Leaders Inspired https://leadersinspired.com Inspired Leaders Inspire Lives Mon, 25 May 2020 17:19:14 +0000 en hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.2 https://leadersinspired.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/cropped-favicon-32x32.png Leaders Inspired https://leadersinspired.com 32 32 Leaders Make Tough Decisions https://leadersinspired.com/2020/03/when-great-leaders-make-tough-decisions/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=when-great-leaders-make-tough-decisions https://leadersinspired.com/2020/03/when-great-leaders-make-tough-decisions/#respond Tue, 24 Mar 2020 00:02:28 +0000 https://leadersinspired.com/?p=3122 The post Leaders Make Tough Decisions appeared first on Leaders Inspired.

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“This is eating me alive.  I have to fire one-third of my staff.  I love them.  They are all amazing.  How can I possibly choose?” 

This recent conversation was real and raw and likely what many of us are facing right now.  The choices feel impossible.  The team is solid and high performing.  There is no magical bottom ten percent to release – ala GM’s Jack Welch’s famous formula.  We’re now on the three bourbon nights to get through. 

Let’s not sugar coat this.  IT IS TOUGH.  It’s likely to get tougher.  Long term, things WILL get better.  Promise!  Without a crystal ball, it’s hard to say when.  When they do get better, they will be different.  For now, who knows? 

What can we do?   

LEAD   

Lead with compassion, heart, love and clarity.  Leaders bleed yet they still have the heart-breaking conversations and make the difficult decisions that must be made. 

The trick is to make sure to stay connected to our humanity.    

COMMUNICATE

We must remember that we are talking to our trusted tribe and can share feelings as well as information.  Communication must be clear and transparent and heart-felt. A special word about clarity here. When we are fearful or uncomfortable, it can make our communication either harsh or mushy. Be clear and thoughtful and say what needs to be said, with compassion.

It also must be updated regularly.  Everyone is dealing with uncertainty.  Our willingness to communicate and communicate some more creates safety.  Trust that your team can hear what you have to say.  Care-for, don’t care-take. 

MIND YOUR MINDSET

Let’s get into a leadership frame of mind – the transformational kind of leadership that marries head and heart.  We must make the tough decisions without hardening our hearts.  Pay attention to Emotional Intelligence.  We are all going to have emotions and – guess what?  Other people will have emotions also.  Leaders stay aware and choose to manage emotional response and invest in the relationship by listening, communicating clearly, offering compassion so that others might make better emotional choices, too. 

GET REAL 

Get real and level set.  Remember the Stockdale Paradox, made famous by Jim Collin’s book, From Good to Great, “Face the most brutal facts of our current reality and retain faith that we will prevail in the endgame”.  This is called HOPE.  Facing the truth that rules have changed, the future is unclear, and tough decisions must be made, we retain the hope that the new reality will be different or better and we must keep an eye on the prize.  False positivity will be felt a mile away.  Stay in HOPE, not platitudes. 

STEP IN THE LEADERSHIP SPOTLIGHT 

Our teams are counting on our steady, honest leadership. The spotlight is turned on.  

Sometimes being vulnerable is so heart-breakingly hard.  The team deserves the most vulnerable part of our leadership.  If we are honest about how we feel and still truthful about the situation or choices, it’s authentic.

Brene Brown says, ”
“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome.”

If termination decisions or tough calls about shutting down operations need to be made, be aware that resisting the honest conversation leads to protection, hardening the heart, and girding the loins.  This will make communication wobbly – either too stiff and stern, or wishy-washy and unclear. 

Be honest.  We care for our teams.  Let’s let them know.  Specifically let’s let them know how they’ve added value – personally or professionally.  We can work like all get out to help them visualize hope beyond this, finding resources and support to the best of our abilities.   

EXPRESS YOUR EMOTIONS 

When all the conversations are done, CRY.  No really, cry.  Let the emotions out.  It’s strength.  Anytime feelings are stuffed, they always come out as poorer expressions later.  It’s not useful to deny our feelings.  What is useful is to admit them, feel them and then fall into our hearts and find a place to be of service, to appreciate, to express gratitude.   

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF

Final step – self-care is a priority.  Let’s ditch the bourbon for now, and instead stretch, write, pray, journal.  Sometimes when tough choices need to be made, we can feel like the enemy and will cast ourselves (or allow others to) in the villain’s role.  No, we are messengers.  The message must be delivered in love and leadership. That means you must turn some of that love into self-love. 

Begin a new self-care routine with reflection each morning on the leader you are becoming through all this that will get you through the other side. 

FINAL THOUGHT 

We are going to get through this, and it won’t be easy.  I return to the Stockdale Paradox – let’s keep our eyes on the facts (not the hysteria) yet not let those facts sway our steady leadership.  Hope is seeing that what is on the other side will be different and we can prepare right now for what will be new.  Hope says that this trial period will teach us what we need to know. 

Let’s stay awake, aware, connected and in leadership. 

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Ending the Year with the Same Baggage? https://leadersinspired.com/2019/12/ending-the-year-with-the-same-baggage/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ending-the-year-with-the-same-baggage https://leadersinspired.com/2019/12/ending-the-year-with-the-same-baggage/#respond Tue, 10 Dec 2019 12:13:00 +0000 https://leadersinspired.com/?p=3101 The post Ending the Year with the Same Baggage? appeared first on Leaders Inspired.

