A Client Letter - You're Bad Leader

Below is a note I recently received from a client that although makes me sad, it carries great wisdom. This high performing executive leader was leaving an organization she loved and had relocated for with mixed feelings. As is often the case, she was leaving because of her boss.

 

Good morning Mary Lee,

I have one more week reporting to this woman that has made the last 14 months of my life incredibly difficult. The exit process has been even more difficult.

In 20 years in the workplace I have never experienced anything like this from someone at this woman's level. 

Every leader has opportunity, but I do not believe there are many who behave as badly as what I have witnessed over the past year.

I am also amazed how her leaders look away, an ostrich to this woman's behavior. I am not personalizing this (thank you Mary Lee), I understand it is simply inconvenient to disrupt the status quo or face the difficult conversations or the admit that perhaps it was a mistake to...

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Ask Yourself These Questions About Your Manager

Job seekers anguish over how they will appear on an interview so much that they often forget that the manager they will report to is also auditioning for them. Your manager has the most power of anyone in the company to advance your career. Before you work for someone make sure they have the capacity to teach you things you don't know and steward your career - either directly or indirectly.

I have had many mentors throughout my career who never knew they were my mentors. I studied their behavior, as well as their sense of process and connection. You dont have to ask someone formally to be your mentor to learn from them

Be selective in who you will work for. Not just what company - what manager. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Does she want me to learn or just perform?
  2. Will he challenge me?
  3. Will she have my back?
  4. Will I be comfortable having his back?
  5. Will I be ready for her job or a promotion in two years because of what she wants for me?
  6. Is he a servant leader?
  7. Will I be...
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The Year is Nearly Over - What Now? 12 Reso-YOU-tions

Would you take a trip without a map? Of course not. This year is nearly over and you might be looking at the New Year and setting resoutions with skepticism. We think we can create a resolution and get there just because we want to. It doesn't work that way. The reason most resolutions fail is because they are simply notions centered on “getting” something and not grounded in the root of what drives people - authenticity and values.

12 Reso-YOU-tions for Results in 2019

1. Write down your goals. Studies show that people who write down their intentions reach them far more than those who don’t.

2. Define what you will let go of. What’s the head trash that inserts itself in your life every time you want to make a leap? Sometimes we need to eliminate before we can add.

3. Define who you will let go of. People are toxic too. Who would you be without negative influence?

4. Sure up a financial safety net. Max out your 401(k) contributions....

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When Someone You Love is Dying and It Makes You Uncomfortable

I have a client who is struggling with the impending death of her father. Watching someone you love suffer and decline is excruciatingly painful. You want to help but you can’t. You want to escape the struggle with your own mortality but you can’t. And family members commence friction with each other that was never there before. 

There is no textbook on how to deal with a dying parent but one book I recommend made a big difference for me in shepherding my children through the death of their father. It’s called The Four Things That Matter Most. 

We can’t change the fact that we all will die someday. None of us are getting out of this alive. But we can be alongside someone who is dying. It is enough. We need not fill the silence with chatter. We need not feel inadequate because we can’t fix things or afraid of the human process. Embrace acceptance. Death is part of life. Being there is enough. “I can’t change this for you but may I...

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The Difference Between Confidence and Self-Esteem

"Being an upstander very often means standing alone, which takes guts," writes Jennifer Merritt, Editor in Chief, Digital at PwC.

“Most people are bystanders--not because they don't want to stand up, but because they're afraid to speak up, afraid of repercussions, don't observe the world around them enough, or simply because they don't know what to do or say in the moment. To be an upstander among bystanders takes courage and conviction.”

In my work and in my coaching practice I often see people with confidence who do not have high self-esteem. They are not the same thing. Confidence is being competent. Self-esteem is knowing you belong. 

Out the limiting false-belief that holds you back - that message that plays like a broken record in your head. It usually sounds like this....”I’m not _______ enough.”

Then name everything believing that has cost you. Now what would life be like without that thought?

You are resilient. And you belong living your...

