In this podcast, Jonathan Mills shares insights, stories and experiences that come from spending the past 25 years stretching people and organizations to achieve their full potential. Given the right environment and with a good measure of encouragement, humans typically respond creatively and intelligently – they just need to be stretched – and often end with results that even surpass their own expectations. Many organizations never reach their real potential because they do not manage to focus their people on their strategy, are unaware of how to channel available energy on the most important matters and dismally fail at engaging their staff, thus not using available creativity appropriately in the organization. The people “asset” is not seen as such – usually viewed as an expense, with resultant productivity and profitability problems. Organizations can achieve so much more if organizational managers would lead their people with passion, wisdom and an engagement spark that fundamentally involves employees in the essence of business creation. All employees want to be valued and appreciated, recognised for real contribution, and encouraged by their direct managers. The insights shared in this podcast focus on establishing these kinds of stretch environments in organizations, thereby unleashing organizational potential.
Why Manage Conflict When You Can Lead It?
I grew up avoiding conflict at all costs. At a late stage of my life, however, I had to learn, not just how to manage conflict, but how to lead it in a relationship and enjoy the process. Conflict in business usually leads to a breakdown in relationships. Repeated unresolved conflict and misunderstanding negatively impacts morale and effective teamwork. Avoiding or managing conflict leads us nowhere. Only when we start leading conflict and enjoying the journey somewhat, will we start growing constructively.
How Do You Lead With Influence?
One of the most impactful African words that I have ever come across is the North Sotho word “seriti”, which refers to a person’s “presence” or the shadow that is cast by the character and personality of the person. People, with shadows that are influential, are people who take responsibility, don’t blame, are positive and make choices based on principles. Leaders behave themselves into their respective shadows. Good rhetoric, on its own, doesn’t develop a shadow – real influence is developed through consistency of character, integrity, vision, proactivity, servanthood and selflessness. Leaders with significant shadows are influential and leave a legacy.
Whose Responsibility Is It Really?
People tend to pass the buck, make excuses or transfer blame of things not done to others. It’s not their responsibility because they haven’t taken responsibility! Proactive people take responsibility, even over situations they didn’t directly cause. They may not necessarily be able to control all parts of the problem nor all ingredients to the solution, but they take control over the percentage of the issue that is in their hands and attempt to influence the outcome within the rest. Saying “it’s not my responsibility” could be seen as irresponsible!