Two Rules of Leadership with Peter Anderton

Reading Time: 25 Minutes

In this episode with Peter Anderton, we discuss two rules of leadership, the biggest predictor of high-performing teams, why team members need to own projects and how to improve relationships with your teams.

Takeaways We Learned from Peter…

Shift Your Mindset as a Leader

Peter emphasizes the importance of getting the right mindset as a leader before seeking the next magical tool or technique. The foundation of leadership is understanding that your role is to deliver a team capable of achieving results.

Leaders Deliver Teams, Not Just Results

Peter highlights that leaders are responsible for delivering the team that can produce the desired outcomes. Shifting from a “doer” mentality to an “enabler” mentality is crucial for success.

Solving is Not Serving

Peter shares the concept that constantly solving problems for your team can create dependency and become a bottleneck. True leadership involves empowering your team to solve their own challenges.

Rule #1: It’s Not About You

Peter’s first rule of leadership emphasizes that effective leaders focus on enabling their team’s success. It’s about shifting the spotlight from themselves to the team’s growth and development.

Leaders Get the Team They Deserve

Every leader gets the team they deserve, and it’s a harsh truth. If you want a different team, you must start by changing your behavior and leading by example.

Change Starts with You

Rule #2 is a reminder that the only behavior you can control and change is your own. To lead effectively, you must be willing to transform yourself and model the behavior you expect from your team.

Leadership is About Balancing Rule #1 and Rule #2

Effective leadership involves mastering both rules. Rule #1 helps you focus on the team’s success, while Rule #2 reminds you that your behavior sets the tone for the entire organization.

Self-Reflection and Assumptions

Peter emphasizes the importance of self-reflection and recognizing the assumptions we make about others. Changing our assumptions and behavior can transform relationships and resolve long-standing conflicts, as illustrated by a powerful personal example of a participant who improved her relationship with her brother by changing her assumptions.

Two Essential Leadership Rules

Peter outlines his two fundamental leadership rules, where the first rule is about servant leadership and recognizing that leadership is an act of service, and the second rule builds upon the first to create a powerful leadership framework. He suggests that both rules are essential for effective leadership.

Internal Alignment

Peter’s company, Internal Alignment, focuses on helping individuals and teams get out of their own way. He explains that achieving personal and team goals requires not only practical plans but also an understanding of how we create interference within ourselves. He emphasizes the importance of aligning on where you are currently before working toward a goal.

Wasted Energy in Teams

Peter uses the analogy of an electric car to highlight that in teams, much energy is often wasted due to lack of alignment. He helps teams create a shift in alignment, which can significantly improve their performance and goal achievement.

Leaders as Energy Conduits

Leaders are the conduits for the flow of energy through an organization. Peter asserts that leaders need to grasp his two rules to enable the right energy flow within the organization. By applying these rules, leaders can drive business growth and create a positive organizational culture.

Remote Work Relationships

Peter acknowledges the shift toward remote work and emphasizes the importance of not being selfish in our preferences. He suggests that leaders should consider the diverse needs of their team members and the benefits of listening more and having genuine conversations, even in a remote work setting. Building emotional connections and understanding through active listening is crucial for maintaining strong team relationships.

About Peter Anderton

Peter is most well known for his TED talk, “Great Leadership Comes Down to Only Two Rules”, that has been viewed 1.4M+ times and is now being used in MBA programs globally.

He is also the Founder of Internal Alignment, where he helps leaders build processes so they can 10x their companies from inside out. He knows that if teams are at their best, pulling together, and heading in the right direction amazing things happen. That’s what he does.

They’ve worked with hundreds of companies, including giants like Jaguar Land Rover, 3M, Atkins, HSBC Holdings, Michels & Taylor, and Huntsman and their programs typically deliver 1000%+ ROI.

Read the Transcript

Allison: Welcome back to the Deliberate Leaders podcast, I am your host and executive business coach Allison Dunn. Our guest today is Peter Anderton. He is the founder of Internal Alignment, a company that helps leaders build processes from the inside out. However, he is most well known for his TED Talk, great leaders can excuse me great leadership comes down to only two rules. With over 1.6 million views. These concepts are now being used in MBA programs globally. Peter, thank you so much for joining us here today.

Peter: Thank you for the invitation. Allison, it’s lovely to be here.

Allison: My pleasure. I love to kick these off with a deliberate conversation, what would be your number one leadership tip for our listeners.

