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From Burnout to Superstar: Mindfulness at Work for Next Level Leaders

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” – Viktor Frankl

Have you ever sat in a meeting, feeling like you might be called out as a fraud at any moment? Have you ever stared at a computer screen, procrastinating yet again, so afraid that your work won’t be perfect that you’re unable to even begin? If so, you’re in good company. The vast majority of elite leaders that I’ve coached in top-tier organizations have had these same anxieties at some point. Ironically, the more gifted the leader, the more paralyzing their fears can be. I believe that it is often the underlying fear of failure that drives many of the top performers to push themselves as hard as they do to achieve. They are rewarded early in their careers for their efforts, however, over the long run, these same tendencies can lead to burnout and even self-sabotage. Of all the cutting edge modern leadership research available, it turns out that the solution lies in the ancient wisdom of mindfulness practices.

Mindfulness is defined as “the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of ones thoughts, emotions, or experiences in a moment-to-moment basis; a state of awareness,” according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Research shows that these mindfulness practices can decrease stress, anxiety and depression, while increasing positive emotions and vitality, all of which leads to enhanced performance.

Almost any activity can have a meditative effect, if done with intention and presence. Some of more common mindful activities include distance swimming, running, walking, surfing, being in nature, yoga, singing, dancing, painting, playing an instrument, or simply sitting and focusing on your breath.

Meditation and mindfulness is the secret super power of next-level leaders, allowing them to harness the gifts inherent in their drive to perform, while maintain the ability to stay calm and present, and to respond vs. react in any situation.

Original Article by Lindsay Sukornyk and Huffington Post here.

Two Simple Words That Help Drive Employee Engagement and Company Results

Employee EngagementWhen you put people first, profits follow.

You don’t get to be in the 100 Best Companies to Work For, for 19 years in a row, just by luck.

So when I saw that one of my local firms had achieved that goal, I went to meet with them to find out just how they had done that.

When I asked Stephanie Slate, Director of Talent Acquisition at JM Family Enterprises, a $14.9billion company, how they achieved such great levels of employee engagement, Stephanie’s put me straight right from the get go.

“Firstly,” Stephanie said “we don’t call people employees, we call them Associates. This is critical to our corporate culture because we want people to feel that they work with us, and not for us.”

“Secondly our high associate engagement comes from a simple philosophy of People First. This is has been embedded into our culture, and it’s this that really makes the difference.”

Now, to be honest, People First is not a concept that I was hearing of for the first time.

In fact, I would say that the majority of CEO’s talk about People First cultures, but given that 68% of staff in the US are disengaged, clearly not everyone is walking the talk, so what is JM Family doing differently.

Stephanie said, “To create the People First culture, you need to have leaders who live the culture, which founder Jim Moran did, as does current CEO Colin Brown, and you need to recruit people that fit into that culture to both to maintain and strengthen it.”

Cultural fit is the most important recruitment quality that JM Family looks for in potential.

If a candidate has amazing skills but won’t fit the culture, then they don’t get hired. Stephanie mentioned that JM Family would even hire people with a great cultural fit and train them in the skills needed for the position, such is the importance of cultural fit to them.

So what does a People First culture look like?

During our conversation, there were several key themes that kept re-emerging, and these were.

  • Respect
  • Caring
  • Communication and Connection
  • Empowerment
  • Opportunities
  • Appreciation

Respect

JM Family wants their associates to feel both valued and respected. They encourage the new associates to ask questions, to be curious, and they listen to them, even the new associates.

With every new change that comes along, one of the first questions to be asked by senior management is “how will this impact our associates?’

Caring

The company cares about its associates, and it shows that by offering an excellent benefits package, but the caring extends well beyond that. They have medical staff and daycare services on site at main locations; they have several programs they have implemented and support that helps associates in times of hardship.

They even have a LifeCare Program, which is like an Associate concierge service that helps with non-work related issues. Stephanie said that she had used that service to help find a florist for her wedding.

Communication and Connection

Communication is key to ensuring that your associates feel like they work with you and not for you. During the onboarding process, all new Associates get to meet with a Vice President for a day, the Executive Management Team and are invited to a group Q&A session with the CEO.

They get to speak with them and ask them questions first hand. This not only helps the communication flow but also helps to make good connections between the new Associates and the Executive Management team.

I was also surprised to see that everyone calls the CEO by his first name and are very comfortable to approach him. This was something that I actually witnessed rather than was just told about.

Empowerment

Associates are encouraged to ask questions and to challenge things, although this has to be done constructively and in ways that will benefit the company. They also encourage associates to try new things and to learn from their mistakes, rather than to punish or criticize them for it.

This helps to create an empowered workforce that is proactive when they see opportunities to benefit the company.

Opportunities

One of the key reasons people cite for leaving their employers is a lack of career development and opportunities. When a company takes an approach where they hire for cultural fit and willing to train for a position, and they have five different divisions, there will always be opportunities to either advance or to try something different.

