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Episode 6 - Pain and Suffering for Leaders

Episode 6 - Pain and Suffering for Leaders


This episode is about fear and pain as a leader

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In this episode of Lead, Follow, Get Out of the Way, Chris and John discuss the importance of addressing fear and happiness in leadership. They acknowledge that pain and suffering are part of the job, but also highlight the need to learn from these experiences. They emphasize that success requires enduring pain and overcoming fear. They also discuss the challenges of leading a team and dealing with conflicts. They suggest that mindfulness and finding outlets, such as engaging in sports or hobbies, can help leaders cope with pressures and maintain mental well-being. Hello and welcome to another episode of Lead, Follow, Get Out of the Way. You've got Chris here and John here and today Johnny what are we exploring today mate? Today we're here to follow, learn about fear and happiness with leadership. In particular with fear and happiness we're talking about pain and suffering. And we're doing this at easy time. Well you know it's not a bright subject but well it has to be science right? Negative and positive, you say pain and happiness and you hear pain. Both sides of the point, that's it yeah. It's quite an important subject Johnny and this was a great idea by you to talk about this and this is something that people engage with every day. And for example right, how was your day at work? Oh the pain and suffering of the day at work. How's the office management? Yes, pain and suffering. That much? Yeah that much. You can't find the words to describe it. No you can't find the words to describe it. It is interesting, half it there. Well half it is still there, the job which is up for like pain and suffering at the same time or doing work that shouldn't be my job really. But anyway, it is what it is and that's just the way the pain and suffering is at the moment. Yeah okay. How was your day? Well, it was a big day today. Plenty of pain but also plenty of happiness. So we've got a project in execution at the moment, having an aircraft being modified because you know the Air Force needs to keep up to date with stuff. So a lot of today was about talking to our stakeholders to get information about them, about what they need from us, the capability delivery organisation right. So where I work, we deliver outcomes from projects for our customers and our customers being Air Force trying to work out what they need for, well the actual subject was training. And we'll be tackling indecisiveness at the moment along with crunching deadlines. So lots of pressures there. However, despite the challenge of trying to weed information out of our stakeholders and get the answers we need in order to progress for the better outcome of the project and in particular, more importantly, Air Force, we got there at the end time. So that was my little bit of happiness. Yeah. But once you're good, so pain, what's your definition of pain? Is it the process or part of the project, is that pain? There's no easy definition, is there? No. Because short failure of a project is painful, right? How do you escape from that? Or not escape rather, how do you build from that? You don't want to avoid it. Well, you need to learn the opportunity as well. Absolutely. If you don't have pain, you don't learn, therefore you will never have success. Correct. That's simple. It's an attitude there, Johnny. An attitude to deal with pain. So you're going to have pain. Without success, you have to have pain. British people, billionaires, they all have suffered pain at some point in their life. If you want to get there, you're going to have to deal with the pain. And how do you... And people are scared of the pain. They're sorry the pain has sucked you up. And you don't want to go in there, and they're going to protect you and say no, no, no. It's easier to do this part. Because you don't get the pain. You just show up. That's the easy part. Part B is the hard part. And then, you finally get there, you get the pain. But, again, you may want to get better at what you're doing, what you're suffering from as well. But they don't tell you that. They say it's an easy life over here. And you have no pain, because it's not your problem. And you just work yourself. Ah. So... Well, that's... That's the thing. That's the thing of being a boss or entrepreneur or whatever. You go in, you have to manage the people or whatever. You expect it. You expect it. People don't tell you that at the start. They all say it's not an easy job. I've got everything. All I've got to do is A, B, and C. And off you go. Give me the tools and there you go. That's probably the reality check there, right? Is don't be surprised when pain does happen. I mean, by all means, Johnny, we need to avoid what we can when it comes to pain, right? We should manage as much as we can. Yeah. But there's no free lunch. And without success, you've got to endure the hard work. And that includes what? You've got fear, the apprehension that results from that. You've got rejection. You've got failure. You've got conflict. The priorities or stakeholders be supportive. That's the... Heck, you're executives. You've got to navigate this. Yes. And the path is not easy. It's not straightforward. It's a run around. Here you go. Up the hill to what you think is Mount Everest. But is that actually, like Michael just said, you find the real mountains over there, and that's the real end of it apparently, don't you? And it is hurting. Yeah? So, obviously, we've agreed that you can expect to witness or experience rather this pain in the pursuit of happiness, right? But as a leader, you know, heading your team, heading a system, leaning towards outcomes. The big question is, how do you deal with that? Well, with leading a team, it's a bit like the idea of chaos. You've got chaos theory. Everybody's crazy. Okay? And you're trying to lead these people in one direction with a strategy, right? And if people aren't getting the strategy, or how to achieve the strategy, you have to go, well, how do I communicate better? How do I expand the team better? How do I expand the reason why? And then they argue with you. They complain with you. They don't understand the reason for you addressing their goals. That's the first conflict, the normative conflict. The second conflict, you don't have the skill set to achieve your goal, and they think your goal is too crazy. So, what do you do? Well, you know, you either change yourself, or change your goal, or change the people. And when you're changing the people, they could be your best friend. You have to say, like, How are you doing? You have to say, like, That's cool. That's nice. You