Peter: What I find with leadership is there’s lots of people out there trying to find the next tool or technique that will magically solve all of their problems. And I think if you’re not careful, it’s a little bit like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, there’s some fundamental things that you have to get right first. And the critical thing is getting the right mindset as a leader, which is essentially what the tools are all about.

And what I find when I work with leaders, so I do a lot of executive coaching, and I’ll run leadership development programs as well, that will create a shift.

And rather than just spouting out models and theories and techniques, what I take people through is a journey where the penny has to drop.

And they have to recognize that it’s not their job to deliver the result. It’s their job to deliver the team who deliver the result. And that’s how it is right at the core of leadership, if that’s the foundation of leadership, and when a leader understands that fundamental principle, that is the best thing that I could give them, it starts there, until they’ve reached that point. They’re never really going to get things moving.

Allison: Okay, so taking them through a journey that drops the penny where they’re not responsible for the outcome. Okay, I love that.

Peter: Well, and I would say it’s not that they’re not responsible for the outcome, they are responsible for the outcome, but the key deliverable is the team.

So they’re responsible for delivering the team who were able to deliver the result. And they need to understand that and grasp that at a logical level, but also at an emotional level, and then things will really start to shift for them.

Allison: Yeah. I am curious, because I think that is a definite challenge that leaders have, how do you take someone who actually is a contributor to that? And have them balanced between them producing being part of the production? Or do you suggest that if you’re in leadership, you’re not necessarily the one delivering?

Peter: Well, the dilemma is, it’s messy, because in the real world, we’ve got multiple hats that we’re wearing, and, and to say, are the leaders not involved in delivering it all is probably a bit Victorian, to be honest. So there’s a blend of these things that are going on. But the problem and whether it’s a case of you’re in a crisis, and the chips are down, you’ve got to get in there in the trenches with the team. But the problem still sits that if you’re always there in the trenches with the team, who on earth is working out how to get out of the trenches, and you’re doing this, you think you’re helping the team, but you’re doing them a great disservice.

I had a really interesting phrase the other day, I think it was from Darren Hardy, actually. And he said, solving is not serving. And we can think, yeah, we’re in there fixing everything. We’re making everything. All right, we’re doing a fantastic job. Actually, in reality, all we’re doing is pushing the problem forwards and creating a dilemma. Because we’re not creating the right kind of team. We’re creating a team who are dependent upon us almost like these little baby chicks, waiting for the next instruction or wonderful idea to drop from our lips. And we just become the bottleneck for the whole team. For sure.

Allison: Okay. I love that. So your TED Talk, 1.6 million views. Congratulations.

Peter: Thank you.

Allison: That’s amazing. And so you have two rules every leader should know. Share them with us.

Peter: Okay, so this is the starting point,

The foundation for leadership is rule number one says it’s not about you.

And we have to recognize it if we just think back to people that we’ve worked for. I mean, I can think I’ll tell you a story about a particular individual. And this links back to your earlier question as well. And, and I would describe him as cursed, okay, but in a very unusual way. We’ll call him Steve for now just to just to protect the innocent. And, and he was cursed because he was absolutely brilliant. He was brilliant at everything. And he wasn’t conceited about it. But he was genuinely better than his team at everything that they needed to do, which presented him with a real dilemma. Because in the end, the team were constantly waiting for extra insights or whatever project they were working on, he’d have some lovely little garnish, if you like that he could put on them and make, and he would constantly make things better. He was improving things. He wasn’t trying to squash people. He wasn’t trying to railroad people, he just made things better.

But the problem the grew from that point is everything came to him. Everybody wanted his input, because he could, he could improve things, he could make things better. And it was also a challenge for him, because he looked at his team. And they were doing things he’s like, Well, that’s not quite where I would, that’s not quite the way I would do it. And that’s not quite where I wanted to be. Now, it might have been good enough. But he couldn’t help himself, but get involved, just to take it up that little that level a little bit higher, which of course is great for the clients, I recognize as a need for that. But in time, it becomes a problem for the clients just as it becomes a problem for the team just as big of a problem for Steve, because he’s the bottleneck. And he’s working longer and longer hours, he’s falling out of love with the thing that he wants adored, doing his team, their growth is stunted. And they’re not growing to fulfill their potential because actually, they’re relying so heavily upon him. And then it starts to filter through that into the work for the clients, because there was a time when his business was growing. And he’s no longer able to sustain that growth, because he’s become the bottleneck.