Appreciation

Appreciation is one of our most basic needs, after food, shelter, and safety, and JM Family do a great job at showing their Associates that they are appreciated. They have regular appreciation dinners and awards, and they also have a peer to peer appreciation program which allows people to recognize their colleagues for great work that they have done. Sometimes great work goes unseen by management, but programs like this allow for people to be recognized by their peers and for their efforts to be brought to the attention of the management.

So it’s great that JM Family has been ranked in the Top 100 companies 19 years in a row, but what does all this mean to the bottom line?

JM Family’s staff turnover rate is 7.1 percent, which is well below their competitors, which helps to reduce cost, which increases profit.

Their staff stays with the company 10.1 years on average, which compares very favorably with the national average of 4.2, and are happy to recommend the company, and the majority of new hires come from referrals which help to keep down recruitment costs and ensures that any open positions are filled quickly.

They have achieved record revenues in each of the last five years, with an average revenue growth of around 12 percent per year since 2011.

When you put your people first you create an engaged, excited and empowered work force, which helps to keep costs down and revenues growing.

Original Article by Gordon Tredgold- here

 

Why Leadership Development Isn’t Developing Leaders

Too many business leaders today are out of touch with the employees they lead. Edelman estimates that one in three employees doesn’t trust their employer — despite the fact that billions are spent every year on leadership development. Part of the problem: Our primary method of developing leaders is antithetical to the type of leadership we need.

The vast majority of leadership programs are set curricula delivered through classroom-taught, rationally based, individual-focused methods. Participants are taken out of their day-to-day workplaces to be inspired by expert faculty, work on case studies, receive personal feedback, and take away the latest leadership thinking (and badges for their résumés). Yet study after study, including my own, tells us the qualities that leaders in today’s world need are intuitive, dynamic, collaborative, and grounded in here-and-now emotional intelligence.

The mismatch between leadership development as it exists and what leaders actually need is enormous and widening. What would work better?

Over the last 16 years I have carried out research into how leaders create change, and I’ve worked in the change leadership field for 25 years in multinational corporations. Over that time, I’ve come to appreciate four factors that lie at the heart of good, practical leadership development: making it experiential; influencing participants’ “being,” not just their “doing”; placing it into its wider, systemic context; and enrolling faculty who act less as experts and more as Sherpas.

Make it experiential. Neuroscience shows us that we learn most (and retain that learning as changed behavior) when the emotional circuits within our brain are activated. Visceral, lived experiences best activate these circuits; they prompt us to notice both things in the environment and what’s going on inside ourselves. If leadership development begins in the head, leaders will stay in their heads. We can’t simply think our way out of a habit. But in experience, and novel experience in particular, our intentional mind can be more engaged as we make conscious decisions about our behavior.

n practice, this mean setting up what I call “living laboratory” leadership development. Throw out pre-planned teaching schedules, content, lectures, and exercises that ask you to think about your world and how you need to lead it. In its place, switch to constructing self-directed experiences for participants that replicate the precise contexts they need to lead in. In such experiences the group dynamics at play in the room become the (at-times-uncomfortable) practice arena. Business simulations or unstructured large group dialogues are examples of this. I have also used experiences that challenge participants to self-organize visits outside of their companies to stakeholder groups that matter for their future, such as a carbon-dependent energy provider visiting environmental NGOs. All can act as powerful experiential catalysts for learning and change.

Influence participants’ “being,” not just their “doing.” In soon-to-be-published research, Malcolm Higgs, Roger Bellis, and I have found that leaders need to work on the quality of their inner game, or their capacity to tune into and regulate their emotional and mental states, before they can hope to develop their outer game, or what it is they need to actually do. So leadership development must start by working on the inner game. It’s very hard for leaders to have courageous conversations about unhelpful reality until they can regulate their anxiety about appearing unpopular and until they’ve built their systemic capacity to view disturbance as transformational, not dysfunctional.

In order for leadership development to influence being-level capacities, the learning experience needs to offer stillness and space for intentional, nonobstructed contemplation. It’s difficult to teach how to be! Training people with tools and models is very different from simply holding a space for leaders to be. In practice, I have found that offering participants experiences such as mindfully walking outdoors in nature, sitting silently in peer groups to hear colleagues share their life stories, and providing out-of-the-ordinary tasks such as stone carving, enables leaders to tap into their inner world as a powerful instrument for cultivating the vital skills of purpose, self-awareness, empathy, and acute attentional discipline.

Such approaches might sound a million miles from the chalk-and-talk model on which leadership development was built over the last century. But do we really believe that inner capacities can be developed in this way?

