Leadership Games: Victims, Villains, and Heroes with Ben Morton
Ben Morton is a sought after leadership mentor, coach and bestselling author. After graduating from the Royal Military Academy, he served two tours in Iraq. Ben went from the battlefield to the boardroom blending his military and corporate leadership training. Disappointed by traditional leadership training, Ben started coaching and mentoring others to become the most authentic version of themselves as leaders.
Book: Mission: Leadership
Inside This Episode
You're listening to key conversations for leaders. This is episode number 23. Welcome everybody. In today's episode, we're going to be discussing leadership games, including victims, villains and heroes with Ben Morton. We'll be talking about the secret ingredient of true commitment. The formula for high performance and why soft skills are really the hard skills and much, much more.
John Ryan 0:25
Leadership is about vision. It's about creating a vision and sharing that vision with others in a way that inspires them to walk towards its fulfillment. Along the way leaders encourage, motivate, guide and even challenge people to bring their past each and every day. And it's all done through conversations. That's what the show is about better conversations for better leaders. Hey, everybody, and welcome to key conversations for leaders. I'm your host John Ryan, and today we have a very special guest Ben Morton. Ben is a sought after leadership mentor, coach and best selling author after graduating From the Royal Military Academy, he served two tours in Iraq. Ben went from the battlefield to the boardroom blending his military and corporate leadership training, disappointed by traditional leadership training, Ben sort of coaching and mentoring others to become the most authentic version of themselves as leaders. Welcome to the show. Ben.
Ben Morton 1:19
Thanks very much for having me.
John Ryan 1:20
Thank you. And, you know, Ben, as a former captain, the British Army, you know, what similarities and differences do you see between leadership in the military versus the corporate environment?
Ben Morton 1:35
It's a great question. And when you send this through before we like, it really got me reflecting on what some of those differences are, and similarities. I think it's probably easier to start with the differences in that I think, in the military. And so this was my experience in the military. I think we were the military are very good at Blending and keeping a jewel focus on both the task and the people. I think perhaps that's because leadership in the British Army is very much focused on at its core is still sort of john adairs model of task team and an individual. So that's kind of really drummed into you as a click key leadership model. I think perhaps it's because due to the very nature of what the the army exists to do, we are ultimately put in people's lives on the line in service of an outcome or mission. So that means we focus a little bit more on on the people. Whereas I think in the corporate world, we can tend to focus much more on the task and the objective and people can sometimes in some organizations be viewed as just a tool or means to an end, perhaps, and the root of that is probably the internet revolution, right, where kind of focus was all on productivity. And that's why kind of management thinking kind of grew and evolved. And I think in the civilian corporate world that's almost overtaken and, and sort of replaced some some leadership skills, perhaps.
John Ryan 3:19
So if I'm kind of following the dots that you're connecting here is going back even to the Industrial Revolution, where it was task focused. In the military, it's you said, it's people focused. And he said, so task team and individual. So theoretically, two thirds of that it's the people focus because the stakes are so high, you're putting your life on the line, and you have to respect that. Otherwise, you're not going to get that volume. In the business world. The stakes aren't necessarily that high. They are high, but they're not as apparent Lehigh as it would be in the military. So is that part of what was driven your vision to help people to bring in the people focus that you have For the military, to focus on the team of folks, that individual in terms of being an authentic version, best version of yourself.
Ben Morton 4:08
Yeah, absolutely. And I've no doubt I'll probably say this a couple of times during during the space of this, this call and you're right was that the stakes aren't so high. And I think because my sort of formative and leadership training my formative years were were in the military. I was always acutely aware of the fact that everybody I was was leading was somebody's husband or son, and I was potentially leading them into into harm's way. Now, keep coming back to this the stakes, perhaps they aren't as high they're just different in in the business world. But certainly, I hope for most leaders in the business world, like we're never going to be leading in situations where we put in people's lives on the line. But still everybody we lead in the corporate world is the most sort of an important person in the world to somebody else everyone we lead is someone, husband, wife, son, daughter, brother, sister, Mom, dad or whatever. And now how we act as leaders what we do how we behave what we say. It doesn't just impact people between nine and five, Monday to Friday or whatever when when they're working for us it spills over into their into their lives and I just don't believe and as a leader we have the right to impact negatively on people's lives out outside of work and yes, it will happen from from time to time because there are tough periods at work stuff goes on there are demanding times but we just need to understand and remember that kind of work will lead in and looking after after people as well as just trying to hit a revenue figure or deliver x many products out of the factory and x many days, right.
