Communication TwentyFourSeven

How to Grow Loyalty & Respect as a Leader

March 03, 2022 Jennifer Furlong Season 2 Episode 16
Communication TwentyFourSeven
How to Grow Loyalty & Respect as a Leader
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Show Notes Transcript

In this live interview from our "Communication TwentyFourSeven Podcast: Unscripted" series, Ministry Coach, Ioannis (pronounced Yani) Gratsinopoulos and podcast host Jennifer Furlong, discuss the topic of leadership and the important role of communication. New leaders and seasoned ones alike will find this episode most valuable!

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Jennifer  0:00  
Let's hope this works. All righty, so welcome to communication 24/7 a podcast where we communicate about how we communicate. And I'm your host Jennifer Furlong. I am super stoked about this particular episode for a couple of reasons. Number one, of course it's the very first live episode that I've ever done. So I am incredibly excited and nervous at the same time which is kind of weird you know, being a communication person and teaching public speaking for as long as I have taught it, you know, but hey, I am here congratulations on human to so I'm allowed to feel a bit nervous at this momentous occasion. And another reason why I'm super excited is my guest. I have Hello Jani is has graciously accepted the the the position of being my first live guest on The Live episode. So I am so excited that you're here Jani. I want to express my gratitude for you allowing me to have you here almost like a guinea pig, you know, for the first episode, but I know you can handle it. We've had some great, we had one great conversation previously, before today's episode. And then, you know, before we started live, we were having another great conversation. So I am so excited about this. We're going to talk about leadership. You know, we'll talk about communication, we'll talk about life. We'll talk about challenges, you know, all kinds of cool stuff. But before we get into that, let me ask Jani to please introduce himself, and then we'll kind of take it from there.

Ioannis 2:03  
Jennifer, thank you. Thank you so much for having me on. I I'm a great guinea pig. I never wanted one as a kid. They kind of freaked me out. But But I'm so excited to be here. And welcome to all of your audience. Thank you for having me as well. quick introduction. So I, I never wanted to get into coaching, if you will, business coaching nonprofit for profit ministry. In more kind of found me leaders would say, Hey, I heard you talking. I was a public speaker, traveled the country for gosh, almost 15 years. And afterwards, these leaders were come up to me and said, Hey, you're talking about this. But how do I do that? And ironically, a lot of their questions were around implementation. And what I started to find was leaders, they get the concept that they see the roadmap, but most of them kind of sit because the Delta, the gap between that and implementation is massive. Back then, I didn't call it coaching. No, I don't even think anybody called the coaching back then we I was helping leaders, I was helping pastors, I was helping these folks in the for profit and mostly nonprofit. And it's just kind of been this thing that I believe through Divine Providence has kind of interwoven itself through the spread of my life. And and now here I am, man, doing this. We started last year, and to see the growth, both in our coaching practice, but also in our clients has just been tremendous. So very excited to be here, sharing with your talk with you today.

Jennifer 3:54  
Oh, thank you. One of the things that you just said, I can feel wholeheartedly, you know, I think most of us when were either placed in leadership positions, or if we volunteer, you know, for a leadership position, there is a difference between intent and implementation. Right. You know, and it is a learning process. You know, I'm saying all the time communication is a skill, just like any other skill, right? You got to work at it to get good at it. But how do we go about working at it, right? How do we become leaders, where we're implementing the values that we want to implement, right, regardless of the type of organization that you have? What are some of the take me through some of the conversations that you have with leaders, you know, in that area of values and how to implement those values?