And like I said, He’s effectively being cursed by brilliance. And what we need to get our heads around is that it’s not about us, it’s about as enabling a team of people around us. And in fact, when you think about rule number one, if I, if I want to understand if I’m dealing with an outstanding leader, I don’t actually look at the leader. I look at the team. And that tells me what I need to know. Now the great thing about Steve is that, that finally he got the message. And by the way, it’s probably worth me clarifying my only from my own experience. I’ve got this monumentally wrong over the years.

Allison: The fact that you’re admitting that, by the way, really mean?

Peter: Oh, no. Big time. I mean, it’s um, so yeah, we, I was having a conversation with somebody the other day about, you know, an Olympian that was keynote speaking. And what they achieved is fantastic stuff. There’s no doubt about it. And they were even asking me the question to say, Well, okay, why would I go for a coach like you, as opposed to a coach for somebody like an Olympian who’s done amazing things? So it’s a very good question. And my take on leadership, I’ve learned through getting it right, don’t put myself up here as the person who’s nailed it all and, and I, you know, I brought about world peace. And I’ve solved everybody’s executive problems everywhere around the whole world, and I walked down the street, and the birds fly out of the air and land on my shoulders, and all that kind of stuff.

I’m just a normal bloke. And I would take my view on leadership is leadership lessons on leadership from the below next door.

And I’ve learned from this from reflecting on so many failures in the past, there was a time when I can remember a particular time in my career, my career spans back into production. And there was a time when I was the man responsible. I used to work in a biscuit factory as a production manager many, many years ago. And you can imagine we’ve got tons of biscuits, that we’re creating a phenomenal rate. And the food industry, though it’s the same in the States, it’s very ruthless, you’re only as good as your last shift. If anything goes wrong, the question first question is Who have you disciplined? You know, that’s, that’s generally how it works. And it was in this scenario, and I was desperately trying to fix everything, because I’ve been brought into the factory is this young hotshot? Who was going to show people how things were done?

So the pressure was on, we see this, don’t we, with new leaders come in, I’ve got to make my mark. And the pressure that puts on them and on their team actually takes them well away from rule number one. So they’re starting from completely the wrong setting. So I was trying to fix it. And I was absolutely everywhere. Trying to solve this problem over here, this problem over there, everything and I literally, nearly completely crapped up. And I would describe the two people before me left with nervous breakdowns. And I would I was young enough and arrogant enough to think that I would be fine. And there I am. I described myself as a very positive resilient person. And there I was looking over the edge thinking, How did I get here? I literally had no idea and the hardest thing I’ve ever done is say to them, I can’t do this job. And can you give me another role? And I was I was quite encouraged because I was replaced by two people. And this slowed the whole production line down because I’m an engineer by training and done all the calculations. So it was an possible tariffs. But the problem was all the way through that period, I thought I could solve it. And I thought it was down to me to solve it. And the great thing about Rule number one is it does two things.

First of all, it opens up all sorts of possibilities for your team, and creates a whole new world of possibility for them. But it takes a massive amount of pressure off you. Because suddenly, you don’t need to be the one with all of the answers. And the really, enlightened leaders recognize we live in a world that’s too complex for any one person to have all of the answers. And they’ll draw it together from a range of different sources. And that’s what rule number one is fundamentally all about. And we can look back on our own experience. If you think of people that you’ve worked for in the past, you know, there isn’t time for us to perhaps go through this as an exercise now if you like. But if you mentally list down the worst people you’ve ever worked for all the kinds of stuff that they did, in one column, again, how you felt when they did what they did. And then in the other column, you list, all the people know the people that you love to work for the stuff that they did, and how you felt working for them. When you start to piece it all together. I guarantee, if anybody after listening to this sits down and writes that list, I challenge you to look at the column, the worst manager ever column. Okay. And the stuff that you look in there. And I’ve asked you the question, where is the focus of our attention? Is it on you and the team? Or is it on themselves? 100% on themselves, it’s all about that, okay?