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What baggage are you carrying forward from the beginning of the year that was left unaddressed during the year?  It’s a hard question to ponder and to face, yet crucial if you are to enter a new decade with a clear plan for completion. 

There is nothing more draining to a business than a nagging issue, challenge or problem that is known and left unaddressed for a long period of time.  This toleration sucks the life out of you.  Most pressing are those darned human issues that still require a resolution.

Those darned humans!  

  • What leadership issue entered 2019 as a low hum that has become a rattle and a bang?   
  • What talent conversations were continually were relegated to the “I’ll get to it later” category? 
  • Who is still on your team who needed a dignified exit in 2019? 
  • Who is still waiting for simple feedback that could easily resolve an underground danger? 

Do you find yourself putting off the people issues at the expense of the health of your business?  You are not alone, and it is costing you.

Research from Joseph Grenny and David Maxfield, authors of the New York Times bestseller, Crucial Conversations, shows every conversation failure costs an organization an average of $7,500 and more than seven workdays. 

Why do you fail to deal directly with the people issues in your business and resolve them once and for all?  Well…. maybe because dealing with humans can be tricky.  Your discomfort butts up against their discomfort.  Your discomfort can distort your message.  Their discomfort (read:  fear) diminishes ability to fully listen.  Wow.  Forget about it – many choose to put this off and deal with less stressful issues like strategy, process or profit.  Ha! 

“Behind every communication problem is a sweaty ten-minute conversation that you don’t want to have.”
– Gay Hendricks, Author, The Big Leap

The people issues become toxic to your culture when left unaddressed.  You don’t want to carry a bag of unresolved people issues into the next decade.  You DO want to shore up your leadership, your courage and your communication to let some of that stuff go. Let’s create a powerful plan of thoughtful action. Here are some tips: 

1. Take Stock

Center yourself and create an emotional state of neutrality. Take a good look at the performance, attitude and results of your team. List the plusses and the minuses.  Prioritize the issues based upon level of pain and impact on the organization. 

2. Get the Facts

Without allowing yourself to get bogged down in the diminishing return of too much data, make sure that you have the appropriate facts.  Was there an over-arching business issue that created human issues?  What specific performance suffered?  What demonstratable results occurred?  Who, what, where, when, why and how will be important questions. 

3. Plan and Have the Conversation

The SBIC feedback formula of Situation, Behavior Observed, Impact of the Behavior and Change or Continuation Required is a good way to pre-frame the conversation.   

  • The Situation puts the conversation in context (“When you were talking to Joe….”).   
  • The Behavior Observed keeps the conversation about what can be altered, rather than about someone’s personality.  (“This is the behavior I observed…”) 
  • The Impact is buy-in.  When you articulate impact, accountability becomes clear. (The impact on the business is …)
  • Finally, the Change or Continuation part of the conversation is the brainstorm about how to continue what is working or how to change what is not.  (“To improve, make this change…” or “To continue, keep doing this….) 

Plan the formula and then have an honest and open conversation.  Make sure to listen! 

4. Make the tough decisions with dignity

What if you decide to let someone on your team go?  Do it with dignity. There is a behavior, an outcome, an expectation that is not meeting the standard.  Or perhaps they are not the right fit for the seat with no option to retain them.  Communicate clearly and with respect.  Manage your emotions and honor theirs. 

5. Give yourself some slack – you are doing the best you can with what you know.

Enough said!  To co-opt a familiar phrase, “practice makes perfect”.  Keep having the conversations and you will become more and more skilled over time. 

Left to your own devices, you may still struggle with the people component of your business.  People issues are hard!  You may need some help in the form of personal leadership or team leadership development.  Get the support!  Leadership and professional development are the best investments you could every make.  Leadership training or coaching exposes the issues, heals the wounds, enables the good players and strengthens communication (the glue). 

Have the conversations.  Make the decisions.  Resolve the unresolved.  This time next year, you will be celebrating a clean slate and be ready to tackle the next set up up-leveled opportunity! 

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Are you a Boss in a Bubble? https://leadersinspired.com/2019/10/are-you-a-boss-in-a-bubble/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=are-you-a-boss-in-a-bubble https://leadersinspired.com/2019/10/are-you-a-boss-in-a-bubble/#respond Tue, 29 Oct 2019 01:28:15 +0000 https://leadersinspired.com/?p=3082 The post Are you a Boss in a Bubble? appeared first on Leaders Inspired.

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All leaders need a combination of feedback and information.  If you are in the rare position of regularly receiving open and honest feedback and complete information, celebrate and pass this article by.  As a manager, you are generally only getting partial information, and rare personal feedback.   That creates a problem for planning, decision making, relationships and career growth. 

Do you ever find yourself in your role as leader being regarded as more of a “boss”?  Even in your best efforts to be accessible and approachable, the very fact that you have a title and perceived sway over those in your corporate hierarchy, creates a bubble.  That bubble around you creates an obstacle to the information needed to be effective and manage appropriately.  What’s worse, that bubble’s barrier becomes stronger as you try to obtain feedback to make you self-aware and relevant with the people you lead. What happens is self-protection (theirs) leads to information withhold.   

Personal lessons in this can come in the form of teenagers.  My teenagers, who are adults now, would regularly attempt to withhold information.  Sound familiar?  It’s a natural process of wanting to protect their identities and their ways of being.  Frankly, I’m glad I didn’t know EVERYTHING at the time as history can be kinder than present moment freak outs! 

