Posts Tagged ‘leadership coaching’

Intentional Leadership

August 20th, 2015 • by Laura Scott •

railroad tracksThat didn’t go as planned…”

I was speaking to a colleague about how leaders come to feel the gap between where they are and where they want to be in terms of leadership.

They can usually point to one or two incidents when they were not at their best or things got a bit out of control and the outcome was short of what they hoped.

Self-aware leaders will take some responsibility for the less-than-ideal outcome. They will reflect on what happened and perhaps identify the point when the train started to go off the rails. They said something or did something, people reacted in unexpected ways, the morale or the mood shifted, and suddenly a well-planned engagement or meeting took a turn for the worse.

The reflection is important. That’s how adults learn and grow. But the next step is harder. How do you repair the damage? How do you ensure that it doesn’t happen again?

Repairing the damage may be as simple as a public apology. I know, it’s harder than it sounds. How do you ensure it doesn’t happen again? You can’t. We are human. We make mistakes. But we can make less of them if we are self aware and intentional and strategic about how we show up as leaders.

How do you do that?

It starts with a personal leadership inventory. An inventory that includes your vision of an ideal leadership style that reflects your values and personality and then identifies the blocks to achieving that ideal more consistently. That means having a greater degree of awareness around:
-Your triggers and hot buttons
-Your values and how you typically express them
-The quality of the energy you bring to a space
-The most effective way to earn trust in your organization

This awareness exposes where we might be vulnerable, how we can stand strong and be authentic as leaders, and it informs our choices around how we respond and how we engage positively.

It won’t guarantee that we will never again go off the rails but it will ensure that there is an engaged and conscious decision-maker at the wheel when things don’t go exactly as planned.

Learn how to craft your personal Leadership Inventory by joining us at the Emerging Leaders Development Seminar at the University of Tampa  Saturday October 10, 2015. The public is welcome!

http://www.eventbrite.com/e/emerging-leaders-development-seminar-oct-10-tickets-18153006130

The Gift of Anger and Sadness

July 14th, 2015 • by Laura Scott •

miserable kidAs an executive coach, I help my clients deal with some pretty highly-charged emotional states. And during those times I invite my clients to suspend judgment around certain emotions that they think of as “bad.” Sometimes my clients feel compelled to apologize for emotions like anger and sadness. They want to quickly move through these emotional states, deeming them unproductive or negative.

It’s true that my job as a coach is to help my clients become “unstuck” and move forward productively and strategically. However I can’t help but see the gift that our emotions bring. With awareness and with empathy we can actually learn how to use our emotions to be more authentic as leaders and to connect and engage with others more effectively.

I won’t belabor you with stats and scientific studies that back this up, but trust me they’re out there. If you want to skip the scientific literature and experience this for yourself, I invite you to see the recent Pixar movie “Inside out.” When Pixar was in development with this film, Pete Docter, the writer and director of the film, consulted with two emotion experts, University of California psychologists Dacher Keltner and Paul Ekman, to understand how the emotions of the 11-year-old character would impact her experience and her relationships, as her family made a disruptive cross-country move.

This is what Keltner and Ekman shared with Pete Docter about the science of emotions, as summarized in their NY Times article titled “The Science of ‘Inside Out'”:

“Emotions organize — rather than disrupt — our social lives. Studies have found, for example, that emotions structure (not just color) such disparate social interactions as attachment between parents and children, sibling conflicts, flirtations between young courters and negotiations between rivals.

Other studies find that it is anger (more so than a sense of political identity) that moves social collectives to protest and remedy injustice. Research that one of us has conducted has found that expressions of embarrassment trigger others to forgive when we’ve acted in ways that momentarily violate social norms.

This insight, too, is dramatized in the movie. You might be inclined to think of sadness as a state defined by inaction and passivity — the absence of any purposeful action. But in “Inside Out,” as in real life, sadness prompts people to unite in response to loss.”

When I work with clients on emotional self-mastery and resilience, we intentionally suspend judgment around the emotion and simply look at emotions as benign signals; signals that prompt us to be empathetic observers and strategic decision-makers around how we want to show up, or engage, in response to that emotion.

As the studies show, emotions can serve to unite us in empathy or in actions towards justice. In fact, all altruistic actions are birthed by our emotions, including anger at the injustice we see in our world.

So the next time you find yourself in a highly-charged emotional state, don’t judge yourself or the emotion. Instead, see this as the opportunity it is; an opportunity to use this emotion as the fire that forges the metal. And you are the blacksmith in the process a creating the person, or the leader, you want to be.

Don’t Quit Your Day Job!

