Mentorship Moments: The importance of relationships… and Doug Baldwin

Posted on: August 14th, 2019 by Jen Mueller

Holding a microphone doesn’t guarantee an interview.

Being a reporter doesn’t mean people will talk to you.

And even when you do secure an interview and get someone to talk – there’s no assurances they’ll make you look good. Every time I ask a question there’s an opportunity for an athlete to contradict me, correct me or just make me look bad. It’s why I spend so much time building relationships and why I’m especially grateful when they are intentional about making me look good – even when I ask a terrible question.

That’s how former Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin and I became friends.

My first interview with Doug took place during preseason his rookie year. I lost my train of thought during a question, tried to recover, but ended up stumbling around and spitting out something that in no way resembled a good question.

I knew it was a disaster.

I braced myself for his response… which was brilliant.

He answered as if it was the best question he’d ever heard. He gave a thoughtful response and saved me from embarrassment during a live interview.

(I tell the story in the video which could be worth sharing.)

Asking questions on live TV and radio puts me in a vulnerable position. Avoiding the interaction isn’t the solution. Building relationships is.

When I have a good relationship in place there’s a greater chance the athletes will assume the best, not the worst, and they’ll make me look good instead of hanging me out to dry. The same is true for the colleagues in your workplace.

Take the time to build relationships and you’ll have one less thing to worry about in your conversations at work.

Jen Mueller is a veteran sports broadcaster and a badass at business communication. Her conversation strategies are based on nearly 20 years inside sports locker rooms. She provides a fresh and practical approach to how your team should be interacting. Hire Jen for your next conference, quarterly meeting or staff training: Jen@TalkSportytoMe.com 

Talk Sporty Challenge for Your Workweek

Posted on: August 11th, 2019 by Jen Mueller

Human connection (i.e. talking to real people) can help you feel happier during the day.

As someone who “talks too much” I already know that – but there’s actual research and science to back that up. That same research shows a human connection can be created just by making eye contact and acknowledging the existence of someone.

That’s the real purpose of small talk.

It’s an acknowledgement. It’s being seen. It’s the opposite of being invisible or ignored.

It’s small validation that you are more than your job because there’s a conversation that doesn’t involve work. Those non-work, small talk conversations build relationships which pay off at work. And who wouldn’t be happier about getting more done at work alongside colleagues you like and who like you?

So start talking this week and use these sports conversation starters.

3 Ways Leaders Support Other Leaders – Advice from Seahawks Linebacker K.J. Wright

Posted on: August 6th, 2019 by Jen Mueller

Leadership doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It’s not a solo proposition.

The best leaders recognize buy-in and support is critical for success, which is why they actively seek ways to support other leaders within an organization. It’s what K.J. Wright does inside the Seahawks locker room because great leaders are good followers. They understand the importance of backing decision-makers.

Great leaders are good followers.

Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll is the ultimate decision-maker for the guys inside the Seahawks locker room. But the team is only as successful as individual players and leaders inside the locker room allow.

Leaders don’t have to be the ones calling the shots to take on a leadership role.

The same is true in your work environment. A CEO is only as effective as his or her leadership team allows. Winning requires support from other leaders.

K.J. Wright shared his approach to that responsibility in the locker room when he was a featured leader for July’s Learn from a Leader session.

 

3 Ways Leaders Support Other Leaders

Buy in.“When it comes to supporting leaders you personally have to listen to what they say,” K.J. says. That doesn’t mean you have to take everything at face value, but it does mean you have to allow yourself to be led by that leader. Having the experience of following that leader allows you to buy in and show support for his/her decisions.

Spread the message.“You know sometimes Coach Carroll has players only meetings with some of us guys.” K.J. explains. “He tells us what he wants to say to the rest of the team we go there and do it.” Leaders are called on to communicate effectively and deliver messages that resonate with team members. That means they characterize the message that convey the intent and directive of the leader and choose the words that support the leader’s message instead of calling it into question or second-guessing decisions.

Hold leaders accountable. If you do encounter a situation where a leader might be off base or missing the mark, accountability is key. “All leaders don’t make all the right decisions all the time,” K.J. says. “So if I definitely see something when it comes to that I’ll say something.” For K.J., recognizing that a coach or teammate is acting differently could be an indication he should say something. For example, a coach changing the game-plan at the last minute or a teammate forgetting their responsibilities on a certain play could prompt him to ask, “Is everything okay, you’re acting differently today?” or “This is contrary to way you’ve coached us up in the past, are you alright?”

 

Applying this leadership approach is easier when you’ve already made it a goal to leave a team or an organization better than you found it. That’s how K.J. described his mentorship philosophy. Which is why if he “sees something he’ll say something” even if it means he’ll lose his job one day to the players he’s mentoring. Take a look:

 

 

If you would like the entire interview with K.J. and the workshop session that followed, PLUS lifetime access to the Learn from a Leader series  – all you have to do is register and take advantage of this limited time offer of $197. Every month you’ll get virtual access to a different leader, a recorded copy of the session and a chance to workshop their takeaways and implement new leadership skills right away.

Learn from a Leader: August 20, 3:30-4:45pm PST

This month’s featured leader is Lori Richardson. She is the CEO of Score More Sales, a top B2B sales strategy firm, and the President of Women’s Sales Pros – a community created to help get more women into sales and sales leadership roles. She has previously served in sales and leadership roles with Apple, IBM and Thomson Reuters among other top-tier companies.

Read more about Lori and what you’ll learn in this session here, then register for lifetime access to the series.

 

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