Let’s translate this to employees.  You are likely to experience identity protection, trust issues, withholding of information and details.  The desire for independence is strong and the desire to be regarded favorably is high. 

In the absence of information, you make assumptions about what they think and believe about job, company and you as a leader.  You then make assumptions about what they are doing.   You might be surprised to find that you are off the mark. 

What’s a boss to do?  What’s a leader to do?  Here are four steps that will help. 

Step One:  Be available 

An executive’s life can get busy.  Remember the theory of “management by walking around” first popularized by Tom Peters?  It has merit.  Apple’s Steve Jobs was famous for it.  In today’s modern world of email and text, this action is surprisingly under-utilized.  You will be most effective if you make a habit (put it on your calendar) and personally interact to reinforce values, culture and promote problem solving.   

Step Two:  Ask curious questions 

Be known as a curious person.  Ask questions and then deeply listen.  As you listen, the information you need could be wedged in between the responses.  Let your instinct guide you and know that your goal is to personally interact, reinforce values and build relationships.  A great question can yield a diamond mine of knowledge – about you personally or about your assessment of a situation. 

Step Three:  Check your assumptions and reactions at the door 

You may hear things that trigger you.  Take a deep breath. If your team sees you reacting, it will cause them to shut down.  Nobody wants to make the boss angry.  Stay curious (about your trigger, too!).  Remember that you are not likely to have all the information, and that will lead you to making assumptions.  Go back to step two and ask curious questions to understand completely.  This keeps you out of judgment and out of the dreaded micro-managing.

Step Four: Cultivate trusted advisors 

You may do steps one through three and still not be told the entire truth, simply because of the position you are in.  Who inside your company is your right-hand person who will tell you the truth, no matter the cost to them?  And how do you respond to that truth (see step three above).  Who outside your company is a trusted advisor to you – coaching you, supporting you to see the truth, developing self-awareness to strengthen you as a leader?  Cultivate an internal trusted advisor who can come from a neutral and helpful place and hire a coach today! 

As you practice these steps overtime, you will notice trust strengthens.  You will find more people willing to share with you.  The ripple effect will create teams willing to be authentic and truthful with each other.  You will see a focus on problem-solving and hear your values echo back to you. 

Walk around.  Meet people in the break room.  Have the skip level meeting.  Ask personally instead of by email.  Chat with teams.  Chat one on one.  Do this without motive.  That’s the power of curiosity.  No matter the information, whether troubling or delightful, treasure it and use it wisely.   

Pop the bubble and see what happens for you. 

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How do you stack up as an Emotionally Intelligent Leader? Click here to take the quiz and find out where you are and how to be more effective.

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The Distraction of Unresolved Workplace Emotions https://leadersinspired.com/2019/09/the-distraction-of-unresolved-workplace-emotions/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-distraction-of-unresolved-workplace-emotions https://leadersinspired.com/2019/09/the-distraction-of-unresolved-workplace-emotions/#respond Tue, 24 Sep 2019 21:18:32 +0000 https://leadersinspired.com/?p=3077 The post The Distraction of Unresolved Workplace Emotions appeared first on Leaders Inspired.

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“This whole thing could take the entire company down.”  

My more-than-frustrated colleague was concerned about the distraction from one of his business teams – and understandably so.  A stand-off between two managers, based on their individual perceptions who and what was right or wrong – had elevated to theater.  More pointedly, it was theater of the absurd, replete with triangles, gossip, finger-pointing and withholding of information.  It, like any natural disaster, had captured the attention of most and was an undercurrent of noise for the others. 

Has this ever happened to you?  Of course it has.  Whether it was a middle school mean girl thing, a high-school clique or a workplace drama, when humans meet up with humans and forget to access their emotional intelligence, any conflict can escalate quickly. It then takes two different turns – either it is blatant and easy to see (therefore easier to deal with, when you choose to) or it goes underground and becomes a constant nagging and uneasy feeling of something not quite right and impacting your emotional safety. 

Such was the case here.  No need to drag out the gory details – it generally ends with good people leaving.  One of the dueling managers leaves, and hopefully not after the fight to the death derails the entire organization.  This is followed by the inevitable rebuilding – all at a cost to productivity, profit and purpose. 

What’s a business leader to do? 

It’s important to pull this unnecessary drama out by its roots before it takes over the entire garden of your business.  My colleague successfully navigated the situation by taking thoughtful action.  Here is a checklist that will be useful for you the next time you find yourself embroiled in a similar situation: 

  1. Be in the people aspect of your business enough to see the warning signs. 
  2. The minute you see dysfunction, you need not rush in to fix it – however, it must be made clear to the conflicted parties that the expectation is to work it out, remembering that their teams are watching.
  3. Consider a facilitated airing out meeting – a good HR person could facilitate, you could do it, or bring in a coach.  Get everything out on the table – all the hard stuff.  Be prepared to stay in that meeting until there is nothing left to be said and you have arrived at a neutral space.
  4. From the airing out, make agreements about how everyone will behave and what the consequences are for breaking the new behavior agreements. 
  5. Monitor – consider skip level meetings to keep a pulse.  This is not spying or micro-managing, rather a relationship-booster. 
  6. Do a periodic check in with both individuals.  Behavior needs to be learned over time for lasting change.  Do not hesitate to bring undesirable behavior or communication choices to the table for resolution.
  7. Check in with key clients for a progress and satisfaction check.  That check-in could yield invaluable information about what is internally happening.  Customer service comes from the heart of your company, after all. 
  8. Consider leadership and emotional intelligence development for the entire team. This creates team accountability and is amazing with what it yields for your organization.
  9. Short-term coaching may be required – for you to best deal with the issue or for your managers to acquire empathy, collaboration and communication skills. 
  10. If all else fails, make a choice.  Who stays and who goes?  Unresolved and escalated conflict is too big of a price to pay and has huge negative impact. If your managers cannot get to a neutral cooperative space with each other, reassign or terminate one.  Sounds harsh?  Consider the other 50 to 100 families you are responsible for in the form of your employees. 