John Ryan 5:54
Well, that's really illuminating. I know when you're on your website, you would share that that book If you said that the person I'm dealing with the personal meaning that they are the most important person for someone else in their life, that is so person centric, and it really seems like that's changes your focus. How have you seen that impacting people when they started adopting that really caring, empathy? mindset? How has that shifted their leadership styles, but the
Ben Morton 6:25
well the, the outcome is the sort of result engagement just goes through the roof, right? Because people suddenly get a sense that their leader knows them, they care about them, they see them as a human being rather than just a number or a tool to help them achieve their achieve their, that their results, right. I've just come to the end of doing a sort of big cultural change project for a large pharmaceutical company. And actually one of the main things we've done is helped everybody connect more as human beings help leaders open up a little bit more kind of drop their work mask a little bit more. And like the data shows kind of their engagement results have kind of massively increased. And anecdotally, everyone's saying, it's amazing. I've got to know my boss more in the last six weeks, and I have in the last 18 months.
John Ryan 7:25
Amazing. So it seems so simple. You focus on the people, you develop the people and the output, which is the task focus that people really want, that naturally as a buyer product improves because the quality of the relationship and the team dynamics change too.
Ben Morton 7:43
Absolutely. Yeah. Because people want to work hard. They want to support each other. They don't want to let each other down. And yeah, and that's, that's what shifts it. I often say that the reason bravery medal are awarded in, in the military. It's not because of any sense of duty to Queen and country as we often say, in the UK, it's not that you're doing something brave or putting your life on on the line for the mission, it's you putting your life on the line for the, the guys and the gals either side of you, because you don't want to let them down. Because there's this real sense of connection between between people. So when people are connected, when people know their leaders care about them as human beings, people will do incredible things for each other.
John Ryan 8:33
So that drive that connection to the team is more motivating and inspiring and willing to sacrifice than perhaps the mission of the organization, especially when you think about the military. If that's true, it's got to be true in the corporate world as well. Is is the mission of organizations still important? Or is the mission really about connection to a higher sense? belonging?
Ben Morton 9:04
Well, that's a good question. And like I, there's lots of kind of research has been done on this. And my own personal experience, I think supports this. So, I mean, we get the highest or higher levels of engagement when people can connect to what the organization is doing. I think if you are working for a company where you have no connection or belief in ultimately why that organization exists, you're probably not going to bring your very best self self to work. So I think that's that's important. I don't know which kind of takes takes precedent. I don't think
John Ryan 9:48
That might be a hard one.
Ben Morton 9:49
Yeah. And I think get me wrong. Like there's always going to be a task or mission to achieve and that's always going to be important, but fundamentally, I think one of the buildings blocks upon which success is built is connection and trust relationship sort of that sort of stuff and I can be the stuff that can be seen as the soft stuff right or the soft skills and we'll get over that because let's just get to the task stuff or get to the to the meat of the of the problem, but I can assure you, you will agree like a lot of the in inverted commas soft stuff is often the hard stuff, right?
John Ryan 10:24
Yeah, exactly. The technical stuff is is easy to learn, right? The skills involved in that are very easy to learn, but it is the interpersonal the quote, unquote, soft skills, which which kind of gets us into that discussion around the traditional leadership. And I know that one of the inspirations you you had that, that brought you into a different message than what a lot of is out there traditionally, was a dissatisfaction in traditional leadership training. Can you tell us like what was your experience about that and how it shaped you and your mission? personally?
