I finally found a name that best describes my “training philosophy”!! With New Agents, I have always taken the approach to “train to the situations that present themselves.” Why? Because there are so many moving pieces when you first get started, it would be near impossible to learn everything before you get started!
The best way to learn this business is to DO IT!
Marshall Goldsmith talks about Situational Leadership in his book, “Triggers” which is an organizational behavior concept pioneered by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard.
Situational Leadership premises that leaders need to adapt their style to fit the performance readiness of their followers. The best situational leaders:
- Keep track of the shifting levels of “readiness” among their followers
- Stay highly attuned to each situation
- Acknowledge that situations change constantly
- Fine tune their leadership style to fit the followers readiness.
Training to the situations that present themselves may end up looking like one of these 4 styles:
- Directing – giving specific guidance to complete a task
- Coaching – giving more-than-average guidance to complete a task along with more-than-average amounts of two-way dialogue.
- Supporting – when people have the skills to complete the task but who lack the confidence to do it on their own
- Delegating – is for people who score high on motivation, ability, and confidence because they know what to do, how to do it, and can do it on their own.
Leaders: Measure the need, choose the style.
On the last night of our fall trip to Cabo with the Kimbrells, Lisa and I stumbled up a lost baby sea turtle – it was very dark on the beach that night and the baby sea turtle was attempting to climb the LED lights on the staircase heading up to the resort. He couldn’t have been more lost.
Immediately I knew what to do and how to do it – I had done this before on a baby sea turtle release 2 years prior. I was taught how to hold the baby sea turtle and where to place them on the beach – about 50 feet away from the ocean. Their sandy struggle to the ocean is part of their journey – if they are simply placed in the ocean, they will most likely be eaten or killed within hours. But if they experience struggle and challenges along the way, they will be strong and resilient when they arrive at the next leg of their oceanic journey.
We placed the baby sea turtle on the sand, but it was so dark we needed to shine a flashlight a few steps ahead of him to keep him on the right path. Without the flashlight, he would start walking in circles. But the light guided him along the way.
As he approached the shore, a wave caught him up and flipped him over and left him beached on the sand. A few onlookers wanted to pick him up and set him right, but I knew, from having done this before, that he needed to right himself. It would be an important skill to acquire. We watched him struggle until he pulled himself rightside and began again his trek to the ocean. And then in a moment, he was gone! We said a blessing over his aquatic journey and wished him a long life!
The lessons of the baby sea turtle are not lost on me.
We need to go out there and find the folks who are hurting, lost and need this opportunity. It’s our responsibility to shine the light of the system so they know what to do. We provide encouragement and support along the way. We are going to see our baby sea turtles fall, flip over, and get injured along the way….that’s okay! We keep encouraging and shining the light on them. And then, when they’ve arrived, we bless them on their journey.
That’s the perfect picture of our Support/Challenge matrix.