Place development into its wider, systemic context. In their HBR article, “Why Leadership Training Fails – and What to Do About It,” Michael Beer, Magnus Finnström, and Derek Schrader talk cogently about the need to attend to the organizational system as a vehicle for change before companies simply send their leaders on training programs to think and behave differently. Too often I have seen the “parallel universe” syndrome, in which leaders attend courses that promulgate certain mindsets and ways of working only to go back to the workplace and find that the office (and especially top leadership) is still stuck in old routines.

I have an additional spin on this need. And that is to use the lived leadership development experience as an opportunity to tune into and shift that very system, because they are intimately connected. Recently I directed a three-year change intervention in which the top 360 leaders of one company (including the board) attended a leadership development program in 10 waves of participants, with 36 leaders in each. Given the uncertainty in their industry, it was impossible for senior management to know what their long-term business strategy or organizational model would look like. However, the CEO did know that all he could do in such a dynamic context was build new capacities for agility and change in his organization. Each wave of participants joined the leadership development at a different stage of the company’s change journey, and at each stage we used the development experience not just for personal training but also as a vehicle to import and work with the shifting systemic dynamics of the company through time — helping them move through the “change curve.”

This meant, of course, that the program for each of the 10 waves felt very different, all set course designs had to be thrown out, and we as faculty had to continually adapt the program to the shifting context.

Enroll faculty who act less as experts and more as Sherpas. Finally, you have to attend to the required skills and characteristics of the people who lead these programs.

In the above example, we found that no single provider could provide a facility that was holistic enough. We needed a faculty group with egos not wedded to any particular leadership methodology or school of thinking and who could work skillfully with live group dynamics, creating psychological safety in the room for participants to take personal risks and push cultural boundaries. We required the educational equivalent of Sherpas, people able to carry part of the load in order to guide participants toward their personal and organizational summits.

This required not just hiring a bunch of individuals with such guiding skills but also developing ourselves continuously as a robust faculty team. We needed to be able to work with a continually changing curriculum design, and with the group projecting their discomfort with the wider change  — and how it was being experienced in the program — onto the faculty.

Make no mistake, attending to all four of these factors is a sizable challenge. Whether you are a corporate or business school leader, a head of leadership and organizational development, or a senior business leader sponsoring and attending leadership development programs, take a long, hard look at how you are currently delivering leadership development. The price of failed leadership is already too high for us not to attend to the process through which we develop it.

Original Article HBR – Deborah Rowland – here

Emotional Intelligence Myth vs. Fact – By Daniel Goleman

Goleman Emotional IntelligenceIs Emotional Intelligence the same as being “nice” or “polite”?

Does Emotional Intelligence just mean you have a lot of empathy?

Is Emotional Intelligence only for women or men who want to “get in touch with their sensitive side”?

After 20+ years of writing and speaking about the science behind Emotional Intelligence and its importance in work settings, I still come across people who believe one or more of these myths about EI. The author of a recent article in Scientific American fell into the “EI is just about empathy” trap. And an article in Harvard Business Review equated being nice with Emotional Intelligence. The assumption that Emotional Intelligence is related to a man’s “inner female” was raised in a comment to one of my posts about the Emotional Self-Awareness competency.

Each of these exemplify misleading stereotypes about Emotional Intelligence. And they equate one narrow slice of these abilities with the whole. But Emotional Intelligence is much more than just being empathic or nice.

If someone asked you for a short definition of Emotional Intelligence, what would you include in your definition?

Here’s what I mean when I say Emotional Intelligence: It is the capacity to recognize our own feelings and those of others, to manage our emotions, and to interact effectively with others.

Clearly, these are human qualities beyond gender or any superficial differences among us, and refer to a healthy balance of a wide range of abilities.

The model of Emotional Intelligence my colleagues and I use includes the four domains below. Within those domains are twelve competencies, learned and learnable capacities that contribute to performance at work and in life.

Yes, you’ll find self-awareness and empathy on the list of competencies. You’ll also find positive outlook, conflict management, adaptability, and more. Each of the competencies focuses on a specific way that individuals can be aware of and manage their emotions and their interactions with others.

When I say “contribute to performance,” I don’t say that lightly. My colleague Dr. Richard Boyatzis from Case Western Reserve University and I developed this list after reviewing the competencies that companies themselves indicated distinguished their top-performing leaders from more average performers. Decades of research by Dr. Boyatzis, Korn Ferry Hay Group, and others show that higher levels of skill with EI competencies translates into better performance. Here’s just some of the data related to the different competencies:

More Complex—and Powerful—Than “Nice”

Emotional Intelligence is key for leaders at all levels of organizations, regardless of industry. Before you discount the value of Emotional Intelligence in the world of work, make sure you’re considering its range. And, read the research. Decades of empirical research demonstrates that Emotional Intelligence is more complex—and powerful—than simply being “nice.”