Ben Morton 10:59
Yes. My probably my second major job after leaving the military was working for, like the biggest retailer in the UK, which is, which is Tesco. And I was really conscious whenever I talk about this, like I'm, I'm not anti anti Tesco not kind of sort of beaten them up because I learned a huge, huge amount when I in my 18 months working in that that organization. And I think that's always on us as leaders to take the learning from from every experience. And when I saw some of the leadership training that was was going on there. a fair bit of it didn't sit that well with me. It wasn't necessarily how leadership training was was developed. Admittedly some of it wasn't wasn't that inspiring and I thought it could have been better but that wasn't the main issue. My my frustration, which is born out of my journey into into leadership was in it again, IT folks Because very much on just the task I get the job done and it was focused very much on here are a load of leadership tools, models or concepts that you can use to help you achieve your, your targets or goals. And there was very little that really spoke to what it truly meant to be a leader like the the purpose of a leader, there was very little that touched on like the people that you lead and looking after them and, and developing them. And it all just started to feel a little incongruent or inauthentic to me to the point where and I wrote about this in my book, there was a guy who was going through his leadership program that would get him promoted to director level and as part of that program, he had to deliver a project in into the business if I didn't know this guy at all, but the part of the business side worked in, and I could help him deliver this project. So he found me on the internal email system introduced himself. Hey, Ben, can I come around and see I'm working on working on this project? Yeah, no problem. And Tesco at the time had a model influencing model called take taking people with you. And there was a point where the cynics in the organization started to call it dragging people behind you. Basically, he was a four four step model. And the graphic was built around like a diamond on a baseball pitch. And he came to my desk, he found me and he saw a picture of my daughter who was six months old at the time, and he said, I see the picture there is that your daughter? And I started answering and I could see before I'd even finished answering he wasn't listening. And he could always see the cogs turning in his head. They suddenly clicked and went. I know what you're doing. Yeah, you're taking me through the taking people with you. model. I can literally Seeing Okay, I've asked Ben if that's his daughter. I've connected personally because that's like step one of the model. And he was moving on to step two. And he's like, he's asked like the step two question. before I'd answered his last question. And I suddenly realized, like, he's not being a leader, he's doing leadership. He was doing a model to me. And that was how I felt I felt drawn to I felt kind of manipulated. And like that was the big moment for me. Like, there's a different way like this, this, this isn't how I want to, I want to do things so that that was the one of the lightbulb moments for me.
John Ryan 14:35
I like that you distinguish he was doing leadership versus being a leader, and that's vastly different. So in retrospect, if that person were to not go through those 1234 steps, and you can take people with you on this journey, what would have been a better approach Do you think for to really engage you and it gets You bought in rather than dragged along, as you mentioned,
Ben Morton 15:05
well, he almost still could have used that model. If he was doing it because he truly believed in the power of connection and relationship, but the facts, he was almost like the step by step tape taking me through it, it just felt very, very inauthentic. So sort of my approach very much now when working with leaders is let's Park all the tools and models for the time being, but let's really start to, like, work on and understand us like, Who am I as a leader like what what do I really stand for? What are my values and beliefs why why do i do do what I do? I what does it really mean to be a leader what really is the job of a leader and once you've got that, that foundation, then you can start to take them off. Those that fit with your identity of a leader and use them. You can adapt a model a little bit so it fits with you and you can still be authentic and congruent. Or you can ditch your motto. So I see that that doesn't that doesn't work for me, it might work for you. But it doesn't work for me. So I'm going to stick with just been at the real true and an authentic me. So that yeah, that's my answer.
John Ryan 16:26
I think it sounds like being authentic is knowing who you are, first and foremost, and modifying things to fit in align with who you are. But also, I'm hearing, disregarding things that don't line out because it doesn't seem like it's going to work if you're doing things that aren't authentic.
Ben Morton 16:43
Yeah, absolutely. I often, often sort of half half joke at the start of a leadership program when I'm running one and say, so this is the point in most leadership programs where I'd ask you to list like some some truly great leaders from history and we're going to start to sort of unpick deconstruct their their style to see what we can learn from them. And there is some some value in that. And you probably get similar lists of people kind of the world round, but kind of when we have conversations like that in the UK, the typical names crop up is Winston Churchill, maybe Margaret Thatcher, Sir Richard Branson, people like that. And like my view is like, Great we can learn from those people, but I'm not Richard Branson. I've got different values and experiences I'm leading in a different time in a different sector. So whilst I can learn some stuff from from looking at him and Daniel from a massive reader, I love reading biographies and studying other people. But I'm not going to try and be Sir Richard Branson, because because I'm not I'm a different person, different time different values. So I'm going to learn from them but most importantly, like understand who I am, what what I believe and find the tools approaches strategies that fit with me may enable me to be true to who I am and what I believe. Because the moment we start trying to be somebody else, like people can sense it a mile off, they can sense we've been in Congress like I did when that guy, come up to my desk and start asking about my daughter.
