The Blog

Ganbatte - go for it!

I'm a sucker for juicy words, particularly  words that sum up a great thought in a simple and clever way. Oftentimes the best words, are not in our mother-tongue...enter Ganbatte!

Ganbatte is a Japanese word that essentially means "go for it"!

I've heard it tossed into conversations among my Japanese friends, peppering notices of big projects, promotions, life events, etc. When someone has something big going on, their friends tell them 'Ganbatte'! Go for it, do your best!

We don't really have an equivalent expression in English, certainly not one that punctuates news of an upcoming challenge with support and encouragement.

Wishing others to do their best has way of coming back to us tenfold.

As an employer or leader, this is particularly true. A key component of productive leadership is the sincere commitment to creating an atmosphere where your staff or organization can excel, innovate, shine, and succeed. That doesn't mean all leaders have to be touchy-feely, self-help gurus. What it means, is that regardless of leadership style, they possess an awareness and understanding of the role and impact of confidence in both the organization's mission and the individual's ability to positively contribute to it.

Ganbatte embodies that esprit de corps, and I would encourage any of you in leadership roles to consider the impact of cultivating the 'do your best' mantra in your workplace.

Parents encourage their children to 'go for it', to try, try again until they succeed. And yet in corporate America, it's easy to leave this mentoring and encouraging aspect of our leadership behind. We don't treat competent professionals like children, however we can sincerely and consistently encourage everyone we interact with the 'Go for it' mindset!

Most adults don't have cheerleaders, motivating and encouraging them. And while clearly leading pep rallies and chanting are not in the job description of your typical CEO, a true leader always has an ear to the ground in terms of their staff morale, their confidence in their work, their faith in the mission and vision of the organization as a whole.

The more our people 'buy in', the higher degree of confidence they feel, the more they see themselves in their work, the better the overall outcome will be.

Leadership involves not just the strategic decision-making and vision, but an awareness of and commitment to stewarding a work culture than can serve as the vehicle to get an organization where it needs to go. A strong leader must have a heart of service to their staff, to the culture of the organization they are shepherding, in addition to the vision and goals that are likely easier to define. Leading people is tough work, and cultivating a 'can do', 'go for it' spirit is no easy feat. However, it is much more acheivable if it rolls down from the top.

Leaders can permeate their organization with their vision for the unique culture they want to cultivate. We see it in politics, we see it in our homes, we see it in our work environments.

People take strong cues from those in leadership roles.

What message are you sending your team right now? Are you creating an atmosphere where those around you feel comfortable 'going for it'? Are you sending consistent signals in terms of your own role? Do you micromanage, but expect innovation? Do you aspire to up-level your business and outcomes, but struggle to relate to your team's resistance to your plans? Resistance has roots in a lack of trust, and that distrust is usually felt by both parties. Oftentimes you can get things off dead-center, and back on track simply by focusing on the energy and atmosphere you are creating through your own leadership style. You may have the best ideas in the world, but if you can't bring your people along, you will never achieve your goals.

As a leader, you can engender Ganbatte in your organization. You can foster an atmosphere where your team's feel empowered and encouraged to truly 'go for it'.

That means that you also take mistakes and failure in stride. That means that you choose to view those moments as opportunities to learn and improve, rather than as a setback or loss.

Send the right cues to your people. Make sure those cues relate to empowerment, to innovation, and to faith and confidence in your team's ability to achieve. Ganbatte everyone!

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