Ioannis 4:50  
So it's interesting that, that you say that and I think, you know, maybe for some of your listeners, they might be like, what does this have to do with communication? And this is really where that bridge comes into place? Implementation is all about communication. I mean, 100% No. 75 80%? Absolutely. And I think that's where most people really struggle is they communicate in their realm of leadership. If you ever hear military leaders talk to one another, oh, we need to stay out on the fourth often, and it's like, oh, my gosh, is that another language? No, I think it's English. But we're and folks in the tech world, same thing. They're you, they have their own nomenclature. But leadership has its own nomenclature. And leadership sometimes has its own verbiage. And communication within leadership is the beginning, the middle and and oftentimes the end of implementation. So the on a very basic level, how can you practice implementation, practice your communication with non essential leadership things? That's my that's my first tip. Right? So find something when you're working with your with your maybe your leadership team, maybe you're the top leader, test this a little bit rolling, roll a statement out, right? Maybe it's numbering, the profit loss. And Tell your people I want this disseminated across the organization. And really, get passionate about it, make sure it's something you're passionate about, that helps a lot. Right, then, right? And then talk through this with your team. And then wait a week or two, and go down the ranks. And just chit chat with some of the people. You know, did the receptionist did it? Did it make it down to them? And did it make it down to them with the same passion? Did it make it down but to them with the same articulation that you brought? And and then take a step back and refine that, then you're like Jani? What are you talking about? What does that have to do with implementation? Because Jennifer, just like you said, you've you've got to work at it. And what what happens if some people go, You know what? I have no idea how to redo the pipes in my house. I'm gonna wait till they're broken. Not call the plumber at that point. Right. Right. As a leader, don't wait until you have to roll out a full scale transition. Just start practicing your communication with your team. Oh, yeah. You've got to begin that early. Because it's such an important piece of implementation.

Jennifer 7:36  
Yeah, yeah. You just said something that I think is an important point to let's let's focus on this aspect for just a couple of moments. Going out to the workforce, and checking in with them, you know, to see if they got the message. So I think there's, there's two, there's, there's two areas of communication at play here. I think it's very important that leaders understand I mean, we've got the content piece, right. So let's make sure that you got the message in the way that it was intended for you to get it right. So that everybody understands, we're all on the same page. We're all speaking the same language. But there's also that relational aspect of that communication, you know, as a leader, going out to the workforce and being seen and asking questions, and communicating with them. before it becomes a crisis. Right. But you know, just making that a part of your practice. I've had some conversations with leadership before. And I've been really surprised at the number of leaders who have not taken that time to go out to the workforce, just say hi, do you know check in? What would you say to them about the benefits of doing something like that?

Ioannis 8:59  
So I so many things flood my mind, but I'll start with this. Think back to before you were a leader. For some of you. You may have to go way back and that's okay. There was a time there was a time when you were not a leader. You did go to elementary school. I don't know. Maybe you were as well.

Jennifer  9:24  
But the pre K leader, lunch leader, lunchtime leader.

Ioannis 9:29  
That's good, Jennifer, I think back or this, maybe you're a leader, but you're now out of your leadership position. Maybe you're on a tour. And we are notorious for doing this as leaders. We evaluate other leaders, right. You know, who else does this ruthlessly are Restaurant Servers? Ah, they are notorious for evaluating other restaurant servers worst critics of their own. worst critics of their Okay, but but look at somebody, have you ever will stick with the restaurant restaurant industry? Have you ever met somebody, you met the manager and you're like, Wow, this person's incredible. But the rest of their team is angry and bitter. And you go, how did that happen? Because the dissemination of who they are, and what they're trying to communicate has, has hit a blockade, and they just didn't realize it. And, and one of the ways to combat that is just getting out among your people. Right? There's a reason why when electoral candidates especially, we have that thing, right? kissing babies shaking hands, I think, right? Shake hands. Why? Why would the apprentice think of the president of a country? Why would they get out and do that? Because there is something grassroots transparent and trust building, when you just shake someone's hand? Hey, I'm a present presidential candidate. I am not above shaking your hand. Think about leaders in your life. What made them key was the fact that they came and saw the value in you, right? I believe it was Albert Einstein that said, I don't care if it's the president of the university or the janitor, I speak to them the same, huh? Yes, yeah. Now, why is this important? Because, in fact, I was helping a company I was coaching a company who, because this is such a lost art. And because we're now digital, right? It's hard to walk into the office building. It's one of the rather big proponent of being digital and remote. This is one of the hard things was how do you walk through the office building when there is an office building? So they created software that that actually does real time feedback on like, 70 different metric points. It's incredible software. But especially for organizations that whose leadership are kind of up in the ivory tower and don't know what's going on at the grassroots. Now, most of the time, the ivory tower, folks will tell you, we know what's going on. They implemented the system. And within five months, they went Oh, my gosh, we had no idea what was going on. They were this close to lawsuits in different places. Mm hmm. Why do I say that? Because we're going to come full circle with all of this, your communication at the top to drive your change and drive your vision is worthless, if it does not disseminate properly, all the way down. There's something very, very powerful about that. And not just that people got it with their head. But did they get it with their soul? This is why some leaders, here's my other tip implementation. Tip two, if you're going to implement, don't trust the telephone all the way down. Putting even in this digital age, you can do a digital townhall put the town hall in place, it also has to come from your voice public speaking, I have to get up in front of it. You need to get Yes, the leader of this organization. Yes, you do. This is why people like Jennifer and I exist, right? I will help you with the implementation, she can help you with the fact that you have got to get up and get up on a regular basis. Right? If you're not addressing your entire organization, at least quarterly whether you have two people, 200 people or 200,000 people. Your organization is going the wrong direction. How can you say that Jani That's how important communication is to the implementation of any change?

