This article has been taken directly from the Korn Ferry library.
It resonated with me so I thought I’d share it. The original
article can be found on the Korn Ferry website.
The pandemic’s perpetual uncertainty shows how leaders must be comfortable acting even when so much is out of their control, says Korn Ferry CEO Gary Burnison. Gary Burnison is CEO of Korn Ferry and the author of Leadership U: Accelerating Through the Crisis Curve.
So if you're tired of the same old story
Oh, turn some pages
I'll be here when you are ready
To roll with the changes
The pilot’s announcement was the last thing any of us wanted to hear. “Sorry, folks. We’re not going anywhere.”
It was many years ago, and I was en-route to Madrid for a series of important meetings, with a connection in London’s Heathrow Airport. Along the way, however, the flight was diverted because of a snowstorm, and we had to land in Shannon, Ireland.
Not only were we in the wrong place, but the crew had exceeded their legal flying time, so we’d be stuck there for 14 hours. When I looked out the window, I saw no other planes at the gates. I had to do something.
I grabbed my carry-on (I never check luggage—for this very reason), deboarded the plane, and rented a car. Driving 120 kilometers along country roads in the rain, I made it from Shannon to the city of Cork where I got the only available seat on a regional airline. Last row, in the middle—but I didn’t care.
I landed at Heathrow around midnight, stayed at an airport hotel, and got up at 4:30 in the morning to catch the flight to Madrid. But I made it on time. Moral of the story: We can’t control the weather, but we can—and must—adjust our sails.
We’re all on an airplane these days—up in the air, and not sure of where or when we’re going to land. When ambiguity is imposed on us, agility is our response. Combined, it’s ambigility — and that’s what will get us through.
We’re in a constant state of flux—think about it. Masked, unmasked. Fully vaccinated, maybe a booster. Back to the office, maybe not yet (or ever). Virus variants—Delta, Lambda, [fill in the next one]. Extreme weather. Global unrest…. Even when we feel things are looking up, we’re always looking over our shoulders for the next down.
This push-pull, if-then world is like a Monte Carlo simulation running in real time. We’re trying to anticipate what lies ahead by plugging in all we think we know about today’s reality. But the more we’re all immersed in ambiguity, the less information we have. And that’s the conundrum.
For leaders, this is not surrender. It’s all about finding serenity—what can we change, what must we accept.
The good news is we’re not where we were. We’ve built new muscles, perhaps without even realizing it. We’ve become comfortable with being uncomfortable. Today, however, it feels like we’re all at the crossroads where the world’s ambiguity is testing our agility. And our response can be nothing short of ambigility. We’re learning what to do when we don’t know what to do amid circumstances and challenges we’ve never seen before.
We’re in a state of transition—and maybe always will be. As Bryan Ackermann, managing partner of our firm’s Global Leadership and Professional Development practice, told me this week: “In the beginning, we all just wanted to get through the pandemic. Now, we realize we are living in it. We can’t be in such a race to get back to the familiar that we fail to see things as they really are.”
We can’t control it. We have to roll with it. Here are some thoughts:
Rolling with it.
No one is going to pull the sword out of the stone for us. We need the grit and grace to do it for ourselves. But hubris and heroics, alone, won’t do the job. As paradoxical as it may sound, the only way to develop ambigility is by acknowledging what we can’t do by ourselves. As Evelyn Orr, chief operating officer of the Korn Ferry Institute, told me this week. “In this environment, it’s no longer about believing that ‘I alone can make things happen.’ It’s acknowledging that we’re all part of an ecosystem that we can influence, but not change by sheer force of will.” Knowledge is what we know, but it takes ambigility to acknowledge what we don’t know—and can’t control.
Not if/then—more than.
“Ambi” derives from Latin, meaning both. So, ambiguity really means things could possibly move in two (or more) directions. Same thing with ambivalence. It doesn’t mean we don’t care—we just feel equally strong in both directions. That’s why we need ambigility—so we can make it all work. Just like the batter who can hit from both sides of the plate, we become ambidextrous. As our firm defines it, ambidexterity is where strength meets flexibility—for example, performing today and transforming for tomorrow. As a chief medical officer told me just the other day, “We can have both ends of a spectrum and balance the needs accordingly. That changes how we perceive challenges today as not just problems to fix, but poles to leverage.” After all, in life and leadership, few things are either/or, if/then. They’re more than.
Where anticipate bumps into navigate.
This L.A. story happened on a Saturday morning—just a week ago. Traffic was crawling, bumper to bumper, down the 405. Gripping the steering wheel, I made eye contact with the driver in the next lane—both of us exasperated. I had anticipated that the freeways would be clearer on a weekend. Instead, I was navigating a traffic snarl for two long hours to reach downtown L.A. No accidents, no construction, no reason why. Flash forward two days to Monday. I had a meeting in downtown L.A., at almost the exact location as Saturday’s destination. With schools back in session and people returning to offices and businesses, I anticipated crowded freeways—so I left more than two hours ahead of time. But this time, it was blue sky and completely open lanes—and I reached downtown in a mere 45 minutes.
Same location, two different days, two completely different outcomes. Quick on a rush hour day, slow on a leisure day. These days, it’s as if anticipation and navigation have become “frenemies”—interconnected but often clashing.
Within that tension, we must constantly anticipate what lies ahead and in all directions and continuously navigate in the moment.
And it starts with the paradoxical reality of today.
“In a perfect world....”
How many times have we heard those words? What comes next is almost always a commentary of how things should be. But there is no perfect world—and futilely looking for one only makes everything else seem far worse by comparison. This reminds us of the wise words of President Theodore Roosevelt: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” We need to stop looking for some mythical “perfect” solution and focus instead on what will work for us right now.