guys have this great relationship right there. Talking to people is not really relationship building, is it? There's a pain right there. And as a leader, it's not just the redundancy of the employee, for either of you, it's the fact that you think. Because, at the end of the day, it's the same as a bus. It's a forceful bus. It's doing some business or something. But you've been in the trenches with this guy for the last, I don't know, it's an long time for all of you, like 10 years, or before you could do that. So, there's two factors that you gave there, Johnny. One is treating conflict to deal with the pain, because you talked about the likes of achieving goals and stuff. But then, for example, a resignation or termination that you had to administer as a leader, you can't avoid that, right? You've got to endure that. So, how have you dealt with those pressures as a leader? It's terrible. Terrible. But sometimes, if it's the right person who's being conflicted to the organisation, then to this day, eventually, you're quite good, because you've done the right thing. The happiness comes. In the moment, it's shit. It's arguments, it's confronting. People avoid it for a reason, right? Rip off the band-aid, right? Yeah. A threat to come out, or bash the car, an angry car, or whatever, it doesn't matter anyway. Yeah, that's right. But, like, say, next day, when you remove them, and you've got some fresh air, you can breathe, and you don't have the problem anymore, the happiness comes. OK, that's probably another person. But, sure, if it's not his clone, somebody is better than him to bring in and have them left the organisation. Hmm. So, so then we can, we can both agree that you've got to expect these things to come. There's no surprises there. There's no easy wins. And you've also got to be able to deal with it. But, you know, some deliberate techniques to deal with it are quite important, I think. And I know in my workplace, you need an outlet. You need a way to deal with it. You need to be deliberate and understand what's going on inside your headspace. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Understand your headspace. That's a big deal. Because you, it's a man, it's a lifestyle. You don't know what's going on. Yeah. Lifestyle. Well, there's a concept called mindfulness. And there's, there's been huge books written about it. And it's not just about, well, it's far from just about leadership, right? It's about people dealing with conflict every day. However, you could apply it to your own stresses and experience day to day as being a leader. And so, what is mindfulness? Well, it's a mental state you have when you simply focus on the presence. And you're not going to have any judgment on yourself or anyone else. You're not being distracted. The world's in front of you and you're simply seeing what is here, what is now. And there's multiple techniques for this. And we're not going to be able to have time to go through them all. However, I do, I, I highly recommend that people look into it if they're really serious about dealing with pressures at work that they're currently experiencing as leaders. And it can be as simple as breathing exercises or mentally checking in with yourself. For me in particular, as much as perhaps maybe some would argue it, it puts my physical well-being in jeopardy, Johnny, I ride a motorbike in the afternoon. I don't have a radio or a Bluetooth, which, you know, a lot do, but I don't. I just have me, my thoughts and the distractions of trying to survive on the open highway on the way home. And that changes things. Yeah. Yeah. I pay a lot of top off as well. So in the evenings, training sessions and stuff like that, I also give my head, give my head space, you know, ten different head spaces from work to work. Especially I do sports, which is another good way of relieving stress on the mental side of the world. So it's endorphins from the inside? Endorphins from the inside, and you know. I also find a good way to do it with pros and cons of this. Oh, yeah, okay. Yeah. So pros, cons. And right or not, pros are hiring, pros are firing. And I'll be going, why would you keep me while I'm getting rid of you? And if the cons aren't worth the pros, then sorry buddy, you are. Gone. That's amazing. You go ahead. Oh, you go. I was going to say, because what you're doing there is, one of the issues that we have as humans, right, is when it comes to emotions, we typically amplify more than what reality is. And what you're doing is providing logic by talking about the here and now and analysing the pros and cons of what's going on. I almost argue that's the way it plays in the mindfulness. That's right, yes. Yes. So you can kind of see, you can see if the cons, if he's becoming, if the cons is very strong, he's becoming toxic, right? And at work, you set the standards for your staff, right, by allowing the quality of staff in your organization. They see that that's occupied and do that and get away with it. Other people's behaviour will diminish and will follow his path. So you want to remove that guy as fast as you can so the standards don't drop for himself. And that takes courage. That takes courage, right? But would you say... And I believe that's a mistake that you made by employing a human in the first place, right? So, you know... Yeah, you all make mistakes. We make some mistakes, but, you know, it's one of those things. I made a mistake with this guy early afterwards. That's a big part of it. Well, these techniques that we've personally got as our, I guess, our mindful techniques, mindfulness to deal with pressures, for me in particular, Johnny, that deals also with anxiety. And in particular, you have sleep deprivation as a parent, right? You have excess caffeine because you're working through that. And then suddenly you've got the jitters and you've also got the anxiety of what's going and thus you overthink. It's a bad place to be, right? But mindfulness can help treat that. And what's interesting, Johnny, is that we can link this to one of our previous podcasts where we talked about the slow brain, fast brain, right? We talked about better decision making in the slow brain while fast brain is our natural default and instinct. Well, if you're under stress because of anxiety, rejection, fear, apprehension, right? Then you're naturally going to engage the fast brain and avoid having a good proficiency in critical thinking. It's going to impede you, right? Yeah. Yeah, so you're going to make a lot of short-term decisions that may not be good for you in the long term. Knee jerking. Knee jerking, yeah. Yeah, yeah. Which is an interesting segue because one website I went to that had a great article by Matthew Burke written in September 2022 from mindful.org and it was interesting. It was why, or