Four Ways Gratitude Can Help You Do Your Job

Four Ways Gratitude Can Help You Do Your Job

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Psychologists have recently paid more attention to the role of gratitude in improving physical and mental health. Gratitude is also a topic of interest in the workplace, as a way to motivate employees and build first-rate teams. While you can’t fix all your problems with positive thinking, research indicates that putting effort into feeling thankful—and, when appropriate, expressing gratitude to others--can be beneficial for health and relationships. 1. Being thankful is associated with a healthier heart and other health benefits. “We found that more gratitude in these patients was associated with better mood, better sleep, less fatigue and lower levels of inflammatory biomarkers,” says the lead author of this study. 2. Thankfulness can help you and your colleagues cope with difficulty. There is scientific evidence that people who feel gratitude can enhance well-being in…
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3 Great Leadership Books For Summer Reading

3 Great Leadership Books For Summer Reading

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These three leadership reads offer great insights while also being brisk and entertaining—perfect for the beach or campsite. Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work and in Life One Conversation at a Time by Susan Scott Executive and leadership coach Susan Scott asserts that relationships are built on having the right conversations. Through the stories, tools and worksheets in this book she outlines how to have the “fierce” conversations of her title. Wall Street Journal bestseller. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful by Marshall Goldsmith with Mark Reiter Executive coach Marshall Goldsmith tackles the interpersonal issues that even successful executives face, focusing on the top 20 bad habits that can undermine relationships in business and in families, with practical advice on how to…
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A Self-Knowledge Survey

A Self-Knowledge Survey

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When a leader receives executive coaching, they are also offered the rare opportunity to learn new information about how they come across to others. Coaching creates a safe place for gathering and sharing that information, as the coach can survey colleagues and pass along the anonymous results to the client. It's hard to mine for this kind of data on your own, because people are less likely to be as frank as they would be with a coach as intermediary. But in the search for self-knowledge, information about how you come across to others is gold. If you can tolerate some surprises, you might consider asking siblings, friends, and acquaintances to answer a few questions about how you appear to them. Sending them questions by email with a promise not to get angry…
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The Mantra of Bold Action

The Mantra of Bold Action

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For most people it takes urgency to lead them to take a leap. I believe it helps to orient yourself toward bold action, rather than waiting for a situation that requires it. When we stay in inaction, that is our narrative. Taking action, even if it's imperfect, will change your story. What would I do if I were bolder? If I could let go of some of my fears, how would I show up differently? See if you can turn the volume down on your inner critic long enough to take a bold step. It could be having an important conversation, or taking the first steps to launch a creative idea. A habit of action can help you create a new narrative for your career, for your business, for your life. Once you’ve stepped forward: Celebrate…
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How To Become a Leader of Self

How To Become a Leader of Self

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You are a leader of others, and a leader of your business. Most of all, you are a leader of yourself. In every conversation, in every relationship, we are engaged with ourselves as well as the other person. This is what makes self-knowledge so important. If you don't know your sources of power, your stumbling blocks, your habits and your feelings in the moment, your leadership is likely to be on shaky ground. One way to learn more about yourself at this moment is to slow down, and become attuned to what you are thinking and feeling right now. This is harder than it sounds. Search the web for breathing exercises, which can help in focusing the mind. Once you are breathing with some awareness, begin to pay attention to…
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What’s Your Emotional Temperature?

What’s Your Emotional Temperature?

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This green sea turtle, basking on a Hawaiian beach, is regulating her temperature. Marine reptiles like sea turtles cool off or warm up by changing their behavior. For warmth, they glide into a warm current of water, or lumber up the beach to bask in the sun. Helping leaders regulate their emotional temperatures is one of the jobs of executive coaching, and it starts by figuring out where a person falls on the emotional thermometer. Where do you land? It can be hard to tell from the inside: some of the "coolest" leaders I’ve met thought they were open and warm. It can help to get feedback from trusted friends and relatives. If you recognize that you are projecting a cool if not downright chilly demeanor, consider following the sea turtle's lead, and taking steps to…
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The Vulnerability Superpower

The Vulnerability Superpower

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Some people are naturally able  to be vulnerable with their peers. They are as transparent as possible about their thoughts and motives. They show up as authentic, imperfect selves, and allow discomfort and uncertainty. Why is this so hard for others to do? One big reason is that we worry that others will see this vulnerability and try to take us down. We want to protect ourselves, and appear as if we have all the answers. We value openness in others, but fear taking the leap ourselves. Effective leaders have figured out that vulnerability isn't a sign of weakness, but acts more like a superpower, creating strong relationships and solid trust in a way that nothing else can. "The difficult thing is that vulnerability is the first thing I look for in you and the last thing I’m willing to show you. In you,…
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How To Listen Fully So That Others Feel Heard

How To Listen Fully So That Others Feel Heard

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Research shows employees value respect from their leaders above all else. Yet, as this Harvard Business Review story describes, over half of employees don't feel they get that respect. I have learned that full, engaged listening is one way leaders can show daily respect for others, and nothing breaks it down for me more clearly than the Japanese kanji symbol for listening that illustrates this post.  The left side of the kanji represents the ear. The right side is you—your attention, your focus, your eyes. In the middle is the heart. If you are listening with your ears, your eyes, and your heart, your employee is more likely to feel that they have your undivided attention, and your respect. Some starting points: To listen with your ears, eliminate distractions. If you need to, clarify…
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Conversations That Matter

Conversations That Matter

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It’s common in organizations (as in the rest of our lives) to avoid the conversation that matters. We wait, and hope things get better. They never do. The hidden truth blocks progress, remaining the proverbial elephant in the room. One technique leaders can use to overcome this is to normalize having difficult conversations. Set aside time for the important subjects, and signal that you are open to hearing the truth. What should we really be talking about right now? What’s hard to talk about, but needs to get out on the table? Open that door, and keep it open.
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The Underrated Benefits of Feelings in the Workplace

The Underrated Benefits of Feelings in the Workplace

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My clients are often surprised when I ask them to name their feelings, a subject not often discussed in offices and meeting rooms. (And when I say they’re surprised, I mean that I regularly hear versions of “You’ve got to be kidding me,” and “No, thanks.”) But we all have them, all the time, whether we are paying attention to what we are feeling or not. When we acknowledge our feelings, we are at our most alive. Without a connection to our inner truths our connection to others will falter. At best, we move forward in our work even through our disconnection, but we find ourselves less inspired, less happy, and more frustrated.  At worst, our lack of self-knowledge contributes to the kind of work culture that can drag a business down. This…
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