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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What Now for Shelter in Place? And a FREE Report on Leading Through COVID19

Shelter in place has meant different things for different people. Some people appreciate the flexibility of working remotely. Some find it isolating. Some find working all day together at home while also not being able to go out has stressed their relationships. And some people just wish they had a job or could have a relationship at all.

We’re learning a lot about ourselves, how we work and how vulnerable we are. But, I think one of the most important things we’re learning is how resilient we are. We have adapted to major lifestyle, health and work changes in the face of fear, panic and uncertainty. We still don’t know what’s to come yet we’re facing the future with adapted routines at work and in our personal lives.

Leaders need grit. Your grit is being tested. How you handle adversity underpins how you handle life. And you’ll get through this the same way you get through every other challenge that came your way - with your will. Perfection is...

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When I do Something in 30 Minutes It's Because of This

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. And if you are feeling age discrimination when your company should be putting your expertise to good use, this link to the strategies I share with my clients might help >>> 10 Tips When You Fear Age Bias 

If you are struggling with uncertainty and...

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Four Things You Can't Get Back

We all have regrets. It’s healthy to reflect on what we’d do differently. I certainly regret some things I’ve said and done as I was figuring out the art and science of parenting. I’m still figuring it out and my children are in their twenties and thirties. I regret how self doubt showed up in my behavior at work early in my career. I overreacted, withdrew and often blamed myself far more than was helpful.  

Corporations today value, promote and hire for self-awareness because it makes the employee coachable. The more self aware we become the more we can release assumptions that hold us back before we adopt them as mantras. “He’s never going to respect my work.” “I’m always the one left out.” “Every time I try harder the same thing ends up happening.” 

Notice the thread. “Never...” “Always...” “Every...” Absolutes are deadly to progress. If you hear yourself...

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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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A Fun Remote-Work COVID-19 Plan for You Today - Fill in the Blanks

You're at home working remotely and worried about getting Coronavirus, your income may decline, your investment portfolio is tanking and that retirement may be a mirage. Let's focus on what needs to go right not what is going wrong.

1. We need to get comfortable with uncertainty.

Difficult, yes. But think back to the last time you were uncertain - got laid off, moved to a new town, started school or a new job. How did you get through it? You'll get through this the same way.

We want to shrink back to the ways things were. We were comfortable there. Much of the predictability of our lives is gone. We are all grieving that loss. 

The sooner we accept that change is inevitable, uncomfortable and out of our control, the more resiliency we have to move forward.

2. Focus on the professional or personal development you've complained you've never have time for.

You're bored. You're as productive as you can be considering much of your work flow is controlled by a stagnant economy. So...

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Your Emotional Scars

We all have emotional scars. And there are two things regarding them that we have to keep in mind. 1) We must work on healing them or we will be unhappy. That means not holding grudges or anger or hatred inside us. We forgive others for ourselves - not to deny what happened but to move on and not drag a ball and chain around our heart. Seeking revenge is like drinking poison and thinking the other person will die. We heal by continually releasing expectations, accepting ourselves with all our imperfections and living in the moment - not the past or future. It takes daily routines and practice to achieve this, but the benefits are life changing. 

2) Until we fully heal, we must not lose our professional and personal presence when triggers bring us back to the emotion of despair. At work this is executive presence. We do this by being a witness - a third party observer - of our emotions without acting on them. Here we make a conscious choice to OBSERVE as opposed to ACT OUT. Take...

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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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COVID-19 and Your Staff Meetings

I work in a hospital setting where everyone is on site and the COVID-19 crisis has people worried. This week at my staff meeting in addition to insuring good social distance I opened it with, “This is a difficult time. Let's just stop for a minute and share how we’re feeling about what’s going on with us right now.” That moment of reflection allowed everyone to step back, take a breath and exhale all of the emotional churn that had built up.  

In this safe space I witnessed a human sigh of authenticity. There were tears. There was fear. There was frustration. And after all of the emotions were out, shared, and discussed there was compassion. People offered to help each other, solutions to personal concerns and shared meaning. We saw each other instead of just ourselves. Compassion was king.

What was even more amazing is that then we were able to get some innovative work done with total focus on a crisis management plan and how we’d work...

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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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