“I’ll be riding shotgun, underneath the hot sun, feeling like a someone.”
George Ezra – Shotgun
“Of course!” yells my son, leaning into the personal space of his older sister. “Of course you feel like a someone, everyone's a someone don’t you know!?”
Then, and every time after we have played the song Shotgun by George Ezra the soul of this boy is revealed in his exclamation that people matter, people have value, that people deserve the gift of our attention. People CAN become the best version of themselves under our leadership. To know him is to meet the quintessential shepherding leader. Caring and motivated, passionate and personal, enthusiastic and engaging, all at the same time.
Recently I worked with an education client whose faith formed their delivery framework. They mentioned throughout the course of the day that the “dignity of the human person” was a core part of their worldview and this belief formed the foundation for much of the way they led and educated. Fundamental belief in human value. Dignity means to be worthy of honour or respect. Its origin is from the Latin ‘dingus’ meaning worthy. The worthiness of the person. Inherent, inbuilt. Not circumstantial, not geographical, not financial, not racial. Uncomplicated, original beauty and potential. It’s in EVERYONE. This makes sure that ‘everyone’s a someone.’
Leaders know how to lead from a place of treating people as worthy and also finding that place of challenge and motivation that moves the person and the organisation.
If you think of it as DIGNITY (everyone’s a someone) being the central point of a model the vertical axis has RESPECT (treating people well) as the foundation and RECOGNITION (reward the right behaviours) at the top with the horizontal axis from the left having EMPATHY (relationship then results) and leading to CHALLENGE (expecting more and better.)
Think of it this way:
- Treating people with dignity is core to leadership.
- We must respect and recognise the people we lead.
- We empathise before challenging.
Leaders understand when to bring the right amount of connection combined with the appropriate amount of challenge. People perform at their best when they have the right level of acceptance and stretch. The right level of embrace and expectation. We hold this in tension with wisdom and authenticity. All whilst believing ‘everyone’s a someone.’
When working with clients I’m now asking them to complete an elegant and insightful diagnostic called 5 Voices. Click here to take the free Assessment and email me here your results and we can work through your Voice and voice order to enhance your leadership effectiveness. Our founders, Steve Cockram and Jeremie Kubicek believe an optimal environment has both high support and high challenge and that everyone has a voice, just not everyone is heard. Believing everyone is a someone helps us lead from a place that we can find our voice and also speak influentially in our work, family and life. 5 Voices believe everyone’s a someone and helps you gain even greater insight into how we can work together more effectively.
Lessons from Project Aristotle:
In their relentless pursuit of improvement, Google launched Project Aristotle in an attempt to discover what takes to build the perfect team. There were many significant findings and the New York Times article by Charles Duhigg talks about the general finding of high performing teams being the creation of and commitment to Psychological Safety. Two observations were made by Duhigg that, even diverse teams did, that made them consistently effective. They are captured in his article:
“On the good teams, members spoke in roughly the same proportion, a phenomenon the researchers referred to as ‘‘equality in distribution of conversational turn-taking.’’ On some teams, everyone spoke during each task; on others, leadership shifted among teammates from assignment to assignment. But in each case, by the end of the day, everyone had spoken roughly the same amount. ‘‘As long as everyone got a chance to talk, the team did well,’’ Woolley said. ‘‘But if only one person or a small group spoke all the time, the collective intelligence declined.” Second, the good teams all had high ‘‘average social sensitivity’’ — a fancy way of saying they were skilled at intuiting how others felt based on their tone of voice, their expressions and other nonverbal cues. One of the easiest ways to gauge social sensitivity is to show someone photos of people’s eyes and ask him or her to describe what the people are thinking or feeling — an exam known as Reading the Mind in the Eyes test. People on the more successful teams in Woolley’s experiment scored above average on the Reading the Mind in the Eyes test. They seemed to know when someone was feeling upset or left out. People on the ineffective teams, in contrast, scored below average. They seemed, as a group, to have less sensitivity toward their colleagues.”
In other words, they work hard to be a team where ‘everyone’s a someone’ and they act consistently with that conviction and practice.
To reflect on what you can do to become even better at leading all the ‘someone’s’ in your world write some answers to the following five questions:
- In your leadership, to what degree are people considered resources first rather than people first?
- Do you connect with the heart before you ask for the hand? (Attribution: John C. Maxwell)
- How many times are you catching people doing something right?
- How well do you treat people who can do nothing for you?
- Have you noticed how well you can stretch and challenge people whilst still motivating them? What could you do to make it even better?
Meanwhile, keep riding shotgun while you’re in the hot sun, feeling like a someone. Because everyone’s a someone.
This is for leaders. I am for leaders.