Welcome to the Leaderquest Podcast. This season will consist of interviews conducted for the Building With Purpose Conference I held back in May. This is Episode 14 – Interview with Dr. Webb
If you failed to register for the full course, stay tuned for the rest of season two! I’ve got interviews coming up with each of the contributors. You’ll be able to glean wisdom from them and apply them in ways to grow yourself and your business.
For the conference, I assembled a diverse team of business professionals to examine the stay at home order and how we can achieve maximum productivity and success while in quarantine.
This is Episode 14 – Interview with Dr. Webb.
My Interview with Dr. Juanita Webb
In this episode, I’m having a conversation with Dr. Juanita Webb, a workplace consultant with specializations in human resources. She brings decades of experience, is a licensed investigator, serves on hr boards, and has contributed to the advances of human resources in Kern County and beyond.
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What’s one takeaway you have from Episode 14 and Interview with Dr. Webb from the Building With Purpose Conference?
I’m amazed at the knowledge she brings to the table in the quickly changing world of Human Resources. While that is true at any time, the quickly changing rules and COVID and the stay at home order have quickly exaggerated that change.
As we emerge from quarantine and are reopening, our customers are facing problems. There are some new ones we can anticipate, some old ones that we can continue to meet, and there will be new ones we never see coming.
The victors will be those that adapt and overcome. Ulysses Grant, who hated the war life, once gave the philosophy that made him successful, despite his disdain for his occupation: “The art of war is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can. Strike him as hard as you can and keep moving on.”
For our businesses, it might read something like: “Find the problem your customers have. Create a solution as quickly as possible. Implement your answer as best as you know how. Adapt. Repeat. Overcome.”
Together, Lincoln and Grant practice what I have come to call transformational teamwork. They built the vision and strategy, shared it with their team, and the tirelessly executed the plan. Transformational teams practice three key characteristics in all they do.
Clear Goals and Directions
The first requirement for transformational teams is to have clear goals and directions. Lincoln and Grant made their vision abundantly clear. For Lincoln, it was freedom for slaves and preservation of the Union. Grant implemented this through the term “unconditional surrender.” In fact, Grant would be known by this phrase so much that for a time people that U.S. Grant’s initials stood for “Unconditional Surrender.” The goal was clear: until the south abolishes slavery and lays down its arms without thought of picking them up again, the war has not been won.
We know the goals and directions we have for our businesses. As entrepreneurs, owners, or key stakeholders, we know why we get up every morning. We know what we’re chasing and the dream we are trying to accomplish. What about your employees or others around you? Can they articulate it clearly? Do they know, like Grant know how to implement the plan to achieve the goal?
The second piece required for transformational teams is effective communication. It is not enough to know the goals and directions we must communicate that information with our team. During seasons of stress, conflict, or failure, communication is often the first thing to go. Legacy Leaders know how important clear, concise, and effective communication is.
Effective communicate is done regularly. It seeks two-way feedback and establishes rules and norms. Clear Communication talks about not just what and how, but also why. It honors others, builds bridges, minimizes conflict, and restores relationships.
In times of stress or setback, good communication is often the first thing to go. People resort to perspective and bias. To preconceived notions about the way the world works. To overcome this, clear communication is a must. Anytime there is poor communication, issue an apology, and own your mistake.
As tension mounts, humility and the ability to ask for forgiveness keeps the team united and focused on what really matters. Create a culture of open dialogue, feedback, humility, and reconciliation and watch your transformational team thrive.
The final component of Transformative Teamwork is what I call 360-Coaching. More than normal feedback and assessment performance reviews, it is focused on real-time, growth-oriented feedback. Instead of backward reflection, instill future-focused development opportunities.
The official definition of coaching from the International Coaching Federation is this: “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”
360-Coaching takes the whole person and seeks to develop them. Employers who care about both their employee’s productivity and their outside life, inspire confidence, instill loyalty, and extend grace. This is important because as much as we may pretend that our outside life doesn’t affect our work, that just isn’t the case.
Offering real-time feedback circumvents a chance for negative experiences or poor performance while opening up communication lines.
When high-performing leaders set clear goals, keep an open communication, and coach the whole person, a transformative team is born. A transformative team can conquer an obstacle and overcome any hardship.
This is an excerpt and adaptation of a business development seminar. To read additional excerpts, you can find part one here and part two here. To watch the presentation, go here.