Jennifer 13:49  
Yeah. And just think about I mean, okay, in the age of COVID, right, more things are beginning to wind down. But I think there are some permanent changes, you know, that have happened. And one of the things that you said earlier about, you know, proximity, it's, it's not just as easy now is to get out of your office, walk down the hall, you know, stick your head in the door and say hi, in the, you know, how you doing today, you know, how was Joey's basketball game last week, you know, just to have that kind of conversation. But I think in the industry, as as much as we have cried about it and screamed about it, we've gone kicking to the very end, you know, we've we had zoom fatigue, you know, all of that stuff has happened. But there is a positive aspect to this, right. I mean, it does give leaders a channel through which they can speak directly to the workforce. And, you know, when you talk about going through changes, I mean, we're all we're in the midst of change right now. So, you know, how do you establish, I think a big part of this is trust, right? So how do you not only use establish that trust but maintain that trust. If we're all kind of scattered to, you know, to the winds. Well, technology is, is enabling us. But you're right. I mean, you have to be willing to actually purposely use this technology. Right?

Ioannis 15:16  
And yes, and you can't suck at it. Can I just?

Jennifer 15:23  
Absolutely. Thank you. I appreciate that.

Ioannis 15:27  
You can have the lighting and the camera and the microphone and sound as good as this and look as good as this podcast does. But if you get up there, and ladies and gentlemen, here's why this organization isn't. You're done?

Jennifer 15:44  
Yeah, yeah, it's over. It's over

Ioannis 15:46  
over. In fact, if you look, and they've they've long done studies, about when John F. Kennedy first got elected, in some of those debates, were the first televised debates. Yes. And they fully expected Kennedy did not win the level that he did. Why did he? Because the way he came across on screen, yeah, Mm hmm. instilled in built a level of trust? Oh, yeah. Yeah, in, in the people, you've you've got to get good at this communication. Now. Let me break this down. In a kind of a, maybe you weren't expecting us to go this way. But one of the things that I kind of ventured into is a little bit of disc profiling. And I'll briefly go over discuss four sections, right, there's a DI, s, and C. The D is is the kind of general Let's go, we're going fall behind me, let's go troops, the eyes. Let's all go together. And I don't know where we're gonna end up. Right, the C is, some of you, you're married to CS, and you'll know it in a second. You go, Hey, let's go by this. And the C goes. Perfect. After about nine years of research, I'll be prepared to

Jennifer 17:01  
Write Right. Let me analyze the pros and cons. And oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Yeah. The benefits. Yeah.

Ioannis 17:09  
And then there's the SS. And the SS. And I ended with them. You're like, eonni, that's, that doesn't spell desk I ended. When you look at, they did a study among leaders, especially top level leaders, fortune 500. fully expecting to find mostly these. What they found was mostly SS. Hmm. Because the S says, hey, where we're going is important. But the fact that we all get there is just as important. Mm hmm. Yeah. And for, and when they did the study, they really didn't expect that mindset. But what they started to realize, was, if you try and get there, without everybody else getting there, you're not going to be effective once you get wherever you're going. Right? Right. And so the esses had this, they have a natural ability to communicate, and instill trust. And, and what happens is, is whatever they're trying to implement within their leadership, they those are, these are the people who they're going to go, right, they're going to go, they're going to, and the people are going to follow them. These are the people who, when they need to stay late, they're going to stay late, not the s but the people working with the s, right, because there's such trust that's built. So when you get up leader, and you stand in that town hall, and this is the third tip. And you're about to address these people, you can't suck. But you got to make sure that you've got champions in every department. And those, those are the people who you should have checked in with. Right, get on a zoom call, right?

