Category Archives: Personal development

9 Communication Skills to Master for Leadership Effectiveness

WEBCS

Whether you are a parent, spouse, friend, manager or coach, there are skills that, once mastered, are exceedingly helpful in building constructive relationships, leading more effective lives and helping others do the same.

Nine ‘masteries’ have been defined by the International Association of Coaching that, when woven together help you guide others through challenges and make progress in their lives.

1.    Establishing and maintaining a relationship of trust.
Trust is at the foundation of human relationships. Trust arises when the following things are present: candid communication, support in the form of help, advice, coaching or endorsement, respect, fairness, reliability and technical, professional or personal competence. When these items are missing, the people around you may feel like they’re walking on eggshells or are ‘on their own’ to make things happen.

2.    Perceiving, affirming and expanding the person’s potential.
People grow when they feel that someone else believes in them. So often in life, people are criticized. When you take the time to notice what someone is good at and tell them, they will not only feel appreciated but will grow in confidence and become better in other areas. Everyone has a gift. Notice them. Mention them and watch the person blossom.

3.    Engaged listening
Think of a time when you were talking about an important project at work or baring your soul to someone close to you and it seemed like they weren’t paying attention. How frustrating was that? Did it ‘take the wind out of your sail’? Did you get mad or feel like ending the conversation?

Engaged listening involves eye contact, verbal confirmations, occasional questions, demonstrated empathy for what they might be feeling. Giving your full attention to them allows an amazing thing to occur. When someone is listened to, they often talk themselves through to their own solution. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened intently to someone with an issue who in the middle of the ‘conversation’ declares, “Oh! That’s it! That’s what I’ll do. Thanks for listening!”

4.    Processing in the present
When you’re talking with someone who is in the middle of a crisis, it’s possible that you may experience emotions that arise out of the conversation. Be aware of your own thoughts and body sensations. Silently name and observe them.

5.    Expressing
Be clear that your reactions are yours. Don’t blame the other person for them. Having said that, putting words to your thoughts, feelings and sensations can provide valuable feedback to the other person, particularly if they are struggling with how to communicate a tough message to another person. Your response can help them strategize on other ways to deliver their message.

6.    Clarifying
Part of your role in this process is helping the other person think through their issue and potential solutions. Their initial thought process may not be clear. Reflect back what you hear from them. Ask questions to help them explore alternatives and potential consequences.

7.    Helping the person set and keep clear intentions
There are two aspects to this mastery. One, clarifying the intention for the conversation you’re having with them and two, uncovering the ultimate outcome they want from the actual issue they’re discussing.

8.    Inviting possibility
People in a conundrum are often blinded from seeing all of the options that exist. They may be feeling trapped and helpless or angry and resentful. Those emotions arise from a set of beliefs and perceptions that may not be true. By respectfully challenging their perceptions, beliefs, and motives they may have ascribed to others, new options and possibilities can arise.

9.    Create and use supportive systems and structures
Decision-making tools can be helpful in these situations. A simple pros/cons list is a good start. Supportive systems might include daily check-in conversations. Group brainstorming sessions can generate creative ideas and potential solutions. The important thing here is to provide support for the person dealing with the situation so they can unleash their inner creativity.

Master these skills and you’ll be well on your way to becoming an empowering force for the people in your life.

 

 

5 More Facets of Being Extraordinary

extraordinary2My last article on being extraordinary received such rave reviews, I thought I would continue with a few more simple ideas.

1. Bring people together. Don’t separate them.
The world is filled with real and potential conflict. Conflict is a way of life. It won’t be avoided so long as people have different values, motivations, wants, goals, thought patterns and desires (the list goes on).

Conflict is inevitable. However, an extraordinary person seeks not just to fan the flames but to bring resolution to the issue. (As the ‘revolutionaries’ of the 70s used to say, ‘If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.’)