Not a year from now, not six months, maybe not even next month. Today. That’s the world we live in. Granted, ambiguousness is no one’s favorite state of being—we much prefer clarity. But there’s no avoiding the fact that today’s new world and the workscape in which we operate are still largely gray and unknown—and that’s not likely to change anytime soon.
We make our path as we walk it along a road that is anything but linear. It twists and turns—sometimes rushing us forward, other times slowing us to a crawl, or even diverting us to places unknown. We can’t change it, so we might as well go with it.
Indeed, with ambigility, it won’t matter where the path goes—only how we respond.
Everything in life happens for a reason and whatever it is, it leads you
to your next lesson.
We can accept shit happens and learn to understand that these events
happen to teach us something, help us grow and encourage us to
view things differently and change, embrace challenges and use it as a
driver to make changes for the better.
We can accept what’s happening around us or stick our heads in the ground and try to ignore what’s going on.
When something happens, it’s normally because something isn’t right. Whether that be you getting sick because you’re not taking care of yourself (self-care), gain weight because you’re not eating healthy, you’re in debt because you overspend on trivial things and regret it later, you’re unhappy at home, work, school because you’re trying to control things outside of your control, and sometimes, things just happen.
When things happen do you view it with a lens of “it happened to me” or “it happened for me”?
Changing your view by just a little and look at events as life lessons that are happening to teach you something about yourself (or others) is a good way to look for opportunities and lessons in challenging situations.
Think about a ‘bad’ situation you’ve had in your past – what happened, what did you learn, how do you do things differently now because of that experience?
We can’t control external factors, but we can control how we respond
There are things that we just can’t control and we need to accept that.
We can’t decide when a new baby
is going to be born, accidents,
Covid-19, redundancies at work,
When things happen instead
of complaining and focussing on
the negative of the situation, or falling apart and being a victim, you can focus on what you CAN control in that situation.
We can always control our response to anything and by acknowledging and doing so, we take back power for ourselves and our actions. This activates parts of our brain that will help us see opportunities instead of problems.
By becoming a victim, you are surrendering to the event and can fall into a phase where you can be easily influenced by focussing on the negative.
This can lead to unhealthy habits forming, eating unhealthy food and justifying it as “comfort food”, drinking too much, doing drugs or other things to try and remove yourself from the perceived problem.
However, when you realise that there are things you can control, your focus changes.
You can control you!
Use this as a platform to look for opportunities. Where there is good, there is bad, where there is light, there is dark, it’s what you focus on that matters.
You can’t have a rainbow without the rain.
So next time you’re caught in a metaphorical rain storm, look for shelter, grab your umbrella (those tings that you know make you happy), learn new ways of doing and ask for help if you need it. Then when the rain has past, you can enjoy the colours of the rainbow.
We see things through our own life experience
Do you only see the first thing in situations, or do you look further, to see differences, to embrace a different view?
When you see this image – what do you see FIRST?
Did you look at this picture and take the first image you saw and move on? Or did you look further to look for other things?
And now, when you keep looking at it, search for different things to see – and what else do you notice?
How much more intricate is this image than you first thought?
Life is like that. If you limit your view to the first reaction to a situation, you could
be missing out on the beauty that is hidden within, the opportunities and
lessons that await you.
You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you. ~Brian Tracy~
Change is not easy, and you don’t have to do it alone. If there are times when
you are struggling, reach out and ask for help. Family, friends and community
groups are there to help.
You are stronger than you think
There is only one thing more painful than learning from experience – and
that is not learning from experience. ~Archibald MacLeish~
When we experience challenges we have an initial reaction, which is our
normal state of response. However, when we are aware that we have a
normal response, we can catch, cancel and correct our response.
Once we learn something new, we can not unlearn it. So, learning how to
catch, cancel and correct to put ourselves in a more positive state is a great tool
We become stronger because of our challenges and we build new skills to
cope with future events. The strengths you have know have been built over time. The things you can deal with now and cope easily, you wouldn’t have been able
to do say, 5 years ago. We learn each and every day, and sometimes we don’t
realise we are even learning.
You are stronger and more resilient today than you were last year and you have different ways of responding to events. The strength you have built over the years is one of your most valuable assets. And as we learn, we get better and then that skill, competency, way of being becomes our ‘new normal’ and we step into new experiences differently, learn new things and continue to grow.
You are stronger and more resilient than you know and it’s only in
challenging times that we realise just how strong we are.
Your self-talk is omnipotent
Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded
We are our own toughest critic and most of the time, unfairly so. Is your
first reaction to tell yourself off, beat yourself up for something you did or
didn’t do? How’s that working out for you?
Catch, cancel and correct that voice inside your head.
Catch that negative response to yourself, cancel it out and be correct it with a
more kind thought.
When your inner critic starts to rise up, have a chat with yourself and ask yourself
if you would talk to a friend the way you are talking to yourself?
Would you say those comments to someone else going through what you’re
going through? If the answer is “no”, then change your thinking and
And cut yourself some slack. Remember, it’s ok to muck up every now and
then, that’s part of life. Acknowledge that you may or may not have behaved in
the best way possible and vow to do differently next time. Accept that this
has passed and that you have learnt from it. To be able to heal, you need to
accept what’s happened, forgive yourself and your mistakes, take the lesson
you’ve learnt and re-set your thinking.
Have a conversation with yourself as if you are your own best friend. See how
your inner dialogue changes when you only speak to yourself the way you speak
to your best friend, partner, parent or children.
What’s really important?
Learning to enjoy the simple things in life is important, particularly in tough times. Appreciating and focussing on what you “do” have instead of what you don’t is key.
What you focus on grows.
