Several months back when Chrissanne offered to write a blog about her Mastering Leadership experience, I was thrilled! Now that it’s turned into a 4-part blog series, I’m humbled by her generosity of time, her willingness to be vulnerable about her journey, and the transformation I’ve observed in Chrissanne as a leader. It’s as if she’s peeled back the layers of doubt and uncertainty to reveal her most authentic and powerful core. In this 4th and final blog, she shares her experience at one of our final workshops and how she translated the learning to her Maximize team for the purpose of creating a more sustainable organization.
“Leading is not the same as being the leader. Being the leader means you hold the highest rank, either by earning it, good fortune, or navigating internal politics. Leading, however, means that others willingly follow you – not because they are paid to, but because they want to.” – Simon Sinek
Follow the Leader
In everything I do, I try to see through the eyes of the Chrissanne Long that was still unaware that there was great potential within her. The younger version of myself was completely clueless and pretty scared of being any kind of leader. Mostly, because all of the leaders I was led by were not, in my humble opinion, very inspiring. I struggled to follow those who didn’t have values or principles that I respected. It didn’t matter if I agreed with them all the time, as long as I felt I could trust them, that they seemed willing to listen, or even accepting of the fact that they were human and able to admit that they didn’t know everything. I wanted to perform better when my manager didn’t act like he had it all figured out and wanted his employees to participate in the greater good of the team.
When I found myself in the position of “Boss” – this became real when I saw a friend of one of my employees at a restaurant soon after the merger with Maximize. She introduced me to her boyfriend as “Olivia’s boss.” That’s when it actually dawned on me that I was literally someone’s boss. Not just the boss of one, but 5 people! And it hit me that I needed to make sure I wasn’t like the bosses I didn’t enjoy working for.
My Mastering Leadership journey with Emily and the other participants was a wonderful opportunity to check in on that standard, through the Leadership Circle Profile 360, I was able to see that my employees respected me, and based on their assessment, they thought I was a leader worth following. That was great insight and definitely gave me some things to think about. But that didn’t necessarily address some of the things I felt were needing attention in the trenches at team Maximize.
At one of our half-day Mastering Leadership workshops, we focused our attention on our saboteurs that tend to get in the way of our success and joy. We completed an online assessment based on Shirzad Chamine’s book, Positive Intelligence. The assessment revealed which saboteurs were my main hidden enemies, examples included: Judge, Controller, Victim, Stickler, Avoider, Pleaser, Restless, Hyper-Achiever, Hyper-Vigilant, or Hyper-Rational. My main saboteurs were aligned with the findings of my Leadership Circle Profile, and it gave me additional insight into what might be holding me back from playing a bigger game.
Self-assessment isn’t part of our every day life, and many people have not had the opportunity or understand the value of looking inside for clues to why they might be struggling to get to the next level or to break free of the past voices that hold us back and cause stagnation.
As a leader, stagnation is a slippery slope. Growth is always on the minds of the leaders of any organization, and I knew that without the alignment and commitment of my Maximize team, we would never be able to scale and become more sustainable. The question I found myself asking that day at Emily’s workshop was, “How can I play my bigger game without the support of my team?”. And I knew, immediately, as soon as the question popped into my head that the answer was: I couldn’t.
Our next workshop activity was based on another book, aptly titled: “Play Your Bigger Game”, by Rick Tamlyn. The game board that we physically explored as a group is a playful model to help us intentionally design what we want to accomplish and who we want to be in the process.
When Emily asked us where we were currently living on the game board, I found myself firmly planted in the “Sustainability” box. I knew I needed support, and I also knew that alone, I was not going to be able to achieve the level of success that I envisioned for myself, or for our company.
That’s when a big idea started to sink in…
Maximize Team Day
The answer to, “Well, what do I do about this?” was pretty simple: Bring in Emily to work with our team and give them the opportunity to play the bigger game first-hand. I felt like this would be an impactful way to align the team on what we most want to accomplish together and inform how we want to show up with each other as a team of supportive and collaborative professionals.
The day started with setting an intention, shared by each team member so everyone knew what the others wanted and needed to accomplish.
My intention for the day… “To observe where the existing leadership qualities of each member of the team can be further developed to strengthen the overall structure of Maximize.”
This is important because… “The level of our game will require that additional responsibilities be shifted to provide room for growth, and this will leverage the individual strengths of each member of the team, and empower them to grow.”
Together, we co-designed an alliance, and ultimately began to answer some very important questions.
- What is the culture/atmosphere we want to create together?
- What would help this team flourish?
- What can we count on from each other?
- How can we agree to act when things get difficult?
- We are a team that…
The Bigger Game board exercises and conversations Emily facilitated during our team retreat re-invigorated everyone with a renewed sense of energy and collaborative spirit. Our team walked away with a lot of new tools and fresh perspectives to build on our strengths and began to establish ways to be more productive together. The safe, trusting environment that Emily created led to important conversations about how our team members can best support each other and develop systems that will inevitably lead to creating a more sustainable organization. Our motto from the day, “in it to win it”, lives on our office project board.
Mastering Leadership has been a springboard in many ways for team Maximize. In the spring, we will be cultivating leadership in another team member, Olivia George, through Emily’s program. Making investments in the leadership development of our employees will continue to be a key priority in 2017
If you want to know more about the program, read this blog series in its entirety. I’ve shared personal experiences about the 360-degree Assessment, Workshops, and Retreats!
About Chrissanne Long
Chrissanne’s passion is helping small and mid-sized businesses thrive. To excel at that, she’s keenly aware of the need to be the highest and best version of herself as she advises her clients and leads her agency team. This past February she started Emily’s 2016 Mastering Leadership Program and has authored a 4-part blog series about her journey through the program.