Attributes of Approachable Leaders, Pt. 5

Past Posts In This Series
ATTRIBUTE #1: Have conversations that change people.
ATTRIBUTE #2: Meet people where they are.
ATTRIBUTE #3: Vortex people in.
ATTRIBUTE #4: Share the spotlight.

Today’s Post
ATTRIBUTE #5: Respond to what IS.

– – –

PICTURE THIS: You’re a beginning Bikram Yoga student.

It’s only your third class ever. The room is sweltering. Sweat pours out of your body like a car wash. Muscles you didn’t even know you had ache and burn. Worst of all, your bottle of cold water is running dangerously low.

To make matters more intimidating, surrounding you are all veteran students, most of whom are contorted into pretzel-like positions you’ve only seen in the Olympics.

How would you feel? Uncomfortable? Hopeless? Ready to walk out of the room?

Me too. In fact, during my first few yoga classes, I felt all of the above.

But I’ll never forget what my instructor, JJ, said me during one particular practice…

I remember experiencing a combination of exhaustion and disappointment. I just couldn’t control my breathing. There was no way I could stay in the posture any longer.

So, I fell out.

Which was no big deal. Happens to everyone.

I plopped down on my mat to take a brief rest. JJ noticed, smiled, and said seven unexpected words:

“Thank you for listening to your body.”

Huh.

Thank you for listening to your body? But I messed up! I fell out of posture. Why would the instructor be THANKING me?

And then, as I lay there trying not to pass out from heat exhaustion, it started to make sense.

Although everyone “falls out of posture” from time to time – in yoga or in life – NOT everyone has the experience of an instructor – a LEADER – who positively responds to them without judgment, evaluation or criticism.

JJ just as easily could have said, “Woops!” or “Ooh, tough break…” or “Scott! Get your lazy ass back in the posture!”

But she didn’t. She thanked me for listening to my body.

And I never forgot that.

So, I share this story because I’m curious how YOU – as a teacher, leader, manager, helper, whatever – respond to YOUR people when they “fall out of posture.”

Are you constructive or harsh?
Are you appraising or critical?
Are you judgmental or thankful?
Are you directive or dictatorial?
Are you fascinated or frustrated?
Are you descriptive or prescriptive?

These categories of responses (not reactions, but responses) dance along the fine line of approachability. The challenge is becoming aware of how your words, actions and attitudes shape the behaviors people you serve.

Let’s revisit JJ’s phrase – “Thank you for listening to your body” – and explore the elements behind it that make it successful:

1. It’s rooted in gratitude. Saying thank you is a form of recognition. It demonstrates empathy and concern. What’s more, it immediately puts a positive spin on an otherwise negative situation. It’s the difference between, “Oh, I’m sooooo sorry!” and “Thanks for letting me know about that…”

ASK YOURSELF: How are your words laying a foundation of affirmation and positivity?

2. It’s non-threatening and diffusing. That means “encountering” people (which fosters awareness) as opposed to “confronting” people, (which elicits defensiveness.) It’s the difference between telling an employee, “Steve! Get your butt into my office right now!” versus, “Hey Steve, I need your help…”

ASK YOURSELF: Do your words alienate or engage? Do your words sound like suggestions or orders? Do your ideas liberate or imprison people?

3. It’s fair and unembarrassing. Over the years, I’ve had yoga teachers that will straight up humiliate you during class. And while I “get” why they do it, I don’t find that style to be particular effective. The challenge, as an approachable leader, is helping people, not correcting them. That means offering suggestions, not criticisms. And that means walking the fine line between accountability and EDIT-ability. (Thanks for that last one, Joe Meyers.)

ASK YOURSELF: Are you giving people permission or shutting people down?

4. It’s unexpectedly complimentary. Whenever you attempt to help, correct or improve someone’s behavior, always open with an affirmation or compliment about something they’ve already done correct. This paves the way with positivity and makes people more receptive to receiving feedback.

ASK YOURSELF: What has this person done right that I could compliment first?

