Three Things That Can Block Our Empathy

Three Things That Can Block Our Empathy

Article
Most of us would like for others to understand, recognize, and share in our feelings, and it can be demoralizing, lonely and painful to experience another person’s lack of empathy. In business, this can affect employees, and can also lead to a poor understanding about what customers might need or want.  So how do we get closer to the empathy that makes the world an easier place, and helps our businesses work more smoothly inside and out?  For a start, we can look at what blocks the natural empathy inside us.  Lack of empathy can be the result of exhaustion, distraction, or stress. But a few common roadblocks to empathy trip people up even when they are feeling great. I have found that paying attention to such roadblocks has helped…
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Tolerating discomfort is a leadership trait.

Tolerating discomfort is a leadership trait.

Article
It can feel like a paradox: the times when we grow the most and feel happiest often require that we experience discomfort. When I think about moments of greatest growth for leaders and teams I work with, or for myself, they almost always occur after we move through something and/or have an experience that’s hard, challenging, or uncomfortable. An easy analogy is to consider what exercise does for us. We may drag our feet on going to the gym, getting out on a run, or taking a yoga class, and when we start, we might or likely to feel the discomfort of stiff joints and lazy muscles. We get out there despite this initial rough patch because we know that as we move through that we'll find a greater feeling…
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A New Workbook for Leading With Self-Knowledge

A New Workbook for Leading With Self-Knowledge

Article
As I wrote in the introduction to my first leadership book, "How Do You Want to Show Up? Find Your Inner Truths--and Lead with Them", I have been curious from an early age about what makes a great leader. What I've learned is that effective leadership is more than an attitude or a natural ability. It's a vocation that requires real intention, the strength to look inward and know oneself, and the willingness to show up with that knowledge as a leader. My second book, the new How Do You Want to Show Up? Workbook, contains over 200 pages of my favorite coaching questions, prompts, tips and tools that have effectively helped leaders find their internal values and beliefs and bring them to the workplace--and the rest of life. Workbook…
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Acknowledging Emotions in the Workplace

Acknowledging Emotions in the Workplace

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Emotions need acknowledgement in the workplace. Otherwise, they’re a little like free radicals—molecules containing an unpaired electron that are known to be unstable and highly reactive. Free radicals can be very damaging.  Unless we pay attention to them, tune in to them, name and validate them, emotions in the workplace can wreak similar havoc. Not only do they cause stress to an individual, impacting how they show up in the workplace, but those emotions can also go free-roaming and make trouble with other people and teams.  It's common, and understandable, for a leader to focus on where they are going, outcomes that need to be achieved, and how to solve for business results, while forgetting to acknowledge these unspoken, unattended emotions in the room. And yet in my work I…
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The Power of Authentic Conversations

The Power of Authentic Conversations

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Engaging in authentic conversations allows people to feel most alive and real, and leads to high morale. We need real conversations in order to provide clarity and move discussions, decisions, business outcomes and performance forward.Yet, despite the power of authenticity, it can be surprisingly hard to achieve this at work. Our identity and/or our relationships with others can feel at stake if we take a position and say what we think, feel or want.What do you see when you consider your work self? Are you a far different person at work than you are outside of it? Also step back and observe team meetings. How much are team members holding back? Do individuals seem to be sharing all of their thoughts, positions and ideas? Is the team able to debate…
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For a Successful Team, Pay Attention to Group Norms

For a Successful Team, Pay Attention to Group Norms

Article, Uncategorized
There can be great wisdom in a team. In fact, groups are often able to make better decisions than any single individual. But there’s a caveat: only emotional intelligent teams can be this effective. Most of us, at some point, have encountered the other kind of team or group—the type that makes a person want to work alone. When a team is dysfunctional, decision-making, quality, and speed suffer. So it’s an urgent matter to figure out how to create a high performing team, and there’s no magic formula. There is, however, one important area leaders can focus on that, with effort and attention, will always improve a team: group norms. Everyone in a group contributes to its overall emotional intelligence level, but the norms strongly determine whether the team is high-performing, or simply a…
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Why Context Can Make Or Break Your Work Life

Why Context Can Make Or Break Your Work Life

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Are you thriving at work?Often, I hear leaders in work situations where they feel unhappy, don’t feel like themselves, and are convinced that the problem must be about them. They take responsibility, thinking that if they could just figure out how to work better with this one colleague, or fit in better with a team, or if they could just work harder or in a different way, they could make it work.While it's great to own up to your challenges, you can't always fix a work problem by putting your shoulder to the wheel. In fact, I have frequently found that leaders can gain in happiness and energy by making sure they are working in the right context based on their own style, values, and other attributes. Like a sun-loving…
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Learning a Kinder Leadership Style

Learning a Kinder Leadership Style

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If you’ve ever watched the hit Netflix food and travel program Salt Fat Acid Heat, you’ve observed the friendly, bubbly personality of its star, chef Samin Nosrat.She’s known for her warm, upbeat style. In an article for the food magazine Bon Appetit, a writer who spent time with Samin concluded, “She really wants you to love her, and she has an uncanny, non-smarmy ability to get you to do just that.”Yet, like so many leaders, she didn't always lead with her innate warmth and charm. In fact, Nosrat said in a recent profile for Inc. Magazine that in her first high pressure management job in a kitchen ten years ago, when she was 25, she took on a much different personality in an attempt to lead without any leadership training. When…
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To Strengthen Leadership, Find Time for Silence

To Strengthen Leadership, Find Time for Silence

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Who would you be if you took time for silence? Given the level of noise that surrounds us, we might never know the answer to that question unless we consciously set aside time for quiet. By “noise,” I mean not only the sounds of phones, construction, screens and traffic, but the chatter of texts, emails, websites and social media that fills our days. “Recent studies are showing that taking time for silence restores the nervous system, helps sustain energy, and conditions our minds to be more adaptive and responsive to the complex environments in which so many of us now live, work, and lead,” write Justin Talbot-Zorn and Leigh Marz in the Harvard Business Review article The Busier You Are, the More You Need Quiet Time.The authors point to research associating quiet with…
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How to Be Likable by Asking Questions

How to Be Likable by Asking Questions

Article
If someone seems genuinely interested in you, do you feel more positive about them? I do. In fact, if you want to make a positive connection with someone, there's scientific research to suggest that people tend to feel good about others who ask questions during a conversation.The researchers in the study analyzed both live online conversations, and face-to-face speed-dating conversations, and they found “a robust and consistent relationship between question-asking and liking.” People who asked more questions came across as more likable. Most importantly, follow-up questions in those conversations were even more effective. “Speed daters who ask more follow-up questions during their dates are more likely to elicit second dates from their partners, a behavioral indicator of liking,” the researchers write. Not everyone finds it easy to think of questions on…
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