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Leadership at D2L- Win Hearts and Minds

  • 5 Min Read

**Welcome to a series of posts about what leadership looks like at D2L. Here at D2L, we recently shared the leadership competencies/behaviours that we know are required to transform the way the world learns. We considered both business and client goals and needs, and our drive to continue to disrupt the world of learning for K-12, Higher Ed and Corporate Learning. The competencies we decided upon aren’t new. They aren’t rocket science. They don’t come with cute little sayings. But we believe in them. And know they will set the stage for people to do the best work of their lives here at D2L all while helping to make learning more engaging, accessible and inspiring.**

Last time, we spoke about Leading by Example and the space between what you say and what you do. I hope you had the opportunity to do some mindful noticing about that space.

This week, we ask you to consider how well you Win Hearts and Minds.

As the saying goes…..

“True leaders don’t create followers…they create more leaders!” -J. Sakiya Sandifer

Having any ability to coach and support and get the most from each other involves having a solid understanding of what motivates and engages us. I would hope I don’t have to say this out loud- but having a job and a paycheck doesn’t cut it. It’s not enough anymore. And hasn’t been for a long time. Daniel Pink tells us in his work DRIVE that collectively, people want autonomymastery and purpose in their work and that these lead to better performance and personal satisfaction. His work also shows us that in some work contexts, an increase in financial/external rewards actually decreases a person’s performance. It’s time we thought more broadly about what really brings out exceptional performance and engagement.

We want (and deserve) so much more from our leaders and colleagues. And our ability to energize and engage each other in the amazing and critical work that we do…

(Mindfulness check…..Do you actually believe that the work of your direct reports and colleagues is amazing and critical to your company’s success? If not, why not?)

…only comes from dedicating enough time and energy to actually know each other and our drivers.

Exceptional leaders carve out the time to get to know their teams. They demonstrate their care and concern for them, for their wellbeing and for their engagement while at work. They believe fiercely in the importance of truly ‘seeing’ and recognizing their team members for their roles and they help their teams and colleagues connect the dots between what they do every day and the bigger D2L mission of transforming the way the world learns.

Stephen Covey (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) uses the metaphor of an emotional bank account to describe “the amount of trust that’s been built up in a relationship” (p.188). We start our relationships in a neutral balance position. As with regular bank accounts, deposits and withdrawals are made. Only in this case, rather than units of monetary value, we are dealing with emotional units.

Listen, there are going to be times when we are going to ask our teams and colleagues to go over and above. There are going to be challenging and frustrating times. There are going to be candid and difficult conversations. There are going to be disappointments and toes being stepped on and goals not achieved. There’s a lot of crap that happens in any given organizational context and let me tell you this, and if you have made few to no deposits (and one too many withdrawals) into that person’s emotional bank account, good luck!

Soooo….Let’s Work on It!

What can you do to work on the Win Hearts and Minds competency? Why not do Moving Motivators!

Moving Motivators is a simple but powerful exercise. It’s a great way to get to know each other a little bit better and engage in a dialogue around what motivates us. The card exercise offers 10 possible intrinsic motivators (e.g. order, honor, mastery).

The exercise involves placing the 10 potential motivators in order with least important motivators to the left and most important motivators to the right. A discussion around how strongly that particular motivator is being met can ensue. What a fabulous way to speak with your employee and colleagues about what engages them, what motivates them and most importantly, how much that need is being met in their current role.

We can also look at how motivators may increase/decrease in importance under certain organizational changes (e.g. new leader, restructure, new priority, etc.). In this way, the tool is a fabulous discussion point for teams undergoing change as a means to better understand how people’s intrinsic areas of motivation may be being impacted by that change.

Use the exercise during a one on one, at your next team meeting or during a retrospective. One of the best and simplest ways to build a relationship with your employees is having an open dialogue and this exercise offers a simple but powerful way in!

Want more information? Learn more about Moving Motivators (you can even print out your own copy of the cards!) HERE!

***We have set Win Hearts and Minds as one of the necessary leadership competencies here at D2L. We are humble enough to know that simple saying something doesn’t make it so. We recognize and celebrate those who do it well. We tell the stories of what good looks like. We are embedding the competencies into our onboarding programs. You’ll see them in our job descriptions. We’re developing learning opportunities to allow these capabilities to be strengthened in our formal and informal leaders alike. We continue to work at holding each other accountable by increasing our opportunities to provide each other regular and in the moment feedback. Sometimes we succeed and some days…..Meh….Sometimes this stuff is easy. Sometimes, it requires a bit more bravery. But it’s worth it all of the time.***

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