Complaining and protesting have their place but true progress is made with people collaborate and create solutions that meet the needs of the parties in conflict. Positions are hard to meld. Interests, on the other hand, once thoroughly uncovered can be addressed. When groups or individuals are at odds over something, strive to discover their underlying interests and needs. Focus on them, not the ‘solution’ each of them is arguing for.

2. Respect people’s partners.
The last article spoke about the importance of respecting people’s property and not taking what isn’t yours. This idea builds on that one. While people aren’t property, respecting existing relationships will deter a whole lot of ‘mess’ and drama.

A colleague of mine found herself on the verge of a triangle – 2 triangles really. She and her attraction were both married, neither happily. But before they ‘jumped in’, they both ended their relationships so they could start with a clean slate. It was still hard, but at least they didn’t muddy their existing relationships with an extra person. Realizing how unhappy they individually were, they courageous decisions, untangled their commitments and then moved forward together.

3. Don’t waste other people’s time.
One of the bullets in the last article had to do with making the world a better place. It seems that the way some people feel empowered is by usurping the energy and time of those around them. If you ask people for things you don’t need or create processes that are unnecessary, just because you can, you’re doing damage. You’re wasting valuable resources, time and energy just to build yourself up. Don’t do that.

4. Avoid fascination with other people’s problems.
Unfortunately, an entire genre of ‘reality’ shows are dedicated to telecasting people’s troubled lives. People who watch have said that seeing the issues others face make them feel better about their own lives. I know that’s possible, but here’s another alternative.

Do proactive, positive things in your own life and feel good about that rather than measuring yourself as ‘superior’ to people who can’t get it together. Shape your life the way you want. Set the bar high and get to work. Living vicariously while judging others poorly isn’t a good way to move forward.

5.  When someone else is happy or successful, celebrate and enjoy it.
The ‘cheap’ approach is to be envious and diminish their success. It’s the counterpoint to the bullet above. If they’re ‘all that’, they must have cheated or they must be bad humans.

When people accomplish great things, especially things you’d like to have, you must appreciate it, even if you don’t like the person. Doing otherwise tells the Universe you don’t like success, you don’t value having a lot of money, you don’t want to get promoted.  Don’t be a hater! Celebrate the success of others and keep doing what it takes to create that success for yourself.

I heard this great line at my conference last week, “If you’re not getting recognized as fast as you believe you should, make sure you’re doing everything you can to be WORTHY of recognition.”

7 Principles for Extracting the Extraordinary in You

extraordinaryWhat does it take to live an extraordinary life? What would that mean for you on a day-to-day basis?

I was recently reminded of some simple (yet not necessarily easy-to-do) concepts that if installed in your life would place you squarely on the higher road, the road less traveled.

I’m still working on some aspect of each of these myself. It’s a lifelong discipline. Not for the faint of heart, but surely well worth the effort.

1. Be truthful.
Being truthful is about honesty and accuracy. The accuracy aspect is about re-conveying an experience such that your words evoke the thoughts and emotions you experienced in the person you’re sharing with. While each of us has our own perspective of life and interpretation  of events, if your intention is to have them experience what you did, you’re on the right track. No shading of the truth to make yourself look better.

Additionally, the honesty aspect will likely cause you so alter your behavior. You may have heard the phrase, ‘Don’t do anything you wouldn’t want to see on the front page of the newspaper.’ Living your commitment to transparency encourages good behavior and lack of deception at work and home.

2. Give more than you take.
Give freely of your time, love and money. Give generously and not with the expectation that your gifts will be repaid. Purposeful giving fulfills you. It’s almost like you’re not giving for the benefit of the recipient. Make life easier for yourself and others. Don’t forget yourself. The problem some over-givers encounter is that they deplete themselves in the process and end up feeling resentful.

3. Don’t take what isn’t yours.
This is more than just ‘don’t steal’. It’s about not benefiting from ‘mistakes’. Now I’m all for serendipity and miracles and to be honest, I don’t know that I can tell you how to distinguish between those incidents and the ones that are to be avoided. I think the barometer here may be how you feel internally although the internal barometers of habitual ‘takers’ are probably flawed.