I mean, you look at the best, doesn’t matter how busy they are, they’ve got time for you, they’ll support you, they make stuff happen, they’re clear the roadblocks out of the way they help you become the best that can be, they’re fundamentally focused on you rather than on themselves. So they’re taking a much more selfless approach to the situation, because they’ve got rule number one. Now Rule number one is only half the equation. But they’ve got rule number one, and like I said, I’ve got this monumentally wrong over the past, I’d love to say, I was born knowing this stuff. It’s not true. And who is, but we, we work our way through it. And you know, in our teenage years, we are the center of the known universe, aren’t we? So? Yes, you know, we’re the we’re the absolute manifestation of the opposite of rule number one, but you come out of your teenage years, you know, I think a mark of growing into adulthood is when you realize you’re not the center of the universe anymore. But for some people, they struggle to let go of that and they feel like they need to be out there making that impression and it needs to be about them. And they and their team and their organization, their business lose so much in the process.

Allison: Okay, So rule number one, it is not about you. That’s the one what is rule number two.

Peter: So with rule number two and this is this is again, a realization that will stick with Steve but actually will stick with me as well as we carried on through the story. So here okay, Steven pizza so this is our Melton our combined journey. So obviously, I went through the process first. And I took a lot longer than Steve did the good news is Steve had help so and he was able to learn from others experiences so I was able to guide him through this but I couldn’t remember you know, let’s go back to the biscuit factory. Like I said, I’ve done a number of roles since then but let’s get back to the biscuit factory surrounded by think my worst ever shifts or 10 tons of biscuits on the floor. That’s a lot of biscuit. And it’s all it’s all pig food at that stage.

Allison: And I just want to make sure biscuits are cookies, right?

Peter: Okay, you would describe I think biscuits or cookies or cookies would be your so the we would call them in the UK they were chocolate hobnobs. So they’re like an oatmeal cookie with a with a chocolate circus on the top.

Allison: Okay, thanks for clarifying. And I know my listeners will appreciate that.

Peter: Good question. So what’s the biscuit in the US that I need to know?

Allison: I would say a biscuit is more of a. like something you’d eat with soup.

Peter: Okay, definitely cookies. Yeah, we’ll move around cookies far more interesting. So. And whilst all this was going on, I can remember. I was frustrated about my team. I mean, there’ll be a lot of leaders listening to this podcast that have their team aren’t where they want them to be. They’re frustrated with it, they want it to be they need their team to go further and faster, which is essentially what I do. That’s the essence of, of what I offer. And, and they’re frustrated about where the team that they’re frustrated, they, I was looking at my team thinking, what’s going on, you need to change. You don’t get it, there’s not enough ownership. Can’t you look at this differently from a different perspective and see what needs to be done. All of these things. I’m like, for goodness sake, if we could just sort this team out, or would be well I and you can bet you can see where this is going really currently, because the dilemma we have in this scenario is that rule number two will explain to us. And this is this is a harsh truth, but every leader gets the team they deserve.

Now, I’m not suggesting that there is karma, or you know what we’re, if you’ve inherited a really bad team, then it’s your fault. It’s what you could effectively say we had a run a run a three day Leadership Program, which absolutely takes you through this mindset shift. And we’re around one last week. And we had a really interesting discussion, and one of the actors have challenged the group to have this conversation around this point, every leader gets the team they deserve. And in the end, their conclusion was, yes, in general, and in time, because I recognize there are, there’s always the odd person you can’t reach. But there are a tiny minority, genuinely a tiny minority, and that’s a conversation for another day. And also, you might inherit a really bad team. So that’s not your fault, right then. But it is your fault, if they’re a really bad team in 12-18 months time, and you haven’t created the shift that so I passionately believe everybody to get the team they deserve.

So if we want our team to be different, if we want to create a shift, we can’t there’s no such thing as a remote control that will automatically change them, or, or make them behave in a different way, the only lever that is available to them. And over the years, people have tried all sorts of levers thinking or bonus schemes, that’s the answer or, you know, whatever it is, and we fundamentally end up missing the point, the only lever that I can pull that will fundamentally change somebody else’s behavior. And this applies inside work. And outside of work, of course, is my own behavior. If I want to change them, I need to behave differently. Nelson Mandela put it beautifully. He said I could not change others, until I changed myself. Now he had to he had 27 years in prison to think about that. Thankfully, it didn’t take me 27 years. But you know, I benefited from experience like is and, and found myself in a different scenario. And Steve didn’t take 27 years to get his head around that. But look at the effect that Nelson Mandela had on the world around him.

And there’s a recognition that if more and more people, as leaders start waiting for everybody else to get their act together, and start thinking about how they can clean up their own act, then a lot more things around us, we’d be shifting in the right direction.

