Solution Saturday: Avoid Less – Take Initiative More
The issues you avoid morph into future-crushing gremlins.
A surprising suggestion:
I suggested a negative project to a coaching client who wants to take initiative when issues are stressful.
I prefer projects that elicit positive energy, but for the first time, I suggested an Avoidance Journal.
Two weeks later we debriefed.
Journaling is noticing. Noticing precedes change.
- Notice it to track it. You may not see your own progress unless you track it.
- Notice it to stop it. Habits are unnoticed behaviors that continue until you notice them.
- Notice it to improve it. The act of noticing makes a positive difference.
#1. Noticing avoidance encouraged him to take initiative.
The journaling project was only about noticing. What’s the situation? How do you feel? When are you avoiding? It wasn’t about change. But he changed.
He said that he knew I was going to ask him about avoiding so it seemed easier to take initiative.
The act of noticing combined with accountability produced change. I wasn’t going to ask if he improved. I planned to ask two questions.
- What did you notice?
- What did you learn about yourself?
Coaches observation: Passion for growth needs clarity, support, and encouragement, not harassment.
#2. Noticing avoidance brought clarity and simplicity.
He noticed there were two basic things he avoided. One was small and the other stressful.
He indicated that it was encouraging to see the issue of avoidance wasn’t as big as it used to be.
Progress energizes people – if it’s noticed.
- Provide opportunity for people to notice themselves and their impact on others. Journaling is noticing.
- Don’t fix people.
- Factors of growth include clarity, focus, support, and encouragement, not harassment.
- Accountability is voluntary.
Successful leaders bring forward-facing curiosity to issues other leaders avoid.
What do leaders avoid?
How might leaders develop initiative even when issues are stressful?
A true “Leader” in my eyes hold themselves “accountable” to those they report too including themselves.
The issues are when we don’t hold ourselves to the same values we expect from others.
If your stressed out, reflect on the root of the stress and resolve it. “Stress defeats one if we let it, learn to manage the situations that put you in the overwhelming status, and get back to handling the issues head on.
Good Saturday to you Tim. The guiding principle of accountability is it’s voluntary. Forced accountability is a waste of energy and resources.
Accountability is something we hold ourselves to. Yes, others help, but they help us get where WE want to go, not where they are coercing us to go.
We should reject any attempts to force people to do things they don’t want to do. If the things they want don’t align with the things the team/organization want it’s time to manage them out.
Easier said than done, the tolerance levels some organizations have allows for these behaviors to fester! The root needs cut off at the base and removed.
This is the simplest way you could have got me to journal. It is important to notice and notice preceeds change. Awesome, thank you for articulating this
Thanks cool, Deepa. Best wishes for the future.
Dan, Started this just last week with a potentially valuable team member that is used to no accountability, non-performance and no-plan … relying solely on past successes (individual technical skill of many years ago) and relationships with owners of the business. An individual that believes they are a star, and entitled to high leadership role yet isn’t able to demonstrate. A individual that has been given numerous opportunities to shine but hasn’t.
The journal is a start to let them see the reality which we will reflect on weekly.
Can’t force someone to change – they need to want to – shame if they don’t and they need to be pruned.