Listen to the podcast here.
Today was an embarrassing day. I was on the radio being interviewed by phone and I accidentally hung up right in the middle of a sentence. I was mortified! Fortunately, I had entered the phone number in my speed dial so I was able to get back on quickly. The problem was, my heart was racing and I felt like such a fool and I had to continue with the rest of the interview.
How do you maintain your composure when you make a huge mistake in front of lots of people? That is the situation good leaders must be able to handle. We all make mistakes from time to time. How we handle them differentiates the seasoned leader from the less experienced.
Every leader I have ever interviewed has said they have made numerous mistakes to get to where they are. And I’m not just saying this to make myself feel better. Research supports this, as does testimony from the most powerful leaders in the world. Warren Buffet, for example forgave one of his leaders for making a $360 million mistake, saying “we all make mistakes. If you can’t make mistakes, you can’t make decisions. I’ve made a lot bigger mistakes myself.”
“It’s dangerous to be safe” said the president of a large Chicago-based construction company in Bill Treasurer’s book, Leaders Open Doors. Treasurer tells leaders creating purposeful discomfort is a way to develop future leaders. In other words, they must learn how to handle uncomfortable situations to grow.
Ironically, in the radio interview, I was talking about my book, Flying without a Helicopter, and how important it is for leaders to be resilient. I was saying how younger people are getting fewer opportunities in their childhood to build resilience. And there I was—sink or swim. I had to be resilient in the moment to not only save face, but be a good role model to my listeners.
It wasn’t my best interview ever, but I got through it and live to tell about it. It wasn’t fun at the time or for several hours afterward, but it turned into a learning opportunity. And so it will for you when you make a big mistake in front of lots of people. At least it will give you a good story to tell.
Podcast: Lessons learned from an entrepreneur. Anthony Witt interviews Joanie Connell.
Being an entrepreneur: “you try to get around roadblocks but they keep coming” — Joanie Connell.
On this show, Jeff interviews Dr. Joanie B. Connell, author of Flying without a Helicopter: How to Prepare Young People for Work and Life, about how to prepare your sons and/or daughters for work (and life). It was an interview that resonated with him, as the father of a soon-to-be 15-year-old first year of high school student.
On this episode of Rhodes to Success, Jessica interviews Dr. Joanie Connell. During the show, Jessica and Joanie discuss helicopter parenting, generational differences in the workplace, what makes a great leader, how to help employees be resilient, and how to find a career that excites you.
Main Questions Asked:
- What are the pros and cons of helicopter parenting?
- Talk about millennial and generational challenges in the work place.
- Comment on how different generations figure out how to be happy in their career.
- Do you think the transition from employee to contractor jobs help people find a work/life balance?
- What does it take to be a successful leader?
- How do you teach employees to take on leadership roles?
- What can we do to help our employees be more resilient?
- How can people find a career that excites them?
Advice for parents:
- Let your children develop a sense of independence
- Let them make mistakes
Listen to the interview to learn how.
Experiencing the discomfort of trying something new is not fun. Surely you can think of numerous times you have avoided doing something because you didn’t want to feel the discomfort. For example, it is not easy to fire someone. It’s heart wrenching to discipline your child. It’s scary to go away to college. We sometimes find ways around doing what we ought to do to avoid the discomfort.
We ignore bad behavior, invite others along to accompany us, or decide we didn’t really want to do it anyway. We conclude the person’s performance wasn’t really that bad or choose to go to college closer to home. By doing this, we limit ourselves (and others) to being dependent and accomplishing less.
It takes courage to break through the discomfort. Bill Treasurer describes three primary types of courage in his book, Courageous Leadership. One of them is particularly important in this context: “try courage” (Treasurer 2011). We need courage to try new things. It may be scary, but we need to be brave to be independent.
“Courage is acting on what is right, despite being afraid or uncomfortable, when facing situations involving pain, risk, uncertainty, opportunity, or intimidation.” —Bill Treasurer
How do you develop the courage to try new things? I know a child who is afraid to try new foods. She’s more afraid than the average person. She will avoid it if at all possible, even if it means missing out on a treat or a meal. When the consequences get so grave or the incentives so great, she might venture out to taste something new. She starts by portioning off the smallest morsel she can possibly get onto a fork without it falling through the cracks. Then she sniffs it. She slowly counts to ten, makes sure no one is looking, and trepidatiously puts it in her mouth. She then chews for what seems like an immeasurable number of times before swallowing. It is certainly a sight to see. The fear and discomfort she experiences from trying a new food are impressive. It’s easy to see why she avoids it. Yet if she doesn’t try new foods she’ll have to live in a very small and lonely world.
For some people, trying new things is invigorating. That’s probably why the Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans jelly beans from the Harry Potter series have been successful. There’s always someone who is willing to try the earwax flavor. There is a point, however, where we all experience a certain level of discomfort. There is no easy way around it. Get used to it.
The first step to building independence is to get out of your comfort zone. If you are used to being taken care of by someone (parents, manager, spouse, etc.), that will mean to start taking risks and making decisions on your own. When you feel yourself staying inside your comfort zone, ask yourself what you can do to get out of it.
When is the book coming out?
While copies of Flying without a Helicopter: How to Prepare Young People for Work and Life are currently available on Amazon, the book will be officially released on Friday, January 23rd at a Book Release Celebration in San Diego. The social media book launch will kick off the week of February 23rd. A free webinar will be held as a part of that launch. If you would like to join the book launch, please sign up.
What motivated you to write the book?
People often ask me why I wrote the book. The answer is I wrote Flying without a Helicopter because it needed to be written. Managers kept coming to me with frustrations about how to handle the new generation of workers. At the same time, many of them had 20-something kids moving back home because they couldn’t make it their own. The connection had to be made: raising children in overprotected and over-structured environments creates adults who rely on others to solve their problems and keep them happy. Ask anyone who’s been there and they will tell you it’s not a good place to be.
What is the main message and who should read it?
The main message of the book is that parents need to let kids develop independence and resilience to make it in the real world. The book is for parents, managers, educators, and youth themselves. It focuses on developing resilience, independence, creativity, and communication skills and is written from the perspective of the workplace.
What is a book release celebration?
The Book Release Celebration is a party to celebrate the completion of the book and thank everyone who helped make it happen. There will be live music and a photography exhibit, as well as food, wine, and beer. Of course, there will be books for sale, as well as signing, but the main focus of the evening is to have fun. There will be raffles for door prizes throughout the evening. The event is free, but, to reduce waste, we are asking people to bring a cup for wine or beer or support Kill the Cup by purchasing a reusable cup for only $5. Please join us at 3rd Space on Friday, January 23rd, from 6:30-9:30 p.m. for an enjoyable evening with a celebratory vibe. RSVP on Face Book or contact us at Flexible Work Solutions.
What is a social media book launch?
A social media book launch can be many things, but in this instance it is an intense week of promoting the book across social media platforms and online stores. There will be many blogs, articles, and book reviews shared throughout the week, and many promotions will be offered to encourage book sales, shares, tweets, blogs, and so on. It is definitely a week to stay tuned for chances to win prizes, get deals on books, coaching and speaking engagements, and learn useful ways to build resilience, creativity and other workplace skills.