Here’s an example…My husband and I were shopping in a store last week. We bought something together and each paid for half in cash. The cashier gave us both our change back, but it seemed like too much. I didn’t say anything, not sure there was a problem, but the more I thought about it, the more I was pretty sure we got too much change. My mind tried to justify it by telling me ‘It’s a big store. They won’t notice it.’ But my heart felt something else. So I went back to the store, found the clerk and reminded him of the transaction. He couldn’t really validate the error with their sales system and ended up telling me to keep the $5 for my honesty.

I left feeling happier, but I still feel like giving that $5 to someone who needs it more will make me even happier. Think “Pay it forward.”

4. Make the world a better place
Do your actions make life easier for those around you? Is the world a better place because of what you think, do and say each day?

Or do you make people jump through hoops to get your favor? Do you consistently ‘block’ other people’s progress?

How would you behave differently if you knew your purpose was to leave the world in a better place because you lived here? Be constructive. Be helpful.

5. Honor life.
All living beings have the right to their lives. Respect them. This applies to not only to humans (even the ones you don’t like) but to non-human creatures as well. Last summer, I accidentally severed a praying mantis while pruning some plants. I was heartsick as he stared at me mournfully it seemed, with half of his abdominal cavity missing.

While I carefully carry spiders out of my home, I still intentionally kill crickets and scorpions when I find them inside. I guess now, I’ll work on finding some non-lethal way to rid them from my home when I encounter them.

6. Do no harm.
Intentionally ending the life of another (even an ant), when living rigorously, is an extreme measure. But what about the ‘little’ harms we do during the course of life?

Have you ever tried to get someone in trouble at home or work without first discussing the situation with them with the intent to resolve it? Do you gossip?  Do you have nasty, judgmental thoughts about others?

Once I took this discipline on, I had to confront the judgments I made of others. Casting frequent silent aspersions seemed automatic at times. I’ve taken on the practice now of blessing people, especially those my internal judge initially denounces.

7. Recognize that you are the source of everything.
It’s easy to blame others for the status of the world and even for your experience of your own personal life. In the training and coaching I do, I often share the concept of “Those idiots over there…”. When you place blame on your co-workers, spouse, children, parents, siblings, neighbors, strangers, political opponents, you rob yourself of power. You pine for changes in them. You want to ‘fix’ them.

You can’t change them. You’ll never change them. And if you wait for that, you’ll be in misery forever.

The only person you can change is you. The only person who can change the experience of the life you are living is you.

When you shift your thinking, emotional responses and actions, you will start having a new experience of life. Additionally, your new perspective, behavior and words will eventually impact the people around you and their response to you will likely change as well. The dynamic of your relationship will be different.

So stop trying to fix them. Work on improving yourself.

One of my favorite sayings is, “We all have more options that we generally see and more control than we tend to take”. So I challenge you to implement the ideas mentioned here. Open your eyes to options that are currently hidden from your view and take control of the way you live your life.

Enhanced by Zemanta

5 Keys for Stepping Up to Your True Leadership Persona

stand outMy husband and I recently watched two movies, The King’s Speech and Battleship.

Both depicted characters who were thrust into leadership before they thought they were ready.

Their first reaction was denial, mixed with a hint of resentment, “Why me? Why now?”

Neither thought they were ready nor capable.

Has that ever happened to you?  How did you react?

Regardless of your history, how do you think you’d react now if you wer suddenly handed a huge, visible, critical responsibility?

Whether you’ve just been thrust into the spotlight or are longing for that level of accountability, here are some ideas that will amplify your readiness for the role.

1) Have faith you can do it.
Most people downplay their abilities. Our parents taught us not to boast or brag. We’ve seen other leaders get assassinated (literally or figuratively). Plus, let’s face it, it’s more comfortable for most not to be in the limelight and just carry on with their regular routine.