We start with a foundation of rule number one, but rule number two really takes you somewhere because whilst rule number one says it’s not about your it’s not about you, it’s not about your solutions. It’s not about your way of doing things. It’s not about your ego. Okay, rule number two says, Oh, and by the way, it’s only about you. Okay, because you can’t change anybody else’s behavior, you can only change your behavior. And just to qualify, I get a little bit twitchy when sometimes people quote, rule number two is it’s all about you. That is the opposite of rule number one. Rule number two, it’s only about you is a very, very different message. And when you put those two things, will you build one on top on top of the other, that everything about leadership comes into place. And I would challenge you in any leadership scenario, you can look at it through those two lenses. And you’ve covered the core basis as to what’s going on and what you need to do. And you work with those two fundamental messages together. And as I said, you’ve got the foundation of rule number one. And then Rule number two is what really takes you somewhere.

Allison: I like the clarification of it isn’t all about you. It is make sure I say this correctly. Help me with it. It’s not all about. you.

Peter: It’s only about you.

Allison: The visual that I use, because we both do executive coaching, the visual that I use with people is like it’s like a mirror reflecting back at you, right? And that’s when it’s only about you, you have to really look into the things that you were doing, that are actually causing your team to react or perform or you know, and then that only you can change as you which is, you know, so true.

Peter: Yeah. And so often the irony is, it’s not just in our behavior, it’s more deep rooted in that often it’s the assumptions we make about other people. Yeah, that then affect our behavior that then affect their behavior. And we create these self-fulfilling prophecies all the time. We think the problem is them and it says I can remember one, one program I ran and a lady came back with it was a it was a lovely, it was a personal example. It wasn’t a professional one, but it is even now. I feel emotional thinking about it. She was brought up in Liverpool and her father worked in the docks. She was one of seven children. And they will Yeah, he was out of work strike on stone. Like more often than he was in work, they were very poor. And it was literally a case study, you have the same in the saying in the States, first up best dressed that the first one that had the best clothes to choose from so because there was only limited clothes, so that was the context for it. And, and they were very competitive family.

So long story short, their mother had died recently, and there’s been a huge argument about how the funeral would happen, lots of bitterness and frustration. And this particular lady had a really challenging relationship with one of her siblings. And after this program, she went back and said, Okay, I’m going to take a different approach here, I’m going to assume I’ve got a really good relationship with my brother. That’s and, and you wish you came back to talk about it. So the way I run the program is we have two days to really shift the mindset, then you’ve got to apply it for four or five weeks, and then we have a follow up day. So you have to you have to deliver on the shift, because you’ve got to come back and talk about it.

Anyway, she came back and, and she was in tears talking about this. Because she said for years, I thought the problem was him. And all the time it was me. And literally by changing her assumptions, and behaving in a different way towards him, she utterly transformed their relationship. And she’d wasted years and years of their life by making this assumption. Now, imagine what we do with teams with the assumptions we make. I do recognize I live in the real world, I realized there’s some people we might never reach. But as I say, they’re a tiny proportion of the working population. Most people want to come in and do a good job. And yet often we behave towards them in a way that is, is a million miles from enabling them to become the best that they can be. And that’s why we have to look in the mirror, we need to clean up our act first, to enable them to be successful.

Allison: Both of those are brilliant. Peter, thank you. Which one? Is there one that’s more important than the other one?

Peter: What a brilliant question. I think there’s a sequence. I think rule number one lays the foundation. I think you have to get that one first. And then rule number two is how you then build on that. So I think I think they’re kind of you know, they work together beautifully. I don’t think you can work with one without the other. So. So rule number one, effectively, a lot of people talk about servant leadership. And this is a really powerful principle that leadership is not an act of Dominion, it’s an act of service. But I would argue it’s only half the equation. And I think Rule number two is what provides the next stage is what really takes it somewhere. So I’d struggle to say, which is more important, but you do need to get rule number one first.

Allison: Thank you. Internal alignment, that is the company that’s what you do. That is what you have founded. I’m curious if you have some principles around high performing teams, where you’re helping them from the inside out, like what does that what does that even look like? And if actually, let’s stop there, I tend to ask more than one question, I will not do that, too, today.

