How Honesty Saves Time and Builds Executive Presence

Jason’s boss is the new CEO of a company that has not met budget for two years. The organization is merging with two other organizations, making the culture guarded and tentative. Jason is afraid his position isn’t secure because the CEO continually questions his opinions and doesn’t affirm that he brings any value to the team. Additionally, the executive management team is posturing at their weekly meetings whereby one dominant personality is allowed to single him out with criticism outside of her authority. Jason is feeling judged by his boss and threatened by his peers. 

How we conduct ourselves in a tense situation is paramount to how we are viewed as a leader. Maintaining executive presence is extremely challenging when you feel as if you are negatively critiqued. Self-management is key. Being honest with yourself and others is the first tenet to presence. We must be vulnerable enough to accept our discomfort internally before we externalize it with...

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I Am Struggling

I am struggling with what we’ve been seeing in the world - the blatant lack of respect for fellow human beings. I’ve read everything I can on it, talked with close friends, ordered books that I think will help make sense of it all. It wasn’t until I stopped “seeking” answers and turned inward that I found what I was looking for. 

I got out my watercolors, sat down on my front porch and painted a favorite scene of Hilton Head Island from a photo I had taken   recently. In the solace of this mindful activity clarity began to emerge.

The world is full of scarred souls - souls who don’t know how to love because they’ve never been loved or feel they don’t deserve love. Love is the very basic of all emotions. Everything emanates from there. So if we can’t love, we can’t connect, be open, grow, be happy, feel liked, love others etc. When we are void of fulfilling emotions and don't turn inward to work on what needs...

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Nine Lessons from the Corner Office

Ten years ago I began my role as President of a $25 million Hospital Foundation within an 85,000 employee organization. I went to a very nice employee appreciation lunch and was able to select a special gift of recognition from an array of items. 

Mostly, I am grateful for the opportunity I have to lead and serve alongside consummate professionals I respect and under board members who trust me and have challenged me to be the best leader I can be. 

I’ve earned a number of awards from various community and professional organizations for my leadership throughout my tenure here. But nothing has meant more to me than knowing that when I get up and come to work every day, I get the privilege to make the world a little better. That might mean providing a walker for an elderly gentleman or a hearing aid for a new mother. It might be paying rent for a patient with cancer, so she doesn’t get evicted due to lost wages while in treatment. It could be as big as a $4.5...

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Don't Do This in Your Leadership During COVID19

These times are a test of resilience. Adjusting to working remotely is challenging for leaders and teams. Adjusting to working on site during a pandemic is the same. It’s a lesson for all of us on how to adapt to and manage what is inevitable - change. Resistance comes when people are afraid. At its most severe it’s like trying to stand still in an earthquake. “Why is this happening to me?” People feel victimized and want to escape.  

Leaders need to be sensitive to their own fears and those of their constituents. Everyone needs to accept that uncertainty is part of life. The sooner we accept that the more resilient we become.

As leaders we need to be change neutral - not change agents. Don't coddle, over-sympathize, or try to protect your team or you send the message that change is painful and unmanageable. Instead of asking, “How can I make this change easier for you?” as if you are personally choosing to push something down on them...

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The Top Skill for Executive Advancement

In my executive coaching practice I help people build the most important skill to uplevel their career and happiness. Most people think that work ethic and resilience are the top indicators of success. Grit is indeed a valued skill. But at a certain level everyone has it. The most sought-after skill for executive advancement is self-awareness. It is most desired because it carries the ability to grow while managing emotions that get in the way of risk taking, feedback and success. There are two types of self-awareness: 1) being aware of your own thoughts, feelings and behaviors, and 2) being aware of how you are viewed by others. 

Leaders are generally are aware of their thoughts but often underutilize their power to disengage from false assumptions that they’ve adopted as facts and end up being emotionally paralyzed from the negative feelings and low self-esteem that result. Competent and even confident leaders then wonder why they aren’t advancing, aren’t...

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How to Deal with Anger from Your Divorce

I spent a lot of years angry. Very angry. I was in a neglectful and abusive marriage as a stay-at-home mother of four children under seven-years-old. On the outside it looked like we were living the country club life while in reality my life was unpalatable. Every day I felt as if a noose around my neck was choking my ability to breathe. Finally, I filed for divorce as a leap of faith and was completely unprepared for the avalanche to come. 

Within six months of filing for divorce my husband placed his businesses into bankruptcy on loans I had cosigned. He canceled his children’s and my health insurance but not his own. Our home which was nearly paid off and in the most affluent suburb of town went up for Sheriff’s Sale whereby 100% of the proceeds went to offset his business debt. The bank repossessed my minivan, not his car. And I had to chase him through the courts for a child support and alimony award at its highest of $269 a week – which he appealed. The...

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Every Leader Should Be Required to Read this Book

Every leader should be required to read this book I read on a recent trip to Greece. Spiritual and political power are not mutually exclusive. Imagine if business schools taught that the more compassionate you are the more effective leader you are. 

Or the power of The Five Spiritual Powers: 1) FAITH (better translated as confidence and trust); 2) DILIGENCE to practice not watering the seeds of anger, fear, hate, despair but to replace and water seeds of joy, peace and happiness; 3) MINDFULNESS to recognize things as they are without projecting bias so emotion can pass; 4) CONCENTRATION on the reality that nothing is permanent so value this moment, unhappiness is born from discrimination between self and others, and that everyone is interconnected; 5) INSIGHT where we realize that all of our suffering can be avoided by living the previous four powers. 

As you cultivate these FIVE POWERS you naturally acquire the power of leadership because people flock to you for advice...

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When You Want to Quit

Patience. Yesterday I helped a client understand that her efforts will be far better placed in seeking a new role as opposed to struggling in a culture out of alignment with her values. There was freedom in that decision for her.  

Now instead of questioning her worth she is positioning her value proposition on a platform that showcases her specific and unique talent so that she may be effective in a rewarding setting. In doing so she had to let go of thinking she failed if she moved on. She had to walk away from feeling ineffective and unwanted. Now she sees light where there had only been despair. That’s power.  

Hope is not a strategy. It is a springboard to new beginnings that start with necessary endings.  

Wishing you the patience to allow yourself to see an opportunity in letting something go to make room for alignment with your values. In that space you can plan and execute at your best instead if doubting and worrying at your worst. ...

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Mean Leaders and Executive Presence

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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What is Your Word for the Year? This is mine.

My clients select one word each year that they focus on. They dedicate themselves to action and curiosity around their selected word, especially when they doubt their ability or their inner critic inserts ego into their behavior. I encourage them to create something with the word that inspires them and post it where they will see it each day. 

My word for the year is “Allow.” For me this signifies a letting go of what is not mine to change. Last weekend I wrote this word in the sand with an oyster shell on my favorite beach. Then I placed the image of it in a frame on my desk and nightstand. I do this every year.

What is your word for the year? If you don't know where you want to be at the end of the year you are already there.  

If you are struggling with uncertainty and feel exhausted and ineffective watch my FREE Training on Three Ways to Move to the Next Level In Your Career Right Now to 1) identify the right role for you, 2) position your...

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