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Finding Leadership Identity, Part 2

Finding Leadership Identity, Part 2

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Last week I posted about the process of defining who we are at our core, by looking closely at the elements that make up our past and creating a timeline. Digging in and figuring out what brings us joy, (and what doesn't), helps us make decisions about our future. It gives us a clearer understanding of the culture and context in which we can feel like ourselves, do our best work (and play), and thrive.If you are choosing between two opportunities, a timeline like this, and the information you gather from it, will help point you toward one choice or another. If you are trying to dream up a future, the timeline will remind you of what situations in the past felt most "right" to you. This week continues that theme,…
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Finding Your Leadership Identity, Part I

Finding Your Leadership Identity, Part I

Article
The question of leadership identity has come up often with clients over the past few months. When a person is seeking to make a change, whether it’s changing careers, looking for a promotion, or a move to the next phase in life, ( kids going off to school, for instance), they can get stuck in where to begin. It’s especially hard when, as is common, a person can’t articulate what they actually want and why.We are able to choose more clearly if we first define who we are: our core purpose, our soul. If we can do that, we can begin to understand our leadership identity, and create the culture and context around us in which we can thrive. Under those conditions, anything is possible. I know of two good ways to…
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Keys to Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace

Keys to Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace

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Some teams are more open and creative than others, and they help organizations thrive. In these teams, people share ideas freely, collaborate easily, and support each other's successes and struggles.Do you have a team or an organization like this? The recipe for a magical team is made with a few main ingredients, and one of the most important is a feeling of belonging and psychological safety.  I’ve rounded up a few ideas about how to create that kind of environment, below. But first, a reminder of what these two terms mean:Psychological safety is “the belief that a team is safe to take interpersonal risks without negative consequences for their career (Kahn, 1990)". (Definition from CQ Net blog post).A sense of belonging helps provide psychological safety, letting employees feel that they can be who they really…
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Ban the Phrase: ” I’m Sorry You Feel That Way”

Ban the Phrase: ” I’m Sorry You Feel That Way”

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Here's a scenario that happens to almost everyone at some point: You need to have a difficult conversation at work, and it’s not easy to speak up. But you do it anyway. “I thought that I was going to be part of that meeting, and I felt left out when I didn't get the invitation.”Then you get this response: “Well, I’m sorry you feel that way.”Is that a satisfying answer? Of course not. "I'm sorry you feel that way" is a phrase that implies that the person feeling unhappy is somehow at fault for having their feelings at all. It leans on that person to change their feelings, and doesn’t offer any attempt at understanding or connection. Other answers that come off similarly include “I’m sorry,” with no further discussion, and…
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Giving Priority To Your Values

Giving Priority To Your Values

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One of the best ways to make a decision you won’t regret is to make sure that you are making it in line with your own values. What is most important to you? The list of values is long: bravery, humility, honesty, justice, love of family, freedom, strength, discipline, kindness, equality, creativity, peace, generosity, achievement, excellence--or something entirely different from these.Values also may change over time. Right now you might value achievement, for instance, but at some point this might become a less important value to you than generosity. Or these might both be very important values to you, so you feel it’s important to accomplish things with generosity. It can be very easy to be swayed by other people’s values. We are social creatures, and often required to balance what is…
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How to Find Your Why

How to Find Your Why

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One of the keys to understanding who we are is to understand why we do what we do.What is your why? I have many clients interested in answering this question. The more we've worked together, and the more I've worked on my own "why," the more I see that this question is difficult to answer, but incredibly important to how we live our lives. When we know our motivation for doing things, we are more likely to wake up eager to enter the day. We make a bigger impact with our time, and can make stronger connections with others. We make decisions more quickly and with more clarity when we know what motivates us.To start finding our why, we might consider these two things:  1. Our strengths: What are you naturally…
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Managing the Transition Season

Managing the Transition Season

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The end of summer—officially the fall equinox on Sept 22, but, unofficially, for many of us, by late August—is a time of transition. The weather is changing, the light ebbing (in the Northern Hemisphere, at least), the harvest coming in, kids returning to school. At work, people return from summer vacations and budgets are often being set in anticipation of the end of the fiscal year. Most of us naturally tend to turn inward at this time, and we settle into different rhythms at home. (For instance, I know my family tends to gather around the dinner table much more often now that we have regular schedules.) At the same time, at work we might be scrambling to keep on top of things. The phone is ringing and emails are piling…
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We don’t offer enough validation at work. We should.

We don’t offer enough validation at work. We should.

Article
Everyone needs validation. I see this in all areas of life, particularly in organizations, where leaders often express a hunger for more recognition and appreciation than they get.Of course, it’s not healthy to be addicted to validation from others; to yearn for praise and feel unworthy when you aren’t showered with it. If you are frequently bending who you are to get others to like you, or are regularly devastated when someone offers constructive criticism of your work, you might need to work harder on increasing your own self-validation skills. But for most of us, sincere encouragement, support, and recognition are simply important motivators that help us do our jobs with a stronger sense of energy and purpose. I recently read research that found that students who receive encouragement from teachers…
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Research on Leading With Generosity

Research on Leading With Generosity

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I think of summer as a generous time of year: the sun is beaming, farmer’s markets are overflowing with ripe produce, and leafy trees are offering up their shade. Generosity is an important human quality, and it is becoming recognized as an important leadership trait that can benefit organizations and the individual. Adam Grant, Wharton School professor and author of the book Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success, researches this subject, and found interesting results for employees who share their time and resources with a giving spirit. For example, salespeople who rate strongly in their desire to benefit others generate 50 percent more revenue than their counterparts. People are also more likely to take suggestions from people who are perceived as generous. In Give and Take, Grant explains that…
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The Importance of the Intangible

The Importance of the Intangible

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“The intangible represents the real power of the universe. It is the seed of the tangible” -Bruce LeeWhat is the intangible? It is what we can’t touch or measure. (The word "tangible” comes from the Latin word, “tangere,” to touch). And yet I believe that the intangibles in relationships, including business relationships, matter more than we think. They are, as Bruce Lee put it, the “real power” behind so many things we can measure in business: deliverables, outcomes, clients, conversion rates, the endurance of an organization over time. Think about when you walk into a room for a meeting and the feeling is low, or combative. What are you primed to do by that mood? Which great ideas won’t surface under those conditions? Which employees will work less enthusiastically?Then think of walking into…
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