the title was why is it important especially for leaders to feel their pain and fear? And it talked about how avoiding fear and pain can impact leadership. I suppose that comes with the apprehension, right? Yeah. Yeah. Not taking the hard yard? Yes. It's more you are worried about the other person's reaction. Seriously. More than that. Well, it brought up some interesting concepts that really resonate with me and in particular the need to belong and to be seen as successful in an organisation. And as a leader and by others it's considered a powerful psychological need. And it's noted this and acknowledged it. And in particular striving for high performance and adapting to challenges or setting stretching targets. They're all great leadership qualities, right? We've talked about that previously. But the problem begins when we tie our self-worth and our identity to our success. So for example if you as a leader tie yourself to your successes then how are you going to tie yourself to your failures? It's not a good idea, right? It has to. Well, you want to by all means you want credit for your successes, right? But then when it comes to the failures how are you going to build from that? So for example if you're so closely tied to your successes at work you're going to be operating from a place of fear in not being successful. It limits your ability to be creative and empathetic as well as emotionally intelligent. That's one of the last things it talks about and that instantly there tells me that's engaging the fast lane. So, you know we do become more effective when we're not constantly worried about failure, right? And we're going to be more open to ideas and be more at one with being creative and being courageous and I wouldn't even argue that that is just a remit of the leader but if you can also foster that environment for your workers too, right they'll be able to endure the fruits of that better non-fear related work environment. Yes. So fear or failure in a certain body is a bad one. They don't talk about successes they talk about the failures. Oh, look at that. I've never even heard this. Oh, that's what they talk about. They talk about the rich, capable man it's not how you can have success but they know that you've got to have one success but you know you've got to have 10,000 before the one success. So, it's about the speed of failure that you have to go through before you're going to learn enough to have that success. So, you know you may have earned a million dollars but you've learned a lot, right? One of the things so many people when they hear the saying well, I've tried this and this and this and this and of course it's not you know, like a product next time I'm going to do this and this and try to take off this way. And as long as you have a learning not just that percentage in this game people will be be happy happy to give you the money knowing that you're learning you've got to have this this way this is the best chance to learn. So, that's the bad one. As long as you're willing to show that you can learn and improve people will accept the failure. So, that's the inverse of saying look at me I've got all these successes it's like look at me look where I've come from these failures that we've learned so not just the failure but what you've gained from that failure. That's right. Yes. That's right. Exactly. Because the failure's not marketable. That's exactly right. Yeah, but I've learned a lot. Right? Because it's been it's been the pain and suffering that I've endured that has given me the outcome of the you know, set of events. That's really awesome. Yeah. So so that, you know what what what do you do then? You know you've got yourself there in a position you've got some outcomes coming you've got work pressures you've got apprehension and you're navigating all this you're trying some mindful techniques you've done your own reading and evaluated what you can do to decompress and control anxiety you take the time to think about where you are here and now and who's the actual situation are the fears just possibilities or are the fears realities and how to deal with that but importantly how do I navigate through the fear and not avoid it and therefore don't avoid trying and getting the outcomes. It's it's a rhetorical question but it's it's an answer that I think only individuals can answer for themselves through exploring through through experiencing too and looking at probability and you are you you also do aggressive rehearsal planning like you know if you fire somebody you might get another employee and you say we're going to do aggressive rehearsal firing this guy or boss or boss we're going to do aggressive rehearsal or firing this guy and this is what I want to say you know you react to aggressive rehearsal and see how it goes you react angry so I can react or you react how you think he's doing right so you can have aggressive rehearsal so you know you've experienced it with somebody that actually isn't going to let you terminate now you you know you go with him now you've experienced the bad you know what you're going to say you know how you're going to deal with it so um aggressive rehearsal um most of the anxiety and the fear requires you to practice practice the purpose why you're doing the dance ballet say for the first time ever you know you know that's why you do the practice because it is the first time they've been dizzy they've been nervous they've never done it before but if they're just doing their practice they've never done it before they've never done it a hundred times so they'll be calm they'll be comfortable it'll be easy I understand it's the first time it's the first time it's the hardest right so you always want to have a training experience practice I understand what is it I really hope I hope that helps um what we discussed today anyway to to improve I mean I don't want to say quality of life but that is the word that comes to mind but in order to be a great leader you've got to also be able to manage yourself and lead yourself um through navigating these these challenges you're on so you know that brings us to an end today Johnny that's right so next week topic we're going to talk about leading beyond a failure oh we've just said that you know this thing's going to happen you've got to expect it you do your best to avoid it but when it does happen you've got to be able to pick yourself up and navigate from there um and and not just how to fail properly and and safely we're going to talk about resilience and failing gracefully we'll explore those concepts but also how do you build from that and and grow from that bit bit to unpack there but we'll see you next time alright for another episode of leave follow or get out of the way

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