When you get to resolution, you can still expect to feel uneasy and untrusting.  Know that this is normal.  Your job is to be active in your expectations of trust-building within the organization.  Your job is to have a balanced view of the two steps forward and one back of new behavior.  Your job is to clearly state your expectations, inspect them and be lovingly relentless in your feedback and acknowledgment. 

Sometime after all the dust has settled, take a few hours and jot down the key learnings and insight.  Encourage your formerly entangled managers to do the same.  Some of our best learning comes from leaning into and pushing through the conflict.  What you learn you can retain.  What you retain can keep you out of the drama. 

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Transformation is a Leap of Faith https://leadersinspired.com/2019/08/transformation-is-a-leap-of-faith/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=transformation-is-a-leap-of-faith https://leadersinspired.com/2019/08/transformation-is-a-leap-of-faith/#respond Wed, 28 Aug 2019 02:56:31 +0000 https://leadersinspired.com/?p=3044 The post Transformation is a Leap of Faith appeared first on Leaders Inspired.

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Leaders Inspired is in the business of supporting leadership transformation for individuals and their teams. 

Transformation is a big concept. The dictionary defines it as a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance.  Someone who aspires to be a leader who inspires others, will go through many transformations.  As a mindset shifts, as a paradigm falls away or as a new skill is mastered, there is a dramatic change in form (thought and action) and appearance (how new leaders show up in the world).  It is possible and it is likely that when you begin to intentionally develop your leadership abilities, you will be dramatically different on the other side of your journey.

Transformation is not easy as it requires you to stretch beyond where you are right now.  Human beings like to be comfortable and often sit in the same mess, rooted inside comfort zones, for years and years, convinced that they are satisfied until that one day…

One day you wake up and have the thought, “my world is pretty small”.  You feel the stagnation.  You begin to yearn for a challenge.  You feel frustrated with your current circumstance. Or you may be just plain old bored.

This is a danger zone and you have a choice – you can choose to create a a leadership path or a drama path. Without clarity, emotional intelligence and self-awareness, you could act out on the frustration.  You could pick a fight or create a drama simply to feel something again. Adrenaline is a heady substitute for energy and movement. 

Or you could commit to another kind of movement – your transformation.  The transformational journey begins with a single step of changing your circumstance or challenging your thought process, beliefs or behaviors.  One single act of listening to create connection or one great question that gets you out of a victim cycle is a huge leap forward.  And not just for you.  As a leader, others are also watching you. You make it possible for others to believe they can do something different, too.

You may still be assailed with mindset chatter.  “You can’t.”  “It’s impossible.”  “Who do you think you are?”  These are the voices of safety.  They want to keep you safe inside what is already known.  They are not in favor of any kind of leaps at all, except a giant leap back inside the comfort zone.

Being human is about growing and stretching and moving beyond the boundaries.  You can go there kicking and screaming, or you can embrace the growth and move at whatever pace is appropriate for you.  Some are comfortable leaping off the mountain without a net and others want to climb the mountain step by easy step, using the braces and stabilizing poles and special boots.

Whatever way you navigate the change of transformation and growth, the only thing that remains is the fact that to be a human being is to be a human growing.  If we are not growing, we are stagnant and small.  The more stagnation, the greater the opportunity for dysfunctional thinking and behavior, poor relations with others and a blockage of any connection you may have to greater wisdom.

Transformation is a leap of faith. To commit to being “dramatically changed in form” takes courage.  Where do you need to take a leap of faith?  Where do you need to turn impossible to possible? Where do you need to trust the growth, knowing that inspired action is going to lead you someplace magnificent?

Take the first step.  Transformation, expansion and growth are your birthright.

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One of the aspects of transformation is self awareness. At the base of transformation is self awareness intertwined with emotional intelligence. If you are curious about your Emotional Intelligence skills, I’ve created a quiz for you.  Click Here  to go to the What’s Your Leadership EQ quiz. A few short questions and you will receive your results and a little extra coaching by email to help elevate from where you are now. 

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People, Profit or Process? https://leadersinspired.com/2019/07/people-profit-or-process/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=people-profit-or-process https://leadersinspired.com/2019/07/people-profit-or-process/#respond Thu, 18 Jul 2019 19:29:31 +0000 https://leadersinspired.com/?p=2998 The post People, Profit or Process? appeared first on Leaders Inspired.

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People, profit or process?  To decide one over the other is a lot like the question of which came first – the chicken or the egg.  What does come first?  A focus on people, clear business goals that result in profit or process to execute the strategy?  Maybe there is no real “first” in this scenario, rather a need for the harmony of all three. 

When you make a choice for one over the other, you may be creating an imbalance that will ultimately affect the health of your business. 

Too much focus on people, forsaking the other two, may create an organization with fuzzy edges.  There are good feelings, great congeniality but at the risk of meaningful results. The boomerang is often a clamp down.  Forget Thirsty Thursday, ditch the ping-pong table and let’s get back to write ups. 

