This is the JoCo De-brief podcast, Episode 15 with Dave Burke and me, Jocke Willink Dave. Let's debrief what he got. Let me tell you what not to do when you first get promoted.
Don't don't tell your boss that they are not doing a very good job.
Is that not a good way to come out of the gate? It it might be true, but it's probably not going to have the effect that you're looking for. But you just said it might be true. So if it's true. Hey, man, it might be. Yeah. You know, I speak truth to power. That's right. That's actually exactly what this is about.
So we're working with the company. It's like a cybersecurity company. And one of the guys that we were talking with is actually pretty new to the company. He got hired in a supervisory role.
Sharp guy got promoted to a management role, which is kind of one step up. And it's but it's still a step below, like the executive leadership level. And one of the things he figured out very early on in his initial role before he got promoted was the executive leadership doesn't really have a good sense of what's going on down on the front lines, things that he was seeing every single day.
OK, so we got Fred. Yeah. He gets to the company. Fred does a decent job, gets promoted. Yes. And while he was on the front lines, Fred realized they don't always connect very well with the C suite. Correct. So he knows that. Got a little disconnect. You got it. Cool.
Fred's now a manager.
Fred's elevated up quickly from the supervisory role where he was just leading a team and now he's one level up. And what he's thinking and like this, Fred is a good guy and he really wants to bring the attention to the C suite of, hey, what's going on? And what he's thinking is, hey, the best way is is just to be honest, which is kind of what you were implying out of the gate to say this is what's going on.
He's got to come out and tell you, boss, hey, you don't know what's going on down here.
And this is such a weird thing to talk about because we as human beings at birth, we start to get told, tell the truth, tell the truth, tell the truth.
The best thing to do is to tell the truth, tell the truth, tell the truth, tell the truth. And you know what? I actually one hundred percent support telling the truth. Let's go continue. Yes. The truth is important, how you I should say, how you wield the hammer of truth matters.
So maybe there's a couple of years ago where I said, if you tell the truth and no one's listening, does it matter?
So let's think about that. If I am going, which I 100 percent support telling the truth.
But if I'm going to tell you the truth and you're not going to hear it or you're not going to listen to it, did I really do a good job of telling the truth? Answer is no. So I 100 percent support telling the truth.
And yet if I can't get my message across, if the truth is not heard, I failed to tell the truth.
I'm supposed to tell the truth if I don't get the message across and you don't hear it. I have not told the truth. It hasn't come across. It hasn't been transmitted.
If you if you say something and no one hears it, what good is it? You didn't say anything. If no one hears what you say, you didn't say it. OK, Jack, so the first thing we kind of start talking about and really he's he's looking for a way to convey this message, which is actually a really good thing because he's asking this is what I think I should do. Hey, can we talk about this? Perfect.
So Fred's asking you. Hey, yeah, they've got it. Yes. We're talking looking for a little bit of ice actually being a little bit of a role play of how to have how to have this conversation. And I think more often than not, when when we work with clients, we think about we talk about what to think about. And we also talk about what to say. So part of it is the way you're thinking and the other part of it is literally how you interact.
And it's both of those things because like you were saying, you might have this intent in your mind. That makes sense. Hey, I want to alert them to this problem. I want to help solve this problem.
But if the way you actually convey that, if your behavior doesn't solve the problem, you're actually not solving the problem. So it's kind of a combination of both. And of course, I go to my my go to manual.
We're talking leadership strategy and tactics. And one of the first things we're talking about is this idea of what conform to influence means. And part of it is, hey, when you first join this company, this idea of conform to influence is kind of naturally.
All right. So just just to just to pump the brakes here.
The book is Leadership, Strategy and Tactics. The tactic that you're talking about is something that is called conform to influence, meaning if you want to influence a group of people, you have to at some level conform to what they're doing because otherwise you're an outsider.
Right. And we don't have very much influence over groups that we are not a part of. Yes. So we are conforming at some level in order to become a part of a group where we can thereby influence the group.