Focussing on positives instead of negatives will enhance your mood and
improve your overall wellbeing. Being grateful for your health, home, family,
clothes, food, books, TV, shower etc can boost your mindset.
Who is important in your life right now?
If you’re in lockdown, who are you missing the most? Who is keeping in
contact and who isn’t?
Know and nurture those relationships that are important to you and don’t
worry about the rest. Invest in those that lift you up and help you fill up your
cup and avoid those that drain your energy.
If you’re in lockdown think about what you can do differently? We can keep
in touch with social media, but how special is it when we actually get something
in the mail? Make an effort and send a note or a card to a loved one and see
how special it makes you both feel.
Share some tips below about how you stay positive in challenging times.
And if you want to chat about coaching, reach out and make contact for a quick 15 min chat about how we can work together.
Image by: Oleg Shupliak (bored panda)
Effective leadership in today's changing
world is more important than ever. And
leading yourself first is paramount.
Understanding how you are coping through
change is the first step. Recognising what
builds you up and drains you, where you're
at and how to self manage is fundamental
in any leadership position.
I am honoured to be included in this article with other amazing coaches and leaders.
Click the button below to access the full article.
In constantly changing times, how do you keep track of yourself and your team in relation to burnout?
In a Deloitte survey, respondents said:
91% say having an unmanageable amount of stress or frustration negatively impacts the quality of their work
64% say they frequently feel stressed or frustrated and
77% had experienced burnout.
The biggest drivers of burnout were:
* Lack of support or recognition
* Unrealistic deadlines or expectations
* Working long hours/weekends
Burnout is a big concern and with more remote working it’s harder to stay on top of your team, how they’re feeling and whether or not they’re taking on too much and nearing burnout.
Whilst it’s not always clear when someone is on the verge of burnout, there are some general signs you can look out for. As a leader you can keep in touch with your team and learn to spot these changes so you can support them when needed.
There are some indicative signs to look out for that may give you an indication
that someone is in need of support.
> A change in normal behaviour
If they’re normally social and interactive and they all of a sudden withdraw, or
If they’re normally quite and reserved and they become loud and aggressive.
> Changes in how they interact
If they are accepting invites and not turning up, or they’re low in mood/energy,
or you see them physically and emotionally withdrawing when normally
they’re engaged, alert and involved.
> Cynicism or rudeness has crept in
Burnout can be attributed to shortness of temperament and people can become
‘snappy’ or ‘touchy’. If they start making snide remarks, rolling their eyes, putting others down, finding fault in things that others are doing, these can all be signs.
Our emotions can manifest physically, so if someone is constantly ill or taking days off work, these could be symptoms of burnout or inability to want to come to work. Check in with them about how they are and if there is anything you can do to help.
If they have multiple deadlines or tasks on the go, discuss with them delegating, getting support or giving one of those tasks to someone else.
Be aware of their current state and guide them to the realisation that work reallocation is the best thing for everyone. Use chunking up coaching techniques to help do this.
If suddenly their work has mistakes or they show a “don’t care” attitude could be signs of overwhelm or burnout.
If they lose confidence, start doubting themselves or start missing deadlines, check in with them. If this is left unchecked into can creep into their personal lives.
> A change in eating habits or increased alcohol intake
If you notice them ‘stress eating’ or they go from healthy to junk food, or if you notice at social events that they’ve started to drink heavily, these can be signs that they're masking how they're feeling.
In general, knowing and understanding your team and checking in with them regularly is a good start. Set up weekly, fortnightly, monthly one on ones where you create a regular routine of starting the meetings with a general "how are you going" check in. Kick of with questions such as: "how are you feeling", "what's been happening for you lately", then move to the work related tasks, key milestones,
deadlines, KPI's etc.
Understanding if someone is experiencing something challenging or difficult in their home life can impact on them at work. We don't leave our emotions at home when we come to work, the same as we can't leave a broken leg at home.
Be aware that what happens in our lives impacts all parts of our lives. If someone is having a difficult time with their partner, kids, parents, other significant others or pets they may need to temporarily adjust their work schedule to accommodate for this event. Be mindful and prepared to support them in their personal lives as much as you do when there is a work deadline looming. Understanding what's happening for them can help you guide their work and ensure they're able to cope with what you're asking of them.
If you notice a change in their ‘normal’ behaviour it’s a good indicator that they may be struggling with something and/or nearing burnout. Have a catch up with them and as “are you OK, what can I do to support you?”.
If you want some help or to chat about how you can engage differently with your team, reach out to me for a chat about how we can work together.
Share with us some of the things that you do with your team to support each other.
Image by: JJ Jordan (Unsplash)
#burnoutrecovery #managingstress #burnoutatwork #burnoutstress #managingburnout #leadership #leadershipdevelopment #employeeengagement #leadershipfirst #executivesandmanagement #inspiration #entrepeneurship
#leadershipmindset #leadershipmindsets #heartcentredleadershipbook #leadershipgroup #leadershipcoach
#corporateleadeshipcoaching #purpose_and_passion #ilovecoaching #thebehappyproject #lawofattraction
#fillupmycup #reboot_reconnect #coachhelenluxford #selfcarematters #selftalkmatters #businesshypno
People leave or stay in jobs because of their bosses.
Research by DDI’s Frontline Leader Project revealed
that “People leave managers, not companies.
57% of employees left a job because of their manager.
14% left multiple jobs because of their managers.
And 32% percent have seriously considered leaving because of their manager.”
So, what does this mean for you as a Leader = Everything!
Many people take on leadership positions because it’s the perceived ‘next step’ in their career, but a lot don’t have the basic understanding of what leadership really is. And it's not their fault. The organisation should understand their leadership abilities and put in place leadership development programs and opportunities.