Too much focus on profit and goals may cause managers to make shortcuts with the people and lose the heart and engagement in the business. The boomerang on this is that the company loses full focus and top salaries often get inflated and performance bonuses can be gamed.  Trust is destroyed. 

A myopic focus on process may bog an organization down with minute attention to the screws and widgets, removing the eye from the business vision and the people executing on the vision.  Boomerang is that logic rules, analysis is king resulting in diminished risk-taking, constructive conflict or innovation. 

We need all three P’s. 

People enjoying joyful, crisp, engaged execution in a favorable environment where people feel welcome and content.  Because people are valued, coached and know what is expected, there is a willingness to participate in the process and celebrate the profit/goals. 

Profit begs the question, “why are you in business if you are not making money?”.  Profit is the result of a sound business strategy, stewardship of resources, clear execution that considers that people need to deliver on the strategy and use processes to do so.  Willing people executing the business according to the rules of engagement – sweet! 

Process is the necessary glue that moves people into meaningful action to deliver profitable results.  When you can define your core processes and your operational processes, you create the safety of the “how-to”.  People who feel that stability are better able to be trained and more willing to achieve expectations with accountability. 

What’s A Leader to Do? 

  • Make sure that you are transparent as to your business goals and financial targets.  Yes, even profit targets.   
  • Develop processes alongside your team (that’s what they’ve been doing in the Lean movement for years) and provide the necessary training.   
  • Be clear in your expectations with your people and then offer them coaching, direction and encouragement to achieve their results.   
  • Of course, all along the way you will be living as a true leader, providing guidance, inspiration, feedback and direction.  You will be listening and paying attention and then making your tweaks to all three P’s along the way. 

This happy blend of the three P’s, when paid attention to, delivers great results for all sizes and kinds of businesses. 

Enjoy the balance and the benefits of honoring people, processes and profits! 

Mary Pat Knight, CEO of Leaders Inspired, is a Transformation Strategist, Speaker, Facilitator, and Coach committed to leadership and emotional intelligence in the workplace. She is known for cutting through corporate drama to create laser focus for powerful business and personal results for her clients. 

I’d love to meet you on Twitter or Facebook 

Ever Wondered About your own Leadership EQ? Take the Quiz… 

Curious about your Emotional Intelligence skills, I’ve created a quiz for you. Don’t worry, no outside corporation will have your information. It’s just me and I’m a stickler for privacy. Click Here  to go to the Do You Lead With Emotional Intelligence Quiz. A few short questions and you will receive your results and a little extra coaching by email to help elevate from where you are now. 

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Whole Hearted Listening https://leadersinspired.com/2019/07/whole-hearted-listening/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=whole-hearted-listening https://leadersinspired.com/2019/07/whole-hearted-listening/#respond Wed, 10 Jul 2019 18:14:28 +0000 https://leadersinspired.com/?p=2986 The post Whole Hearted Listening appeared first on Leaders Inspired.

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You think you are a good listener.  You mostly are not.

All kinds of human things get in the way of listening in a whole-hearted way.  They could be perceptions of time, your need to reply, a desire to fix the situation, disinterest, or any other array of human conditions that thwart your willingness and even your ability to listen fully.

Although we at Leaders Inspired have written quite a bit about listening, the topic can’t be visited enough.  It is the key skill to emotionally intelligent leadership.

Whole-Hearted Listening up-levels the conversation.  Whole-Hearted Listening is a body, mind and heart thing. 

Listen with Your Body – Be involved physically.  As you settle into your body and ground yourself in the here and now, you will feel relaxed.  There is a greater willingness to really look at the other person, nod and make eye contact.  As an emotionally intelligent leader, you are also attuned to how your body responds to the stimuli and what you hear.  This physical presence creates safety for the conversation and gives you some additional information as you settle in to observe.

Listen with Your Mind – Permit your mind to quiet so that you can be present in the conversation.  When your mind is jumping around, you will miss the meat of the conversation.  Quit mentally rehearsing your reply.  Listen to make connections.  Use your intellect to create a mind map of what the person is truly saying to you.  Be mindful and smart enough to allow the person to come to their own conclusions

Listen with Your Heart – Be involved emotionally.  This is not about care-taking, rather about caring. Let your intuition guide your open-ended questions. Engaging your heart to be here now and no place else, quiets your mind and body so that you can be at ease offering heart to heart, respectful attention.  Empathize and have compassion but avoid the conversation take-over that often happens out of discomfort or the desire to fix.

Be easy about this.  Listening, like leadership is presence, not performance.  Witnessing and compassionate presence is what is required.  When you “try hard” to listen, resistance and effort is introduced.  Simply allowing yourself to listen is effortless and time stands still – for both parties. That kind of listening is deeply fulfilling.

In the signature program, Leadership Mastery™, basic skills of listening are taught and practiced.  Compare it to learning to lift weights. Both are mastered with repetition.  Silence, listening for themes, paraphrasing, asking open-ended questions, using a pause, non-verbal’s, and body language are all basic, practiced skills.

When working with the advanced students, a few up-leveling skills are added to the leadership toolbox resulting in a more advanced, whole-hearted way of listening better.  When you listen better, you lead better.  When you lead better, the team performs better.  Win. Win. Win.