The truth is, we’re far more capable than we generally believe. It often takes some catastropic event for us to figure out what we’re really made of.

2) Have faith in others.
Don’t try to accomplish mammoth tasks alone. Look for help. Ask for help. Assume help and make requests. You may need to provide some context to your ‘team’ (whether ad hoc, virtual or designated). They need to know the import of what you’re asking them to take on. They need to know what’s at stake. They’ll likely have to step up too.

3) Invest in yourself.
You may need support beyond what your immediate team can provide. The King of England hired a coach/speech therapist to help him with his stuttering. It was a secret arrangement initially and required the King to not be ‘King’ which caused some challenges in the beginning. The King had to set his ego aside and recognize he didn’t have all the answers. He also had to reach deep inside and work on his inner game in addition to his moving mouth parts.

4) Be bold.
This is not the time for timidity. In critical times, big actions are needed. Perhaps you need to stop an impending disaster. Or perhaps, you’re needed to win the big game. Whatever it is, you must go beyond the tried and true. It’s time to innovate.

5) Act, don’t think.
You don’t want to be stupid obviously, but you also don’t want to over-think your decisions. In emergency situations, speed is often the critical factor. Trust your gut. If an idea comes to you, try it out.

Leadership occurs when you put accomplishing the task at hand ahead of your ego and fear.  You have to become a better person than you thought you were. It’s possible. Just step up.

 

Find More Focus, Make More Money, Enjoy Life More

Focus is defined as “a central point, as of attraction, attention, or activity.

I love that the first ‘focus’ is ‘attraction’! That connotes a purposeful flow of energy that arises when one is focused. When our attention is focused, I believe the Universe lines up to support our intention.

I’ll never forget all of the things that came to me when I started my first business, Laibon: Charms for the Soul™. It was a jewelry

design and retail company.

I won’t go into the entire creation of it, but here’s the short version. In a guided meditation, a voice said to me, in a very matter-of-fact tone, “You should make jewelry.”

I love jewelry and ALWAYS stopped by jewelry booths at art & wine festivals. So, even though I had only made one pair of earrings in high school art class, I said “OK” to the command in my head.

I left the session and immediately began telling people I was going to start a jewelry company and as a result, amazing things began to happen.

One person told me about a great place I could go near where I lived to take a class on how to make jewelry.

Another told me about a fabulous bead store, also close to my home.

A different person told me how to get started selling at the art and wine festivals.

An author shared with me his publications that rated the shows from the artists perspective and said which ones were retail sales winners and which to stay away from.

A hypnotherapist offered to put my first batch of creations on display at her kick-off-the-new-year workshop.

An attendee said “I LOVE your work. I’d pay more than that for these!”

A bead store sales person said “When you collect sales tax, immediately transfer it to a different account so you don’t spend all your earnings and then have nothing left to pay the quarterly taxes” (Great advice)

So, why is focus so important?

1. When you focus, you get excited.
Nothing robs your energy like not sitting around doing ‘whatever’. Once I got clear about my new venture, I was on a mission. Even though I knew next to nothing about making jewelry, I new I was on to something I loved and I was like an eager little child, all wild-eyed and bushy-tailed (where did that expression come from anyway?)

2. When you focus, it’s easier to make decisions
Procrastination often arises from confusion. So when the confusion is swept away, taking action is easy. Any other thing you could do becomes less desirable and drops to the bottom of the to-do list (if one even exists).

3. When you focus, the world lines up to support you
I recall the quote attributed to Goethe (that apparently may not have been truly his

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back–
Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth
that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans:
What you can do, or dream you can do, begin it;
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”

That jewelry company birthed my entrepreneurial spirit and paid for a 3 1/2- week trip for a safari in Tanzania and a week in Zanzibar.

So, take heed. Take a stand. Take action. Grab life and move forward.

Enhanced by Zemanta