5. It’s based on mutual honor and respect. When JJ said, “Thank you for listening to your body,” it felt like we were having a conversation, not a lecture. So, this approach to leadership is the difference between giving people frameworks (which are flexible) as opposed to formulas (which are reductive.)

Think of it this way: In college, do you remember doing the bobble-head-doze-off-jolt-back-awake move during lectures? How many times did that happen during conversations? Answer: Much less.

ASK YOURSELF: Are you giving lectures or having conversations? Do you require progress or perfection?

6. It’s responsive instead of reactive. Reacting is a reflex; responding is a choice. As an approachable leader, if you want to monopolize the listening, don’t bulldoze. Don’t take over. Don’t try to fix or solve. And don’t add too much value to the conversation. Just dance in the moment and respond to the other person’s immediate experience.

ASK YOURSELF: Is this an observation or an accusation? Is this an observation or an interpretation? And are you granting this person enough space to BE and SAY what is true?

7. It’s using non-judgmental, non-evaluative, non-critical language. Every yoga teacher is different. Different words, different teaching style, different everything. And while I respect each instructor’s unique personality, when you have a teacher that’s overly critical or intimidating, your practice suffers as a result. I wonder how YOUR personality is affecting people’s performance levels…

ASK YOURSELF: Is this an observation or a judgment? Are you giving advice, evaluation, or feedback? Are you informing people or controlling them?

OK, let’s recap:

The Phrases That Payses was, “Thank you for listening to your body.”

Now, unless you’re a yoga instructor, I doubt you’re going to say that sentence with any frequency. On the other hand, as a manager, teacher, parent or whatever other role you find yourself in, remember the elements behind those seven words:

1. Gratitude.
2. Non-threatening and diffusing.
3. Fair and unembarrassing.
4. Complimentary
5. Mutual honor and respect.
6. Responsive instead of reactive.
7. Non-judgmental, non-evaluative, non-critical language.

Imagine what would happen to your organization if your daily leadership activities revolved around THOSE practices.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to get to yoga class.

I hope JJ is teaching…

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What do you think makes an Approachable Leader?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “8 Phrases That Payses to Reduce Emotional Reactivity,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

The world’s FIRST two-in-one, flip-flop book!

Buy Scott’s comprehensive marketing guidebook on Amazon.com and learn how to GET noticed, GET remembered and GET business!

9 Ways to Make People Feel Essential

Yes, making someone feel “important” and “valued” and “needed” is a HUGE part of being an approachable leader.

But that’s not enough.

If you truly want to win with people, you need to make them feel essential.

Here’s a list of nine practices for doing so:

1. Three simple words. “I appreciate you.” Not, “I appreciate that…” and not “I appreciate what you’ve…” No. “I appreciate YOU.” Small change, huge difference. My friend John Milton Fogg always closes his emails with this phrase and it makes me feel like a million bucks, every time. Who do you appreciate?

2. Four simple words. “I believe in you.” NOTE: This doesn’t work unless you look people straight in the eye. My friend Harlan Hodge, Chess & Character Coach, says this to his students all the time. And they LOVE him because he believes in them. Who do you believe in?

3. Take notes. Taking notes is proof. Taking notes keeps you mindful in the conversation. Taking notes honors someone’s thoughts. Taking notes is respectful. Taking notes increases someone’s self-esteem. Not to mention, if you don’t write it down, it never happened. Do you carry a notebook or jotter with you at all times?

4. Come back to notes. At a later date, refer back to the notes you took while listening to somebody. If possible, physically show that person the notes you took. Explain how you’ve applied their ideas since originally writing them down. How are you reinforcing the size of your ears?

4. Tell people to write things down. This practice takes note taking one step further. Next time someone says something powerful, instead of YOU jotting it down, tell HER to jot it down. It not only honors her thoughts; it gives her a chance to capture something valuable that she may not have recognized until you said something. How are you encouraging people’s inner poet?

5. Ask people to repeat things. Not because you didn’t understand their point; but because their insight was powerful. This demonstrates your desire for clarity. It also gives them a chance to rephrase, repeat or re-tweak their original idea, making it as strong as possible. How do you ask for clarification?