John Ryan 18:18
Just as a side note here, I'm always curious to see the idea. And there's a huge push for authenticity. And I think you're making an incredible case for it. Because, one, it makes it so easy, so much easier. If I have to think well, what would Richard Branson do in this situation? Now, I'm not being myself. It's just easier to be myself. Is there a difference? Have people ever abused that in your experience where they they say, Well, I'm just being authentic, but they're really kind of being like a jerk or they're not being respectful. You know what I mean? Like, I'm just being true to myself. Like, is that just an extreme case that I'm thinking of, or is that not something that really comes up
Ben Morton 19:00
Yeah, it does it does come up sometimes. Yeah, it does and what also comes up? I think sometimes when we're using any sort of tool or profile that starts to define people put them into a category or a box that can also start to become become an excuse, whether it's a Myers Briggs, or an insight or sort of meta programs from the world of NLP with Virgo. Yeah, but I I'm a blue so I'm very analytical so so that's just me like that's, that's very, very dangerous. And we just need to be careful that like, we don't ever allow that to be an excuse. And the other excuses often hear is Yeah, burn but I'm, like, I'm, I'm 48 years old now. Like, I can't really change now. Like, absolutely like we we know That's rubbish. Like you neuroscience we know like neuro plasticity, the blank brab brains are infinitely malleable. So there's very little of our personality and psyche that is, is true, truly hardwired. So I'm sometimes reluctant to say this, but I think the those individuals who are really invested in and care about being the best leader they can possibly be, will probably never use that excuse. Those that don't quite get it would probably use use that excuse.
John Ryan 20:36
Well said, well said that that makes that makes a lot of sense. You know, Ben, in our short time we've been talking I you know, I can tell that one of your tools that you use to help shape your clients and that people attend your seminars and workshops, is stories. And because stories are well, that's what all great communicators do, right? And you You suddenly have a great way of telling stories. But you also have identified some some parables that you use in your training including parables around the victims, villains and heroes. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?
Ben Morton 21:13
Yeah, so I can't claim ownership for that idea. Really, when I was writing my last book, it was kind of something the, my publishers kind of explored and taught, taught me right, which is kind of really in many great stories, be a fairy tales, movies, not novels, or whatever, you typically get kind of different different character types. And there's normally a victim, a villain and a hero. And it came about when I was part of that book was reflecting on my own leadership journey in the military and in the corporate world. And it just sort of clicked and resonated between me in the publishers and I think these free characters exist. In, in every workplace, so, at any any one time we can be taken on Eva Eva persona, right? So at times we can all fall into the, into the trap of being the victim sort of, Oh, poor me, I can't do anything about this. I can't lead in this way because that's not how my boss leads and manages or I can't do anything about that because this is the culture of this organization. And kind of being in victim mode just isn't a useful place for a for a leader to operate like we is hard to be motivated, inspired, inspiring for ourselves when we're in that stay, let alone those those that we lead. So that's the the victim really the villain, the villain, so again, like we've all seen Bad, bad leadership, right? It's quite it kind of quite sad that I sort of spent time with more classes. So you can very easily describe the worst leaders they've ever experienced, but can sometimes struggle to describe a really great leader that I've been able to work with or be led by. And we can all fall into the trap of villainous leaders from from time to time, whether it's the maybe the sort of narcissistic leader who's just got this over heightened sense of self importance. Perhaps there's the sort of slightly megalomaniacal kind of leader who's got this obsessive need for power and empire building, regardless of the cost and impact. Perhaps they're sort of the the know it all control freak leader who micromanage is wants to be in the detail of everything and suffocates out our team. And we can say we can all slip into those characters from from from time to time, and if we're honest, we probably all have done done bits of that. And then there's the hero space, which is kind of where we can and maybe all should strive strive to operate. But that's not the hero in terms of sort of, hey, look at me on I brilliant kind of, I'm out from rah rah, follow me kind of on a pedestal, but it's just the person that sets the example for others to follow and provide hope and direction and an energy. So that's, that's where it comes from really.
