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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
Corporations spend a lot of energy on employee engagement as if there is some magic formula of training, open door policies, and standardized performance evaluations such that if the leader does all of them in perfect harmony, they’ll have a symphony of engagement.
It’s not the leader’s job to engage workers. It’s the workers’ job to come to work ready to do their best. The problem is employees may not know how to be their best or what ‘best’ looks like. It’s the leader’s job to issue the call to excellence and help employees be great.
Free lunch, a pool table in the break room and flex hours are not the answer to poor engagement. Setting clear goals is a start but can backfire and lead to entitlement without accountability.
Often bureaucracy, cynicism, personal agendas and politics start to poison company cultures, especially when employees start attaching interpretive stories to factual...
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:
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...
Corporations spend a lot of energy on employee engagement as if there is some magic formula of training, open door policies, and standardized performance evaluations that if the leader does all of them in perfect harmony they’ll have a symphony of engagement.
It’s not the leader’s job to engage workers. It’s the workers’ job to come to work ready to do their best. The problem is employees may not know how to be their best or what ‘best’ looks like. It’s the leader’s job to issue the call to greatness and help employees be great.
To do this a leader has to help employees bypass their ego and the emotional churn of needing to be right and start focusing on facts not assumptions.
Free lunch, a pool table in the break room and flex hours are not the answer to poor engagement. Setting clear goals is a start but can backfire and lead to entitlement without accountability. “What would great look...
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