Pastor Craig Groschel is the head guy of the GLS and he always gives a great opening talk.

He has the mega-church pastor skill of breaking things down into tiny pieces or formulas. That will get cliche later at the GLS, but for this first talk, it was helpful.

The opening spoken-word performance (they always do a little drama routine for all the people coming in late) ended with the question of “What are you going to do with it?” That came back up in the final session and really is a good closer. There are so many good talks and so much helpful content in 2 days, you need to have the reminder that it’s all just a show if you don’t actually do something with what you’ve heard.

Two gems in here.

  1. You build trust with Transparency, Empathy, and Consistency. Even if you have two of these you can’t build trust. It takes all three.
  2. Better to disappoint with the truth than to deceive with a lie. This is so true. I’ve been in meetings where people candy-coated the bad news so well that the boss didn’t even know there was a problem until it was too late. Yeah. It was terrible. Be honest and direct.

A little bit of Pat Lencioni’s Five Dysfunctions of a Team showing here. Being impressed doesn’t connect us is so true. But oversharing and being transparent in the wrong ways can divide us too. Humility is a better way to talk about what he means by transparency.

This bit is so true. If you only care about your employees as they are a cost center and revenue bringer, they are only going to care about you as the signer of their paycheck. If you are a boss like the assistant principal at high school and only show up when somebody is in trouble, that’s how you’ll be known. One time I saw my assistant principal from High School at the grocery store laughing with his wife. It was so foreign. Not only because of the whole teacher-goes-to-the-grocery store deal, but because he was enjoying life. All I knew of him was dealing out discipline.

Another time, a boss I had introduced me to someone as “his report.” Wow! Like I thought we were friends and co-workers, but at that moment I was friend-zoned into his life as the chief of a one-person hierarchy. It shaded the way we worked together.

If all your employees feel like is a money-maker or an expense, the feelings will be mutual.

The issue of the week and the vision of the month can wreck your workforce. A friend I had at the rescue mission said one time his job was to keep his manager in the trailer. If anything happened that would make the manager come out of the trailer, he wasn’t doing his job. A lot of businesses operate like this. Instead of the vision for the business, they are chasing the manager’s mood to keep the hummingbird boss happy. Or they are covering their heads while the seagull boss comes in, makes some noise, poops on everything, and leaves.

Build trust by giving your team:

  • Emotional safety
  • Organizational clarity

Yep, I said that. It’s hard to listen to all of this business advice and have such a gallery of bad examples in my past. I’m not sure I’ve worked at places that invested in training the managers to be humans managing humans. If I did, two days at the GLS a year makes me feel like I’ve learned more than they did. 90% of a manager’s work is working with people. If all we do is train our managers on software, we’re asking them to figure out 90% of their job on their own.

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