John Ryan 24:34
You know, as you're going through that discussion, a couple questions come to mind one to people, because I can imagine people identify as the hero like in our minds, we just have this confirmation bias. But even if someone is that villain, I also was thinking for a moment as you're describing that micromanager that they could actually hide behind a shield of a victim. I have to do this because and then On the blank about the other villains that are out there.
Ben Morton 25:03
Absolutely, absolutely. And you've touched on there this sort of the the note all type of leader. And that is the most common type of leadership villain that I see in the corporate corporate world, which comes from an often misguided belief that as the leader, I have to have all of the answers all of the solutions and I can't ask others for help or ideas. And that's kind of one of the kind of things I have all this stuff I share with leaders I one limiting belief that I really want to tell them get rid of is there's a leader you have to have all the answers you you don't kind of we don't and we can't we hold on to this belief that kind of when people come to me, I've just got to be able to tell them what to do. But when when reality is someone One might have a, an idea that's different to yours. And it might be a much better idea or a better way of approaching, approaching or solving the problem, then the new work the new word, and just because it's different doesn't doesn't mean it's wrong, like different is often better. And if we take our ego out of the equation, and kind of things just going from from good to great.
John Ryan 26:24
That's how I was wondering, like, how do you do that? If you're the leader, I can see there'd be that preconception that I have to have all the answers. Get, there's a whole your whole team together is gonna have more brainpower than you do individually anyways. So taking the ego out of the equation, is there a power in knowing who you are and having a vulnerability about who you're not as well as that also kind of create the space for creativity and problem solving?
Ben Morton 26:51
Absolutely. I think No, no way. You're strong, no way you're not strong or where you're where your weaknesses are, and build a team around you to play those gaps and and to compliment you is really key. I also think just completely flipping the mindset so asking our team for help and ideas are saying to our team Look guys, here's the challenge if I'm honest, I don't know the best way to solve this right now let's let's get together and work this out. tell tell me what you think. That doesn't show that doesn't show weakness like if anything that is a shows a massive sign of character, strength and uncomfortable as you said, I'm uncomfortable in myself. I'm happy to show some sense of vulnerability. It shows the team that I'm I see you I value, your input, your knowledge, your wisdom, I'm going to come to you for help because I don't have all the answers and I'm comfortable with that like that is a massive sign of strength of character for me.
John Ryan 27:56
Can you tell us a little bit more about your your formula base Six dunwell plus ruthless consistency equals high performance
Ben Morton 28:05
Yes Is that another store story with that? So where it came from a long time ago if you friends and colleagues of mine served in the in the Special Forces in a British army and part of me probably anyone in the military part of me always wonders like could I have done that should I have done that etc but I've always been like I was a boy and passionate about leadership. I kind of love my time in the military I used to I was like fanatical about learning and trying to try to be the best I could be. It's just part of my psyche and DNA. Anyway, I just was chatting to one of these friends friends I said, so like, what is it that makes what is it that makes Special Forces soldier different to regular soldier? What is the differentiating factor differentiating factor or the secret sauce? And I don't remember if this was their exact words, but essentially they said I said not a lot ready but he said we don't do anything different to anyone else we don't know anything that anybody else doesn't. He said we just do the basics brilliantly well and there's like all these like sparks started going off above my head and and the light bulb moment when I thought that's it like they just do the basics but like exceptionally exceptionally well they just train and train and just do the drills until they can do the basics like flawlessly and I just started to spot it in like loads of different areas when you look at great sports teams or great great businesses like it's simplicity just doing whatever the basics are for your job, your sector, your sport or whatever. Just Just practice them like okay, the listeners in the in the state like I love some of the stories around like the late Kobe Bryant where he just practice doing like have many hundreds layups before. Like their team even turned up to practice just practicing, drilled himself in the basics. So that that's where it came from. And And the interesting thing is I see is people step into bigger leadership teams I don't know if it's like, I get some sort of overinflated sense of self importance, or we think some of the basic things are suddenly below us or trivial but even really simple stuff like meeting agendas and like meeting etiquette and like follow up notes and stuff like that he gets gets forgotten so active, the teams of businesses, we can get back to just execute in those things brilliantly. Well, then again, that the game changes, like everyone complains about like, poor meetings, right, but one of the biggest grumbles that anybody who works for reasonable sized company has but it didn't recruit like there's no rocket science to running great meetings. Just like having an agenda, stick to timings clarify commitments and out, output some of the meeting move on. Right?