Here are 5 tips for you to listen as a Whole-Hearted Leader:

  1. Encourage others to express issues and feelings
    • What you might say:  I want to know…; please tell me…; how did that feel?
      • This adds richness to the conversation as emotions create another level.  It also shows respect and caring.
  2. Clarify
    • What you might say:  Can you say more?  Did I hear you say…? 
      • Not only do you want to make sure you are tracking with the conversation, you may intuit that there is something left unsaid and the clarification may surface that.
  3. Restate/Label
    • What you might say:  It sounds like…; It appears that…
      • Loosely borrowed from author/negotiator, Chris Voss (Never Split the Difference), this allows you to do two things at once.  First you are able to restate the FACTS, as you understand them.  Second, this is an opportunity to check out your assumptions about what the other person is saying.
  4. Reflect Feelings
    • What you might say:  I can imagine how…; It seems like you were angry…; I can tell how frustrated you are.
      • This is a kissing cousin to restating/labeling and different from point one (which is a general stance of encouraging feelings and issues).  Here is the opportunity to be completely in the moment and reflect back the feelings that you are hearing and feeling from the other person.  You may be right or wrong, yet the offering of this reflection allows the other person to say yes or no and takes the conversation to a new place.
  5. Validate and Appreciate
    • What you might say:  I’m happy we talked; I’m glad we are trying to figure this out; I appreciate knowing about this
      • This is the maraschino cherry on top of the sundae.  This one closing of a conversation, delivered real time and with complete sincerity, buttons up the safety and sacredness of the listening and sharing that just occurred.  This is not about agreeing with what you just heard – you may or may not agree.  This is about honoring that people want to be acknowledged and appreciated.  Your time spent listening coupled with your validation creates expansion and – yes – love.

It takes courage to be a Whole-Hearted Listener.  Just as it takes courage to be in the spotlight of leadership.  Courage and vulnerability don’t need to be hard.  When body, mind and heart are part of the equation, you are supported.  Things can be easier, more grounded, intentional yet effortless. Bonus – you are more accessible to your people, you can connect in a masterful way and you get priceless information that strengthens the bond.

Mary Pat Knight, CEO of Leaders Inspired, is a Transformation Strategist, Speaker, Facilitator, and Coach committed to leadership and emotional intelligence in the workplace. She is known for cutting through corporate drama to create laser focus for powerful business and personal results for her clients. 

I’d love to meet you on Twitter or Facebook 

Ever Wondered About your own Leadership EQ? Take the Quiz… 

Curious about your Emotional Intelligence skills, I’ve created a quiz for you. Don’t worry, no outside corporation will have your information. It’s just me and I’m a stickler for privacy. Click Here to go to the Do You Lead With Emotional Intelligence Quiz. A few short questions and you will receive your results and a little extra coaching by email to help elevate from where you are now. 

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What are You Permitting By Your Failure to Address It? https://leadersinspired.com/2019/02/what-are-you-permitting-by-your-failure-to-address-it/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=what-are-you-permitting-by-your-failure-to-address-it https://leadersinspired.com/2019/02/what-are-you-permitting-by-your-failure-to-address-it/#respond Sat, 16 Feb 2019 23:08:55 +0000 https://leadersinspired.com/?p=2844 The post What are You Permitting By Your Failure to Address It? appeared first on Leaders Inspired.

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What you tolerate, you permit.  What you judge, gets repeated. 

Humans tend to show up in extremes – either you are turning a blind eye, or you are super critical to the nth degree. With this in mind, you are constantly in a ping pong game of permitting things that you don’t really want or judging things that don’t please you. When you do have any energy to make a change? 

Consider any area of your life – a messy coat closet in your home, for example.  How many times do you open that closet door to retrieve something and never notice the mess?  Or the other occasions when you open the door and begin judging your family (or yourself!) for being lazy, messy, rude…..  At the end of the day, the closet will stay messy and you will use up all of your mental energy in permitting or judging. 

The antidote is setting appropriate expectations and boundaries – and all with the magic, secret weapon of managing your emotions. 

Tall order?  I’m always encouraging my clients and students to find the neutral place – get neutral.  That is the place where you’re even, observing and assessing – not judging or reacting. 

Why is this important as we look at expectations and boundaries versus tolerations and judgement?  You have to have a clear head to see what is really going on and you have to be in a forgiving, neutral place to break the pattern.  

Let’s go back to tolerations and judgments and look at the mechanics: 

Turning a blind eye happens because you have put up with it so long that it has become a part of your “normal”.  When you step back to assess in neutrality, you can see that it’s insane what you are tolerating.  That is likely to make you angry.  The anger turns to judgement and both fuel your reaction.  The thing that you’ve been putting up with all of a sudden becomes a national emergency.  And the people who have been doing the thing that you have been putting up with are on the receiving end of your reaction.  But, they are confused.  You have implicitly informed them – maybe for years – (by your toleration) that this behavior is acceptable.  And now you’re ticked off?  You react and then they react and soon everyone is judging everyone else and you have – well, a mess. 

Rewind.

 

Today you are taking an assessment of what is working and not and you realize that you have allowed a certain behavior in your environment.  Either too busy to notice or too conflict-adverse to address it, it continues.  Have your feelings, for sure.  Don’t react to them.  Continue to assess and ask yourself what behavior you’d prefer.  When you figure it out, come clean.  “Guys this thing has been going on for some time and I apologize that I’ve never addressed.  I want to reset the expectation.  This is the expectation. What do you think we can do to change?  You might get some pushback – “this is the way we have always done it”.  It’s ok. no reaction needed.  Simply hold the boundary that the expectation has created.  The boundary creates safety and direction. “I know that’s the way we have done it for a year.  It’s important that we change it for these reasons….”   

