Understanding Leadership


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Friday, September 30, 2016

What drives our people?

Hello everyone. It has been a while since I've posted. I retired this summer and I took the opportunity to chillax a little. It was nice. Now, I'm back to building my training business and enhancing the careers of public safety personnel.

While I was chillaxing this summer, I had the opportunity to read some material and watch some videos by Tony Robbins. I have to admit, I always knew who he was, but I never really paid attention to him. I must say, I am a very big fan now - and I'm not always easily won over.

What I like about Tony's teachings are that they look at the root causes of why people do what they do. With most people, actions are driven by emotions and emotions are driven by psychological or human needs. A foundation of Tony's talks is understanding the six human needs that drive people. Said needs are:

1. Certainty - We need to know what is going to happen, or, at least have a good idea as to what will happen. We do this by creating routines and setting attainable goals with mapped out steps. It's predictable and provides consistency in our lives.

2. Uncertainty - What? Uncertainty? You just said certainty. Believe it or not, we also need some variety in our lives. As long as the variety is pleasant - serendipitous. As Tony says, if the surprise is something we don't like, we call it a problem. Taking a spontaneous weekend trip with our partners or mountain biking on a trail you've never ridden before are good examples of positive uncertainty.

3. Significance - We all want to be relevant, or significant, in some fashion. Of course, some want this more than others. We have a need to be recognized for our accomplishments. Whether it's obtaining a PhD or a black belt in Jiu Jitsu, we do it for our own sense of accomplishment, but also for the recognition, which equals significance.

4. Love & Connection - We all crave love; it's human. If we don't get love, we will accept a connection, which, according to Tony, are the scraps of love. We all want to feel love and connection with our family, our close friends and our coworkers (well, maybe not all of our coworkers). It satisfies a significant part of our emotional needs.

5. Growth - If you are not growing, you are dying. That is a philosophy that Tony uses. He says that there are no plateaus in life. He adds that we must grow personally, in our relationships, at our jobs, even as parents. I tend to follow his philosophy because it is in my nature. But, I can see where some people like ruts, or plateaus. I suppose it goes back to certainty.

6. Contribution - This is straight from Tony - "Life is really about creating meaning. And meaning does not come from what you get, it comes from what you give. Ultimately it’s not what you get that will make you happy long term, but rather who you become and what you contribute will." 

Now that I've listed the needs, Tony adds that we are all unique on which needs we focus. He also adds that the way the needs get met can be positive, neutral, or negative. For example, let's take the need for recognition. Some may look for it by making themselves better in academics (Master's or PhD). That is a way to be recognized positively. How about the person we all know that always has bigger problems than everyone else. They are sicker, have less money, a crappier life, etc. These people are seeking recognition, but in a negative way.

I am only scratching the surface of the point that Tony makes. Just understand that emotions drive action. But what drives emotions? Is it solely extrinsic or intrinsic needs? It would seem that much of what drives us are these six intrinsic needs. Knowing what these needs are, how can we as leaders use them to be of service to our people?

In my opinion, we have to start with ourselves. Take a look at the six needs and analyze yourself. What drives you and how does it effect you as a leader (positive or negative)? After your self-analysis, look at your people and see what drives them. If you have a person that seeks positive recognition, foster it and direct it. If you have people that seek negative recognition, call them out and illustrate that they are taking themselves, and the team, in a negative direction. Maybe, if they actually see and understand what they are doing, they may change the negative behavior.

I realize that I'm taking a broad topic and funneling it down into a blog post. But I highly recommend, as a leader, you familiarize yourself with Tony's six emotional needs to better understand what drives you and what drives your people. I have incorporated this concept into my leadership classes with very positive results. What do you think?

Here are a few links to Tony explaining the six emotional needs:




Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Good morning everyone. This will be my first "official" post (non-introductory) on this leadership blog. I want to discuss an article I recently read on Forbes.com. It was written by Mike Myatt and was titled, "The #1 Reason Leadership Development Fails".

To synopsize the article, Mike states that leadership training/courses do not do what they intend, which is to develop a person's leadership abilities. He adds that leadership development is not something that is learned in a classroom; rather, it is developed over time by the institute the leader works for. He illustrates that leadership training "presumes the need for indoctrination on systems, processes and techniques." Mike states that leadership does not pivot on said systems, processes and techniques; instead, it pivots on advancements and progress.

For the most part, I agree with Mike. As a person that teaches leadership development, I completely understand that a three day course doesn't infuse a person with years of leadership trial and error and experiences. But I disagree with Mike's notion that leadership training is basically useless. Part of "development" is learning various techniques and perspectives. Said techniques and perspectives are tools a leader can use to drive change, progress, motivation and esprit de corps.

I liken it to a carpenter apprentice. To do his job, the apprentice has to learn how to operate the tools of the trade. He needs to know which specific tool does what and why. Through time, he will learn when and where to apply a specific tool to accomplish his goal. This concept is true for leaders as well. Training helps to enlighten leaders on various concepts and approaches (tools) to help them accomplish their, or the team's, mission.

The absolute wrong approach to leadership training is to stand in front of men and women and tell them that if you do A, B & C, you will be a great leader. That's not development, that's bullshit. Development is having honest discussions about human nature and why subordinates do what they do. By having an understanding to the reasons why, leaders can better answer questions and gain insight on what positively or negatively influences their teams.

Again, I do agree with Mike's article in that leadership development should be an internal process within any private of government agency. I also agree that it is a very bad habit for entities to send their supervisors to leadership training and expect that to be a "fix-all" step. The approach should be that leadership training is one of many steps in the development process. Identify what your tools are and when to use them. Over time, experience will dictate which tools work and which ones do not.

Well, that's my two cents. I would love to discuss this topic if you are so interested.



Who the Hell are You?

Hello everyone. My name is Tim Jones and I'm about to start a new blogging journey here on Google's Blogger. The focus of my blog posts will be on leadership. Now, I know that you are thinking, what the hell do you know about leadership Tim? Truth be told, maybe my knowledge level is a spec above average. I don't fancy myself a leadership academic nor do I see myself as Lincoln-esque.

What I am is a 47 year old, 20 year police veteran and former US Navy Diver that has paid attention to what works and what does not. I've read a few books along the way that have shored up some of my personal theories and have also enlightened me with different perspectives. All in all, my "book-learnin'" and my experience have given me what I feel is a good foundation to discuss leadership. And by experiences, I absolutely mean the mistakes. I've always felt that "true" success is built on a foundation of failure. Let me tell you, I've had some. But when I did make a mistake, instead of pointing fingers and trying to avoid blame, I owned my mistakes and learned from them. Much of what I will be discussing is based on either my own, or other people's mistakes. There will be some successes sprinkled about as well.

I love the topic so much, I created a leadership development class for law enforcement. My class focuses on foundations, or the nuts and bolts, of leadership. I created the class with ample amounts of discussion opportunities. In my opinion, it would not be a suitable leadership course if the class did not discuss the ideas or topics that I throw at them. I always take away a few good nuggets of perspective from each class as a result of discussions.

To further introduce myself, I have been married for almost 23 years. I have two children, a cat and a new dog. Given that I still work full-time as a police officer, and I run my training business as well, I do not have much time for hobbies and such. I do play the drums in a dance band called Dance Hall Epidemic (dancehallepidemic.com) on weekends.

Well my friends, that's me. I look forward to more posts on leadership and I look forward to some discussions with anyone who would want to respond. BTW, my next post will be on the differences between management and leadership...