We were taught for a long time that showing emotion was weak. “Just suck it up, Marine” was the mantra. Today we finally realize that denying emotion denies the feeling behind the emotion. And when we do that it eventually bubbles up later in an outburst, passive aggressive behavior, withdrawal, lack of compassion, poor communications, emotional immaturity and even post- traumatic stress.
Though we don’t want to be an emotional leader, exhibiting extreme emotions that are inappropriate at work, cause negative attention to ourselves and halt progress. That strips your executive presence. But we are human, and humanity is honest. Being honest with your team, about what you struggle with builds trust. "Honestly, I struggle with this and value your insight."
Sometimes emotion takes over our good judgment. Then we need to decipher the internal roadblock before it derails us. It takes far more courage to admit the feeling than to...
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...
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...
Short and sweet today because enough said in a few words.
I first saw this image twenty five years ago when my four children and I were homeless, on public assistance and without an automobile. I never forgot it. If I were on this poster today it would say, “Mary Lee Gannon, corporate CEO of a $24 million organization and executive coach, was told by her ex-husband, “You’ll never make it on your own.”
If you want more executive presence tips here’s a link to my FREE report: 31 Success Practices for Leaders in the High Stakes Corporate World
P.S. Feel free to forward this email to someone who could benefit from it. We are all walking down the same road in life looking for a hand to hold. Sometimes we must be the hand that reaches out.
Mary Lee Gannon, ACC, CAE is an executive coach and 19-year corporate CEO who helps leaders have more effective careers, happier lives and...
Years ago I read a book called the Seven Deadly Sins and agreed that the first among them was the most deadly - Pride. The greater our ego, the greater our pride, the lesser our humility and the greater propensity we have for failure. The people you have the most difficulty with have far greater difficulty with their own egos, need to be heard, desire to be recognized and rush for validation. Don't let that person be you.
The Seven Deadly Sins of Management
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...
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...
After a difficult transition such as a job loss, broken relationship, forced relocation, lost promotion, loss of a loved one where you’ve been left feeling less than yourself, depleted and ineffective well-meaning people who care about you often tell you to just ‘move on.’ As if you don’t already want to move on you take this advice in stride and wish you could do exactly what they suggest. When you can’t, you feel even more flawed. At worst, you act out your frustration, stripping your executive presence.
Most people know when they need to move on. Nobody wants to wallow in prolonged anger, sadness, fear, frustration or despair such that these feelings get in the way of joy and rob you of living in the moment. But HOW do you do that? Instinctively you want to turn away from suffering. Unfortunately, that only makes it worse. We must get curious about it. We need to familiarize ourselves with its motivation and dissect it so that we can understand...
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...
Our natural state is to be connected to others - not separate and detached. This is not to negate the fact that we all need alone time to recharge our energy. When we repeatedly withdraw and are alone we aren’t fulfilled. It takes courage and humility to put down our guard. It takes self-acceptance, vulnerability and abandonment of perfectionism to create an open mindset of kindness.
Leaders who are real are relatable. Leaders with executive presence aren’t artificial. Their presence isn’t a facade. They have feelings just like everyone else. They just know how not to allow emotion to cloud their judgment and affect their behavior. They notice the emotion - doubt, anger, fear, sadness - realize it is likely an assumption and let it go before it takes over. Negative assumptions sabotage our connection with others and ourselves.
As humans we have the ability to mindfully observe our thoughts, situations and emotions from a third party perspective so that we may...
You will be sent an email with a link each time Mary Lee Gannon updates the Executive Coach's Blog. It's great to have you with us!