January 27th, 2015 • by Laura Scott •

landon cohenWhen I coach around careers, my clients are, understandably, anxious to move on to the next bright, shiny thing. However, as an entrepreneur who has founded three businesses, I know that it takes any where from two to five years to build a business. And even if you are being head hunted for a new position, you still want to remain fully engaged in your current role so you don’t burn a bridge or jeopardize the recommendation from a current colleague or boss that gets you the next great opportunity.

Landon Cohen knows this. He’s a entrepreneur running a valet business in South Carolina. He’s also a NFL football player. He’s a great example of my favorite saying:

“It’s not either, or….it’s and.”

Here’s an excerpt illustrating this from an article about Cohen in Yahoo Sports:

“Yes, sometimes Landon Cohen parks cars. And sometimes he plays in the NFL.

Cohen, amazingly, did both this month. And now he’s one win from parallel parking a Super Bowl ring between his knuckles.

As most fantasies go, Cohen’s January has been the definition of awesome. Four weeks ago, he and two lifelong friends were running their valet service in Spartanburg, S.C. One workout and a few phone calls later, the journeyman defensive tackle landed with the Seattle Seahawks, despite not having been on an NFL roster the entire regular season.”

Many times we are living under the illusion that we must choose between this or that. More often than not we can do both and that doing both, to the best of our ability, is the wisest choice we can make.

Intentional Leadership: Wear your Values on your Sleeve

January 5th, 2015 • by Laura Scott •

vision graphicWhen I begin a coaching relationship with both teams and individuals, I begin with a values clarification exercise. Why?

Because people don’t follow the leader, they follow their values. The best leaders articulate their values and wear them on their sleeve; in fact, they live their values. Everyday. Even when it appears to “hurt” them financially, or make them more vulnerable.

I am sure you have seen this. A leader experiences a setback or a challenge and instead of pointing fingers, or covering up, or taking the easy way out she, or he, steps up and does the more difficult, brave thing. And what happens?  People take notice of this exceptional response and this leader’s personal brand, or currency, is suddenly elevated.

This is values-based leadership.

Harry M. Jansen Kraemer Jr., author of From Values to Action: The Four Principles of Values-Based Leadership, cites 4 principals of values-based leadership in this book, which can form the basis of this type of leadership. Here’s how he describes them in an article he wrote for Forbes:

“Values to Action centers on what I call the four principles of values-based leadership. The first is self-reflection: You must have the ability to identify and reflect on what you stand for, what your values are, and what matters most to you. To be a values-based leader, you must be willing to look within yourself through regular self-reflection and strive for greater self-awareness. After all, if you aren’t self-reflective, how can you truly know yourself? If you don’t know yourself, how can you lead yourself? If you can’t lead yourself, how can you lead others?

The second principle is balance, which means the ability to see situations from multiple perspectives and differing viewpoints to gain a much fuller understanding. Balance means that you consider all sides and opinions with an open mind.

The third principle is true self-confidence, accepting yourself as you are. You recognize your strengths and your weaknesses and strive for continuous improvement. With true self-confidence you know that there will always be people who are more gifted, accomplished, successful and so on than you, but you’re OK with who you are.

The fourth principle is genuine humility. Never forget who you are or where you came from. Genuine humility keeps life in perspective, particularly as you experience success in your career. In addition, it helps you value each person you encounter and treat everyone respectfully.”

Perhaps you have had the privilege of working with a leader who demonstrated these principles. If so, you understand the positive effect these leaders can have on an organization. Perhaps you are that leader, or it is your intention be be that leader. If so, do so mindfully, intentionally, consistently, and people will take notice; you will earn their trust and they will, happily, follow your lead.

 

How to Speak So That People Will Want To Listen

July 10th, 2014 • by Laura Scott •

Julian Treasure’s brilliant TED Talk on communicating effectively is not just for aspiring Distinguished Toastmasters!

It’s the most empowering and informative video on how to speak powerfully and how to create sound consciously.

Watch, learn, and speak–mindfully and beautifully!

 

The Seven Deadly Sins of Management

August 6th, 2013 • by Laura Scott •

angry manager
Forbes Magazine published this terrific list and as an Energy Leadership Master Practitioner I agree with this list whole-heartedly.
Read this and I am sure you be reminded of a former boss or colleague who poisoned the work environment, demotivated their teams, failed to reach realistic goals as a result of these seven deadly sins.

These are behaviors that can be changed and most managers and leaders are motivated to change them when they realize the real “cost” of continuing these behaviors. The only blocks to change is to recognize the unconscious default behaviors and craft alternate responses. This is mindful leadership. As this article states, real positive change can be as simple as: hire great people; take responsibility; be kind; be generous; listen; and rule by hope and clarity.