Peter: So in the reason why it’s called internal alignment, it’s whether I’m working as an executive coach, or whether I’m working with a senior leadership team. Most of the time, we just need to get out of our own way. So as an individual looking to achieve goals, there’s an MDM working with at the moment. Yeah. And he’s recognized that he’s realized that the biggest constraint is him, and the shift that he needs to make and the work that he needs to do. And part of what we’re doing there is, yes, there’s a practical plan that we create through clarity, and really building clarity on where it is he wants to be on what needs to be done in order to make that shift. But the second part of this is also recognizing what’s going on between areas and how we’re getting in our own way. And he’s tripping himself up in, in multiple ways.

So I will work with my clients on two levels, I work on a very practical driving progress and results level and our work on a How can you drive without having your foot on the brakes level? And we deal with that. So that’s at an individual level, there’s elements of that clarity, and if you like, you know, removing the interference that we that we create ourselves at a team level, the analogy I’d probably give, you know, for example, there’s more and more electric cars out there, but for anybody that’s either had or still has a petrol car. You know, only 20% of the fuel you put in your car moves it forwards, the rest is wasted. Okay, so is gas over in the States, isn’t it so 2020 We’re okay. And the rest is wasted in friction and hysteresis and exhaust Last. But that seems something that’s really carefully designed and engineered. So when it comes to a team of people who don’t fit carefully designed to tolerances, just imagine how much energy is being wasted.

And what I do is I create a shift in the level of alignment and, and there’s a process that I’ll run through that starts from Interesting enough, not just working out where they want to be, but actually getting them on the same page as to where they are now. It’s like a sat nav, you can punch in a destination. But if you can’t pick up a signal as to where you are, it can’t didn’t do anything for you. So we get, we spent a lot of time getting them on the same page as to where they are now. And that’s what creates the biggest shift and alignment, then we create the plan. And then we take them through a process to delivery, a particular goal that they’ve set, whatever it might be. And we really build a drumbeat of alignment around the focus that they have. So there’s a team that I worked with, for one example, they were struggling to grow. And they kind of they, they were a good team that wanted to become a great team. 

Typically, dysfunctional teams won’t get in touch with me because they’re not willing to admit that they’re dysfunctional, it’s typically it’s a good team that thinks, Well, what would we like if we’d be even better. And they realized they could crash if they were struggling to grow. And they’d set themselves a really stretching three year growth target, but they weren’t sure how they were going to meet it. And through the shift that we made an alignment and the work that we did together, they achieved that three year stretch target in less than 12 months.

That’s the kind of thing that you can achieve by creating that level of alignment. And I guess there’s probably a third strand that add in which is around, if you look in any organization, the leaders are the conduit for the flow of energy through the organization, in terms of the right energy flowing through the organization, or you know, or constraining the energy that’s flowing through the organization. And again, what I do with my clients is I help leaders fundamentally grasp these two rules, what it means and how to then apply it for business growth and to create the culture that they want in the organization. So that that energy flows in the right direction.

Allison: Alignment, I think is a term that we use a lot and I think you’ve done a great job, I just want to I guess reinforce the point of, you can only create alignment, if you can actually identify where you’re currently at. And that’s often where the misalignment has been created. Because you can have a goal and everyone can be like, that’s what we want to get to. But if you don’t start with where you are, and get clear on that and get in the same boat together, then it’s really hard to get momentum and to make the change. When it’s just you’re not even on the same page or in point A together.

Peter: It’s absolutely huge. And I’ve come across so many teams that like we’ve got a really clear goal. It’s really compelling. we all we all want it. And yet the spinning wheels, they’re like, Wow, are we making any progress? And they’ve never gotten alignment on where they are now. And it’s done? Well, it’s such a powerful step.

Allison: Thank you. What would be? I guess I’m assuming that maybe the work from home workplace balance environment is similar to the US in the UK. Is that fair to say? Peter, what would be maybe your number one or two strategies that you would suggest leaders can use right now to improve their relationships with their teams? Since it has become so not in office anymore?

Peter: Yeah. Okay. So I guess the first thing I would pick up on here is this. And yeah, let’s look at this from rule number ones perspective. There’s a lot of leaders are saying I want to get them all back into the office, I want to see where they are, I want to be able to, yes. Get a sense of everything that’s going on. What we need to recognize is it’s not about us, but actually every team member needs to get, it’s not about me. And that’s an important principle here because it goes beyond the leader here. We can be thinking I don’t want I don’t need to come into the office at all. I’d much rather work from home, you know. And another nonsense, we have to recognize is any team has got a mix of people. So during lockdown, there are some people that loved it. And the people that hated it, is there’s people that love working from home all the time. And there’s people that would hate to work from home all the time. And of course, most of us are a blend of the two as we look at how all that comes together. And there’s too many people out there thinking here’s what I want to do for my benefit and my preference.

