The countdown is on until my book, The Consummate Leader, is released. This is a book I have written to help readers to transform their doubts about how to become effective leaders into assurance that they are engaging in the right practices to fulfill their leadership potentials. Drawing on my experience as a management consultant as well as my love of positive psychology, I have written The Consummate Leader to act as a comprehensive manual for anyone who wants to improve his or her leadership and management skills.
The book is filled with information from research studies, interactive exercises, personal stories, and case studies, and covers a lot of ground in enhancing leadership effectiveness. Here are five things you will learn from reading the book:
1. How to achieve heightened self-awareness, to affect the way you influence.
If you want to be an outstanding leader, you must be able to have an impact on others. Motivating others to pursue a vision or persist when the going gets tough, requires the ability to influence others. However, if you lack self-awareness, it is likely that you are not entirely conscious of the impact your behavior is having on others. In the book, I walk you through a series of self-reflective exercises to deepen your level of self-awareness.
2. To build a ‘happiness toolbox’, which brings joy not only to the reader, but to those around them.
As a leader, your moods are contagious. As a result, it is important for leaders to ensure they are upbeat so they can positively influence those around them. In the book I have included a toolbox of sorts on which leaders can draw to enhance their overall levels of happiness. By experimenting with the happiness practices I include, the reader can find the tools that will help to lift his or her mood, and in turn, others in their vicinity.
3. To care for yourself first, as a hallmark of effecting positive change.
No leader can have a positive impact on a team or a business without being in a good place, both physically and mentally. And, as my past posts have shown, we are whole beings, whose minds, bodies, and spirits are intertwined. In the book I cover research that supports this assertion and provide you with specific strategies to live a balanced life.
4. The importance of embracing personal authenticity to allow others to embrace their own.
We all possess different strengths, talents, and ideas, and the work environment benefits from each of our unique abilities. As a leader, encouraging originality and authenticity is important; this is how diverse opinions get out on the table and the best solutions are developed. Readers will learn how to make sure they are bringing their own genuine selves to the table and how to cultivate a culture of authenticity the workplace.
5. How to foster positive relationships in the workplace that promote greater productivity, job satisfaction and overall wellbeing.
Creating a sense of connection is an important way to boost the performance of the entire workforce. People enjoy working for leaders they like and respect, and teams with a greater sense of camaraderie are more effective than those who are working in silos. In the book, I review research about the importance of relationships and teach you how to deepen your connections at work.
Have I piqued your curiosity? If you are interested in checking out the book, click here!
Personal growth is something to which we all aspire. Yet, while we often see others as the cause of stagnation, we frequently unknowingly impede ourselves. Recently, as I reflected on some sessions I had with a couple of clients, this somewhat ironic thought came to mind:
“Why let others hold you back when you can do it yourself?”
On the surface the two clients who inspired this thought were different – one was a Caucasian female hospital executive, the other was an African American man who worked in finance. But, what they had in common was that both were capable and conscientious individuals who felt unappreciated by their organizations. And, both were convinced that if they could only get a title that carried more weight, they would suddenly have a “seat at the table” and be taken more seriously by those around them. If only management would give them this credibility, they would instantly be recognized as the valuable thought leaders they were.
Unfortunately, what both of them failed to recognize was that the “Title Fairy” doesn’t just go around, magically bestowing titles on unsuspecting professionals. Yet, because they had both concluded the issue was their title, they had become blind to the many ways that they (not their bosses) were working against their advancement.
Are you guilty of similar behaviors? Read below to find out:
1. You Don’t Want to be Uncomfortable
I am convinced that to truly grow as an individual, some degree of discomfort is necessary. Just as a muscle doesn’t grow unless you stress and challenge it, we do not grow unless we stress and challenge ourselves. Whether it is getting constructive criticism, or pushing yourself to pick up a new skill, personal development requires getting out of one’s proverbial comfort zone. As Anais Nin said, “…the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Are you preventing yourself from blossoming?
I can speak to this one first-hand. I have always been a capable speaker, but to take my career to the next level, I wanted to be an outstanding one. For the longest while, I considered joining toastmasters, but kept procrastinating because I was intimidated by having to speak in front of a group of people (yes, I am aware that this is the whole point of participating in Toastmasters)! Finally, I decided that I needed to push myself, and so what did I do? I enrolled in an improv comedy class. I had a strong sense of trepidation about signing up for such a thing, but I forced myself to do it by signing up and paying for it before I had a chance to change my mind. And, not only did I find out that it really wasn’t as bad as I had made it out to be in my mind (in fact, it was actually fun), it significantly improved my comfort and skill as a presenter.
2. You Wait to Be Invited
My mom, who is a fount of proverbs and idioms, used to say “Faint heart never won fair lady.” This is also true in life. Only those willing to put themselves out there are going to fulfill their potential and be all they can be. Getting recognized by others for your work requires a willingness to be bold, and to proactively show your value, as opposed to waiting to be called on.
One of my clients, of whom I am really proud, decided that she was going to stop waiting to be invited to the table. She was a brilliant, insightful, and hard-working leader who never wanted to “overstep her bounds.” As a result, senior leaders saw her as someone who was competent, but whose drive was in question. After many coaching sessions, and being pushed over the top by reading Sheryl Sandburg’s “Lean In,” she decided to take greater initiative. First, she volunteered to chair a committee. Then, she had a conversation with her boss in which she told him about her career aspiration to continue to advance in the organization. She also reached out to other senior leaders, offering to help them. As luck would have it, when a vice-president role became available, leaders thought of her in a more positive light, and put her in the position on an interim basis. With the door opened to her, she proved herself, and was eventually awarded the role permanently.