Jennifer 19:05  
All along all along all along. Make it a part of the process.

Ioannis 19:10  
Yes, yes. So wherever you're going, and by the way, your champion doesn't necessarily need to be the top leader. So you may you may be sitting with the head of finance, and you're going to bring in Ruth. Right. So you're sitting with Michelle, the head of finance, and you're going to bring in Ruth why because Michelle does a fabulous job running the finance team. But But Ruth is really the backbone. Ruth is the grassroots influencer. And so you're meeting with them. They know what's coming, so that when you give your message Michelle has already told you everyone's gonna go to Ruth. Ruth is on board.

Jennifer 19:50  
Right right. Now we did have a good question that that came in on the comments. NIA has asked how do you bridge the gap between what the leader see and what the worker or the team is experiencing? Because I think this is a really good, this is connected really to what we've been talking about right with with leadership and communication and, and being aware of what's happening in the organization. So how would you address this? This bridging the gap?

Ioannis 20:21  
Yeah, it's a really good question. So there's a couple tips. Number one, you need to have clear channels, those clear channels need to be spelled out, if you have an employee handbook, they need to be reaffirmed and articulated. Everybody should know in the organization that, here's here's the step. If there's a problem, I go here, and then here, and then here, and then here. What's written, though, has to be played out in practice, right? Because your people will tell everybody else the culture of what's there. If it's written on the piece of paper, but it's not practiced in full. Your organization will go with what's practice, the culture will move away from the paper. So maybe a better question is how do you measure culture? Hmm. And there's a couple, there's a couple ways to do that. Even whether you're in a building or not in a building, the first way to measure culture is chatter. And by the way, this also is the best one of the best ways to answer this question among leadership. What's, what's the chatter and when I mean shatter, I mean, you ever walk into like a cocktail party? And it just, you hear the hum? Yes, yeah.

Jennifer 21:46  
Right. And mumbling? Yes, yes.

Ioannis 21:50  
Okay. Have you ever walked into a funeral? Hmm, same mumbling? Mm hmm. A whole different tone, pitch and feel? Mm hmm. Right. Now, why do I talk about DS and SS? DS have a very difficult time as leaders emotionally, or hearing the emotion and chatter SS it's very natural. Right? Is the chatter happy? Do you hear laughter? For some people, they don't want to hear they want to hear silence and work. But you have to get away from that and move to the fact of culture will be get success. And culture will tell you if if things are moving in the right direction. Right. So if you hear chatter, and you hear laughter, as you're walking through the building, or the buildings, by the way, if you're a top level leader, and you have buildings, and organizations all over the world, guess what? You should be visiting those buildings.

Jennifer 22:46  
Yes, yeah. Yeah, I think a key question, I was working with an organization just last month, and a question I asked them, the leadership team is if I were to walk through one of your buildings right now, how would I understand what your values are? How would I understand, you know, what your mission is? And that's going to be expressed through the workforce, right? You know, and you're exactly right, you walk in, you can feel we call that communication, climate, you know, in the communication climate, and you can feel when it's like a nice sunny climate, right? People are smiling, they're laughing, they're sharing stories, they can still get the work done, right, you're enjoying the place, the space that you're taking, and you're enjoying each other's company. And then you can have that kind of cloudy, gray, rainy type of communication climate, and it's just not fun. It's not engaging. And you can feel that when you walk into a place

