I recently had someone send me a four-paragraph email titled “HELP-ASAP!” that poured her heart and soul out about feeling stuck in her role as a leader. She needed coaching on how to have a conversation with her team about several glaring blind spots they had around client conversions and the mindset of a team member on the front lines (sales). Would I be willing to help her prep for having an honest while respectful conversation for her team meeting the next day?
My immediate reply: “You’re in luck; I am heading to a marketing event and have a 45-minute commute. I can speak at noon today.”
Her response: “I can’t, that is during my lunch hour….”
The greatest gift my first coach, Steve Riley, gave me was the realization that “You can’t care more about people’s lives than they do.” When I hear a response like this, it tells me a gift I can give her is to hold up a mirror and show her the role she is playing in others’ behavior.
Often people don’t know what they don’t know. They are wholly unaware of how they show up in the world and what role they play in the behavior of the people they are around. She wasn’t trying to show respect for my time and support. She was simply trained and conditioned that “the American lunch break” was a necessary part of the work life. Whatever it costs, don’t give that up. I will have attorneys call me insanely mad, saying “We have x, y and z going on and she will leave for lunch every day, even though there are four unreturned phones calls and a trust that has to be printed for a signing this afternoon. She is out the door at 5 p.m. on the dot every day; you will get trampled if you are in the way of the door. I need to fire her!”
I choose to believe people just don’t know another way. I know most of these employees, and they care. They want to retire with your business. They don’t know they are doing anything “wrong.” Unless you’ve been exposed to a company of empowerment and ownership in your destiny, the “corporate” way is the only way they know. (And granted, some employers set their expectations too high, expecting employees to skip lunch every day.)
When I got the “what about my lunch” reply, I sent her a FREE link to our recent book, “Intrapreneurs in an Entrepreneur’s World: How to Empower your Employees to Step Up and Lead,” and I said, “Why don’t you start here and let me know where I can help after you read this.” She replied three weeks later, “Thank you, WOW. I had no idea how much of the problem I was. When are you available next, day, night or weekend? I will make whatever time work. I am ready to lead this team, the right way.”
If you want to schedule a complimentary one-on-one discovery call and learn more about how we can help you get the right team placed for your practice, just click here and we’ll hop on a call to see where we can support you with taking the next step!