If I Were on This Poster

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 

Your coach,

Mary Lee 

www.MaryLeeGannon.com 

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...

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The Seven Deadly Sins of Management

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 

  1. Pride that you are more capable than your employees. How gratifying is it to be dubbed ‘King Know-It-All’ when everybody hates your guts? When you make all the decisions and give continual directives it cuts off their ingenuity, independence and desire to take risk.  
  1. Sloth in your dedication to develop your team. You develop projects but how often do you develop talent? When is the last time you asked an employee, ‘Where do you see yourself a year from now? What project would...
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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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9 Questions to Ask Yourself When You Can’t Move On

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...

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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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Being Alone

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...

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Gaslighting and Your Executive Presence

You know the feeling. You’re in what you think is an honest discussion with someone and suddenly they blindside you with a comment that totally undermines your perspective. At first you are stunned like a deer in the headlights. You think, ‘How could she say that? It isn’t at all true.’ Then you get angry at the betrayal and at this point you have lost your executive presence. You shut down or start defending yourself, never getting anywhere on the real issue.

You know you are being gaslighted when you hear comments such as:

  • I didn’t do that.
  • You’re overreacting.
  • You’re imagining that.
  • You’re too sensitive.
  • I never said that.
  • Why are you __________? (Something that isn’t true.)
  • Stop being a victim.
  • You’ve got the problem not me.
  • You need to let it go.

Gaslighting happens at work and in life. It’s a Machiavellian tactic whereby someone minimizes you by denying that your perception of a situation is true. It’s...

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A Story About My Daughter

Yesterday I got a call from my second oldest daughter who had just had an intimidating experience. As I was helping her stay in the moment and not relive the fear or project a repeat occurrence I remembered the wisdom in the book The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.

The book offers a code of conduct based on ancient Toltec wisdom that advocates freedom from self-limiting beliefs that may cause suffering and limitation in a person's life.

The Four Agreements are:

Always do your best.
Be impeccable with your word.
Don’t take anything personally.
Don’t make assumptions.

The first two are character based. Good people have less trouble with them. The last two are self-esteem based. Everyone has trouble with them.

Fear can be debilitating. It’s worse when we make assumptions about it. At work it usually shows up around what people say, do, what you assume is behind their behavior and what you assume they mean. You think it’s about you personally but usually...

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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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