Written by Daniel Goleman  – link to original here

2019-04-10T09:21:22+00:00April 6th, 2017|Discussion, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership|

Emotional Control was key to Irish Rugby 6 nations Victory over England

Joe Schmidt and his team did a wonderful job on the emotional management of the Ireland team on Saturday last. With so much on the line and in such a cauldron of intensity and pressure they played angry and cool – a potent combination.

Rugby is a funny old sport for many reasons. Such as the fact that a 6ft 11in second row can play alongside a 5ft 9in who is 8 stone lighter, that you move forward by passing backward and that you beat seven shades of **** out of one another and shake hands with and cheer the opposition afterwards.

The physical and mental challenge particularly at the top level is daunting and I remember meeting many Americans on rugby tours, who can’t believe we play this game without padding and helmets like American Football. To be up for the challenge, to be able to give the sort of effort for this period of time requires a teeth gritting intensity of emotion that has to be raised and then maintained for the full game. Different players get there in different ways, some use anger, some fear and some pure will.

To meet some of the challenges of “putting your body on the line” requires getting into a state of mind that ignores pain as required and which ignores what you are putting your body through. Two 16 stone centres run into one another at speed, there is a 32 stone collision magnified by the momentum, there is effectively a car crash, inertia, g-force and falling to the ground without the ability to use your arms (one pair is protecting the ball and the other pair is making the tackle). When they get up after the first tackle all they have to do is do it another 20 times, while running 7-10 miles in 1000 directions at 10 different speeds while staying aware of every attempt by the opposition to invent a way around them.

So this requires emotional regulation. Fast thinking (as per nobel winner Dr Daniel_Kahneman) of the sort required to react fast and make decisions in milliseconds is generally emotional in nature and it is also supported by good habits learned over years. Slow thinking – meaning thinking with the linear process-driven side of your head about the game and staying cool to make the right tactical decisions is different. Too much emotion can cause this part of your brain (with plans-logic-control) to be hard to access as your amygdala ( the part of your brain which has a primary role in the processing decision-making and emotional reactions) goes too much into fight or flight mode and your thinking and some of your habit based learning suffers or shuts down. Too much pressure to perform also shuts it down – interestingly a psychologist once told me we are most vulnerable to this as teenagers right around the time of the leaving cert (!).

It is well known by cognitive psychologists that too much pressure causes the player to use the same pathways to perform a skill that he or she used while learning the skill – like learning to drive versus experienced driving which is almost automatic. This is illustrated in sport by a study that showed that soccer players in the World Cup taking penalty kicks in the shootout to decide a game’s outcome are twice as likely to miss if they are kicking “not to lose” rather than kicking to win their game. Same goal, situation and ball but just a pressure difference.

Look at the pivotal role of the coach and/or leader in all of this. Trying to get the players ready to function with the punishment and intensity yet trying to keep them thinking so they play cute but also to their maximum physical capacity. Sometimes it’s a matter of taking pressure off. Joe Schmidt the Ireland coach has shown the skills to do this alongside the leaders in the team. Think of the narrow window through which he must motivate and engage his team. Enough intensity but not too much. Enough pressure to perform but no too much. Last Saturday was a masterclass.

Organisational and business teams who understand and use emotion rather than ignoring it – benefit from it hugely through increased performance and better outcomes in almost every area. Motivating and generating the most enthusiasm you can while keeping pressure off your team so they feel the freedom to try things, to innovate and be agile while keeping an eye on the strategy and tactics is a big challenge but necessary to be competitive in the 21st century organisation. Schmidt’s Ireland team demonstrated a level of tuned motivation and performance that was made possible by emotional understanding and control.

In rugby the famous warm-ups before matches with banging of heads etc are becoming less common – one such a man from Munster once told me about was of a French team they were playing in a club game who brought a cockerel into the dressing room before the match. During the warm-up in the dressing room my friend’s team could hear all sorts of shouting and bellowing en Francais reverberating through the thin walls. The French team ran out first and as my friend’s team passed the door to their dressing room as they followed them out, they looked in to see blood and feathers all over the place and no cockerel. “After seeing that” he said “we let them have the ball”

Aidan Higgins BE MBA of ADEO Consulting is a Leadership, Emotional Intelligence and Teamwork specialist working with Leaders and Teams in Ireland and the UK. He has over 25 years experience working in various capacities with individuals, teams and organisations of all sizes.

Emotional Intelligence: The Secret Sauce That Makes A Good Leader

Emotional Intelligence: The Secret Sauce That Makes A Good Leader: Some people managers struggle with being good leaders and cannot understand why: They are experts in their fields, work hard, and communicate with their direct reports in a comprehensible and explicit manner. And yet, those direct reports don’t seem to be happy, engaged, and most importantly: productive. Something seems to be missing.

In many cases, the problem starts with the selection criteria for new leaders: Often these individuals are selected because of their job performance and their expertise. Those criteria, of course, make perfect sense but they are not enough. There is a third requirement that is often neglected but crucial for good leadership: emotional intelligence.