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The #1 Stress Reduction Practice

Dear {{first_name}},

Stress is nothing more than the stories we attach to reality. We all do it. It’s leading from a fear perspective as opposed to a creator perspective. "I am going to fail." "They don't like me or what I am doing." "This tooth ache means I am going to need a root canal."

How do we stop attaching stories that are assumptions onto reality? By building our awareness around what triggers that leap to fast-forward our lives to a doom and gloom ending. 

Notice it. Don’t judge yourself for it. Call it out and name it. “This is what it feels like to fear being judged.” And move on.

Wishing you a clearing of illumination today for without darkness there would be no light. Wishing you power. 

Success is freedom. Not more hours.

Your coach,

Mary Lee

P.S. Money replenishes itself. Time does not.  Click here to request a call with me and let's talk about your situation.

Mary Lee Gannon, ACC, CAE is an...

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Three Mindful Strategies of Revered Leaders

You’ve seen The Mindful Revolution on the cover of Time. You’ve heard about the studies. People in your office talk about meditation and Yoga. What does all this have to do with work? Everything.

What would your productivity look like if you could complete your next project in 70% less time? That is the percentage of employees in the U.S. who are not engaged in their work according to Gallup. Odds are that some of the 70% work for you.

While corporate training is a $70 billion industry in the U.S., mindfulness programs are flourishing organically from the inside. Stress prompted Janice Marturano, former deputy general counsel at General Mills, to create a mindfulness program at the company. It was so popular that she left to start her own institute. There are 500 employees on the waiting list at Google for the class “Search Inside Yourself” originated by Chade-Meng Tan, a Google engineer who now teaches mindfulness full time.

  1. Practice Mindfulness

...

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When Controlling Yourself is the Most Difficult Part of the Conflict

     Nearly all conflict in the world stems from one simple necessity – and it isn’t the need to win. Wars, corporate battles, department squabbles, and relationship foes are rooted in the same deep-seated need – the need to be right.

     Compound the need to be right with an ineffective ability to persuade others to believe you are right can lure in feelings of inadequacy and, in extreme cases, an overwhelming feeling of threat. Not only are our emotions running wild with fear, anger, and frustration a physical reaction begins to occur.

     When we sense we are in danger our body gears up to protect itself. You may have noticed your heart racing before a big presentation or your throat tightening as an argument escalates. This is the body preparing itself for what is called “fight-or-flight,” an immediate physiological reaction that occurs in response to a perceived harmful event. This was...

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When It Makes You Cringe

Have you ever had a visceral reaction to a colleague where just to be around them made you cringe? Generally that discomfort is based in ego - your competitiveness gone haywire. We get triggered into fight-or-flight and our ego hates to lose.  

Prepare before these encounters by anticipating the experience going well - where you shift from being defensive to being CURIOUS about HIS ego and need to be right or superior. Imagine if you could watch her arm wrestling her ego because that is exactly what is happening when people are mean - they are at war with themselves. Happy people do not hurt one another or seek attention.

Be the curious servant leader. “Jean, I sense that I’m not meeting your needs. I want to be helpful. If I were meeting your needs, what exactly would that look like?” She will likely not be able to be specific because she’s so tied up in attention seeking ego. If she is specific you’ll have great intel.

Your coach,

Mary Lee

...

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Dealing with Work Drama

Direct communication is the best way to go through life. But instead, people practice avoidance (ignoring the person or the problem) or triangulation (bringing in a third person to validate that your condemnation is correct).  

Leadership expert Dr. Henry Cloud’s Law of Exposure says, “Life is better lived in the light — that is, things are better out in the open, even if these things are negative. Conflict or hard feelings cause a break in the connection between two people, and relationship can only be restored by communicating honestly. 

One of the biggest traps that we all fall into at one time or another is getting stuck in the whirlpool of unnecessary drama.” 

What I see is that avoidance of direct communication happens when we fear conflict. Rightly so. Everyone hates conflict. Except for those who thrive on drama - the most dangerously insecure people of all.  

But what if we shifted the perspective from conflict to...

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