Yes, and I think part of that initially makes sense. So that explanation obviously is, is the explanation of how you want to show up. You want to understand what's going on. You want to learn about the people, you want to see their problems.
You want to figure out what's going on, and you also want them to see you, that you're there to be part of that team, which is what gives you the influence. But that philosophy that that leadership tactic of conform to influence, as you described, isn't just when you show up new. You can be part of a company, a part of a team. And this happened to me in the Marine Corps all the time is you could be at the same place for years and then you elevate and you talk about this leadership strategy and tactics as well as, hey, what do you do?
And now you've been elevated to a position of leadership. That philosophy still applies. The promotion to a higher rank or a higher position is now not the license to. Stop being part of the team to stop conforming, so the first move from this supervisory role to this management role, which is a different role in the same organization, one of the first things that we talk about is, hey, recognize, what does that role mean for you now?
And that doesn't mean on day one, like, OK, cool, I'm now a manager now going to start doing things the way I want to do them. I finally got to this place where I got promoted. Now I get to exert my authority or exert my influence in the way that I want. There is still this idea of. That's all those same things, but now it's at a different perspective, it's a different point of view from that higher position.
And I think the other connection there is I wrote this comment down of, hey, there's another way to look at this problem is it may be that your executive leadership indeed does not know what's going on down there. That may be the problem. And they actually might even know this. That might be why you've been promoted is to help them bridge that gap. Part of it is kind of figuring out what do you think, what's going on in the C suite?
Why aren't they down there? We talk about, hey, they're super busy, hey, there's an acquisition, there's you could insert a whole bunch of different things that are actually real legitimate reasons why. Now does this mean the senior leadership shouldn't be down there? No, they should as often as they can. But the idea that now I'm going to get promoted. Go. Hey, JoCo, you're my boss. Here's problem number one. You are not getting down to the front lines nearly enough as you need to.
And that's a real problem. If the organization is very different than, hey, this is an awesome role that I can be in because I can now bridge the gap and do a better job feeding you information that's critical and maybe helping you figure out when the right time is to maybe. Hey, boss, we're doing a meeting on Friday. We're doing a big summary, this huge project and teeing up the section yet. Thirty minutes to come down and spend some time with the team and actually helping solve the problem by telling the truth to kind of rethink of what you were just saying.
But in a way, they're actually they're actually can help solve this problem for this leadership team.
Yeah, that's awesome. It's awesome that. These you're doing a maneuver, right? What's cool is that you're doing a maneuver and what you have to do if you're listening to this, your maneuver might not look exactly like this or your your scenario might not look exactly like this. Now you got promoted and now you've got some truth that you need to make.
It might be the other might be the reverse direction. Your team might have done something and now you better just hit him in the face with it, with the truth about what's. There's maneuvers that you can make that will make telling the truth.
Actually effective. And that's what we're talking about. All right, what else you got this one? Actually, this actually comes from online.
This was this was kind of a variation of a question that we got that isn't totally different from some other questions, but obviously only if online we the questions that people ask when we're on it online.
So we meet three days a week. We're on there for an hour. And and we are there to answer people's questions for the most part. And they will either in that chat box on on the virtual meeting or just straight up ask a question in real time. The questions they're asking are real questions that they are dealing with. And what's cool about that is that while unique, there's a ton of overlap. That meaning the questions they ask of people are asking a lot of the same questions.
So this question was a question about someone who's got a senior leader in the organization who they just don't like.
They don't they do not like they do not respect this leader. But this particular leader has a lot of influence on whether this person gets promoted or continues to move up in the organization. And the question was kind of simple things like, hey. And the type of person that cannot fake liking somebody. I'm honest, which is why I've connected these two together like I'm an honest person, hey, and is is I just can't fake liking this person. What I like about this is that doubled down.
This is a double down on my personal virtues.
Not only am I honest, which we all know is a highly elevated virtue that we all respect and admire.
