensuring that all parties will do their best to remain calm, not become defensive, and not talk over one another.  The more you discuss what you’ll do if conflict happens, the better prepared you’ll be when it does.   
    Conflict doesn’t have to be something that generates fear, anxiety and anger.  It can be something that leads to better discussion, increased emotional intelligence, and enhanced problem solving.  The process will not be absent of emotion, but it is possible to pause, process through those emotions, and engage others with positive intent and results.   

    • 28 min

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