When emotional intelligence is missing:

Have you ever witnessed someone lose their cool at work? How suddenly facts, arguments, and reason become irrelevant because a decision maker has a meltdown? Or how, at a meeting, the moderator is holding a monologue rather than engaging with the other participants and encouraging different viewpoints and ideas? Those behaviors are signs of a lack of emotional intelligence. And if leaders lack it, the consequences for their teams can be devastating.

From self-awareness to self-control:

Emotional intelligence is important for being able to control your emotions because it requires a high degree of self – awareness. When you are able to look at your actions and words from an outside perspective and see how they impact other people, you are much more likely to deliberately control your conduct towards others and therefore avoid negative consequences of your
behavior. This is especially important in conflict situations or when you feel under pressure.  The famous quote from the novel “To Kill a Mockingbird“ says it all: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” Empathy skills are crucial for good leadership. If you are able to empathize with others, you’ll be more connected to those people. This will lead to a higher level of trust, performance, and engagement and not just obedience and compliance. There is even solid evidence that empathy will not only make you a better leader, but also boost your own performance: For example, the study “Empathy in the Workplace“ shows that empathetic leaders are viewed by their bosses as better performers.

Emotional intelligence can be learned:

This is the good news for people who feel disheartened because they’re afraid they just don’t have significant emotional intelligence. There are three behavior sets you need to acquire, all of which are connected with empathetic listening:
Recognizing cues, verbal as well as nonverbal (e.g. tone, facial expressions, body language). Pay attention to what people are saying and what they omit saying.
Deciphering cues, which involves understanding the meaning of the said and unsaid messages and making educated guesses about underlying motivations and emotions.
Responding adequately, which involves showing others that their message was received and encouraging them to keep speaking their minds.

Good leadership is about connecting to your direct reports, about understanding their motivations, aspirations, interests, and fears. This will enable you to support their individual professional development which in turn will lead to more engagement and higher productivity. There are professional leadership coaches who specialize in this field. If you feel you could benefit from an expert showing you the ropes in this regard, find one. It could make all the difference.

Original Article in Huffington Post by Thomas Buus Madsen here

2019-04-10T09:21:22+00:00February 13th, 2017|Discussion, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership|

Former SEAL on using Emotional Intelligence for Effective Leadership

Emotional Intelligence for Effective Leadership in SEAL Teams

The ability to be perceptively in tune with yourself and your emotions, as well as having sound situational awareness can be a powerful tool for leading a team. The act of knowing, understanding, and responding to emotions, overcoming stress in the moment, and being aware of how your words and actions affect others, is described as emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence consists of these four attributes: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.

“There are no extraordinary men… just extraordinary circumstances that ordinary men are forced to deal with.” – William (Bill) Halsey, Jr.

As a Navy SEAL veteran, entrepreneur, and leader of one of the fastest growing digital marketing agencies in the country, I have experienced many emotions and become very aware of how those emotions can have a positive or negative effect on my ability to inspire and lead a team. Many individuals try to shut off their feelings, but as much as we distort, deny, and bury our emotions and memories, we can’t ever eliminate them. You can learn to be emotionally independent and gain the attributes that allow you to have emotional intelligence by connecting to core emotions, accepting them, and being aware of how they affect your decisions and actions. My past experiences in combat required me to develop emotional intelligence quickly. A skill that takes constant improvement but that has been beneficial in current leadership roles.

Emotional intelligence is widely known to be a key component of effective leadership. Understanding how the brain operates and how the emotional response system works should also be a factor in where we place team members within our organizations. Being able to relate behaviors and challenges of emotional intelligence on workplace performance is an immense advantage in building an exceptional team. One of the most common factors that leads to retention issues is communication deficiencies that create disengagement and doubt. A leader lacking in emotional intelligence is not able to effectively gauge the needs, wants and expectations of those they lead. Leaders who react from their emotions without filtering them can create mistrust amongst their staff and can
seriously jeopardize their working relationships. Reacting with erratic emotions can be detrimental to overall culture, attitudes and positive feelings toward the company and the mission. Good leaders must be self aware and understand how their verbal and nonverbal communication can affect the team.
SEAL training taught me many things, including how to build alliance among a team, make quick decisions in high stress situations, and communicate effectively amidst chaos. Emotions and adrenaline run high in stressful and potentially life threatening situations, but for people that haven’t had the training, it can be difficult to stay calm and make good decisions under pressure.
To help understand your emotional intelligence competencies, I would recommend determining where you stand on the below elements.

