The Risks of Holding Back in Leadership

The Risks of Holding Back in Leadership

Article, Uncategorized
Most of us will hold back at one point or another when we could be leading with our full selves. We have an inkling of where we want to go and what we want to do. We know what we’d be good at, or at least we have a suspicion. Yet, in our everyday lives, we wait to show those vibrant colors inside us until someone invites us to do it. We stay in our current role, waiting for an invitation to further leadership. The most obvious way I observe this in organizations is in people who are headed for a new role, but haven’t yet been given the title. These people know where they’re going, but until they get that title, they consciously or unconsciously stop themselves from acting with…
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You Can’t Influence Others Without Personal Authority

You Can’t Influence Others Without Personal Authority

Article
Many of us wonder how better to motivate and influence the people around us. It’s a question I am regularly asked by clients who want to lean in to their leadership, but who aren’t quite sure how to do it.It is an important question, and the answer, I believe, is that people are most drawn to and influenced by a leader's personal authority. If you want to be a great leader (not a bully) and bring out the best in others while being authentic to yourself, you will need to develop that personal authority. It is something a person can carry even if they are not in an obvious position of power; even if they don’t have situational authority over anyone. It's not simple, but the first step, for nearly everyone,…
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What Can Confusion Tell Us?

What Can Confusion Tell Us?

Article, Uncategorized
Recently I worked with a leader who said that he was confused about an important decision he needed to make. We discussed ways he could figure out an answer, but when I saw him next, he said he was still uncertain, and listed for me some of the pros and cons of making one choice or another. I thought he was getting somewhere with a decision, but in the end he postponed yet again. “I just don’t know what I want to do,” he said. He was far from the first person I’d worked with who was stuck in confusion, which can feel like being trapped in clingy mud. I also knew that, deep down, he had an answer about what he should do. I like to say that confusion is the…
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Research Suggests Employers Seek Candidates With Strong Social Skills

Research Suggests Employers Seek Candidates With Strong Social Skills

Article
Strong cognitive skills--those that can be measured with IQ tests, for instance--are always in demand in the marketplace. However, new research by economists finds that employers are also increasingly searching for applicants with other strengths: "non-cognitive" soft skills such as teamwork, collaboration, and oral and written communication skills.This is a strong affirmation for the leaders I know who have been putting in the work to strengthen their self-knowledge, listening skills, executive presence and other aspects of emotional intelligence."Strong cognitive skills are increasingly a necessary — but not a sufficient — condition for obtaining a good, high-paying job," says David J. Deming, an economist and professor at the Harvard Kennedy School. "You also need to have social skills." One reason for this, he suggests, is that in many jobs there is…
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How Do You Want to Show UP?

How Do You Want to Show UP?

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I'm so proud and pleased to see my new book How Do You Want To Show Up out on the shelf at one of my favorite bookstores, surrounded by the books of writers I admire. I also feel immense joy and gratitude when I hear that people have been buying copies. I'm hopeful that the words and stories contained inside will inspire and support someone who is working on their own leadership.
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Why Lead With Transparency?

Why Lead With Transparency?

Article
How many times do you leave a one-on-one meeting or conversation with your boss or coworker feeling unsure about just what their motivations were, or what kind of impact you made? “What did they really think about what I had to say?” you might ask yourself. “I wish they weren't so hard to read.” How often do you go over the meeting in your mind, creating a “what if?” scenario, or coming up with stories of what just happened, before deciding to just move on and hope for the best?Situations like this are common at organizations and they are also avoidable, when leaders practice and encourage transparency by being clear, honest and forthright. Transparency in business means sharing information with others, including sharing the impact of others’ words and actions. It can be difficult to…
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5 Ways to Grow Personal Leadership

5 Ways to Grow Personal Leadership

Article
I recently attended a talk for human resource leaders that brought in Hitendra Wadhwa, a very popular professor at Columbia Business School and founder of the Institute for Personal Leadership (IPL). Wadhwa is a mathematician who has made a study of what makes a great leader. It didn’t surprise me that this scholar found that great leadership comes from the person you are inside, rather than being imposed from the outside, but I was excited to learn that his research offers some quantifying evidence to back up that philosophy, which I share. Letting your inner self be your "guiding light," as Wadhwa eloquently put it, is easy to say, but it's not always clear to each of us how we can bring that about. Wadhwa proposed paying attention to five key aspects of self. I'll…
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So Simple and So Good For You

So Simple and So Good For You

Article
Reading books is good for you. Even Oprah says so.(Writing books is, too, even if while you're doing it you're not sure if you'll ever finish. Ahem.)Late last summer I finished writing my first book. Among other benefits, that experience gave me even more respect for book authors than I had before. Writing is hard work. Putting your ideas and words out into the world for others to read—and perhaps criticize—is also a challenge. So one of my goals in the New Year, now that I'm done writing my first book, is to read more of other people's books. It’s sometimes hard to carve out time for book reading but I notice that when I do, what I get from a good book reverberates in my life far beyond the time…
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Research Says To Lend a Listening Ear (And Not an Eye)

Research Says To Lend a Listening Ear (And Not an Eye)

Article
A recent study offered an interesting twist on what makes for effective listening. According to research, listeners who hear a speaker by phone, or with eyes closed, tend to more accurately gauge the speaker’s emotions than listeners who are also looking at the speaker by video conference or in person. According to an article in the journal Yale Insights, “The research suggests that simple phone calls might be sufficient for bringing together far-flung colleagues.” This might be good news for businesses that want to cut back on travel for face-to-face meetings. It’s also somewhat of an affirmation of what I’ve noticed in my own work. I do phone as well as in-person coaching, and while I feel confident that I’m gleaning a person’s emotions face-to-face, I have also felt that the phone coaching…
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How To Align Intentions and Actions

How To Align Intentions and Actions

Article
We all sometimes show up in the world in a way we didn’t intend. Sometimes it's a moment we learn from and move on, but at other times we get stuck showing up repeatedly in ways that go against who we really want to be. To fix that, we need both clearer intentions, and also a sharper awareness of how we come across to others.Take a leader I worked with whom I’ll call Alex. He knew he wanted to be a strong, empathetic leader. He is very talented, and had risen quickly in his field. Yet he was unhappy and uninspired when I met him, while working at a job he should have loved. He was stressed by his boss, John, who was unsupportive and demanding, and Alex was handling…
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