3. You Think Merit is the Only Factor that Leads to Success
“I’m not interested in schmoozing. My work should speak for itself.” If I had a dollar for every time I have heard some variation of this argument, I would be one wealthy woman. Clients with this point of view make the argument that work is about getting tasks done, and, therefore if they show quality work, they should be recognized. While this may be true in a minority of cases in which people are skilled individual contributors, this is less true for those who aspire to leadership. What these individuals forget is that their colleagues have hearts in addition to minds. They forget that relationships are a key means of influencing others. They are unaware, as Maya Angelou said, “…that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
I remember working with one young professional who worked very hard to establish herself through her credibility. As a female in her early thirties, she was convinced that she had to prove how smart she was to be appreciated in the organization. Thus, she was committed to her work, reliable, and driven. As a result, she was recognized as someone who was committed to her work, reliable, and driven. However, while others saw her as someone who was pleasant and professional, they didn’t feel particularly drawn to her. Because she made no effort to engage people on a personal level, they felt neutral about her, as opposed to being drawn to her. In our work together, she learned she could let her intelligence shine through (it’s not like it was going to go anywhere), while also focusing on relating to others in a warmer, more personal way. While this was a definite change for her (see behavior #1), it led to better work relationships and an enhanced ability to influence others.
4. You Never Question Your Beliefs
This, in my view, is the most way you can hold yourself back. Psychologist, Albert Ellis, said,” Rational beliefs bring us closer to getting good results in the real world.” Unfortunately, a lot of us have beliefs that are wholly irrational. We entertain various thoughts like, “I’m not good at sales,” or “They won’t listen to me – I’m not smart enough,” or “A person like me can’t get ahead in this organization,” and we respond to them as if they are true. In turn, our thoughts impact our behaviors. If I believe that I’m not good at sales, why bother trying to sell something? If I am convinced people won’t listen to me, why should I speak up? If I have concluded that I can’t get ahead in the organization, why would I bother to make attempts to get noticed? To deal with this one, you need to take a good long look at yourself, and determine how your beliefs are holding you back.
For example, a client of mine had the belief that she was treated unfairly in her workplace and couldn’t get ahead. In reality, she couldn’t get ahead because others perceived her as being defensive and critical. Instead of using that feedback to her advantage, she used it as further evidence that she was treated unfairly. And, as the perfect embodiment of a self-fulfilling prophesy, because she thought she was being mistreated, she became more defensive and critical, which made it harder for her to get ahead. I wish I could say she turned this around and experienced glowing success; however, because she was never willing to make herself uncomfortable by questioning her self-perception, she continued to languish in her role and under-performed despite being very talented and smart.
To close, here is a wonderful quote from John C. Maxwell :
“The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That’s the day we truly grow up.”
Make today the day you grow up and stop holding yourself back.
While you’re here, want to enter a contest designed to help you grow? Click here for more details!
In my work with leaders of varying levels of experience, I am consistently asked to suggest books that will enable them to learn how best to fulfill their potentials and help others to do the same. While I have found there are a lot of books that can teach specific leadership skills, I have also felt that many books lacked the tools to help the reader to take the deep self-reflective dive that is so important for personal development. My book, The Consummate Leader: a Holistic Guide to Inspiring Growth in Others…and in Yourself, is designed to fill that gap. By drawing on research and my professional experience, I have put together an interactive book designed to guide the reader toward greater effectiveness and fulfillment as a leader. I truly believe it will transform lives.
The release of the book just one month away! However, in case you are curious about what is in it, here is a preview! Read below for an infographic that outlines the seven key qualities exhibited by exceptional leaders.
Since the recent passing of Maya Angelou, various people have been revisiting her incredible teachings and words for inspiration. The author, poet, dancer, singer and eloquent speaker touched the lives of many, and the topics about which she wrote in her poetry or spoke of in her appearances are powerful lessons that provide words of sincere wisdom that will endure.
Maya Angelou taught people to live a life that mattered by staying true to oneself, setting the bar high, and learning from mistakes. Read on for some of her most profound teachings for enjoying a fulfilled and engaged life:
1. Follow your passions and do what you love
Angelou once said, “You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.” Dr. Angelou practiced what she preached – she immersed herself in the activities that were most important to her, and her excellence was so tangible that it often transformed the lives of those around her. Pursuing your goals with passion and commitment is necessary for achieving your full potential.
2. Be optimistic
Angelou once said of the American Deep South, that it was easy to see the region as ‘a repository of all bad things’, but seeing things differently helped give her a wholly different worldview. She put herself in control of her emotions with her optimism and positivity – by refusing to allow tragedy or misfortune to get the upper hand, Angelou rose above them. Do you have any areas in your life in which your attitude holds you back? Strive to follow Dr. Angelou’s example by changing your perspective.
3. Take a risk once in a while
Friend James Baldwin famously said of Angelou, “If you want Maya Angelou to do something, tell her she can’t do it.” Taking chances, pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone, and pursuing challenges with a sense of determination are the keys to achievement, success and self-fulfillment. Few have ever achieved anything innovative or influential by sticking to the status quo, and Angelou was a living embodiment of that sentiment.
4. Have faith
Whether it’s in God, a higher being, your family, a loved one or simply yourself, faith endows us with the confidence we need to make bold decisions and persist through difficulty. Faith acts as the safety net that will catch us if we fall – and more than that, it’s the helping hand that sets us back on our feet. Maya Angelou said that once she understood she was a child of God, she became courageous and dared to do anything that was a good thing – we all stand to achieve more by taking courage and pride in our own faith.