What happens when we stop expecting people to be perfect?

As you are coming out of your Christmas food-induced coma, I thought I would share an important concept that will help you as you prepare for 2020.

One of the complaints I often hear from leaders is that leading people is difficult.

I’ll admit, there is some truth to this.

It’s actually the most common reason why so many people avoid going into management – They don’t want to deal with all the ‘people problems.’

There’s an old joke that says that the only way to get rid of all your people problems is to get rid of all your people.

While that’s technically true, you wouldn’t get anything done either.

The truth is, if you don’t like people, you really shouldn’t go into leadership.

Leadership is a people business.

Leadership is a people business. Click To Tweet

Our plans – all the things that we want to do – can only be accomplished with the help of other people.

All our ideas are dead without people to bring them to life.

But here’s the thing – People are messy!

And, yes – Dealing with people can sometimes be difficult.

But, you know what? You’re not perfect either (and neither am I).

If we’re honest, we all have things that make us imperfect as leaders. In fact, there’s really no such thing as perfect employees or a perfect boss.

If we really want to get things done, we need to stop expecting our people to be perfect.

If we really want to get things done, we need to stop expecting our people to be perfect. Click To Tweet

We need to look past their flaws and learn to appreciate each person as an individual.

People come in all shapes and sizes as well as all different kinds of backgrounds. They’re all going to react differently to your leadership style.

So, the sooner we get over the fact that everyone is unique and no one is perfect, the sooner we embrace the chaos that is “real people,” the quicker we can work together to get things done.

Which, by the way, is the role of a leader.

So my message for you today is simple – Embrace the chaos, love your people despite their flaws, and go get things done.

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And here’s a simple way you can love your people. Give them a gift of leadership as they prepare for the new year.

If you order a copy of my Amazon best-selling book, “I Have the Watch: Becoming a Leader Worth Following” before December 31st at 11:59 pm EST, I’ll ship an additional signed copy to anyone you want as a gift from YOU to THEM.

Just indicate their names, e-mail, and mailing addresses in the order notes.

Here’s the order link jonsrennie.com/ihavethewatchbook.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ This book is a great one day read that improves your understanding of leadership tenfold. – Jack T. Amazon Customer

What can a Christmas Movie about an Elf Teach us about Leadership?

Full confession. At one business I led, I used to dress up as Buddy the Elf (Yes. Yellow tights and all!) to deliver candy to all my employees during the Holidays.

That’s how much I love the movie Elf.

I actually have a Buddy the Elf coffee mug that I use at work every year from Thanksgiving to Christmas. In fact, I’m drinking from it right now!

I’m not the only one who loves this movie either. In the 16 years since its release, Elf has become a classic “must watch” holiday movie. Most people can quote at least one line from this hilarious Christmas comedy.

As I watched Elf again this year, I realize there were many powerful leadership messages in the story. Here’s some that I noticed:

Sometimes people just don’t fit in. Buddy the Elf was a human raised by elves. As such, he didn’t really fit into either world. As a leader, there are times when we have great employees who just don’t fit into an assignment or a department. We need to identify these people and put them in roles where they are a better fit.

Employees need to discover things on their own. Buddy the Elf learned his birth father, who he had never met, was on the “naughty list.” He went on a quest to find him to learn more about himself. Often times, employees need to do the same thing. They need to try new activities and be given stretch assignments to learn what they love. As leaders, we need to give people the freedom to discover what their true passions are.

People will always amaze you. When Buddy the Elf decides to decorate the toy department at Gimbels for Santa’s visit, everyone is shocked at his abilities. People will amaze you as well. Give them the chance to show you what they can do. As George Patton said, let them surprise you with their results.

Just smile. An employee once told me, I was her favorite boss. When I asked why, she explained that I always said, “thank you” and I smiled a lot. As a leader, we set the tone. If we’re upbeat and happy, our employees will sense that. Even when you’re having a rough day, remember to smile.