Self-Assessment:

Without reflection we cannot truly understand who we are, why we make certain decisions, what we are good at, and wherewe fall short. In order to reach your maximum
potential, you must be confident in who you are, understanding the good with the bad. Those that have a strong understanding of who they are and what they want to work on, can improve themselves on a regular basis. On the battlefield, a soldier’s heart is revealed. You see actions of heroism as well as shameful acts of cowardice. Sometimes you don’t even know what type of person you are until you have been put in a situation that pushes you to the limits. Empathy and Compassion: Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and understand how they may feel or react to a certain situation. When one has empathy, the capacity to feel compassion is open. The emotion that we feel in response to suffering that motivates a desire to help. The more we can relate to others, the better we will become at understanding what motivates or upsets them.

Emotional Restraint:

Self- control is a critical part of emotional intelligence. You need to understand how you feel before you react in a way that you may regret later. This is important in conflict resolution. It doesn’t do any good to say things that will not help to resolve the situation. A leader’s responsibility is to create order within organization and form a unified culture with positivity at the core.

Relationship Building:

You can’t make deep connections with others if you’re distracted. Many of us have families, other obligations, and a crazy to do list, but building and maintaining healthy and productive relationships is essential to one’s ability to gain higher emotional intelligence. We must recognize that everyone has a different perspective due to their background and ideals. The key is to find common ground and know that what you do and say can have a positive or negative effect on someone. This includes the tone of your voice, facial expressions, and body language.

Effective Communication:

In the SEAL teams you have to do three things flawlessly to be an effective operator and team member: Move, shoot, and communicate. Communication being of the utmost importance. mis-understandings and lack of communication are usually the basis of problems between most people. Failing to communicate effectively in a workplace leads to frustration, bitterness, and confusion among employees. Effective communication can eliminate obstacles and encourage stronger workplace relationships. When employees know their role within a company and understand how they benefit the overall direction and vision, there is a sense of value and accomplishment. Good communication results in alignment and a shared sense of purpose. One of the things that motivates me to be a better leader is having a positive effect on people. Emotional intelligence is a powerful tool and I hope to continue to understand how it can contribute to exceeding goals, improving critical
work relationships, and create a healthy, productive workplace and organizational culture.

This article was co-authored by Brent Gleeson and Dyan Crace. Original on Forbes here.

Servant Leadership is The Best Investment A Business Can Make

servant leadershipLooking to strengthen your team at work, both in productivity and camaraderie? Chances are you’ve tried the Friday morning doughnut run, Bring Your Pet to Work Day, and even employee teamwork retreats—and yet that unique bond among your employees just isn’t there. But here’s an idea that’s likely to be the best investment you could ever make: Servant leadership, in which a company and employees join together in providing hands-on service to create a better community and world.

Servant leadership is not without its costs.

In our own company, we dedicate a day of service to our community every year for a major project to help children, communities, and groups such as Native Americans, veterans, and single moms. Our project costs of having our employees out of the office is 150 to 200 thousand dollars, not to mention the planning and preparation months before this special day. But the passion this creates and the bond it instills in a company makes it one of the best ROI decisions you could possibly make. Make this your first and highest strategic endeavor, even if your company is still a one-person, “Me, Inc.”

You might be saying, “There’s no way we can do this right now . . . maybe later.” But before you conclude that Fishbowl is crazy and move on to schedule your next team excursion, think about this:

Coined by Robert K. Greenleaf, founder of the Greenleaf Institute for Servant Leadership, the concept of servant leadership defines a leader who is, very literally, a servant first. “Servant leadership is a philosophy and set of practices that enriches the lives of individuals, builds better organizations, and ultimately creates a more just and caring world,” states the Greenleaf Institute for Servant Leadership.

I believe that everyone in my company is a leader, and leading through service is something we wholeheartedly embrace in our workplace culture. We believe that we become stronger, more effective leaders when we learn how to serve both our employees and the community around us.

Since 2009, we’ve accomplished eight of these major service projects with the Fishbowl community. As a company, we restored a beautiful mountain amphitheater; cleaned up streams and ponds in a nearby natural water park; played games and wrote down personal stories of veterans at a veteran’s home; painted interiors and exteriors of a local high school and network of Head Start preschools; and helped update and organize the libraries of two elementary schools.

With dozens of employees, family members, and friends participating each year, these service projects are a great opportunity for employees to get out from behind their desks, improve the community around them, and make some fun memories as they are given chances to serve one another. Everyone who participates agrees that the difference they make on that one day is empowering, building their desire to serve their coworkers as they return to the office the next day.

We do these projects without an expectation of monetary return, but the benefits we receive are profound. Based on our experience, here are three ways we—and by extension, your company, too—can experience the benefits of servant leadership.

Be an example of what a servant leader should be.  Before you expect your employees to fully embrace servant leadership, you must demonstrate the concept within your own day-to-day office management.

