Jarvis Jones discusses in this podcast how he inspired confidence in his staff, coworkers, and higher-ups. In his line of work, Jarvis spearheaded a number of lofty initiatives and needed the buy-in for them to work. Listen to his tactics here!

Interviewer:

Awesome alright so we’re gonna jump right into the confidence section, and this will be the second podcast that we’ll upload. So talk a little bit about how you inspire confidence as a leader. You talked a lot in the last portion about holding your employees accountable but at the same time being patient and empathetic to make sure that they feel that they have the tools they need and have you behind them so that they can get the job done to the best of their abilities. So how as a leader can you inspire confidence in the people who report to you?

Jarvis Jones

I think that inspiring confidence particularly as the leader..It’s about listening to others. It’s the number one thing that’s often glossed over and misunderstood. And I’m talking about active listening. I actively listen and –this is gonna sound strange, but graciously listening to others. It’s extremely important before you do anything else to inspire confidence.

Interviewer

And what do you mean that graciously listening to others?

Jarvis Jones:

We often listen naturally from our perspective. But gracious listening is trying to understand where the other person is coming from. It sounds easy but it’s hard. I’m not pretending…some of the people that people know me well because I do at times fail at that.

But gracious listening, when you’re talking about inspiring confidence, or even just being in a relationship with someone (but let’s leave it at inspiring confidence) It’s where you listen carefully but it’s gracious listening. When people see you are graciously listening, it’s just amazing how you connect and bond with that person because they feel accepted.

I’m not saying you’ll agree necessarily, but to me that you probably don’t or you may not. But it’s being able to really…you know some people say, “wear someone’s shoes.” I’m not talking about agreeing but where you really get where that person is coming from, and they get that you get it.

Interviewer:

Exactly.

Jarvis Jones

If you do that, and it’s much harder [said than done], people will then generally have a greater sense of trust, which you contribute and offer. That’s the first step in inspiring me. People wanna know you get them before they get you.

If you start up just speaking to people without trying to understand what this individual group where they’re at — it could be a particular function or the human resources department or the finance department or the legal department. If you get where they’re coming from, each come from a different vantage point and being you drop down to the individual level.

They’re bringing a different perspective. They’re bringing their particular different needs. Your ability to really hear where they’re coming from and speak to that and be responsive to that inspires confidence. And to put it another way, it inspires them to believe, “This is someone I can work with. This is someone I can trust.”

Interviewer:

Right.

Jarvis Jones:

This is someone I can listen to. Now, that doesn’t happen on first brush, but that’s how you constantly show up. And you be authentic — it’s very important to be authentic — that underlies everything we’re talking about whether you’re trying to inspire confidence, or you are elite of integrity, You got to be authentic underlying all of your interactions.

Interviewer

Absolutely. So talk a little bit about what happens if the leader fails to inspire confidence. If the leader can’t get that trust and get that buy-in and can’t graciously listen, what happens?

Jarvis Jones

That’s the easiest question I’ve had in a long time because all I would need to do to answer that question is encourage people to look to their left, look to their right, and look above in their workplace, and let them answer that question.  

It leads to — chaos is too strong but it leads to people not understanding their roles and responsibilities in the workplace. It leads to a high level of distrust. It leads to a great degree of “CYA” (Cover Your Backside). It leads to people not feeling confident enough to contribute what they have to offer because they feel they’re not in a space or environment. And it leads in general to instability and inefficiencies in getting things done.

From a senior management leadership position, confidence is extremely important only important. And leadership does start, I believe, from the bottom to the top from the top to the bottom it flows both ways.

Interviewer:

So talk about one particular time that you’re really proud of where you were able to inspire confidence in someone who reported to you, in another leader, talk about the way that you know you as a leader of integrity were able to pull out confidence in somebody else.

Jarvis Jones:

Yeah, I’m going to talk about it much broader context. My experience, being responsible for strategic business development. When I took on a new organizational initiative to create a multi distribution channel — to do that, I had to engage about 15 different functional groups (and by that I mean HR, legal finance risk management, marketing, and other departments.)

To successfully bring those all together to work as a team, it required me to meet with each one of those departments (And some of the people I knew some I didn’t know) as well the leaders in those different departments.

And to listen to just what I said, what was important to tell them what to senior management group and the executive management group were trying to get accomplished and building.

Equally if not more important, listening to these different department leaders, what their concerns were, what their needs were…something as simple as they need more resources. Something as simple as a bit of people resources. Something as simple as, or not so simple as, they didn’t have the Know how to get from point a to c because of the structure and culture they have in place.

So building confidence by understanding each one of those functional areas and department area’s needs and concerns and conveying to them how they fit in and being flexible in how they fit in.

I’m not sure that I answered your question but…

Interviewer

Now I think that answered it beautifully!

Jarvis Jones

That’s how we build confidence. Just so you know this was a three year project. That got eighteen different functions and department that weren’t accustomed to working together in this way because usually works in their own silo.

And they work in their own silos and to bring them together on this major initiative that was set up by executive senior management and to build this multi-distributional channel that did not exist. Many people bet against us. The reason we were successful was because the buy-in across the organization, which took a lot of work as far as just what we’ve been talking about: Inspiring confidence but more building the relationship, building trust creating a clear vision.

That’s how we get there that is one example of how confidence will inspire creative build.

Interviewer:

Right. Now you said the project took three years. How long did it take to get buy-in? Because I imagine all of the people across the various departments were not only nervous for the relationships but nervous that the whole project might not work out so how did you..or, how long did it take for you to get their buy-in so that you could execute this project in three years?

Jarvis Jones:

Yeah well, one because we came from the executive senior management of the organization of a Fortune 500 Company.

It wasn’t like we got to decide that…I decided not to buy it so we’re not doing it. That’s the reality. Well with that, that doesn’t mean that because people are — and this goes to your question — because people are overtly that they have the commitment to it — slash the Buy-In.

So it really..it depends. Some people initially — we’re talking now change management also because what we were doing was vastly different from how the organization usually operates.

So some people love that change because they saw this as a new opportunity and they bought in right away — they said Jones, what took you so long? What took you and the organization so long to go in this direction?

Others viewed it as more threatening to the way they did business or the way they operate, and/or they were very comfortable how they did things.

Those type of folks, depending on the individual, depending on the department, depending on the leadership, it can vary anywhere from a month to three months to six months, possibly even a year

And of course you’re gonna have those who never buy in, and the next time, you’re not gonna get everyone. But you have to create a situation with those individuals, very importantly, where it’s still in their interest to execute

On the overall organization’s vision and goals.

Interviewer:

Right right right right.