“I just like to smile; smiling’s my favorite.” Buddy the Elf Click To Tweet

Don’t pick a snowball fight with someone from the North Pole. Buddy the Elf befriends his half-brother when he shows off his unusual talents in a snowball fight. Leaders need to recognize when to fight and when to back down. Not every fight needs to be won. Pick your battles, whether it’s with employees, co-workers, or even customers. Always remember that discretion is often the better part of valor.

Sometimes we need to apologize.  When things didn’t initially work out with Buddy’s new-found family, he leaves an apology letter. Apologizing is often the hardest but most important thing we do as leaders. If we make a mistake, admit it and apologize. People know it’s hard to admit when you are wrong or hurt someone which makes a sincere apology even more powerful.

“I’m sorry I ruined your lives and crammed 11 cookies into the VCR.” Buddy the Elf Click To Tweet

Employees can spot a fake. Buddy the Elf quickly spotted the fake Santa and our employees will spot fakes as well. If you are not being genuine, authentic, and truthful, your employees will know. They can tell when you are not being real with them. Don’t think you can fake it around your team.

“You stink. You smell like beef and cheese! You don’t smell like Santa.” Buddy the Elf Click To Tweet

You need people to believe in your vision to bring it to life. Buddy the Elf knew people had to believe in Santa to make the reindeer fly. It’s the same thing with our visions. To bring our plans to life, we need people to understand and believe in them. Do your employees understand your vision? Do they believe in it? If not, it’s never going to get off the ground.

“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” Buddy the Elf Click To Tweet

Christmas season is a great time to gather and watch our favorite holiday movies. As you sit through Elf this year, think about the leadership messages.

Look for those employees who are not fitting in, find ways to let employees discover things on their own, give your people room to amaze you, find time to smile, choose your battles carefully, apologize, be authentic, and give your people something to believe in.

If we do these things, we will be more successful as leaders and, maybe, be as happy as Buddy the Elf himself.

Give the gift of leadership this Christmas by giving the leaders and future leaders a copy of my bestselling book, I Have The Watch.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Jon hammers home the values of great leadership with excellent examples backed with personal experience. This book is necessary for anyone in a leadership role. – Amazon Customer

Help! I’m in a new leadership role, what should I do?

A while back I was asked this timely question:

Q: Jon, help!  I’ve just started a new leadership role and really want to make a good impression, what should I do?

A: First off, congrats!

Here’s the deal:

It doesn’t matter how seasoned you are, any time you start a new role, you’re the rookie.  Everyone’s watching you for cues to see what kind of leader you’re going to be.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that the first 100 days are critically important. 

It’s your chance to set the right tone for your organization.

That first 100 days represent the “honeymoon” phase.

It’s the small window of time when you have the full attention of everyone.  Yes, you’ll be under a microscope with people watching your every move.  But this is good news!  It means you can make a big impact…

IF you take advantage of those beautiful early days!

First and foremost:

You’ve got to have a plan.

No plan, no magic.

The best leaders in history have known this…and used this “secret” to win the commitment – if not the hearts – of their staff.  And this all begins with letting your team know who you are.  There may be anticipation – even trepidation – among your people.  Right off the bat, have a meeting with all team members to fully introduce yourself.

Use stories and examples of how you handled past situations to let them see your character.  Be visible.  Spend time where your people are.  Actively listen to their questions, concerns, and ideas. And engage them on the subjects they care about.

In this way, you’ll get to know them.

And they’ll get to know you as well.

Finally, make a point to meet one-on-one with key employees.  I like to have one-on-one meetings with as many people as I can. I want to know the biggest challenges and the most important issues facing the organization. I also want to understand what they think needs to be addressed first.

Bottom line:

The energy you put out is the energy you get back.

If you’re open, cooperative, and show them you value them as humans, they’ll pay it back with insights you wouldn’t get otherwise and greater alignment at all levels.  Get ‘em on the bus first.  Then you can steer.

Anyway, that’s all for today.

Stay tuned for my next post when I’ll go into no less than 7 more key actions you MUST take in those all-important first days to grab this bull by the horns and bring it on home!

If you are striving to become a better leader, get a copy of my Amazon best selling bookI have the Watch: Becoming a Leader Worth Following.