So not only am I honest, I am. I am also I. I cannot be fake. I'm doubling down. My virtues are so awesome that I am 100 percent honest. And on top of that, I can't be fake. Which puts me in this dilemma. Yeah. This freaking horrible dilemma.
So the question was simply this was this question.
The guy that was like that actually specifically asked about shaking this person's hand.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Because I remember the detail of someone saying I would you ask the question? I think it was actually directed or at least a similar question was directed right at me saying, would you shake this guy's hand? And there is a little trap that was trying to be set for me, which is, hey, JoCo, we know you're honest. We know you are not a fake person. And he's setting himself up to get the answer he wants to hear was.
So JoCo, would you shake this person's hand that you don't respect? Yeah, I mean, that's basically the question he should ideal should I have a relationship with a leader that I simply do not respect? Well, the cool part about that is that the short answer is very straightforward.
Yes, you should. You absolutely should.
And the larger pieces is there are some there's a couple of components to this that I was thinking about. And and I think a lot of this comes out on the answers in real time.
But some of it is worth thinking about because of how much I've been thinking about lately, just the idea of respect, just the concept of respect, me respecting another person.
So kind of the first part about this, if I'm in that situation, let's say you're that boss, I just I just don't respect you. Why do I am I going to waste my time?
I'm going to keep it real. I'm not going to fake my way through this relationship with you, but I can take a step back and. All right, hang on. Draco's a senior leader in this organization because I can hear can can my relationship more my lack of relationship hurt my team. Yes, OK. I don't want that can hurt me. Yes.
Can hurt my ability of my team to be successful. I can make a list, a long list of all the reasons why just that relationship alone creates a whole bunch of risk for me and my people, which in the hierarchy of authenticity, which one is more important that you keep it real or that your team is successful and all those people on your team are successful.
So there's a lot of reasons why navigating this relationship is actually something you need to do as a leader, because this is what your team needs you to do.
This is what they need you to do. Because if you're not there, if I keep it real and somehow jackasses, I don't like this guy, Dave, and the team that he's running. As a matter of fact, I don't like the way he talks to me. I don't even look to me, you know, who's a lot better, Joe?
Cool. Guess who's now in charge of that team. So I lose all my influence. And you there are so many stories that you have reference, you know, from Hackworth and so many others of why you need to maintain that relationship. And of course, there's a whole bunch of pieces in here that connect to ego. And we can talk about a lot of different things and they're all relevant.
But the thing that I've been thinking about lately, and they came from a conversation and I don't know if you had an F on line or on the podcast. I don't remember the origin, but it's the way I don't respect you. How do I actually cultivate respect and what bothers me is you don't respect me either. And the idea that in order to gain respect, you have to give respect. And we talk about it with respect.
We talk about with influencing. We talk about with listening. There's so many things that we talk about is what I actually have to do is look at you and think. Is there not is there is there not one single attribute about you as a human being that I can't find a way to go? Oh, you know what? JoCo has navigated through some pretty crazy times of this company the last 15 years. He found himself in a senior leadership position.
And the concept of respect, of how this idea of respect and influence and listening in on these key things that make us effective leaders. How. Simple and difficult at the same time is to reverse that and go, if I want him to respect me more and respect my position, what do I have to do? I have to find a way to respect him.
And if I cannot find one single way to respect you, there is I. I exclude any possibility that you will actually do the same for me, which. Is so obvious in one sense and then so counter to our our our nature of weight, if I want you to respect me more, what do I have to do? I have to respect if I want to listen to what I'm saying, what I have to do.
Oh, I have to start. I have to listen to him more. So we talked a little bit about in order to gain respect, what does he actually have to do for this leader? I respect him a little bit more or listen to him more or to be able to influence this guy a little bit more.
What he actually needs to be able to do, which is the exact same things in the opposite direction, the quadrangle, which is trust, listening, respect and influence.
Now, there's a little thing where you were brushing up against some guardrails a little bit. And it's it's so so where you're talking about is OK.