A leadership position comes with responsibility for “leading” but most people see the promotion into leadership as a role that needs to deliver business objectives …… and you’re right, but how do you deliver business objectives?
With people. Ergo, leadership is about people!
Leadership is all about people and being a subject matter expert or technical specialist doesn’t give you the skills to lead people. Some people are ‘natural leaders’ and can effectively and easily lead people, but for many they haven’t got a clue where to start, what to do and how to cope with this team that all have different needs, expectations, temperaments……… and to be a successful leader you need to develop these skills.
When a leader can understand, coach, mentor, inspire, motivate, let-go of being the technical expert and trust your team, you can create an environment where people feel valued and heard and they will respond accordingly. Developing trust and giving them accountability and responsibility to actually do the job you’ve employed them to do, goes a massive way in creating a high-performing team. Empower them and let them be their best selves and you’ll get their commitment and they’ll produce incredible results which can amaze you.
On the other hand, if you feel threatened or the need to ‘hold on to all the knowledge’ then you’ll create a bottle neck and you will miss the opportunity to create an awesome team. Leadership is about letting go of your ego and lifting others up to shine, and when they shine, so will you. But you have to put them first. You need to entrust them to get on and do their job. And if mistakes happen along the way, as they will, then you have their back. You support them and help them understand and find the learnings and lessons in the mistake. Mistakes are great ways to learn not what to do next time. Embrace mistakes, fail and fail early, learn from it, adjust and keep going.
If you can develop trust, create an environment where open debates and discussion are encouraged, gain commitment that 80% agreement equals 100% commitment on that course of action, hold each other accountable, have fun, laugh and work together for the greater good, then you’re on a winning approach. Laughter in a team is a sign of a healthy group.
Patrick Lencioni’s The Five Dysfunctions of a Team is a great book to read and
if you want to chat about leadership coaching reach out for a chat
to see if we can work together.
Image by Vlad Hilitanu (Unsplash)
#leadership #management #leadershipdevelopment #employeeengagement
#leadershipfirst #leadershipfirstquotes #executivesandmanagement
#inspiration #entrepeneurship #theinspirationalleader #leadershipmindset
#leadershipmindsets #heartcentredleadershipbook #leadershipgroup
#heartcentredleadership #leadershipcoach #corporateleadeshipcoaching
#purpose_and_passion #ilovecoaching #thebehappyproject #lawofattraction
#fillupmycup #reboot_reconnect #coachhelenluxford #selfcarematters
Sometimes we look at others and think they are born with an inherent
trait that they are a genius, something given only to a special few,
those that we know about because they are celebrated publicly. The
likes of inventors, billionaires, Nobel Prize winners and other public figures
come to mind.
“Accept and acknowledge your own brilliance.
Stop waiting for others to tell you how great you are!
Believe it for yourself and about yourself".
We all have hidden greatness and brilliance inside us. Too often we overlook
just how great we are. Think about at time when you had a brilliant idea,
a genius moment – a time when you miraculously came up with the solution
to a problem or found a new way of working to overcome a set back?
If we don’t actively remember the problem-solving skills we have, they will
go dormant. When this happens, we forget how brilliant we can be and we
rely on others around us to problem-solve, or worse, we dwell in the pity of
“I don’t know”.
We all have innate ability, strengths and talents – but we don’t all use them to
their full potential.
Here’s some tips on how to develop your inner brilliance and tap into your unique skills, knowledge, talents and capabilities.
1. Activate your positivity
Is your cup half full or half empty? How you view the world will have an
impact on what you do.
If you are looking for problems, and focussing on what can go wrong, guess
what, that’s what you’re going to see.
If you embrace a positive approach to things and have an “optimism bias”
you will be looking for ways to make it work, opportunities will arise because
you will be open to seeing them.
Having an optimistic approach doesn’t mean there is no problem – it means
you see it differently because your mind is solutions focused and therefore
you will look for favourable outcomes or silver linings in times of challenge and difficulty.
The problem will still be the problem, but your focus is on the solution so the
issue is less important because the solution is the way forward. This means you
will take action; you will do things to change the situation to move you past the problem.
Using a positive approach means you’re looking for the best in each situation, focussing on what you can control and letting go of that which you can’t. You
look for ways to improve the situation and take the lessons learnt from it.
Next time you’re faced with a problem – stop and think about your natural response – is it to focus on the problem or the solution? If you’re naturally
inclined to focus on the problem make a determined effort to be solutions focussed, and go find others that are likeminded in finding a solution and
see how different it feels.
2. Trigger your curiosity
Curious minds are always looking for new and different ways of doing. They see something and wonder how it could be made better
or easier. They see a problem and ask themselves; how can I go about solving
this? Is there an easier way to do this? Who can I talk to and bounce some
ideas off? There must be a better way, I just need to find it.”
Look at situations and search your mind for new possibilities. Be curious about
life, question the status-quo, ask “why do we do it this way”, suggest others
ways of doing “what if we could….”
All too often we ‘go with the flow’, but having a curiosity approach means you
can ask and question as to why, what and how this came about.
Using this approach, you may easily stumble across a new or better way of
doing that no-one has thought of because they have accepted the old
premise of “that’s how we’ve always done things”.
Using a curious approach allows your brain to think differently and engages with others to create divergent thinking – it helps us step out of the normal way we operate and activates different parts of our brain.
Next time you’re facing a challenge, grab some paper and write down all of the options or ways that this problem can be approached. Do this freely and openly without any filters or fears.
Write down (or draw) all possible solutions with a mindset that there is no right
r wrong, there are only ideas. Your idea by itself may be the way forward or
that one word or sentence may spark brilliance in someone else and your idea
is the seed that gets things moving.