Part of what life forces us to do is to spend time addressing our pain points. The only question is how long we’re going to wait.
Pain Is A Clue
In our bodies, pain is a clue that something is wrong. Pain in our knee points to a muscular or skeletal problem somewhere. Astute doctors will look not just at the knee, but at the ankle and hip complex as well. They will examine the surrounding joints, ligaments, and muscles. A full diagnostic could reveal that the knee hurts because of a limited range of motion in the ankle.
A few weeks ago, I started to get a pain in my palm. What started out feeling like a bruise soon changed to a hard area and a small bump. I took out some tweezers, pulled back the skin and found a splinter embedded deep in my hand. After a few quick cuts, the splinter was out and my hand felt instantly better. Within a few days, my hand was completely better.
Pain is a clue that something is wrong.
This analogy works in all areas of life. Pain is a clue that something is wrong and we need to spend our time addressing our pain points.
The pain of loneliness, isolation or rejection.
The pain of fear and disappointment.
We all need to address the pain of failure.
The only question is, “Is this going to hurt a lot or a little?”
Eventually, we will be forced to deal with it. Like a painful knee, we might be able to ignore other sources of pain, but it will always have to be addressed.
As the swelling in the knee worsens, so does the pain. We start to use it less. We lose mobility and stability. This makes using the knee more painful, so we try to use it less. Either through medication or a brave trip to the doctor’s office, we will eventually be forced to deal with the pain.
Our lives are all full of painful experiences. Past memories, stories, emotions, and experiences all give us our story. Some are wonderful and joyous. Our wedding, the birth of the children, that long sought after promotion.
Others are more difficult. The divorce, the funeral, the separation, and the unfavorable review.
Addressing Our Pain Points
Addressing our deficiencies is the only way forward. From both personal experience and professional practice I can tell you this with full confidence: the sooner you address a pain point, the less it is going to hurt.
I once spent a year embroiled in a workplace conflict. Well, a sort of conflict. In reality, I spent most of that year running from addressing the pain point. Eventually, it was too late and the relationship was permanently damaged.
It hurt. A lot. Sometimes, it still hurts. I regret the ways in which it soured a potential friendship and broke previous friendship. By the time I got around to addressing my own character deficiencies in the conflict, it was too late and the pain was astronomical.
The next time I was in a workplace conflict, I addressed it right away. I sensed the discord, sought out the person, remedied the problem and reconciled the relationship.
It hurt…but not that much. It doesn’t hurt anymore. Instead, that person and I are still friends. We speak occasionally, think well of each other, and have built up a relationship of mutual respect.
Both hurt. However, one was a small scratch on my journey while the other was a gaping wound.
Eventually, we will all have to deal with our pain points: through counseling, coaching, professional feedback, or numbing the pain with distracting experiences and self-medicating it away. But just like our knee pain, masking the problem with pain doesn’t make it go away. Instead, it lies to us to believe that everything is okay, all the while the damage down to our body and our leadership is deteriorating.
Pain ultimately cannot be managed, it must be dealt with. It will only be masked for so long before it becomes unmanageable.
May we as leaders resist the urge to deny or numb our pain and instead address it and experience the liberating freedom that follows. Don’t be like my younger self and ignore the pain points in your life. Instead, like a wise doctor, acknowledge that pain is a sign that something is wrong and run a diagnostic test to see once wrong. Once identified, address it, grow from it, and expand your leadership capacity.
In fact, play is so important to children that it has been declared a basic human right.
However, what we fail to realize is that play is just as necessary, just as vital, and just as beneficial to adults. Somewhere along the way, we forget to play.
Benefits of Play
“Play” as leaders extend the same benefits. Through play, we develop resilience, learn emotional intelligence, group dynamics, and practice grit. Most importantly, as leaders, we discover the benefits of laughing. Laughing lowers blood pressure and pain levels, calms tension, relieves stress, promotes creativity, and aids in the fight against depression. As it turns out, laughter really is the best medicine.
When we as leaders engage in play, both privately and with our teams, we are modeling what holistically healthy leadership looks like. We set the standard that while we take our work seriously, we don’t have to take ourselves seriously.
More than that, I’ve also become a firm believer that a team’s ability to play together is one of the easiest tests of true team dynamics and strength. One group was notoriously good at working together … or so they thought. Their meetings were very structured, a lot of agenda items were discussed, and everyone left with a list of tasks to accomplish.
