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Doing nothing often leads to the very best something

Aspire-CS

Photo credit: 123rf. We went to see the new movie Christopher Robin last weekend. We grew up with Winnie the Pooh books and we carried on that tradition with our own children so have a soft spot for the stories and characters.

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The benefits of listening more

Aspire-CS

Photo credit: 123RF. I was young and relatively new to the professional work world, with an abundance of motivation and drive. The executive I was reporting to inherited me and the work I was doing in a reorganization.

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What an open dialog requires of you

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Photo credit: 123RF. There are times when a you as a leader will need to have an open dialog with an individual, group or team. This might be so that you can get others’ input, thoughts or opinions. It isn’t about pushing your ideas on others, it’s about drawing theirs out.

There is always something new under the sun

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Photo credit: 123RF. Are you feeling a little stale or bored? Do you sense that years of leadership are wearing on you? Are you squelching new ideas or figuratively rolling your eyes when the younger generation of leaders in your company make suggestions to change something?

Eight unexpected ways to continue to develop yourself as a leader

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Photo credit: 123rf. You’re a year or two into your dream leadership role and you know you are capable of more, but you don’t know where to start. After the first months of learning everything you need to learn about your job you settled in. Yet you have a nagging feeling that something is missing.

What you can do about that person who really bugs you

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Photo credit: 123RF. Everyone who works with other people experiences it: an employee, peer or coworker who drives them crazy. Every day you face them increases your frustration. Why don’t they change? Don’t they know they’re (fill in the blank here: annoying, a bully, lazy, unhelpful, etc.)?

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Why you should coach people

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Photo credit: 123rf Southmind. Organizations are increasingly teaching leaders to coach their subordinates (and sometimes each other). I want to believe that this isn’t a passing fad, because there are lots of reasons for leaders to learn how to coach others in the workplace.

Get out of the weeds to lead people

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Many employees are promoted into management positions because their knowledge and expertise have made them successful in the work they do. The problem is that a management position doesn’t always fit their passion. People managers have to lead people, and not everyone is motivated to do that.

The upsides to delegating

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One of the most difficult personal challenges a leader can have throughout their career is to delegate some of the work they are doing to others. It’s unfortunate that all too often a crisis happens before a leader realizes they could have done a better job of delegating.

Examine the beliefs that no longer serve you

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Photo credit: 123RF. Because of who you are and how you’ve lived in the world, you carry beliefs with you that may or may not serve you in your leadership (and your life). It’s good to be aware of those and realize when they need to be held tightly or set free.

Become a generative listener

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There is a kind of non-listening that goes on in our society and organizations that is distracted and disjointed, and often marked by interruptions. This non-listening doesn’t focus on the person speaking. Rather, the listeners try their hardest to get their ideas into the conversation.

Showing courage in small acts of kindness

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By definition a leader is a person who is a trailblazer, doing things that others don’t do, and often because they are the right thing to do. These don’t have to be heroic acts, and they are most likely small acts of kindness that are done daily.

Coaching is more than asking questions

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I’ve seen a lot written and said about how important it is for people managers to coach the people around them. Often, the enthusiasm about coaching is anchored in leaders asking more questions rather than telling others what to do.

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Stepping up and stepping back

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Some leaders think that they need to be “out front” and leading at every moment. They simply can’t help themselves, feeling the need to overwhelm and dazzle everyone with their leadership prowess. Others hold back, staying quiet and never really stepping up to their own brilliance as leaders.

What if you were curious?

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Photo credit: 123rf. Last week I listened to a client’s frustration over employees who had become complacent, moving slowly, dotting their “i’s” and “t’s”, following the corporate line. Unfortunately, this is a song and dance I’ve heard too often.

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How to make feedback a developmental opportunity

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Many employees cringe at the thought of getting feedback from their manager. Who wouldn’t blame them? It tends to be overly critical, given with haste and without care, and confusing. So often, the feedback given is often useless to the receiver.

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What people want from you

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Photo credit: 123RF. You sit at your desk, confused about the anonymous critical feedback you received through a poll, a 360 or other such survey instrument. You feel misunderstood and frankly – you are starting to be angry.

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When your manager asks you to work with a coach

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Photo credit: 123RF. Panic and fear have you in their grip you because your manager has asked you to work with an executive coach. What does that mean? Your mind is racing and going to the only plausible reason you can think of for him to suggest it: you’re in trouble. Wrong.

Psychological safety, perspective and behavior

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Photo credit/copyright: 123rf. Greg, a manager in a large company asked for his employees to be open with him. That didn’t go over well since he regularly dressed down those who came to him with bad news or mistakes they’d made.