What's more important that I keep it real with this guy. Let's keep it real, like, hey, Dave, don't respect Dave, I'm going to keep it real and not give him respect and keep him at arm's length and let him kind of know that I don't appreciate his attitude.
What's more important, that or two, would you say about the team that that that you need to do protect the team and do the mission? Right. Or. Yeah, I think you said you said some words like that, but here's the deal.
You are. You want to keep it, you said something about the hierarchy, right, there's a hierarchy, the hierarchy of keeping it real with the team is.
You said the hierarchy of keeping it real with the boss or the hierarchy of keeping it real the bosses is less important than doing the mission and taking care of the team.
And what I was just going to add to that is keeping it real with the team like your team.
And here's where here's what was done in this. Just makes it so obvious to me. I've got 15 people that work for me. I've got eight people that work for me. I've got 12 people that work for me. I got 100 people that work for me as a leader.
Those people are counting on me to take care of them, to take care of them and a bunch of different ways is that obviously that doesn't mean that means I give them the gear that they need.
That means I give them the support that they need. That means I get them the resources that they need. That means I, I get plans in place that they can go execute. That's what I'm doing.
That's my whole purpose. So in order to do that, in order to do that's the highest purpose of me as a leader, that's the highest purpose of me as a leader, is to take that team, take care of that team and get the mission accomplished. That is my highest purpose as a leader. Is there anything that's more important than that? Is there anything that's more important as a leader than taking care of your people and executing and accomplishing the mission?
That's what a leader is doing. That's what a leader is doing. Far and away, nothing else matters, but the next thing below that is pretty far down in order to do that to the maximum capacity that we can as a human, we have to have a good relationship with the guy we work for. So it completely the the mission of a leader to take care of the people and execute the mission, that completely trumps the fact that you have to eat a little bit of crow and be humble and treat somebody with respect.
It's not even a freaking comparison. So. That's what we need to do now. The other thing is, again, that set up of like, hey, I'm an honest person and I'm not fake. And therefore, it is it is against my character. It is against my character as a human to. Act in a way that's not real. It's the same boat, right? Yeah, my character is a leader is I'm going to take care of my troops.
But here's the other thing. I'm not being dishonest. I'm not being fake, you know what I am being I'm being a winner. I'm taking I am going to win. That's what I'm going to do. Yeah, when I add that phrase, keeping it real, I should be careful that that is in quotes. That's the I don't like you and I'm going to keep it real. So you're going to know, hey, I'm not going to shake your hand, boss.
Like, come on, man.
Like, that idea of keeping it real is is the joke of I'm so honest, I can't help myself but tell you actually I don't respect you to the point that I will not shake your hand. You can't shake your boss hand to thank you for coming out and seeing what's going on here no matter what.
Yeah, you kept it real. You made it harder for your team. You made it harder to accomplish the mission. You made it harder for them to get promoted. You hurt the overall productivity of the whole organization. Good job. Yeah, you kept it real and you have less influence.
He's not going to listen to all those things because you strike out after strike after strike out.
All right. I guess it's my turn, so. Use the phrase sometimes, take the high ground or the high ground will take you. Solid advice, solid advice, solid guidance, there's no replacing it, right, once you give up the high ground. It's very I shouldn't say there's no replacing. It's kind of like trust, right? Once you give up trust. It's immediately gone now. Can you build it back? Yes, you can.
You can build it back over time. But, you know, if I break your trust as a leader or as a subordinate.
I go to zero, right, I go to if I really break your trust, I go to zero. And sure, there's great nations of that where I kind of let something slide a little bit and your trust goes down.
But if I truly break your trust, I go to zero. Now I have to rebuild it. If I give up the high ground, it's very similar.
Sure, there's some great nations, but pretty much I'm going to have to go and get that urn, that high ground back.
So we need to hang on to this high ground and we need to protect it.
And and yet it is so, so very tempting just to get down from that high ground and get in the mud and start slinging.