One day, I suggested that we go out together, as a group, and do something fun. Bowling, laser tag, board games, it didn’t really matter. The point was to do something together as a group that didn’t involve work. What I wanted was this group to play, to experience fun together, to find a lighter side to leadership.
It was rebuffed.
By all of them.
The excuses varied. Some were “too busy.” Some “couldn’t see the point.” The result was the same. This group continued to experience a slow decline in productivity, trust, and goal achievement.
Leaders without play produce leadership without vision.
Bringing in Play
All of the team-consulting activities I bring in involve play. Leadership personality assessments, team-building, corporate revisioning, sales and marketing, all of it requires an element of play. Along the way, we’re going to talk growth strategies and productivity, but not of it happens without play.
The ability to laugh at ourselves.
To open up and be vulnerable.
A grand discovery that we don’t have all the answers. (One of my personal favorites is team-building from an escape room, if you want to know what that looks like, you can email me here).
In our leadership journey, never forget the importance of play. It keeps us grounded, builds trust with our teammates, and builds the character and grit we need to succeed.
If you want to enjoy a bit of the lighter side of leadership, watch the video below. In this installment of, “The Lighter Side of Leadership” we taste mystery cupcakes and talk about surviving life in quarantine.
In a world increasingly divided and hostile, the best thing we can offer is service with a smile.
The Benefits of Smiling
It’s not something we think about often, but there are benefits associated with smiling. In addition to providing a warm, welcoming demeanor, smiling has other benefits, like:
Regulate blood sugar
Stronger immune system
Create a positive mindset
But here’s the crazy thing. Smiling, scientists have discovered, is contagious. This means that when you smile (and get these benefits), others will too!
Service With A Smile
I remember a conflict I was in with one former employer. He wanted to know why I never smiled at him when he walked into the office. Convinced something was wrong between us, he began to harbor feelings of anger and resentment. It carried into other spheres of working together, and eventually, I was almost written up over it!
The sad truth? My desk faced the doors and I’d often look up, lost in thought. If they walked by, it wasn’t that I was upset, angry, or dismissive of them. I was simply thinking too hard!
But this did cause me to become more aware of my facial expressions towards others. Instead of dismissing those claims, I took them to heart. I want everything I do to be a warm, welcoming place for people to be around.
I made a conscious effort to work on smiling when engaging others. For someone used to being accused of RBF, this was no small challenge. It has been, however, entirely worth it. The effort to put more work into smiling and engaging others has proved useful for business and personal reasons.
One of the great things that smiling does for us as leaders are that it engages others. It marks us as warm, approachable, open, affirming, and in control.
Smiling communicates that we are calm and steadfast.
Providing service with a smile is more than plastering on a fake veneer, it is training our brain, and those around us, to look for the good in all situations.
It demonstrates our ability to work under pressure.
Service with a smile provides reassuring calm in the midst of surrounding storms.
One area I’ve seen this work is in parenting. When I need to have difficult conversations with my children, I make sure to put on a smile. Not to dismiss wrong or correctable behavior, but to let them know that it is okay. Everything is going to work out fine. Sometimes, I even let them know, “I’m not bad, but I do want to talk about what happened.”
This works in the workplace as well. Really, in all areas where we feel called to lead.
Service with a smile lets others know that we will all get through this together.
Take An Inventory
The easiest way to get started experiencing the benefits of smiling is to smile. The quickest way to get there is to take an inventory.
Where are the moments we struggle with the most? How have we responded? What would we like to do differently?
Start by planning your day, based on how you want to engage the world and what you hope to accomplish with a smile.
Then, think about the common places where you’re interacting with people and write down intentional things you will do to smile and engage them.
One area where I had to work hard (and to be honest, I’m still working at) is to smile when I produce online content. It’s not that I’m unhappy or grump. Instead, it’s that I take seriously my calling to make great content that I get so focused on that that I can forget to enjoy myself.
I’ve started to write down physical notes when I record (or speak live) to smile. It’s actually in my notes, BE SURE TO SMILE HERE.
It engages the audience and creates rapport.
Smiling communicates value.
It demonstrates appreciation.
As leaders, everything we do is monitored. To be at our best, one simple way is to smile.
Creating opportunities for service with a smile transforms our thinking, influences our actions, transforms conflict, creates opportunity, and advances the mission.