“The key to motivating employees is the focus a servant leader places on the welfare and growth of everyone in the organization. The motivating factor is that the servant leader pursue every opportunity to positively impact the behaviors of employees first—making a difference in their lives,” said David McCuistion in his article 9 Ways to Motivate People Using Servant Leadership. “This is a ‘natural calling’ of servant leadership, which is never for personal gain, but a sacrifice for the sake of others and their personal and professional growth.”

Some ways to set the example of a servant leader, according to leadership blogger Skip Prichard, include inviting differing opinions, establishing a culture of trust, developing other leaders, helping employees with life issues, building confidence through encouragement, thinking first about employees, and acting with humility.

Build a team of servant leaders.

By creating an office culture of service, you will begin building a strong team of servant leaders. Nothing screams camaraderie like uniting a diverse group of people to work toward a common goal. Encourage each employee to embrace a culture of service throughout their workday.

“Servant leaders know that by helping to guide the people who work for

[and with] them, they will help their employees learn vital skills that will both improve their performance, and improve them as people,” said Peter Economy in his book “7 Secrets of ‘Servant Leadership’ That Will Lead You to Success.”

That service can come in many forms, too. Adding on to the examples above, employees can be servant leaders by adopting the 10 tenets outlined by Greenleaf. These include listening, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion, conceptualization, foresight, stewardship, commitment to the growth of people, and community building.

Seek opportunities to serve.

Once you have established yourself as a servant leader (and even striving to become one) and have encouraged your team to adopt the tenets of the movement, it’s time to get out of the office and serve your community. With so many opportunities to serve in every community throughout the nation, establishing an annual day of service can easily become a fun, company bonding tradition. Search for your area’s Humane Society, Boys & Girls Club, Habitat for Humanity, Parks and Recreation department, women’s shelter, food bank, elementary school, or even a nursing care facility. The opportunities are endless and the needs are great.

We are not the only company striving to achieve servant leadership goals. If you want to launch a company day of service but feel overwhelmed with the idea of finding an appropriate group project, consider enlisting your entire company in a region-wide event like United Way’s Day of Caring.

Last year, United Way of Salt Lake celebrated its annual Day of Caring with 5,700 individuals from 130 companies and groups coming together to volunteer for a total of 135 projects serving communities in four different counties throughout the state. More than $525,000 of labor costs was donated.

In our case, our annual Day of Service is an experience that has benefited our people and our community so greatly we plan to continue this legacy beyond the eight projects we’ve completed so far to carry forward throughout the rest of our years.

Unlike a weekly doughnut or coffee run on the boss’s dime, a culture of servant leadership lasts forever. It bonds participants, builds character, and instills a sense of courage and responsibility in a company workgroup that will far outweigh the occasional parties and fun. If you are looking to build a stronger, more conscientious team of thoughtful, driven, happy, and caring employees–who are ready to go the distance in business and in life–consider making servant leadership a value you instill in the very fabric of your company’s culture, for today and for every year from now on.

Original Article here by David K Williams

2019-04-10T09:21:23+00:00September 30th, 2016|Authentic Leadership, Discussion, Leadership, Leadership Development|

Leadership Anecdotes from Rio Olympics

The Olympics is one of the most prestigious sporting spectacles of the world. An Olympic medal is the epitome of sporting achievement. Over the decades, many sports persons have gone on to become legends in Olympic history. Rio 2016 is no different. In this post,  Sanket Pai, picks and elaborates on 5 of the most inspiring leadership anecdotes from the Rio Olympics 2016.

Dipa Karmarkar – Persistence makes up for all shortcomings

When Dipa Karmakar competed in her first gymnastics competition, she did so without shoes and borrowed an oversized, ill-fitting costume (Source: BBC Sports).

In a country that breathes and lives cricket, pursuing gymnastics as a sport is a tough ask. There is a serious lack of infrastructure, resources and financial support for the sport. These factors didn’t deter Dipa from pursuing her passion. One of the few to pull off the dangerous Produnova maneuver with such ease at Rio Olympics 2016, Dipa is a true champion and has won the admiration and respect of millions all over the world.

Dipa Karmarkar
Source: i.ytimg.com

Usain Bolt – Have fun while you are at it

Usain Bolt is probably one of the most popular and respected athletes in the world today. He continues to make and break records, that too with a seemingly ridiculous ease and a smile to go with it. The recent picture of him sneaking in a smile for the cameras while sprinting towards the finish line has broken the internet. While his fellow competitors were gasping for breath, he eased past them, that too after a slow start. He has added style, glamor, and fun to the sport, without compromising on the discipline and rigor. Here is a joke that sums it up:)

Q: What does Usain Bolt do when he misses the bus?
A: He waits at the next stop

Usain Bolt Rio 2016
Source: abc.net.au

Michael Phelps – Let your failures be lessons, not roadblocks

In 2009, decorated US swimmer and Olympian was snapped smoking pot. Overnight he turned from a respected athlete to a disgrace, losing millions in endorsements and being slapped with a 3-month suspension. For most people, such public humiliation would mean a full stop. Not for Phelps. At age 30, he came of out retirement, picked up the pieces and put his energies on regaining lost glory, the only way he knew. Getting back to the pool and winning medals. With 4 gold medals and one silver, he is now the most decorated Olympian of all time with a tally of 23 medals.