There is always more than one answer to a problem, so do this exercise freely, openly and abundantly.
3. Get out of your rut
Humans love their comfort zone! In fact, our subconscious mind wants to
keep us in our comfort zone.
We form habits and routines quickly and they can be hard to break. What
habits have you formed that are no longer serving you?
Doing the same thing every day will feel safe, but it means you are operating
in a semi-conscious state, you are not experiencing life around you because
you’re walking around on auto-pilot. (I know you know what I mean).
When we’re in that state we are not using our brains, we are not seeing what is going on around us, we are not open to new stimuli and we can miss wonderful opportunities.
Do you take the same route to work every day? Do you have the same routine at lunch time, do you eat the same lunch every day? Do you have the same routine after work and when you get home?
How’s that working for you? Do you feel stimulated and alive or do you feel
like you are just surviving?
Make a conscious choice to do something different, take a different route to
work – walk the other way around the block to get into the office, catch a
bus home instead of the train, go for a walk before dinner, make one day a
week a “no TV day” and do something different instead of plonking down in
front of the TV. Try something new and notice how different it makes you feel.
4. Live life with Intent
Do you set intentions and have goals for what you want to achieve or do you
just meander through life, one day at a time, take it as it comes?
Setting intentions is a great way to stimulate your mind and step into your brilliance.
Our minds are extremely powerful and if you think you “can” or you “can’t” achieve something – you are correct! Yep, that’s right. Whatever you tell yourself, your mind will look for ways to prove you right.
So now is the time to take control and program your thoughts and create
the future you want. Set your intentions, and do this often and regularly. It is recommended that you sit down and setting your intentions for what you
want to achieve in the next six months – where do you want to be, what do
you want to be different in six months’ time from now?
Create a list write down WHAT you want and WHY you want it. What is the
driving reason for what you want?
Setting your intentions allows your brain to focus and focussing on achieving something means you will be projecting with positivity and looking for ways
to make it happen.
Once you have your six-monthly target, break that down into monthly targets.
In order to get to X in six months, what are six key milestones you need to
hit – one each month to know that you are on track to achieving that
Then look at the target for month one – only look at the first milestone –
that one-month mark. Then break that down in to weekly steps. What do
you need to do each week to achieve that first monthly milestone? Then break
that down into daily activities.
These daily activities should be simple, easy steps for you to achieve – one small thing each day, that’s all, just one small thing each day.
Then each night before you go to bed, look at your list, tick off the activity that
you accomplished today, be thankful to yourself that you achieved it and go to
be focussing on the one thing you are going to achieve tomorrow. That’s it,
focus on one day at a time.
This approach of breaking things down into daily activities allows your brain
to understand that it can achieve it because it is one small step. Continue to
focus on the next day and that one step and by doing this you will achieve
your bigger goal.
5. Laugh and have fun
In today’s world we can get too serious. Laughter is important in your life, it decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
As adults we can get too caught up in our many responsibilities and we can
forget to have fun. Without fun and laughter our stress levels build up, but
do not release and this can cause physical and mental health issues. Laughter
and fun are a natural part of who we are and they are the “pressure relief valve”
Adopting a mindset of creating laughter and fun in our lives means we will feel better and our communication with others will improve because we will be less stressed and our mind will be open to creating brilliance.
As a leader, I know that when I hear laughter in the office, I know my team is functioning healthy. Laughter should be part of each and every day as it:
boosts immunity; lowers stress; decreases pain, relaxes you; prevents
heart disease; relieves stress, improves your mood, strengthens resilience,
adds joy to life; strengthens relationships, enhances teamwork and creates
When we were kids, we laughed and played and sometimes spent hours
focussing on one thing, building a sand castle, drawing, Lego, creating model planes, reading, skipping, climbing a tree, but as we got older these fun
things were replaced with jobs and other tasks that we needed to do because
we now have responsibilities. All of these activities are mindful activities and so important for our mental health.
Practicing mindfulness increases your ability to activate and use the pre-frontal cortex region of your brain more, which strengthens the connections between areas associated with attention and concentration. In one office I worked in, we had A3 size colouring pages spread around the office with coloured pencils.
We encouraged staff to take a few minutes each day as they were walking
past to stop and focus on colouring in the image. In another office I worked
in we did a similar thing with jigsaws; we had a couple of jigsaws around the
office and this encouraged people to take a time out and focus on something different than their normal work. Both of these activities allowed staff to have
a quick mental break, increased communication, created strong bonds and laughter in the office as people shared their experiences together.
Encourage your team to laugh and to share ideas with each other. Encourage them to take a break and ‘reset’. Stepping away from the busyness of work and taking a break rejuvenates creativity and ultimately helps you achieve more because you return to work with a fresh approach.
Distancing yourself from work periodically allows you to achieve more rather
than slugging it out at something for hours on end without a break. It is
advisable to take a short break every hour or 90 minutes.
Next time you are feeling drained or stuck, step away from your desk, practice something mindful, stretch and go for a walk to refresh and reinvigorate yourself.
“Taking a break can lead to breakthroughs.” ~ Russell Eric Dobda~
Use these five tips to ignite your brilliance and notice the difference it has on you, your colleagues and those close to you.
Look for the positive in all situations, be curious, encourage ideas, mix things up, set your intentions and most of all have fun.
“You are unique. You have different talents and abilities.
You don’t have to always follow in the footsteps of others.
And most important, you should always remind yourself
that you don't have to do what everyone else is doing and
have a responsibility to develop the talents you have been given.”
~ Roy T. Bennett~
The question is - what are you doing to tap into and develop your uniqueness?
