Two Flawed Assumptions that Hold You Back

At work we often measure our self-esteem by what our boss or colleagues think of us. This is based on two flawed assumptions. 

1.) You think you know what they think but you don’t. How they perceive you is through their own lens not yours. That lens may hold bias. You will never know how they truly feel. Even if you ask them they will filter their response through their interpretation of their feelings. Your job is not to change their mind. Your job is to be effective.

 2.) You think your value is measured by their behavior toward you. Of course we all want to be liked and appreciated. Good leaders know how to reinforce their teams with positive feedback and coaching moments. But your value is measured by your effectiveness not your efforts so focus on whether or not you are effective and allow that to be your gauge. 

The operative phrase here is “be effective.” If you focus on that your self worth will grow. You’ll build trust and favor by...

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This Matters for You Executive Presence

I really like the line, “Are you operating as an emotion scientist or a judge.” Emotion scientists observe their and other people’s emotions from a third party perspective and get curious about what’s behind them. Judges judge to get away from the discomfort of feeling uncomfortable. 

Scientists process and name the emotion to release it. Judges turn and run from it with it nipping at their heels forever. Scientists have executive presence. Judges get stereotyped as difficult, emotional and ineffective. 

There’s always a choice. One is harder and requires looking inward with humility and curiosity. One is easier and demands externalization with blame that results in underlying shame. 

Practice being the scientist. It makes life and leadership far easier in the long run.

If you want to create your career by design here is a link to my FREE Career and Life Planning Tool. If you don't know where you'll be at the end of the year you are...

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Three Steps When You're Afraid

This week I had to give a presentation at work not unlike others I’ve given throughout my career, yet I was nervous. Every time I thought about it my heart started to race and I got tense in my neck and shoulders. Public speaking is one of the leading causes for workplace fear. But I speak often so my nervousness didn’t make sense. As an executive coach I know not to turn away from fear but to bring it closer like you would a hurting child. That self-nurturing was hard in this instance. But I kept getting curious about what I was really afraid of. 

When I could stand open and vulnerable without judging myself, I realized I had a lot of personal distractions this week that made me feel anxious and irritable. Just the day before I had argued with an online bank customer service representative who refused to cancel a credit card they had sent to my home for my deceased father. I kept trying to convince him that this was the bank’s problem and should not be my...

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When You Personalize Your Employees' Behavior

When I was a new manager I used to personalize why members of my team weren’t engaged. I made it about me. I was the reason they were under-performing.  

I did everything in my power to re-engage them and when it didn’t work I then started to resent them for being disengaged. What I didn’t do was hold them firmly accountable to clear goals for fear of push-back and confrontation. I didn’t do my job as a manager and they became entitled.  

When I set clear goals and began meeting with them regularly on their performance on those goals we began a dialogue around the challenges they were having and could role play alternative scenarios. The feedback depersonalized for me when I made it about their performance on the goals and not their attitude versus my expectations. Very objective. Them against the goal, policy, company value - not me. 

Wishing you the power of regular feedback on clearly defined goals today.

Listen to a recent...

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What to do with Entitled Employees

I’ve never understood why overbearing people think they have power. It’s obvious they don’t. Nobody trusts them or authentically has their back. They are always exhausted trying to make themselves look good at other’s expense. Their insecurities reek in their behavior. And their leadership has no sustainable affect because the people they play to are the first ones off the ship when it starts to go down.  

If you can’t achieve your goals without manipulating, controlling, condescending to, backstabbing, and intimidating other people along the way you’re weak and you will ultimately fail. Period. I’ve seen it in corporate America time and time again. It may not be right away. But it will happen. And your legacy will precede you everywhere you go after that. 

The real problem with mean people is that they are intrinsically unhappy, insecure and have minimal self-awareness. The root feeling behind their behavior is anger coupled...

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The Grass Is Greenest Here

It’s wise to observe ourselves just as we observe others. This is how we build self-awareness and executive presence. But when we insert judgment into the equation the sum ends up in the red. Judgment negates everything we work for. Many of my clients start out riddled with self-doubt and an inner critic that is difficult to harness. If that is you, observe the feeling and tell yourself, “Oh, that’s just me doubting myself,” as opposed to judging yourself for feeling that way. We can let go of that which we own. That which we turn away from chases us down forever. 

Observe for the purpose of gathering information.  

Observe as if you are watching yourself or another on TV. 

Observe for the sheer purpose of allowing the truth of the situation to be evident without any editorial judgment. 

Someone or something may be upsetting you. Don’t attach an assumption to it or a story that is biased. 

Water the grass where you are...

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5 Executive Presence Calming Strategies for the Moment You're Confronted

Your day is going well. You’ve done your research and are a maven on your project. You’re in a meeting and out of nowhere someone blindsides you with cynical inuendo, overt criticism, passive aggressive posturing or their personal agenda. Your body gets stiff. Your face feels flushed. Your heart is racing. A voice inside your head is screaming, ‘Danger!’ And then in your own defense you do or say something you later regret.

We’ve all been there.

Some people can weather these situations without losing their presence. Others cannot. The difference is that some people have trained themselves to be able to notice what is happening to them, both emotionally and physiologically, lean into it with curiosity as opposed to away in fear, and allow the immediate physiological and emotional response to subside so they can respond appropriately.

Initially, you may think you don’t have time for this transition to take place before you need to react. Like most...

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12 Leadership Influence Books That Changed My Career

I read two books a week. I love reading because I can choose books on precisely what interests me. I was never a fan of school because there were so many subjects I was not interested in - like Algebra III. Anyway, when I was a young, struggling single mother of four children I became a veracious reader. I could not afford books at the time so I would sit on the floor of book stores and read about how I could get a job that would provide for my family. The library did not have cutting edge management and leadership books so I would go to the book store while my children were in school. 

When I became a manager I realized everyone wasn’t like me so I went back to the bookstore on the weekends to learn how to be a better leader. Fast forward to today where I am a two decade CEO and my husband and I still go the bookstore each Saturday and Sunday on my quest for knowledge. I always come home with at least one book. A Nook doesn’t work for me. I like to turn down the...

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How Do We Not Get Disappointed

Goals are essential to success. No doubt. Knowing that, how do we not affix our fulfillment to an outcome? 

There’s a difference between working TOWARD something and working FOR something. Setting a goal, working hard, listening, learning and adjusting along the way is a natural course for survival. It’s how we’ve evolved and not become extinct as a species. But when we personalize an outcome - positive or negative - instead of seeing it as a natural course of events we make the outcome about us instead of the greater good of the whole. Our ego gets in the way and its hunger for affirmation supersedes reality. Then we begin to think we can control the natural flow of events when ego never contributes to flow. It acts like a logger-jam.  

If you don’t get the promotion, job, relationship, home, vacation, car, pen, handbag, health, time, freedom you want what do you have that matters? Choices. Nothing is permanent including your mindset. When...

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Four Things You Can't Get Back

We all have regrets. It’s healthy to reflect on what we’d do differently. I certainly regret some things I’ve said and done as I was figuring out the art and science of parenting. I’m still figuring it out and my children are in their twenties and thirties. I regret how self doubt showed up in my behavior at work early in my career. I overreacted, withdrew and often blamed myself far more than was helpful.  

Corporations today value, promote and hire for self-awareness because it makes the employee coachable. The more self aware we become the more we can release assumptions that hold us back before we adopt them as mantras. “He’s never going to respect my work.” “I’m always the one left out.” “Every time I try harder the same thing ends up happening.” 

Notice the thread. “Never...” “Always...” “Every...” Absolutes are deadly to progress. If you hear yourself...

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