Retail Observer

November 2021

The Retail Observer is an industry leading magazine for INDEPENDENT RETAILERS in Major Appliances, Consumer Electronics and Home Furnishings

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RETAILOBSERVER.COM NOVEMBER 2021 46 Steven Morris On Brand A re you operating your life and business on autopilot? I like these words from the renowned founder of analytical psychology, Carl Jung: "Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life, and you will call it fate." As part of my work I help leaders and organizations recognize the actions they are taking unconsciously. I help them see what's really happening, so they can begin to take control of their fate. As leaders, we too often sit atop the pyramid and pretend we know. Outwardly, we present an impression having it together. Meanwhile, our colleagues silently lament our inability to hear the truth, share power and delegate. Then, when things go wrong, we silently rejoice when we can deflect the blame. It's a shell game of responsibility. Who's really in charge? Privately, many leaders second- or third-guess themselves about whether they're walking their talk and living up to the hype, while secretly fearing that they may be unmasked as imposters. The shame of "being discovered" keeps us from admitting that we're imperfect. Shame keeps us from being open to learn from others, build consensus among our teams, and align our talents with experts who can guide us. THE DEATH OF "COMMAND AND CONTROL" The command-and-control corporate pyramid is a short-term power game. It doesn't serve anyone except those who have the power and want to keep it. It's certainly not for the greater good. Unfortunately, our society is addicted to the power pyramid – think of the positions we've invested with an aura of power – the doctor in a white coat, the priest in a white collar, the uniformed police officer, the CEO in a power suit. We buy into the command-and-control scheme because it helps us quiet the voices whispering to us about our inadequacies. Meanwhile, the voice of our self-doubts may actually be telling us wise truths – that we don't always have it together, possess all the answers, and that we aren't always in control. American professor and lecturer Brené Brown tells us that shame and vulnerability need not prevent us from taking risks at work. "There is no real courage without vulnerability." A culture of belonging requires risk – it requires that we drop the façade of invulnerability and let ourselves be seen as imperfect and capable of making imperfect decisions. THE THREE PRIMARY ROLES OF A LEADER The first role of a leader is to seek the truth. When you're successful it's easy to start drinking the Kool-Aid of a false self-image. Meanwhile, it's true that "What got you here won't get you there." Life is change, and nothing can inhibit your success like getting drunk on today's victories. For everything we think we know, there are a million things we don't. Self-deception is dangerous. Leaders need to seek the truth, even if it sits in the shadow of shame. The second role of a leader is to invest in your people. When you invest in your people you create an environment of truth-seeking, truth-saying, collaboration and alignment to the cause at hand (aka the high purpose of your business). By investing in your people, you make their lives (and your business) better. Your people include your employees, partners, customers, and stakeholders. When you invest in them, they'll tell you the truth; and when you know what's real you'll make better decisions. The third role of a leader is to make decisions. It isn't your job to make a perfect decision every time. But when you align yourself with caring people who'll tell you the truth, you can make better decisions together and respond correctly as those decisions play out. Being real as a leader is a state where we invite our real self to step up and humanize our leadership. As leaders, our job is to find the people who'll tell us the truth, and be brave enough to listen to them, and acknowledge the truth together – then make decisions and live with them so we'll make better decisions tomorrow – and the risks be damned! 3 ROLES OF WHOLE LEADERS Steven Morris is a brand, culture and leadership advisor, author, and speaker. Over his 25+ years in business he's worked with 3,000+ business leaders at 250+ global and regional companies. Discover: RO

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