A coach can help you do this, if you want to know more, DM me and we can
set up a free 15-minute discovery call.
Do you think before you speak?
When you are in a conversation do you think about your answer before giving it and are you truly listening to what the other person is saying?
Or are you forming your answer whilst they're still talking? If so, you haven't thought before you speak. Because you're missing out on the next thing they are saying as your attention is on your own thoughts, not what they are communicating to you. You haven't received all the information they are sharing with you because you're too busy creating your response whilst they are still talking probably either to prove them wrong or show them how clever you are.
You are not alone. Most people will be forming their response before they have heard all of what the other person is going to say. Now knowing this, what do
you think the challenge is for you if you are forming your answer before you
have all the facts?
Think about this scenario to see how you would likely respond:
You’re sitting at work and you hear a colleague discussing a customer issue with their manager.
You know how to handle this kind of thing because you’ve done it effectively so many times before and everyone knows you are the “go to person” for this type of issue.
You can hear their discussion and you think to yourself “that’s not the best way to handle it”. . . . .
This scenario is a common workplace situation. You know what I mean, that
person who always has the answer and wants everyone to know it?
They’re always trying to prove to the world how smart they are?
Effective communication is about listening to the other person, understanding where they are coming from, allowing them to fully verse what it is they are saying, (their next sentence might actually be what you’re thinking in your head) and when they’ve fully finished giving you the information, you can then respond.
Unfortunately, in today’s world, everyone is in a rush and we jump in too quickly with an answer that may not be fully formed, because you don’t have all the information yet. If you actually slowed down and listened to all the facts; your response may have been different.
Another common theme coming through is about appreciation and feeling valued. Think about this, when someone is sharing information with you that you already know, do you:
If you are able to ‘appreciate’ that the other person was relaying information to you in good faith and say “thank you” then you’re building them up, building your relationship and creating a solid foundation for appreciation and feeling valued.
On the other hand, if you cut them off or let them know that you already know this, then you’re breaking their spirit, making them feel that it’s not worth sharing information with you and creating discord in your relationship.
A small “thank you” goes such a long way for both people involved.
The giving and receiving of information is critical to success in any endeavour in life.
In your next conversation, before you respond, think about this :
Now consider if it was your boss, your kid's teacher, a person whom you perceive has more presence or authority than you – would you respond the same way as you do to your colleagues, friends, family?
What’s different – what would make you treat those closest to you any different from others outside that inner circle?
What would make you ‘snappy’ at those close to you whereas you’re calm and in control with your response to others?
When we are angry and lash out our brains are not functioning fully and we are “reacting” to a stimulus or a situation, we are not in control of effectively “responding” and what we say or do in those situations we may regret later.
(Can you recall a time when that's happened?)
In the past this "angry persona" may have worked for you because people “jump
to attention”, but in the long run it wears thin and people don’t want to engage with you because they see you as erratic or angry and they will probably shutdown or avoid you in the future.
Responding with outbursts can also get you a reputation that you are volatile and this may affect your career.
When you’re feeling out of control, angry, frustrated or stressed . . . . . . . . . . . . .
pause before you speak. The best way to do this is to take a BIG deep breath
in before you say anything! While you're taking that breath consider how you want to respond to get the result you're looking for.
You can’t control what others do, but you can control your response to it.
Start by taking that deep breath and consider your response. Is it going to help or hinder what you want to achieve? Yelling at someone may get a task done today, but at what future cost?
Take a breath, control your emotional response or remove yourself from the situation if you have to, so that you can come back with a considered response.
You can say something like “I just need a moment to consider what we’re going to do” and leave the room so you an clear your head.
Or, better still, ask others what they think is a good course of action to fix the problem? Get a whiteboard, a piece of paper, anything and start writing down thoughts and build on each other’s ideas.
A great leader knows that they don’t have to have all the answers. In fact, a great leader, empowers others around them to share ideas and inspire others to co-create great outcomes.
We’ve all worked with, or have people in our lives that annoy or frustrate us because they “don’t listen”, they are “unfair”, “unappreciative” etc. How do you interact with them these days? What are your thoughts about them?
If you are one of those people, you can change this perception by slowing down, fully listening and saying “thank you”.
Consider how you contribute to conversations – are you always giving or do you allow yourself to sit back and receive information? We need to do both, but too often we’re more concerned with the ‘giving’ of information to prove our value or prove ourselves right.
In your next conversation, listen, really listen until the other person has finished -especially if you disagree with them.
Take a breath, consider the full information they’ve shared with you and then respond. It’s even better if you can actually use some of their words back to them in your response – that demonstrates the power of your listening skills and makes them feel heard. Then if you want to express a different point of view, they have the respect that you've heard what they've said and are more likely to listen to your alternate option.
When you’re mad, sad, angry, frustrated, take a breath, suppress your natural inclination to react and be responsive instead. Sometimes your response is saying nothing at all and allowing the conversation around you to unfold without your input. Once you appreciate the importance of saying nothing or a simple “thank you” you’ll be amazed at how people change their response to you.
If you want to know more about effective communication reach out and we can chat further.
You can’t expect your team to respond to what you’re asking them to do, if you haven’t demonstrated to them what you want.
Recall a a time in your career where your expectations were exceeded either by your boss or your team?
* What were the circumstances around that experience?
* What led to that wonderful outcome?
* How did it make you feel?
* Did you feel valued, needed, important?
* What did that do for your motivation and focus at work?
Did you receive a “thank you” that was really special?
Was there a ‘reward and recognition’ that you unexpected got that made you feel so good inside?
When you had these wonderful experiences, how did it change how you felt about the organisation, the senior leadership team and your approach to your job?
So, as yourself this: Do you give to your team, what you’re asking them to give to your customers?
