BY STEPHANY COCHRAN
Leading teams and companies in a variety of ventures has been my foundation for 25+ years. Whether through small groups or leading larger teams of employees, I’ve always prided myself on the ability to take a group of individuals by leading them to accomplish a goal or vision together and fusing them into a collaborative team. My concept of leadership was being viewed through a tight lens and since joining the Green Shoe team that lens has been expanded.
Here at Green Shoe we focus on Pia Mellody’s concept of co-dependence. Having had both educational and extensive training in the counseling world, I thought I had a pretty good idea of what co-dependency was and the characteristics of a co-dependent. I was wrong.
Codependency is rooted in our self-esteem. According to Pia, healthy self-esteem is created within an individual who knows that they have inherent worth equal to others. We have inherent worth, period. No matter how much we succeed, who our friends are, what car we drive, or the mistakes we make…We. Are. Worthy. Issues buried within self-esteem surface when we feel worthless or better than others. Thus, creating codependent relationships.
Who knew my people pleasing tendencies were codependent? I love making others happy, but until recently have never stopped to ask myself why. Fast forward to present day, I’m now asking, “How does this fit into my leadership style?” I’ve always been good with people – you could say it’s my spiritual gift. I am able to connect and build a strong rapport and work wonderfully with others. This developed quickly into being able to lead, guide and grow those that worked for me. However, I discovered all my time and energy making others happy, and yes being successful, was a never-ending pursuit.
I’m reading John Maxwell’s’ book, “Leadershift”, one specific chapter that spoke to me was titled: Pleasing People to Challenging People. Simply stated, pleasing people is not the same as leading people. The difference between the two is as a leader, you cannot lead people if you need people. If I continue to put all my energy into trying to make all people happy, I’m setting myself up for failure because I cannot make everyone happy.
Repeat after me: You cannot make everyone happy.
Maxwell makes the shift by stating, “…to get the best out of people, leaders must ask for the best out of people”. My inherent worth as a person is the same as my inherent worth as a leader. By not relying on others “liking” or “not liking” me, I shift to challenging others to be the best they can be and for the organization to be the best it can be. So, here’s the million-dollar question: How do we make that shift from people pleaser to people challenger?
Maxwell lays it out in these steps:
1. Change your expectation towards leadership
Ask yourself these three questions:
This will enable the leader to make the shift from gaining approval to sharing the vision, raising the bar, challenging others, being an example, and asking for commitment and not waiting for consensus.
2. Value people as much as you value yourself
We see others as we see ourselves. So, if we know ourselves to be inherently worthy, we will see other as inherently worthy. However, the flip side works the same way. If a leader devalues themselves, they will devalue those that work with them. To get the best out of people, you must believe the best of people.
3. Work to establish expectations up front
Setting the expectations up on the front end and the boundaries of the working relationship, the leader is setting the team up for success verses disappointment on the back end.
Shifting from a people pleaser leader to a challenging people leader does not always feel good and can feel a little isolating at times. For me, by being secure in my own worth and not depending on other’s approval, I am able to focus on what is best for my team and the organization. It is key to set the vision and expectations for your team upfront, so they will see the changes and ultimately rise together in success. This also gives you clear sight on who is committed on your team. When you ask others to make a commitment you will lose those not committed but have a stronger team in the process. By shifting into a Challenging People Leader, the success comes as the vision builds, goals are met, and others grow.
I highly recommend John's book. It's an incredible eye-opener on the importance of a being 'leader' and a 'boss'.
by Rebecca HOlt
Letting go of who you are not
What if your New Year’s resolution was to be perfectly imperfect this year? Would that change the age old saying “new year, new you”? New beginnings feel like a way to start fresh and leave old habits behind, but often we forget to nurture the authentic self in the process. Resolutions can set us up for cognitive distortion patterns like “all or nothing thinking”. We go back to old patterns we were trying to change, and our brain tells us “all is lost”. I know in that moment my brain loses all self-compassion and I think “better luck next year”.
It may be a good time of year to assess the five core issues of codependency. When we find balance in the core issues, we are our most authentic self. So, let’s review!
The first being self-esteem. How do you plan to esteem yourself this year? A great way to start is using daily affirmations, I remind myself each morning I am a fallible human being who makes mistakes but that doesn’t make me less than. I love the book we use during our retreats “Affirmations for the Inner Child”. Each passage provides an affirmation and a way to connect with self.
Secondly, consider your boundaries. Are you setting boundaries in a way that honor yourself? Sometimes saying no is essential to self-care. Over the holidays, I found myself back in those old patterns of making sure everyone was happy and abandoning my need for self-care. I needed to set some boundaries to allow time for me. Remind yourself of the talking listening boundary. We don’t have to take on other’s emotions or offend them with our own.
Next, look at your cognitive distortions. Are there cognitive distortions impacting your reality, your relationships, your view of self? Identify one or maybe all of them you want to be mindful of this year. I often disqualify the positive. There will be ups and downs this year but that doesn’t mean you are worthless. You can own your truth.
The next core issue is dependency. Maybe you have a goal to be more interdependent this year, is there something you can accomplish on your own or possibly something you need help with? You have the right to ask for help! It may be a way to deepen some of those healthy relationships in your life.
Lastly, my personal favorite, how are you balancing moderation with joy and spontaneity? How are you going to let that inner child out this year? Find healthy ways to be playful. Examine what brings you joy. Is it a hobby, travelling, or maybe art? This might be the area to set goals for the year but balance that list of “to-dos” with a list of “to-dos that bring me joy”
One of my favorite quotes from Pia Mellody is, “Recovery isn’t about changing who you are, but letting go of who you are not.”
What is my resolution, you may ask? I choose to give myself grace in the face of my humanity. I will do this when I’m out in public and realize I’m covered in dog hair, I will do this when I judge myself for my performance at work, and I will do this when I eat way more sugar and carbs than needed. Instead of attacking self, I will be compassionate and check in with myself to understand the unhealthy action.
As we enter this new year, let’s examine ways we can embrace the authentic self and make a special place for that precious person.