When you create the change…don’t leave it dangling.  Coach those who are not meeting the new expectation (coach = asking open ended questions, sharing your observations and holding the intention that the person will make a good choice) and recognize the behaviors that you want to see continued. 

Soon, the toleration evaporates, and a new expectation is put into place. 

Where are you tolerating and, more importantly, why?  Take a self-assessment with these following tips:  

  1. Awareness:  You walk into the room and feel an energy drain.  What have you been tolerating that you may have never truly noticed? 
  2. Hold Your Reaction:  When you realize the toleration, what emotion do you feel?   
  3. The New Expectation:  What would you prefer to see instead?   
  4. Manage the Change:  Who else needs to be involved and what more needs to be communicated?   
  5. Coach and Recognize:  How can we sustain the new normal?   

The energy you formerly expended with the nagging tolerations and the mental chatter of judgment can be better spent creating the life and business that you desire.  It just takes a little awareness, some new expectations and then asking for what you want. 

Mary Pat Knight, CEO of Leaders Inspired, is a Transformation Strategist, Speaker, Facilitator, and Coach committed to leadership and emotional intelligence in the workplace. She is known for cutting through corporate drama to create laser focus for powerful business and personal results for her clients. 

I’d love to meet you on Twitter or Facebook 

Ever Wondered About your own Leadership EQ? Take the Quiz… 

Curious about your Emotional Intelligence skills, I’ve created a quiz for you. Don’t worry, no outside corporation will have your information. It’s just me and I’m a stickler for privacy. Click Here to go to the Do You Lead With Emotional Intelligence Quiz. A few short questions and you will receive your results and a little extra coaching by email to help elevate from where you are now. 

 

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Own Your Side of The Street https://leadersinspired.com/2019/01/own-your-side-of-the-street/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=own-your-side-of-the-street https://leadersinspired.com/2019/01/own-your-side-of-the-street/#respond Thu, 17 Jan 2019 23:24:32 +0000 https://leadersinspired.com/?p=2821 The post Own Your Side of The Street appeared first on Leaders Inspired.

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Is there anything you need to clear up with anyone in your business or life?  Let’s do it.   

Clearing up with another person is about owning your side of the street for whatever drama or story you have been carrying around for however long that has been.  It’s about taking responsibility for your own life and experiences.    

When you’ve carried a resentment or judgment, the facts are blurred, and the story takes on a life of its own, creating energetic drag that leads to resistance.  Everything becomes more difficult and when your energy is drained you cannot lead effectively. 

What’s more, if you don’t clear things up, you run the risk of carrying the resentment or bad feelings into a new situation.  You become a prisoner to your own story.  It’s so much easier to deal with the facts while honoring the feeling. 

Consider the story of Claire. 

Claire was a rising executive in her organization.  She was a key confidante of the CEO and regularly was called upon for participation in key meetings and strategic sessions.  She was an invaluable executive in the company.   

There was only one problem.  Even though she led a key division in the organization, she was regularly left out of opportunities to “be at the table”.   

This came to a head when all executives, except Claire, were invited to a year-end celebration.  Her familiar reaction was to feel victimized and to blame outside of herself.  This led to hard feelings which impacted her willingness – even her ability – to participate.  

Thanks to some great coaching, she was able to turn it around and take responsibility for the exclusions.  She got curious and asked herself, “what am I doing that creates this outcome?”.  With that perspective and without blame, she cleared the air with her CEO.  She expressed her feelings of disappointment in the exclusions and owned how she had never challenged or asked for inclusion.   

This turned out well and illuminated something about which the senior executives were not aware.  Claire was included at the highest level from that day forward. 

She took responsibility for her situation and had the courage to own her part in it….and the temerity to ask for something different. 

Put yourself in Claire’s shoes.  Even though her story is not yours, I suspect there is something you’ve been hanging onto that could be cleared and create personal freedom. 

Here are five steps to clearing the air.  It’s a Freedom Formula – and it’s simple, but not easy. 

    1. When something happens, acknowledge the facts about it and not the made-up story.
    1.  Ask yourself, “what is my contribution to this situation?”  
    1. Unravel the story that you have made up about the situation, including the assumptions about the other person’s motive or anything that would cause you to blame and feel victimized. 
    1. Talk to the other person (if not feasible, write it in a letter you will not send).  This step is about the facts of the situation, stated without blame, coupled with whatever you need to apologize and whatever contribution you own.   
  1. The final step is to move forward – offering what you can do to clear this up with specific and clear actions or requests. 

This might seem counter-intuitive. We are wired to protect our personalities.  That protection often comes at the price of our freedom.  Maybe the relationship won’t be restored in Step Five, but what is restored is your energy and your integrity and your peace of mind. 

If you are aware of this and make clearing the air a regular practice, wonderful things will happen for you, not the least of which is: 

    • You will release situations that used to hang on for years draining your energy. 
    • You will become facile with factually sharing your withheld thoughts and learn to trust what you see and feel. 
    • You will resolve conflicts swiftly and professionally. 
  • You will have peace of mind. 

A key tenet to Leadership Mastery is knowing that whatever gets created out there is the direct result of something I’ve done or failed to do, it’s not somebody else’s fault.  I create my own reality.  

Speaking what’s true for me, without blame, restores connection and invites others to do the same.