6. Cheer people on. The more cheerleaders people have, the easier it is for them to win. For example: Ever seen The Packers play a home game at Lambeau Field in December? Insane. Even if the opposing team wins, you KNOW their players were shakin’ in their Nikes the whole time. Are you that supportive of YOUR people?

7. Bring people joy. If you concentrate on doing this at least three times a day, your life won’t just BE swell; it will swell with happiness and purpose. And so will the lives of the people you touch. Try playing the “Let’s See How Many People I Can Make Smile Today” game. How many people did you look in the eye and say thank you to yesterday?

8. Acknowledge everybody. This one shouldn’t even be on my list. But, because not everybody practices this simple act of approachability, I’ve included it. So, slow down. Stay present. Hold your eye contact with everyone you encounter for one additional second. ONE second. That’s what Bill Clinton does. And see if you can acknowledge every single person you encounter for one day. It’s harder than you think. Then again, it all depends on what you see when you see people. How many coworkers did you go out of your way to avoid yesterday?

9. Remember people’s names. Here’s another one that shouldn’t (have) to be on this list, but alas. So, here’s the plan. First, stop telling yourself you suck at remembering names. Next, go buy Remember Every Name Every Time by Ben Levy. Next, start asking people to remind you when you forget their name, as opposed to insultingly saying, “Yeah, um, what your name again?”

Also, start silently quizzing yourself on people’s names as you walk into the room. And consider asking other people to help if you get stumped. Ultiamtely, if you actually commit yourself to doing a better job of remembering names, you will remember them. Come on. You know names hold the key. You know names are everything. Just do it. How many books have you read about remembering people’s names?

Essential.

It’s a word that derives from the Latin essentia, which means, “essence.”

Yes.

That’s what being an approachable leader is all about.

Honoring and loving and acknowledging the essence of another person.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How are you making people feel essential?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “86 Passion-Finding Questions to Invite Someone to Talk about What They Love,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

If they can’t come UP to you; how will they ever get BEHIND you?

Learn daily practices for becoming a more approachable manager!

Pick up your copy (or a case!) right here.

13 Types of People You Need to Stay Away From

Let’s juxtapose two famous quotations, neither of which Google credits to any one source in particular:

1. “Show me your friends I’ll show you your future.”
2. “A man is known by the company he avoids.”

SO: You are a reflection of the people you hang out with. Which also means you (aren’t) a reflection of the people you (don’t) hang out with.

What kind of people do YOU attract? What do the people closest to you value? And how much of your time is spent with people who are examples of the way you want to live?

As someone who used to make the mistake of attracting (and surrounding himself with) the WRONG types of people, I’ve put together a checklist of sorts for you.

First, each example will compare and contrast two different types of people.
Then, a penetrating question will challenge you to make some evaluations of your current relationships.

13 Types of People You Need to Hang Out With/Stay Away From

Hang out with people who make money.
Stay away from people who just want to learn how YOU make money.

ASK YOURSELF: Are you being fair to yourself by continuing this friendship?

Hang out with the kind of people you want to be like.
Stay away from people who aren’t doing jack with their lives.

ASK YOURSELF: What relationship(s) do you need to end?

Hang out with people who are smarter and more successful than you.
Stay away from bloodsuckers, negatives, complainers and chronic time abusers.

ASK YOURSELF: How many pointless relationships are you nurturing?

Hang out with people who have already done what you’re trying to do.
Stay away from people who are just trying to exploit your time, money, resources and brainpower for their own benefit.

ASK YOURSELF: What are people trying to steal from you?

Hang out with people who are better than you.
Stay away from people whose laziness constantly begs your assistance.

ASK YOURSELF: How successful are the people you associate with?

Hang out with Potential People.
Stay away from Problem People.

ASK YOURSELF: Are you surrounding yourself with the kind of people you want to be like?

Hang out with people in whose presence you feel most alive.
Stay away from energy vampires.

ASK YOURSELF: Are you having too many lunches?

Hang out with people who reciprocate your energy.
Stay away from people who sap your enthusiasms.