Micheal Phelps Rio 2016
Source: cnn.com

Simone Biles – Excellence by design, not by chance

Simone Biles, touted to be one of the greatest gymnasts, comes from a family with a troubled history; a drug addict mother and an absent father. She has proved by action, that there are no excuses for not trying. It’s about making choices and then ensuring that the actions match the aspirations.

Simone Biles Rio 2016
Source: Reuters

Yusra Mardini – The sky has no limit, only the mind does

I saved the best for the last! Yusra Mardini, a refugee from war-torn Syria, has captured the attention of millions and has become a source of inspiration for one and all. As part of the 10 member refugee team at Rio Olympics, she made a huge impact by scoring a win in her first Olympic swimming race. There was a time when she used her swimming skills to save herself and 18 others from a capsized boat heading towards Greece. From that to being part of an Olympics team, talks so much about putting your struggles to use, use them as motivation and achieve the impossible.

Yusra Mardini
Source: Indian Express

Author: Sanket Pai, Head, Product & Customer Experience at Celoxis Original post HERE

2019-06-14T11:28:08+00:00August 22nd, 2016|Culture, Leadership, Leadership Development|

Trump’s sort of Leadership

Trump LeadershipPicking through the phenomenon that is the rise of Donald Trump is not easy. Most people from outside the USA are looking on in horror at the car crash that we see unfolding in front of us. With the post RNC poll bump putting him (barely) in the lead for the first time – we, still recovering from the Brexit result, fear anything can happen. His questionable Leadership style is causing shock in many quarters.

The groundwork for Trumps rise was set by the GOP (Republican Party Leadership) who for the last eight years at least have been living a lie. It would seem that monied and other interests have caused them to blatantly ignore, block or deny (in no particular order) climate change, intellectualism (for Brexit this was “Experts”), evolution, their illegal war in Iraq, affordable health care and any form of gun control. Their tirade of abuse of Obama as president was so ferocious that it must be based in fear or racism. This from the party of Abraham Lincoln. Contrast this behaviour to the previous GOP leadership – George Bush Senior left a note for Bill Clinton which included “You will be our President when you read this note. I wish you well. I wish your family well. Your success now is our country’s success. I am rooting hard for you.”

Republican core beliefs about family values, independence, less government rather than more and keeping the status quo are valid points of view, none of which require these inconsistencies. Many competent, experienced suited men were seen to espouse twisted reasoning, denials and spin to suit their needs rather than the will, or the good of, those who elected them (70%-80% of US citizens want some form of gun control). Their members have seen this and have also experienced a massive depression, loss of property and jobs and don’t know who to trust. A large proportion are not educated enough to differentiate truth from spin and most gain their insights from watching Fox news, a biased Republican oriented “news” channel for whom integrity is an after-thought.

Then along comes the anti-establishment candidate, who is not a “hateful” Democrat, with all the answers. He uses simple emotional statements, outright lies, fear mongering, “us and them” rhetoric and claims to have a vision and the solutions to all their problems – if only they elect him.

Fear is the fuel of Trumps campaign. He paints his vision realising that people are fearful and paranoid and feel they are being unfairly treated. He has aligned himself with the emotion, stoking paranoia, being loose with the facts (21 fact checked lies during his RNC acceptance speech). Many of his supporters are people that have seen a decline in their situation and wake up every morning with anxiety about their futures. When you feel like this you look for reasons and project this outward to blame someone or something other than yourself. Trump has given them some targets – Illegal immigrants, Mexican workers, Muslims, trade deals with China and Democrats. All sorts of economic answers are ignored. He connects with his people by telling them what they want to hear and generating memorable soundbites that have got him billions in free publicity. It all seems to make sense to them, like it did in Germany in the late 30’s and early 40’s.

Like Leadership styles in history of the same sort, where divisiveness, lies and hatred form the core of the message, there is revolution, conflict and victimisation. When our Leaders talk and act like this, followers feel they have permission to express and act on their fear and hate. We see this on the streets in the US (and we have seen it post Brexit). When the checks and balances of a democracy like accountability and unbiased reporting are weak and when trust and integrity are gone a gap opens for this other sort of Leadership. It invariably ends badly.

Aidan Higgins BE MBA of ADEO Consulting is a Leadership, Emotional Intelligence and Teamwork specialist working with Leaders and Teams in Ireland and the UK. He has over 25 years experience working in various capacities with individuals, teams and organisations of all sizes.

2019-04-10T09:21:23+00:00July 30th, 2016|Discussion, Leadership, Leadership Development|