I have a client in Silicon Valley who I’m very proud of today. She is smart, well educated, successful and came to me to grow her self-worth to show up differently at work and in life. She was struggling in relationships with people who were close to her. I felt the pain of her suffering. I felt her despair at how some people treated her. It made me sad.
We worked on healthy boundaries. We worked on self-awareness. We worked on defining her values and her vision of a life in alignment with them. We worked on mindful daily practices that help her self-regulate fear. We worked on being with discomfort long enough to see that it wouldn’t overtake her because it’s only her imagination. We worked on self-acceptance with all her imperfections. We worked more on boundaries.
We did not work on her being better than anything or anyone. We didn’t work on what she didn’t deserve. We didn’t work on why change would be better.
We worked on...
People fear three main things in life: pain, death and abandonment. The worst behavior I see is usually around abandonment. Knowledge is power. This intel means that if we can show people how we value them and that they belong they will feel lighter and more worthy. And they’ll behave like people who feel valued.
Think how this applies to talking with employees, family members, customers, friends and just about everyone. Compassion is king in effectiveness - authentic compassion not put-on solicitousness.
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Some days I sit in my office and think how easy my job is until I see someone else make a decision or take action that I know is ill advised and will have negative results. Then I remember the countless 12-hour days and weekends I put in to have the breadth of perspective I’ve learned. I remember the negative results I experienced when I didn’t know better. And I think about the really stressful days in my work that try my patience and bring me sleepless nights.
Your time is valuable. This is why I don’t hire lawyers, accountants or consultants who are not mavens at what they do because they make you pay for their learning curve.
Be an expert. Work for a company that values your expertise.
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P.S. Feel free to forward...
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...