__________________

Since We are Talking About Emotional Intelligence, Ever Wondered About your own Leadership EQ? Take the Quiz…

If you want to find out about your own EQ skills, I’ve created a quiz for you. Don’t worry, no outside corporation will have your information. It’s just me and I’m a stickler for privacy. Click Here to go to the Do You Lead With Emotional Intelligence Quiz. A few short questions and you will receive your results and a little extra coaching by email to help elevate from where you are now.

Mary Pat Knight, CEO of Leaders Inspired, is a Transformation Strategist, Speaker, Facilitator, and Coach committed to leadership and emotional intelligence in the workplace. She is known for cutting through corporate drama to create laser focus for powerful business and personal results for her clients. 

I’d love to meet you on Twitter or Facebook 

Ever Wondered About your own Leadership EQ? Take the Quiz… 

Curious about your Emotional Intelligence skills, I’ve created a quiz for you. Don’t worry, no outside corporation will have your information. It’s just me and I’m a stickler for privacy. Click Here to go to the Do You Lead With Emotional Intelligence Quiz. A few short questions and you will receive your results and a little extra coaching by email to help elevate from where you are now. 

 

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What’s Love (or Envy, Resentment or Insecurity) Got To Do With It? https://leadersinspired.com/2018/05/whats-love-got_to-do-with-it/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=whats-love-got_to-do-with-it https://leadersinspired.com/2018/05/whats-love-got_to-do-with-it/#respond Thu, 24 May 2018 00:00:52 +0000 https://leadersinspired.com/?p=2776 The post What’s Love (or Envy, Resentment or Insecurity) Got To Do With It? appeared first on Leaders Inspired.

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Until very recently, the business world has considered emotion to be something to be left outside of work. Unless you were trying to pluck someone’s heartstrings to accomplish a business goal (think marketers and sales professionals trying to hit a pain point or induce a sense of “gotta have it” urgency), you were expected to put your emotions away from 9 to 5, thank you very much.

But people aren’t machines. Emotions are intertwined with who we are as a species, and they drive every aspect of our behavior.

Think about a project you’ve worked on recently that you loved. You felt confident in your skills, you could see how it would help move your company forward, and you enjoyed the team you worked with. You kept the project moving along and made sure bottlenecks were resolved quickly so everything could wrap up on schedule.

Your emotions about the project, the people and even yourself were positive. Those emotions inspired your actions – and produced great results.

Now think back to a project that you didn’t feel so great about. Maybe you didn’t understand how it aligned with your organization’s goals. Maybe you didn’t believe it would work or that you were the right person for the project. Maybe you disliked some of the people on your team. Whatever it was, your emotions about the project were decidedly negative…

And your results reflected it.

  • Maybe you procrastinated on your contributions or on responding to requests from team members.
  • Maybe you withheld good ideas or were overly harsh in your criticism.
  • Maybe you bickered with your team members
  • or you let the project die a slow death.

Once again, your emotions drove your behavior… just like they are driving the behavior of every single person in your organization.

Most people are unaware of how their emotions influence their behavior – and even less aware that they have a choice in how they behave. Rather than choosing a response, they react blindly – and then the people around them react to their reactions. It becomes a chain reaction of typically negative behaviors. The resulting conflict and drama hamper productivity, prevent your team from achieving its goals, and create a toxic culture.

So what’s a CEO or business leader to do?

Simple: Learn to lead with emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence boils down to the realization that “I have emotions – and so do you.”

Once you recognize your emotions, you get to choose how you manage them. Contemplate how you can show up more powerfully as you decide, set the tone and understand:

  1. Decide: Emotionally intelligent leaders have the ability to deliberately and strategically choose how they manage their emotions. Instead of indulging in an angry outburst, for example, you might instead notice that you were angry and get curious as to why. You might stop yourself in the middle of an angry outburst and apologize for your reaction. Or you might simply admit, “Hey, I’m feeling angry so let’s take a little time out.”
  2. Tone: As the leader, you set the tone for your team – and perhaps for your entire organization. When you’re able to acknowledge your emotions and choose your reactions, you lead with authenticity, which inspires those around you to be more authentic, too. You also model the type of emotionally intelligent behavior that you want to see in your organization. This creates space that feels safer and more secure for your team to show up authentically.
  3. Understand: We all have emotions. But we have varying levels of emotional intelligence. Some people are able to easily manage their emotions, understand the emotional states of others and then respond accordingly. Others have to work harder to get in touch with their emotions and choose their responses after a lifetime of trying to ignore and stuff down how they feel.

The good news is that emotional intelligence is something you can cultivate. It just takes awareness and practice.

 

Mary Pat Knight, CEO of Leaders Inspired, is a Transformation Strategist, Speaker, Facilitator, and Coach committed to leadership and emotional intelligence in the workplace. She is known for cutting through corporate drama to create laser focus for powerful business and personal results for her clients. 

I’d love to meet you on Twitter or Facebook 

Ever Wondered About your own Leadership EQ? Take the Quiz… 

Curious about your Emotional Intelligence skills, I’ve created a quiz for you. Don’t worry, no outside corporation will have your information. It’s just me and I’m a stickler for privacy. Click Here to go to the Do You Lead With Emotional Intelligence Quiz. A few short questions and you will receive your results and a little extra coaching by email to help elevate from where you are now. 

The post What’s Love (or Envy, Resentment or Insecurity) Got To Do With It? appeared first on Leaders Inspired.

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