Webinar presenter Brenda Dietzman answered a number of your questions after her webinar, Growing the Leaders You Need for the Future. Here are just a few of her responses.
Audience Question: How did we get the leaders who most need to hear this message to actually listen? So often the ones in top chairs think they have all the answers and aren’t seeking training and knowledge about leadership?
Brenda Dietzman: I’m going to go back to Maslow, right? What motivates them, and good question, and a tough one, thank you for that. What motivates people, and what are the hurdles? Sometimes when you bring an idea to upper management, it is all about we can’t do this because we don’t have any money to do this. So, you, you take a look at that, and you say, “Hey, it actually cost us more to not do this in the long run. So, let’s try this, and let’s study it to see if this solution helps us save money in the long run, and let’s make that happen.” Maybe another thing that might motivate them is credit, which, unfortunately, is still way too prevalent in today’s world. It’s your idea, but they want credit for it, and they’re going to shoot you down, because, well, it’s not their idea. So, in that case, if you really believe in the organization, let it be their idea, and let them take the credit for it, and make it where they’re the ones that are celebrated because it’s going to make a difference for you. It’s going to make a difference for the people around you. You’re doing the right thing. It’s not right. I’m not saying that this is a good thing, but maybe that solution gets implemented. Really spend some time thinking about what motivates people. Maybe it’s a time issue. Maybe, they’re like, “Oh, that sounds like a great idea, but we just don’t have time to do it.” You take it on and say, “You know what? Here’s how I’ve got it laid out. We can get this done. I want to implement this idea. Let’s try to make this happen, and I’m willing to work on it, I’m the one willing to do the work to make it happen.” So, find out what motivates them, find out what the hurdles are for them, find out what their sticking points are, and try to overcome those things. But you’ve got to understand your boss. So, it’s called leading up. Sometimes you’ve got to, you’ve got to understand how the boss ticks, to get your ideas implemented. But there’s no easy answer to that. sometimes it’s just hard and you have to look at the health of your organization and determine if you really want to stay there.
Audience Question: I’ve taken the initiative and grown my leadership abilities. As I do this, I’m comparing what I know to what I see in my agency, and it’s very demotivating and frustrating. I’m struggling with not just dealing with it, but questioning everything, like, “What I’m doing here?” almost an existential crisis, how do I deal with this?
Brenda Dietzman: Take a deep breath and understand, first of all, you’re never going to find a perfect world. You are never going to find a perfect employer that is absolutely amazing. And that goes for everything, right? Not all leaders are amazing, empathetic, and curious… to promote my next webinar, and you’ve got to understand that. But with that said, you have to figure it out, and you have to make a personal decision, am I going to leave this organization and try to find an organization that is better suited for me and my skills? Or am I going to stay, and have a somewhat difficult career, and make a difference, and become that leader that can change things, and change the organization, and change the organizational culture? Neither one of those is an easy answer, because if you leave the organization, you might be giving up a pension or a part of a pension, if you decide to stay, that’s hard. I have talked to a number of people who have asked me this same question, and they have to wrestle with that. Are you going to be part of the solution? Or are you going to leave and find something healthier, hopefully, somewhere else? And there’s no right or wrong answer here. It’s just what you are motivated to do. With that said, you also have to figure out are they going to be open and get out of your way to make those changes and to promote you, so you can get into those positions where you can make big, substantial changes within your organization. So, it really comes down to a personal choice. And like I said, there’s no right or wrong answer, it’s just what you are willing to do and what you want to do. It’s fun, and it’s rewarding to go to an organization that is awesome, that is open to innovative ideas, and that cares about its people. But it is also rewarding to stay at an organization that doesn’t have that and to create a culture that is like that.
So, both, are very rewarding. It just depends on what you’re motivated to do and what you’re willing to do. And good luck.
Audience Question: Do you have thoughts on how to get millennials and I would even add maybe Gen Z engaged and willing to learn from older, more experienced leaders?
Brenda Dietzman: That’s interesting. That’s an interesting question. Because what I’ve found is that most progressive, innovative Gen Z and Millennials who want to progress in the profession or within your organization, a lot of them are really open to having conversations with older people and listening to them. I don’t even remember where I was a few days ago, but I was talking about something, and there was a younger couple at another table, and we were really close together. And they heard what I said, they actually started asking me questions about it, and I found that they’re pretty open to that. If you’re having a hard time with that in your organization, where they’re not open to that conversation, maybe, first of all, get to know them, invest in them, and find out what’s important to them. And then start down that avenue of talking about things like that to get them, where you actually have a relationship with them. That’s what they want. They want a relationship and then they’re going to probably be open to listening to you more. The second thing is listening to their ideas, first. And then maybe they’ll end up listening to your ideas, as well. But really finding out what motivates them is going to be important, to getting them, to open up, to listen to ideas and advice that is so needed, because like I said, that backstop is going away, has gone away really quick. And we’re going to have a lot younger workers running a lot of really big, important organizations in this country. Younger, less life experience, and less work experience.
Click Here to Watch a Recording of Growing the Leaders You Need for the Future.