Ioannis 23:50  
you can. And you're supposed to feel that when you walk in a funeral, we wouldn't be angry. If, right if I was. And you're like, This is a funeral, this poor lady's over there. But on the flip to the funeral. Jennifer didn't know we were going there today, but okay, we're there. But when you walk into a meeting, and it doesn't matter where that meeting is, you walk into an office environment, it doesn't matter where that environment is, right? It can be a virtual environment. But how do you measure virtual environment drop in on some of the meetings? Right, right, drop in on some of the meetings. And actually, by the way, this is easier, right? You can let the leader know, hey, I'm going to drop in to some of the meetings. You can draw as the leader you can drop into the meeting and just say, Bob, and keep your camera off, drop in on a meeting. Right. And some organizations, record meetings, listen into some of those, understand what's going on in your organization, but but then have some relationship right Yes, yeah. By the way you want you want to place it leaders you want to place to start. I'll give you the may give you a couple places to start. And again, specifically your first question Jennifer values. And and then that I think it was nice question about, you know, kind of measuring and bridging that gap, bridging that gap. So I'm going to, I'm going to tell you, your leaders, you're going to the wrong people. First, first set of people you need to go to are all the receptionists. The receptionists are the hosts, right? Let's go back to this restaurant concept. Most people don't realize it. But from the time you interact to a host, to the time that that host seat sits you down, you've given away your address, your social security number, your bank account number, right, because you're happy to be there. And a great host is striking up conversation. What are you guys here for? Oh, we're here for Jimmy's birthday. How old's Timmy Timmy is eight and he was at school and you're having this whole conversation. Your guard is completely down receptionists? Everybody talks to the receptionist. Everybody talks to that initial gatekeeper. They know they live in that communication climate. Yeah, the other person, the janitor. Why? The janitor often comes in and out completely unnoticed. Sees it all hears it all. Okay, Yana. You're talking about office environments, though? That's true. I am. Here's the other person, not the head of HR. The person who does the intake interviews and outtake interviews, talk to that person. The person who, when everybody's quitting, or the people who quit or get let go talk to that person. Hey, I know we laid off people two years ago, what was the sentiment in the in the exit interviews? Mm hmm. It'll tell you. It'll tell you a lot. A lot. Mm hmm. And then you can start to No, then. And here's the last tip. And this is why SS do so well as leaders. Sometimes you have to make a financial decision. We get that. Sometimes you have to make a decision for the greater good, we get that. But those decisions can be made in ways where the community of your organization goes. That was a tough one. Good thing we have a good leader. Hmm. And if you don't believe me, if you don't believe me, think of I go back to in America 911 2001. There were people who love the president, there are people who hated the president for about a year in our country's history, though. Everybody looked in when we're on the same page. Right? Right. Yeah, we're, we're on the same page. You can do that. In your you can live in that in your organization. You need to as a leader, but you have to communicate the vision Well,

Jennifer 28:13  
right. Right. That's so important in and I'm so glad to hear that you're emphasizing this is an ongoing thing. You know, I mean, you can't wait till a crisis to begin, oh, I'm going to start establishing relationships. Because by then, I mean, you're gonna have an uphill battle, you know, if you're waiting to that point. Some leaders, I think, in, in many ways, are hesitant to walk around and build those relationships, because maybe they feel that they have this image that they have to maintain, right? I haven't, you know, I'm the one steering the ship. I'm the one who is bearing the burden, right? Whether we succeed or whether we fail. This is on my watch, right? So many times they feel like they have to maybe separate themselves from from everyone. What would you say to a leader who feels like, you know, what I, you know, I think I need to keep myself separated, though, because it's important that the workforce understands, you know, that they're depending on this to be, I guess, a way of maintaining respect. You know, what would you say to someone like that? So, let's

Ioannis 29:25  
talk it's very interesting the words that you used, because let's look at the job description of a leader, huh? Got to be successful. Got to get this shit moving forward. Got to hit these milestones or markers, right? Those Those are the goals in the job description. But as a top level leader, oftentimes that's all we look at. Mm hmm. By the way, what is the rest of the job description of a leader? It's not to get there and then have the company crumble right? We have seen this, we see it in the nonprofit, we see it in the for profit. We've seen organizations get to that goal, but they were driven so hard that the whole thing crumbled. Right? Right. And in fact, when I was a young leader, I was a shift supervisor at a coffee place. And there were all these tests we had to do to shut down the store. And I was like, this is almost impossible. And so I put my team to the test, I drove them so hard one night, now I had told them, I had the relationship with them. I had told them, we were going to do this. Mm hmm. We still couldn't get everything done. I went back to the manager, I'm like, we only get 80% done. And he looked at me, he goes, You got 80% done of all the close procedures. And one night? I said, Yeah. How do we get to 100, he goes, Oh, my gosh, never do that again. And I was like, why he goes, your job as a leader is to spread these out. Some of them have to be done everyday. But some of these are weekly tasks. Your job isn't, you're gonna leave if you do this again.

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