John Ryan 31:08
That's it. It's like a four sentence book and you got it handled. Yeah. It's fantastic. But I love that that phrase there basics, well done, just nailed on the basics. And it seems like in the times of great change, like we're having this conversation in the middle of a global pandemic right now that the basics become that much more important. Are there any other things from a leadership perspective that you think are important for leaders to consider during this time of uncertainty?
Ben Morton 31:43
And the first one that springs to mind really is communication like communicate, communicate, communicate, and make sure your communication is really, really clear. I don't think there's ever been any sort of employee sort of engagement or feedback survey, when the responses come back saying senior leadership communicates too much, right? Yeah, it just it just never happened. So, clarity of communication, timely communication, I think is really, really key. I think that's the main one in times of uncertainty. And also for leaders to be able to step back in in the moment and sort of pause. In the military, we always spoke about creating time and time and space. So some bi might be physically stepping back, giving yourself time to think it might be metaphorically stepping back, giving yourself time time to think and get in the business world again, we can fall into the trap of thinking, we always need to respond, respond straightaway. And again, like the military analogy, like even if we was in a firefight or contact with the enemy would find a way to get safe, pause, think plan and execute. And I just think if if leaders in the military are able to create time and space when bullets are hitting the deck around them, we can do this same we should be able to do the same in the business because again, it's it's rare that we are having to make snap decisions where people's lives are on the line. So Craig creating time and space is really key.
John Ryan 33:30
Incredible benchmark. You're right. If that can be done under the highest pressure circumstances then absolutely. There's an opportunity for business managers to take a step back in time and space and and come up with a plan and then execute with regards to it because it seems like there's timing, like sometimes it is important to be responsive and fast action. But that usually comes from having the basics down. If you know the structure and it's a known quantity, then you can respond, maybe like you've done before. But if it's a new situation, if things are changing, then it seems like that might be more important to take that time and space back and regroup and have that discussion.
Ben Morton 34:10
John Ryan 34:12
Okay. What about, you know, imagine a lot of people that you work with, in uncertainty like reorganization, new team is being inherited, that you didn't necessarily hire that team and, and that team may not be functioning as well as they could be maybe even a quote unquote, default semi dysfunctional team. Any thoughts, suggestions for someone who's kind of finding themselves in a new role, where they have responsibility, but they didn't necessarily design that situation, but now they have obviously the responsibility to get back on track. Where does one start in that regard?
Ben Morton 34:47
Wow. Yeah. So that's a tough question Where Where do you start? And I think it comes back to again, you start with with the human human in front of You start with the relationship and getting to know people and understanding what's what's going on, right. And you've probably kind of seen it kind of a lot. Lots of people draw it. So when you look at sort of team performance, you often see it drawn as a, like a classic kind of iceberg. So one third is above the waterline, and that's the, the behaviors, you can see the results, you can see maybe what's not being said the body language, and then you've got the two, just as you've got two thirds of a iceberg underneath the water. In teams hidden from view, there'll be a whole load of stuff around history, politics, motivations, out of works, going to maybe pay and reward structures, all of that there's going to be affecting the dynamic of a team. And it can be easy for a leader to say that that stuff, none of none of my business kind of everyone's grown ups need to kind of come to work and compartmentalize that But like, in my experience that that doesn't work because we're humans and we can't compartmentalize stuff like that and work stuff, personal stuff, relationship stuff, it all ends up in the in the mix together. So when the place to start is really understanding what's what's going on, try and step into the other people's shoes and really understand and work out what's going on what's the frustrations, what are some of the some of the root root causes, and then find people to help you like there's, they'll always be people to help you kind of build and develop your team, whether it's your in house kind of HR or learning team or kind of consultants, coaches or whatever.
