Every week, we ask 5 questions to a different person. The questions remain the same but the people change. Some people are leaders, some are followers, but all have valuable input. This week we meet Greg Richardson of StrategicMonk.com.
Name: Greg Richardson
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Position/Job: Leadership and Organizational Coach, Spiritual Director, THE Strategic Monk at StrategicMonk.com
1. Think back to when you were extremely motivated by a boss, leader, or teammate. What did they say or do that motivated you so much and why did it work?
There are a couple of things that have been especially motivating for me, and they are both connected to having respect for the leader I could become.
For one example, I worked with someone who began our project together by giving me a list of clear, tangible objectives that took us to our goal. I had no question about what they expected, and was confident that each action would be a step toward completing our project well. I set out to make sure that we met each objective ahead of schedule. The project went extremely well, and we had a great time working hard to stay ahead of each other.
For another, I worked with someone who was very good at giving me time to find solutions. We would sit down together and I would describe all of the obstacles, all of the challenges, all of the reasons we were not going to succeed. They would listen, give me some time to catch my breath, and then ask , “So, what are we going to do?” Again and again, their approach gave me the opportunity to examine the pieces of our situation and see the way we could move toward our goals.
2. When have you been very unmotivated by a boss, leader, or teammate? Why did it create a feeling of un-motivation to do your job better?
I think the thing that takes away my motivation more than anything else is when someone tries to take away my ability to find my own way of working.
When people micromanage me, when they take away the discretion or authority they had already given me, when they do not listen to what I have to say, I hear them communication that they are not interested in me. They are not aware of what I can contribute, they do not share my values, they are not interested in how they can help me become a stronger leader. Their main concern seems to be getting someone to do something for them.
3. What is one characteristic you look for in an effective leader?
Becoming an effective leader begins with knowing and being your deepest self.
The leaders who inspire me do the work it takes to clear away the distractions so they can recognize and appreciate their true selves, then share themselves with the people around them. They are the leaders who have been able to see my true self, even before i could see myself, and guide me toward becoming the leader I can be.
4. When have you motivated another person to better themselves or to be more productive in their job?
I am a recovering attorney, and used to work as a criminal prosecutor. I learned how to motivate people to do and say what I wanted them to do and say.
Now, as a coach and a spiritual director, I am less directive, less argumentative. I listen more, and try to motivate people to speak and act for themselves. I ask questions that are different from cross-examination. I am not trying to present a persuasive case, more helping people listen to their own deeper stories.
5. What is one piece of advice you’d give towards aspiring leaders?
Spend some time in reflection every day. Set aside the distractions of expectations and urgency. Take a walk or sit in a rocking chair. Get some fresh air and take deep breaths. Spend some time listening to silence.
Give yourself the opportunity to remember your core values; why is what you are doing important, and how does it reflects your deepest self?