The first time I heard this question I had just accepted a new position with a nice bump in salary, and responsibilities. I was expressing to a friend that I was nervous about meeting the expectations of my new manager.
The minute my friend asked, “Lisa, how good can you stand it?” I realized that the expectations I was most worried about were mine. I didn’t relax much at that moment, but knowing that I am the one who has the power to achieve as much as I want has helped me to have a rich and varied life.
GETTING PAST ZERO-SUM
We tend to think that the business world is always a zero-sum environment, “If Steve gets that promotion, and then I will not be able to achieve my goals.” However there is always more—a different department or project, new products, new companies. Good things don’t always look exactly like we want them to, but they still add to our lives.
“Standing it good” is about having the courage to know what we want, and to go after it. Sometimes that means that we have to strive for years, and sometimes it’s as simple as asking for it in the moment; like asking for more responsibility, or declining an assignment that does not resonate with us.
This concept of “standing it good” is not the same as “win at any cost.” It means we stop selling ourselves short and we allow ourselves to strive for more. When we do this, others are inspired as well.
IT SERVES THE WHOLE COMPANY
When the individual team members believe that “more is always possible”, they have an expansive mindset, and so are inspired to be, and to do, more. This benefits the organization as well. Three of the benefits are:
Team members are more willing to work with others in new and different ways, so they accomplish more, with higher morale
- Rather than manage, leaders are encouraged to lead because their teams are more proactive and pull them ahead.
- Knowing that it’s okay, even encouraged, to diverge from the norm means that team members won’t stop before they have done everything they can to solve a problem or accomplish a goal.
LEADING YOUR TEAM TO “STAND IT GOOD”
As leaders we can be especially influential in spreading this mindset. First we have to believe it for ourselves. It’s human nature to contract and to see the negative side of situations and events. I learned this concept decades ago and I still have to consciously open my mind at times. Actually doing the new and different is even more challenging!
Here are a few practices that can help you, and your teams, lean toward standing it good:
Make it okay to think, and act, outside the box. Once in awhile, get on top of the box. When brainstorming, encourage the team to get really radical and have fun. Implementation is when the practicalities will need to be considered carefully.
- Watch out for negative or constricting language. There’s a difference between useful risk management and being a naysayer. Are you or team members says things like, “Yes, but…”, or “That’s interesting, but…”, or just plain, “That will never work…”?
- Encourage yourself and others to do one thing each day that scares them. It may be as simple as speaking up in a meeting, or as complex as taking on a new role.
LEADING THE CHANGE
Every teeny, tiny change is a victory upon which future growth is based. Yet even with small changes it can be hard to tell the difference between our discomfort that comes from trying something new and the uneasiness that tells us something is not right. Practice and celebrating the small changes are the best way to get to that state of knowing. A supportive leader and team makes practicing fun and easy, and the whole team benefits in a myriad of ways.
Your turn. How do you help people have an opportunity mindset? Please comment below!
Expanding the connection to the wonderful work by Karin Hurt at Let’s Grow Leaders, this is my guest post from last week. I am honored that Karin asked me to write about the connection between Leadership and Standing It Good.