John Ryan 36:47
So in a way, it's going back to the basics in your original model of task team, individual from the military, rather than just tasks, tasks tasks, because we're not silos we're not isolated. It what affects one affects the other. And it starts with a conversation. It starts with a human to human understanding. And if you don't have that, nothing else is really going to matter from from hearing correctly.
Ben Morton 37:11
Yeah, absolutely. And the other bit that I thought of at the start, when you first asked me the question and then forgot to mention was like, if the situation is where there's maybe a particular person or two people in the team that for whatever reason you think, are performing or aren't displaying the right behaviors or aren't as engaged as you would want them to be? Again, it does come back to getting to know the person and working out why because I genuinely believe that there are very, very few people in the world who like come to work, wanting to be disruptive or wanting to be an idiot, right? Like, nobody sets out and has that intention. When they wake up in the morning, go. I'm going to go to work today and be difficult, like there's something that's that's going on that's causing them To be behave that way, and we need to, to work out and understand why, like the best example of this that I heard, as working with a big rail company in the UK is working with the leadership team. And they've managed to an amazing majored in culture from one that wasn't really very, very good. And they said, one of the main things we did is that as a leadership team, we all went out onto the front line, we met with groups of frontline workers, and we asked them one simple question, what are we doing that's making your life difficult? It kind of blew me away slightly. Again, the the competence the vulnerability to go and ask ask that question. But that level of understanding they kind of sit in removed from the front line, like, we can do a lot of stuff unintentionally, that that makes people's lives difficult and can continue to motivate them, which also sort of form this this belief that I have provided. We've kind of recruited and built our team. Well, our job should never really be to try and motivate our people. If we've recruited motivated, capable people, our job is just to make sure we're not doing anything to demotivate people, right? Which so often we can accidentally unintentionally do.
John Ryan 39:20
It's so simple You're right. So our job is really to try to get out of the way and a lot of people shot which is I think it's one of the things you talk about is to be the light that helps people you know, find their brighter future because that's people want I love what you just said a second ago no one wakes up and says, I can't wait to go to work to be a jerk. I can't wait to be you know, causing mayhem and stress in the office. Everyone they want to be a hero. Well, first of all, I can tell that you love what you do. What What is perhaps the the favorite part of what you do either work with individuals or or even even as teams. What is your favorite part?
Ben Morton 40:01
I don't know if I have a favorite part I like, I like to blend but my passion is working with senior leaders and what I like seeing the journey that they go on, I sometimes slightly flippantly say like, it's great, I get to work with you guys. But in the nicest possible way, I don't care about you that much. I'm working with you so that you can make the lives of everyone who works for you, for you, for you better it's that that ripple effect that that I like, because I've had some bad bosses in the past. My wife has had some really bad bosses in the past. And I've just experienced the negative impact that that can that can have on on people and so my I guess my, my purpose, my vision, My mission is to help play my small part in creating this world where people can go to work kind of inspired and motivated to do their very best but go home at the end of the day, knowing that They are valued and cared for and respected as a as a human being right.
Ben Morton 41:07
That's what gets me out of bed in the morning.
John Ryan 41:09
I think doing that, then I can I can see the ripples, having ripples, having ripples. Awesome. Thank you so much for for being here sharing your insight and your passion and your wisdom with us today. Ben, what's the best way for people to get in touch with us stay connected and to find out more about you and your message.
Ben Morton 41:29
And probably the best places to visit the website, which is Ben hyphen, morton.com. Or you can find me on kind of pretty much all of the socials under Ben Morton leadership or BM leadership.
John Ryan 41:42
Fantastic. Thanks so much for being here, Ben. I really appreciate it.
Ben Morton 41:45
Hey, yeah. Thanks for having me on. It's been great. It's been great fun chatting with you.
John Ryan 41:48
To connect with Ben, again, go to visit www.Ben-Morton.com and find them on social media links will be in the show notes. That's it for now. Thanks so much for listening. Until next time, develop yourself and power Are others and lead by example. You've been listening to key conversations for leaders with your host, john Ryan, for a bunch of free content around leadership change and personal growth and development. Check out www.keyconvo.com and if you enjoyed, be sure to subscribe and share.