It is so tempting to do that.
And if you do that, you end up with mud and slop on your feet and on your hands.
And it's not even because you got hit with mud. It's not because you got in there and you started picking it up and now it's covering you.
So don't do it. Do not do that.
You got to find something positive. And here's a an ancient saying. I believe this is an ancient saying. If you don't have anything good to say, don't say it. I'm going to one up that thing.
If you don't have anything good to say, think of something good to say. Think of something good to say that's going to allow you to stay on the high ground.
And this is where this is another thing we have to remember being on the high ground. Is. In many respects, it's almost like having rank. Because when you're in the high ground, you have authority, you have a level of authority because you're on the high ground, you're in a position of power because you're on the high ground.
And even if the person that you're dealing with. Is in the low ground and there are in the low ground. One hundred percent by their own choice right there, they're.
They're in that low ground, you're on the high ground when you're in that position. Just like rank do not abuse that authority. Do not abuse that authority. When it comes to rank, like if we if we look at rank, the good leader is going to treat people with respect all the times at all times. Right. A good leader is treating people with respect all the time. That's what they're doing. It's the same thing here.
And if you come across if you're on the high ground and you come across like you're better or you're superior or you're a cut above, that means you're arrogant now. You're arrogant now. And you know why you come across as thinking that you're better or you come across your actions come across as your better or superior, you know why that happens? Because you actually believe you are. You think that because you're on the high ground, you're superior and that that is going to come through, that smell is going to come through, that tone is going to come through.
And when it comes through which it will.
Well, guess what happens? You surrender the highground. When you think when you're on the high ground and you think you are superior because you're on the high ground, you are in the process of giving up the high ground and you are getting covered in mud. So how do we how do you avoid this? How do you prevent yourself from believing that you are superior?
Which is what we need to do. Well, one thing that we all need to do. Is have perspective. Is is trying to see the perspective of the other person that you're dealing with, there's a correlation.
I was thinking about with jiujitsu and jiujitsu, you really have to be careful with this. And people lose the bubble on this all the time.
In jujitsu. You are not a better human being because you can tap someone else out, and I know that sounds crazy, but guess what?
It's not even just that you're a better human being. You're not even a better fighter. You're not even a better fighter, it's just that. It's just that you've trained for it's just that you've trained more. You started earlier, you got the hours and you got the Days Inn, you got the time on the mat. And if you flip those rolls around and you gave that other person ten down, ten thousand hours of jujitsu and you only had one hundred, you would freaking lose.
And they would tap you out. So when you're on the high ground and you are looking down your nose at someone else, you need to recognize, you need to recognize that.
That you could be there to. And don't be so arrogant to think that you could never be there or that you wouldn't be there. Don't get caught in that trap, it is. It's a it's a trap with a with a beautiful. Piece of bait on it. And it's wrong. Don't abuse the power of the high ground. I'm not saying give it up, but don't abuse it, stay humble. And instead of getting down in the mud.
Do your best to lift others out of it. I think that's probably a good place to stop for today, and if you want to dig deeper into all aspects of leadership in any arena, you can join Dave and me and the rest of the Echelon front team at EFF online dotcom, where we solve problems through leadership. And if you want leadership guidance inside your organization, if you want to be one of these clients that we talk about and by the way, when we talk about clients, we promise the clients that we are talking about the stories we are telling.
They are completely unrecognizable in the industry, in the personalities involved. We we treat our clients as top secret information. But if you want our help, you can go to ashlawn front dotcom and explore the options. There have also been a bunch of books on the subject of leadership, extreme ownership, dichotomy of leadership, leadership, strategy and tactics. Got some other podcasts as well. One is called JoCo podcast, one is called JoCo Unraveling. And then we also have grounded and the Warrior Kid podcast.
And if you want to support any of these podcasts, including this one, you can get some gear from JoCo store Dotcom or from. Origin, USA, Dotcom. And thanks for listening to the debrief now go lead, and this is Dave and JoCo out.