That’s an interesting question, don’t you think?
What is it that you’re asking from your team? How are you asking them to deal with your clients?
What needs adjusting following feedback from your most recent Customer Satisfaction Survey?
Are they responding the way you want them to?
Are the changes happening as quickly as you want them to?
Do your staff understand what you’re asking of them?
Do you know what your team need from you in order to effect the changes you’re asking of them?
Lots of questions to be answered.
The reason I’m asking these questions is that we quite often ask others to do things, but we don’t take the time to look at it from their perspective.
Take the time to understand:
If you want your team to do something, then you need to lead by example and show them how to do it.
If you’re asking them to “listen more intently to what your customers are saying”, are you “listening” to what your team are telling you?
What actions have you taken in response to the employee engagement feedback? Are you leading by example and showing them how to respond appropriately to feedback?
When something doesn’t go according to plan, how do you respond? Do you respond or react?
Do you look at resolving the “issue” or do you look for blame, rant and rave?
Or do you take some time to contemplate what caused the problem and work with the team to find a way to fix it?
Then, do you do a post implementation review or a post incident review to identify what went wrong so you can learn from the experience?
Some great leadership tips are:
Show recognition publicly
Review together as a team to find the issue – if it’s a systemic issue, you can fix it by changing the way things are done.
If someone has made a mistake, correct it one on one with them – do it in private.
Start by asking them if they know what happened and in hindsight would they do anything differently.
If you have to explain what happened, use the SBI model and keep your tone neutral.
talk to them, explain the Situation, then their Behaviour (what they actually did, the actions they took, explain without emotion, be factual) and detail the Impact this incident has had.
We all make mistakes. Using the SBI model to explain what occurred and the impact it had allows you to stay on track by being factual, without using emotive words.
And, we also do some great work. How often do you recognise and celebrate successes, even the small ones?
Get into the habit of saying ‘thank you’ each and every day – celebrate the small wins so that feedback, both good and not so good, are just part of how you do things with your team.
Do you go above and beyond for your team? What would happen if you did? Do you think it would change their outlook on how they treat customers?
Your team will treat your customers and other staff the way you treat them. The key is to create an environment where people feel valued and appreciated.
Share below, something that you do with your team to lift them up.
What’s your general outlook on life?
Are you a cup half full or half empty? Or maybe your cup might have a hole
in it and all the good stuff just slips through and you don’t even notice it?
When things don’t go as planned do you only see the problem, the negative
in the situation or do you look for a positive?
Your mind is very powerful, so if you “think you can” or your “think you can’t”
– you are right! You are right because your mind will prove you right.
Your thought process will cause you to view situations in either a positive
or negative light. And because of this, you will look for (and find) facts,
situations, actions, events that “prove” your thought.
Remember Positive anything is better than negative nothing.
Think about this scenario:
You’ve booked a holiday to a beautiful sunny place, one that is known for sun,
sand and fun. You know that place, that one, the one you’re thinking about.
Now imagine (just use your imagination now) how excited you are about
your upcoming holiday.
Think about where you’ve booked in to stay, that resort, hotel or air bnb,
holiday park, whatever accommodation you’d love to be staying in.
Think about the excitement for you and your family as you’re packing, going
to the airport, landing and getting off the plane in that holiday destination
and you are really pumped and excited about this holiday.
Then the day before you are due to fly out, you look at the weather forecast to
see just how warm and beautiful it is going to be on the day you land.
And guess what? The weather forecast for your holiday destination
is for thunderstorms and rain for the next two days.
What do you do – where have your thoughts gone?
Have you responded with “oh that’s just great isn’t it, there goes our holiday,
the first 2 days are going to be ruined by being rained out”.
Do you look for the positive, the silver lining?
Do you think “oh, that’s not so good, but let’s see what else we can do to
explore this wonderful holiday destination” and go searching for new stuff to do?
By looking at the positive you are looking for a solution to the rained out days
and you’re not dwelling on the negative.
This small shift in perspective means that you are in SOLUTION mode and
not focussing on the problem. You are looking for the positive in this situation.
You never know what you’ll find – you might just find a wonderful new
experience that you wouldn’t have come across had the weather been
bright and sunny.
Now think about how you respond when things don't go well at work?
As a leader, do you blame others when things go wrong, do you focus on
1. "OMG, what is 'the boss' going to say" or do you ask your team
2. "what do you think caused this?" and look for the learning opportunity and a
chance to change how things are done to avoid this situation occurring again?
Focusing on option 1 above causes you and everyone else to go into defense
mode and to defend, justify and explain.
Option 2 allows your brain to fire off new neural pathways and look for solutions,
to see how / what can be done differently.
Jumping to "worst case scenario" will cause your brain to focus only
on what's gone wrong and, whilst consciously you think you're focussing on
fixing the problem, you are not. You are focussing "on the problem" and
there is no solution in the problem.
You need to move out of the problem to find the solution. Think about
where you are now, what's the current situation? What can we do with this
new information that we have?
So instead of focussing on "the problem" next time something goes astray,
think about it from this perspective.
So when rainy, cloudy times come your way – are you going to look for the
silver lining and see what else you can do? Are you going to sit and wallow
in the rain or are you going to dance in the rain?
It’s up to you – you do have a choice.
“A man is but the product of his thoughts.
What he thinks he becomes” ~Mahatma Gandhi (Indian Leader)
Next time something doesn’t go to plan, be aware of your thoughts, catch
them and see if they are wallowing in the rain, or taking advantage of the
rain and dancing in it? If your natural approach is to see the worst case
scenario, look for opportunities on how you can use this unexpected turn
of events into a learning or growth opportunity.
Better still, how can you use this situation to take you on an even better path
than the one you had planned?