ASK YOURSELF: How does your posture change when you’re with this person?

Hang out with people who keep you accountable and occasionally kick you in the ass.
Stay away from people who zap your commitment to your priorities.

ASK YOURSELF: Who’s nudging you?

Hang out with people who set healthy boundaries.
Stay away from people who don’t respect your boundaries.

ASK YOURSELF: Is this an opportunity, or an opportunity to be used?

Hang out with people who give you the space you need to breathe and think and BE.
Stay away from people who suffocate you.

ASK YOURSELF: Whom do you need to help you succeed?

Hang out with people whose thinking sparks your own.
Stay way from people whose words pollute you.

ASK YOURSELF: Whose advice have you outgrown?

Hang out with people whose creativity inspires your own.
Stay away from people who do nothing but piggyback on your ideas.

ASK YOURSELF: How much time do you spend with those who inspire and challenge you?

REMEMBER: You are a reflection of the people you hang out with. Which also means you (aren’t) a reflection of the people you (don’t) hang out with.

Choose wisely.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Whom are you staying away from?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “23 Boundary Questions to Help You Draw the Line,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.
Always about sticking yourself out there.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Attributes of Approachable Leaders, Pt. 4

Past Posts
ATTRIBUTE #1: Have conversations that change people.
ATTRIBUTE #2: Meet people where they are.
ATTRIBUTE #3: Vortex people in.

Today’s Post
ATTRIBUTE #4: Share the spotlight.

It’s one thing to shine; it’s another thing to create an atmosphere where OTHERS can shine.

Richard Tait, founder of Cranium, practices this principle daily.

At the 2008 Fire Sessions, a Brains on Fire conference where he and I both conducted workshops, I remember him saying this:

“When you give each individual person a chance to shine, everybody wins.”

So, it’s all about permission. Making people feel like it’s OK to be awesome. Like it’s cool to kick ass. Hooray!

Here are three ways you can start LIVING this attribute today:

1. Three simple words. “What about you?”

2. Accomplishment introductions. Without making someone feel TOO awkward, introduce them along with something they’ve accomplished. For example, “Carol, this is my colleague, Sasha. She recently published a cool photography book about her adventures in Venezuela!”

3. Make ‘em shine. In a group conversation, highlight someone’s successes by saying, “Hey Courtney, didn’t you have a lot of success with that strategy year?”

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How are you unlocking people’s brilliance?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “68 Things Employees Never Want to Hear Their Manager Say,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

All Posts In This Series
ATTRIBUTE #1: Have conversations that change people.
ATTRIBUTE #2: Meet people where they are.
ATTRIBUTE #3: Vortex people in.
ATTRIBUTE #4: Share the spotlight.
ATTRIBUTE #5: Respond to what IS.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.
Always about sticking yourself out there.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Attributes of Approachable Leaders, Pt. 3

Past Posts
ATTRIBUTE #1: Have conversations that change people.
ATTRIBUTE #2: Meet people where they are.

Today’s Post
ATTRIBUTE #3: Vortex people in.

My high school English teacher, mentor and close friend, William Jenkins, is the consummate example of this attribute.

He’s the kind of guy whose presence you value SO much, that when you’re with him, simply “absorbing who he is” is enough.

Whether you’ve taken his class at Parkway North, attended his church in Troy, MO; read any of his gazillion books or enjoyed his conversation, one thing’s for sure: You’re there to listen. You’re there to take notes. You’re there to observe Bill being Bill.

As his students like to call it, “We’ve enrolled in The Jenkins Experience.” Priceless.

Here are three ways you can start LIVING this attribute today:

1. Ask character questions. Honestly assess: “Are you spending time increasing your talent or increasing your character?” “Have you made it a practice to take full responsibility for your character?” and “What are you biggest character flaws?”

2. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Sure, you can take your work and your life and your health and your family seriously. But not yourself. Try a little self-deprecating humor once in a while. It grounds you and puts others at ease.