Being vulnerable builds work relationships

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I was vying for a position in “corporate” that would round out my experience for something bigger later on. The manager who was interviewing me gave the most grueling interview I’d ever had. His intensity in interviews was the stuff of legends, and I wasn’t given a break.

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Are you making a difference?

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Although leaders may get great personal satisfaction from leading a team that accomplishes greatness, it’s in giving to others that creates conditions for the work to be exceptional.

Time for technology? How digital can help your production office work smarter

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Expanding into practically every aspect of our lives, the digital revolution has set out to achieve one core aim – to improve and enhance our daily experiences. And it does, extremely well. Transport, education, finance; even relationships.

Ten daily practices that show respect to your team

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Disrespect seems to be running rampant everywhere, including our workplaces. Yet when a leader shows they respect their team, the benefits become obvious: people are motivated, dedicated, loyal and the leader becomes a talent magnet – the best workers want to work for and stay with that leader.

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Executive presence is an inside job

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It’s not unusual for an executive to be puzzled that they’ve been told they need to develop “executive presence” in order to move into executive levels in an organization. The question on their mind is “What is executive presence?”. Rightfully so.

Becoming a great leader takes intention and mindfulness

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Leading others can look easy. In reality, most leaders aren’t naturals at leading people; they have to learn by trial and error. Think of all the professions that people go into that require years of honing their craft: musician, doctor, lawyer, engineer, teacher, scientist….the the list goes on.

The neuroscience of asking insightful questions

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I teach coaching skills to leaders. When I get to the section on how to ask questions (an important part of learning to coach) I might ask a trick question to start off: “How many of you are good at solving problems?”. Without fail, almost all hands shoot enthusiastically into the air.

From doer-ship to leadership

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Photo credit: 123rf. Some of the most prevalent things I hear from the people who report directly to a leader is that they want to be more autonomous and be challenged in the work they do. And not surprisingly, they want to be acknowledged more frequently for what they are doing well.

Be realistic about your successes and failures

Aspire-CS

Take a moment to think back on the leadership successes and failures you have experienced. Ask yourself, “Who is responsible for my successes?” and then, “Who is responsible for my failures?”. Think broadly as you ponder those questions.

When you need to reset

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I love my work. Yet on occasion I need to do a check-in with myself because I might be feeling self-critical, stale, or heavy about it, and that can impact my effectiveness. That’s when I need a reset to help me to get back on track.

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Be a role model like Tom Hanks

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Photo credit:123RF.

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Do less and be more of a leader

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Imagine that someone takes notice that you get things done and they see greater potential in you. They talk to you about becoming a people manager or having even greater people responsibilities if you are already a manager.

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How to avoid starring in your own drama

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As human beings, we swim in daily drama. As leaders, any drama we’re involved in gets played out publicly. And there are lots of people out there who can’t wait to tell others about it, whether they get the background story right or not.

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Stretching past your fear

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Very few leaders will claim that they are fearful of anything. Other words might be used because the word fear in itself is frightful. They might say that they “avoid” something, “mistrust” someone, or have “anxiety” – perhaps more acceptable terms to use.

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Separating behavior from the person

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Many of us are quick to judge others based on an instance of unseemly behavior. As a leader, falling into the trap of quickly judging someone based on a single bad behavior isn’t the best way to assure you have an organization of people brimming with potential.

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Why you need to have a hobby

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Photo credit: Mary Jo Asmus. For a leader who is often expected to have all of the answers, you also need to have curiosity and a desire to continue learning. Leadership can’t really be taught in a classroom but it can be learned as you experience your life.

Making mistakes okay

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If there is one thing that employees fear at work, it’s feeling shamed for mistakes they make. There is very little that is worse than feeling the sting of rejection from being called out on slip-ups.

Being grounded in the present as a bridge to your future

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My grandmother used to say that I needed to stop and smell the roses from time to time. She was a smart woman who knew that my own future was dependent on what I paid attention to in my life as it happened. This is true for leaders too.

Leading your team through a crisis

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Every once in a while, I work with a leader who heads up an organization that has been traumatized by an event or situation.

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Becoming a better leader takes discipline

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It’s a beautiful morning. I grab my camera, and walk out of the office to the property that surrounds it as I sharpen my sense of sight to find things that might be unusual or colorful. Something catches my attention with bright purple and yellow color.

The benefits of having a team of equals

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Perhaps you’ve had managers who expected things to be done their way, with little appreciation for your decisions and ideas. Think back to that time, and imagine how it felt.

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