And we need to start looking at the whole team and recognized you know, I’ve got some people in my team that really benefit from being around others, including me as part of that team. So I need to think about Yes, okay, I might want to spend more time working from home than I do from being in the office.

But I need to look at my whole team and recognize what does the team require to function and be more even handed in the way that we’re looking at and less selfish?

That’s. So that’s the first thing I would say. So that applies to the leader. But really, that principle applies to the whole team. The second thing that I would be saying is, is to listen more and take time to have that contact and proper conversations. And there’s people say, oh, you can’t do it online. I don’t think that’s true.

Allison: I think it’s like having a great conversation.

Peter: We are absolutely, yeah. And I feel like we formed a real connection from the conversation we’ve had, and this is this is the first time we’ve met. So by having absolutely, it’s the classic Dale Carnegie, isn’t it you can, you know, you can make more friends by being interested in other people than you can in a few days, and you can in several months of trying to get them interested in you. So I would say one of the biggest things that we can be doing is listening. And when people say, oh, yeah, well, you know, I can’t pick up all the signals, it’s difficult to tell. I’m a big fan of simplifying things. I’ve simplified leadership down to two fundamental rules, I realized, you know, we can build on that there’s, obviously I don’t spend three days talking about two fundamental rules.

But at the same time, in terms of recognizing and connecting with what’s going on with other people 80% of emotional intelligence is listening. And if you really listen to what somebody is trying to tell you, of course, by the way, listening is just the manifestation of rule number one. Because when somebody else is speaking, I mean, let’s face it, you know, the score we usually doing? You know, instead of less, yeah, we’re thinking. Absolutely. So friend of mine calls out listening to reload, you know, rather than listening to respond. And, and the problem is, that’s not rule number one, rule number one says, it’s not about you. So at that point, just focus on understanding what it is they’re trying to tell you. And understand that. And when you do that, it creates a significant shift in the level of connection that’s taking place. And you can your emotional antennae are on full force, you can pick up all sorts of stuff, that, okay, maybe it’s only 90% is good. You know, online is face to face. But 90% pretty hard. Actually, you can do a lot with 90%. And if you take that approach, and really focusing on listening to your team and understanding what it is they’re trying to communicate and share with you, that’s going to be key.

And obviously within that, then you need to build in if you if you are literally remote all the time, because sometimes that’s the very nature of the team, you’ve got to build in those touch points, you’ve got to build in some of those touch points where you’re not always talking about the task, or whatever everybody’s preferences are. But you’re actually taking time to talk about a talk about them. Talk about the way that you’re working together. And only after that, do you really bet again, then get to talking about the task? Because rule number one says it’s not a value, you’re interested in them and where they’re at. So I would say those are probably the two things I think about recognize that the basis of rule number one, but But secondly, build on that with rule number one in terms of listening. Okay, I feel I need to throw in a rule number two principle now, actually.

So leaders will often say to me, Look, Peter, if I could only do two things that would make the biggest difference. Okay, actually do things. Listening is rule number one. Rule number two would be feedback, and particularly specific appreciation, but bearing in mind that you need to be having the tough conversations as well. So that’s part of the picture. But really giving specific appreciation and praise, not the whole, like, you’re all amazing. I don’t know how I’ve managed without you, because that’s just disingenuous. But specifically, what you did with that client, what you did in that scenario, what you did in that team meeting, or this particular quality or characteristic of yours that I value so much, have more and more of those conversations, because if we’re out there looking for what’s right in our people, then hey, presto, we’re going to find it. Absolutely. And that’s going to bring out the best in them. So that’s the rule number two dimension as well.

Allison: Peter, thank you so much. I want to make sure that our listeners understand pre recording of this podcast, Peter shared with me that he has a self assessment of what type of leader you are or how good of a leader you are. It’s called the N spirometer. I am going to include it in the show notes. Peter, thank you so much for joining us here today. I’ve loved our conversation.

Peter: It’s been my pleasure. Thank you very much for inviting me Allison.

Allison: You bet. Thanks.

I'm Allison Dunn,

Your Business Executive Coach

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