3. Find the common denominator. Make a list called, “10 People Whose Radius I Want To Sit In.” Next, for each person, write down his or her three leading attributes. Then, boil down your list down the Top Five Attributes. Finally, write each of those words on a sticky note and look at them every day for a year.

LET ME ASK YA THIS
Who wants to sit in your radius?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “7 Ways to Out ATTRACT Your Competition,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

All Posts In This Series
ATTRIBUTE #1: Have conversations that change people.
ATTRIBUTE #2: Meet people where they are.
ATTRIBUTE #3: Vortex people in.
ATTRIBUTE #4: Share the spotlight.
ATTRIBUTE #5: Respond to what IS.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.
Always about sticking yourself out there.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Attributes of Approachable Leaders, Pt. 2

Past Posts
ATTRIBUTE #1: Have conversations that change people.

Today’s Post
ATTRIBUTE #2: Meet people wherever they are.

No judgments. No evaluations. No appraisals. No worries. That’s the way I feel when I hang out with my friend Dr. Tom Lipsitz. As a veteran psychiatrist, he’s seen just about everything. There’s no problem you can bring to him that he hasn’t been exposed to before. Now, that doesn’t mean he has the answers to everything. But it DOES man that he (1) listens attentively, (2) meets you wherever you are. Whew.

Here are three ways you can start LIVING this attribute today:

1. One word: “Wow.” It’s neutral, empathetic, non-judgmental and emotionally non-reactive. It buys you time, helps maintain composure and creates space in the conversation.

2. Articulate what’s occurring. Verbalize your observations. Dance in the moment. Respond to someone’s immediate experience.

3. Create a comfortable climate. Honor people’s feelings. Acknowledge rising thoughts. This creates a safe container in which the other person can share.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How are you meeting people where they are??

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “13 Roles of the Listener,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

All Posts In This Series
ATTRIBUTE #1: Have conversations that change people.
ATTRIBUTE #2: Meet people where they are.
ATTRIBUTE #3: Vortex people in.
ATTRIBUTE #4: Share the spotlight.
ATTRIBUTE #5: Respond to what IS.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.
Always about sticking yourself out there.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Attributes of Approachable Leaders, Part 1

You don’t need a nametag to be approachable.

The real reason people are attracted TO, inspired BY, and want to align WITH you, is because of something bigger. Something better. Something deeper.

The heart BEHIND the nametag.

That’s being an Approachable Leader. Now, although leadership isn’t my area of expertise; what I’ve discovered from working with leaders (and being a leader myself) is the following philosophy:

“If they can’t come UP to you, they’ll never get BEHIND you.”

In this post series, we’re going to be exploring attributes that enable people to come to YOU.

ATTRIBUTE #1: Have conversations that change people.

Dixie Gallaspie, owner of Pure Synchrony, is a coaching/consulting colleague of mine that I refuse to have lunch with unless I bring my notebook. She’s just THAT thought provoking. And, every time we get together, her questions, feedback, comments and ideas always create movement in my mind. Sweet.

Here are three ways you can start LIVING this attribute today:

1. Ask one killer question. Identify ONE powerful, penetrating question that nobody else asks but you. Then ask it to everyone you meet. My personal favorite is, “If everybody did exactly what you said, what would the world look like?”

2. Offer intentional contraries. When someone poses an idea, reverse it and throw it back at them, just to see their response. For example, “Well, Steve, also ask yourself, ‘What do you want your life NOT to look like?’”

3. Keep a record. Any time one of your employees, members (or someone in your circle of influence) tells you that your recent conversation with them was life changing, make a note. Keep each of these incidents in a journal. Extract the specific reasons WHY each conversation created movement in that person’s mind. Find out where the rock created the ripple, and then go throw some more rocks.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How are people changed after having a conversation with you?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “17 Ways to become a Thought Leader,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

All Posts In This Series
ATTRIBUTE #1: Have conversations that change people.
ATTRIBUTE #2: Meet people where they are.
ATTRIBUTE #3: Vortex people in.
ATTRIBUTE #4: Share the spotlight.
ATTRIBUTE #5: Respond to what IS.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.
Always about sticking yourself out there.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

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