If you can’t see the silver linings in situations and you want to be able to,
seek out a Coach or NLP practitioner and work with them, they will be able
to help you look for at situations differently.
Do you look around and see others “being confident”, do you see them walk into a room and ooze confidence; everywhere you look there’s another person speaking confidently and you wonder how everyone around you is confident, but you’re not?
It’s likely that those people also have doubts, the same as you, but they have developed their confidence and can evoke it when they need to.
Confidence is not something you are born with or ‘have’. It is something you create.
Being confident boils down to you believing in yourself.
It’s that feeling you have that you know you can achieve whatever you set your mind too.
It comes from within and when you know how to tap into your inner belief of confidence, you will be able to do it at any time.
Having the ability to evoke your confidence doesn’t mean you’ll sail through life and all your problems will be solved. We all have bad moments or days or things that cause upset. But being confident is about trusting that no matter what happens (good or bad), you’ve got it. You’ll be able to handle the situation and learn from it.
Learning how to be confident allows you to push through and keep going at times when you feel unsure or just want to give up.
Being confident can help you in all areas of your life, work, personal, family, relationships, communicating with others and it helps you learn and continue to grow and develop.
Learning to be confident comes from self-belief and your ability to change your view or perception of what’s going on.
You respond by how you ‘feel’ about a situation, so if you can change your mood you can change your perception and you can ignite your inner confidence, which will change your response.
Let’s start by looking at your normal outlook on life.
1. Are you an optimist or a pessimist?
What I mean by this is that we can have half a glass of juice in front of us and one person will see it as half full, whereas the other half empty.
This is an example of different perceptions of the same situation.
“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity;
an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” (Sir Winston Churchill)
Change your perception, change your outlook, change your thought process and improve your confidence. Focus on the positive and see how your perception changes.
2. Do you give up easily?
When faced with a set-back what do you do? Do you give up or do you learn from the experience?
“You never fail until you stop trying” (Albert Einstein)
Confidence comes from the belief that you will succeed and you will, if you keep going.
When you start taking action in line with your goal, your mindset will focus on achieving that goal and your confidence will grow. Start believing that you can and you will notice your confidence growing.
Believing that you can be confident, will help you when things don’t quite go according to plan, it will keep you focused on the goal, you will learn from experiences or set-backs, take those learnings, reapply and keep moving forward with the confidence that you will succeed.
“If you think you can or you think you can’t – you will prove yourself right”
Your subconscious brain is very powerful, so if you tell it something, it will look for ways to make it happen.
Thinks positively, think confidently and your subconscious will navigate you towards those things and will look for the opportunities.
3. How to build confidence
When you look at others that you think are confident, what do you see, what do you hear?
Do you see them walking tall, taking strides “with confidence”, do you see them greeting others, saying hello as they walk by, do you notice their voice, the sound and tonality is constant and confident?
If you want to be like them, start acting like them.
Notice how you walk. Do you walk tall and proud or do you slouch?
Are you making eye contact, nodding and greeting others or are you avoiding eye contact?
When you speak do you falter and doubt what is coming out of your mouth or do you trust that yourself and speak with certainty?
Change the way you project yourself to the world and change your internal belief.
Change your internal belief and the way you are seen in the world will change.
Stand up, stand proud and exude confidence – even if you have to pretend
that you are confident. Your subconscious will pick up on your confidence even if your conscious mind is self-doubting.
Practice until it becomes second nature. Practice, practice, practice being confident and you will soon feel a shift inside, which will allow you to speak confidently and then others will see you as confident.
Like anything, the more you practice, the better you become and the better you become, the less you’ll have to practice because it will be just how you do things now.
Change your thought process and change your reality – believe that you are confident, act like you are confident and you will become confident.
Invest 15 minutes in yourself now and do this exercise:
Grab a paper and pen – yes, the old fashioned way of writing – it makes a difference to how you respond to your thoughts if you capture them in hand writing.
Get into a quite space where you won’t be interrupted for 15 minutes.
Sit comfortably. Take a deep breath in and out – releasing any tension or doubt as you breath out.
Now close your eyes and imagine now, only imagine what your life would be like if you were confident.
Take a minute to really see that in your mind, think about what it would be like, feel that confidence inside you, listen to what you’re saying to yourself.
When you have done that, write this down:
If I was acting confidently I would ………….. (answer this with whatever comes to mind - just start writing)
Think about what this means for you and answer these questions:
If I was being confident......
I would be doing......
I would be saying to myself......
I would be feeling.....
What would you be seeing differently?
What would others around you be saying about you?
Now take 2-5 minutes and wildly write down your unfiltered thoughts. Write down whatever thoughts comes to you – no-one else is going to see this, so be true to yourself and just let it all come out.
Review what you've written and write down words or sentences that resonate with you around confidence.
Create an image of what you look like when you are confident (draw a picture – a stick figure – whatever comes to you – if you want, you can Google an image that resonates confidence for you).
Make an audio on your phone that you can play back to yourself using the words that you have written down that you associate with confidence.
Review that list, look at that drawing, listen to that audio 3 times a day, every day
for the next 28 days.
Are you prepared to invest 5 minutes in yourself every day to review your list, drawing & audio for the next 28 days?
If you are ready to make a change in your life and you know you're ready, do this exercise, you will see how your confidence grows.
Let me know how you went.
If you’d like some support to build your confidence, reach out and get in touch with me.
Images by: Mateus Campos Felipe & Austin Distel (unsplash)
Helen brings a wealth of experience gained over 20 years in Human Resources in Australia and overseas.
Images by JKO
Copyright © 2017 Helen Luxford & Corporate Leadership Coaching - All Rights Reserved