Self Leadership Blog
by Andrew Bryant

9 Critical Leadership Truths

I remember being impressed by 9 critical leadership truths that were being promoted at my children’s school. What impacted me was the fact that as a leadership coach and consultant, I am often talking about these very same qualities and skills with my ‘adult’ clients.

This image (taken by my daughter, Tasha) shows the school's ideal student with a combination of qualities and skills – wouldn't it be great if managers and leaders valued the same qualities and worked on their skills?

Leaders, and children develop from the inside-out (Bryant & Kazan 2012) and so it is great that being self-aware is promoted. The school sees self-awareness as developing self-discipline, self-esteem, self-confidence, reflection – all great qualities for today’s leader. With self-awareness we can become a self-manager which includes the skills of; meta-cognition, independence, perseverance, diligence, organization and responsibility.

If you were to get a report...

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Developing Your Leadership Lens

Any photography enthusiastic understands that, whilst the subject remains the same, the choice of lens will change how it is viewed. What is true for cameras is also true for people, as we all see the world through our own lens of perception and bias.

A wide-angle lens gives you the 'big picture', whilst other times you will want to 'zoom in' to see detail. To have only one lens would cause you to miss out on so much.

Developing Your Leadership Lens

Let me ask you a question; "Do you like to have the data points and build a picture from what you have, or do you prefer to start with a big picture and then work out the details later?"

Neither of these approaches are right or wrong, 'Big Picture' and 'Detail Orientation' are both useful, but the premise of this post, is that to be an effective leader, you need both, plus the ability to focus.

Some leaders focus on the positive and some on the negative and it shows in how they speak. What we say is a ‘reflection of the 'image' we...

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Planful about your Leadership Legacy

 

I have been a Professional Speaker and Executive Coach for over 20-yeas, but I've never received an introduction like this one from Planful CEO, Grant Halloran.

I am humbled that I have had an impact on Grant's career and also vicariously on all the people that he impacts. The synchronicity that he has recently renamed his company Planful, meaning rich in plans - is not lost on me.

Planning a Legacy

The dictionary tells us that legacy (n) is:

"Something that is a result of events in the past"

But, when I am working with leaders, leadership teams or MBA Students, I tell them that Leadership Legacy (n) is:

"The actions you take NOW that impact the future"

The emphasis is on the now. Legacy happens in the now, we don't have to wait until the future, we create our legacy with the planful intentional behaviors we enact today. Intentional behaviors are at the heart of Self-leadership.

Self-leadership and Legacy

Self-leadership is defined (Bryant & Kazan 2012) as:

...

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7-Things I learned about Leadership in conversation with Barack Obama

leadership Jan 19, 2020

December 16th, 2019 (with about 4,000 other people in Singapore), I had the pleasure to listen to insights and perspectives from Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States.

I must confess that I am a fan of his humorous oratory style, and it was a pleasure to listen to him ‘riff’ on wide ranging topics with an intoxicating mix of humility and gravitas. So, here are my takeaways:

1)     Anyone in a leadership position needs to build an effective team of people who are smart and have integrity – then get out of their way.

2)     A lot of the problems in the world are caused by old men, who stayed too long and confused their personal interests with that of the nation.

3)     We need more women in National Leadership – imagine if every country in the world was run by women for just 2-years.

4)     We need leaders who understand complexity and...

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7 Behaviors for Effective Leadership

So much is spoken and written about the need for leadership in organizations, but do we know what we mean by the term ‘leadership’?

If you Google the term ‘leadership’, you get 2.2 Billion results! And, the definition doesn’t help much:

“Leadership is the action of leading”

 – well that’s deep! And the synonyms include; authority, control and management - all of which are at odds with many modern descriptions or effective leadership.

As an Author, Coach and Speaker on the topic of leadership, I resonate with this quote:

“There are almost as many different definitions of leadership as there are people who have tried to describe the concept” (Bass, 1990)

Why Leadership?

Wait a moment. Before we decide on a definition of leadership, let us first ask, “Why Leadership?”

We need Leadership because the World is Complex and Changing Fast. You’ve probably heard the term VUCA. VUCA is an acronym...

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4 Keys to STOP Discounting Yourself

executive presence women Jan 16, 2020

4 Keys to STOP Discounting Yourself

Do you ever underplay or understate your real value?

Do you shy away from praise and recognition and say things like, “it was nothing”, or “It’s just my job”?

Discounting is a common behavior, but one that is more common in women than men.

With confidence and presence being key predictors of success in life and work, discounting is costing you money and your well being.

So why do we discount?

Usually because somebody or something (parents, siblings, school, friends, boss, media) has done a number on our self-esteem. Self-esteem literally means self-value and if you fail to value your ‘self’ nobody else will.

When Coaching or teaching Executive Presence, I often come across cases of discounting, but the good news is that this can be turned around by applying Self-leadership strategies.

Humility isn't what you think it is

Often discounting is driven by the desire to appear or be ‘humble’. The...

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Unconscious Bias, Diversity & Decision Making – A Self-Leadership Approach

culture self-leadership Jan 15, 2020

Unconscious Bias

You are smart, really smart, your amazing brain can make judgments and decisions in milliseconds – unfortunately, you and the rest of us, are often WRONG!

What’s worse, is we don’t know we are wrong, and if it’s pointed out to us we are quick to ‘justify’ our decisions.

Your ability to achieve ‘lightning-fast’ decisions is achieved by your brain taking short-cuts and using pattern recognition. For our ancestors to survive, in a hostile environment, they needed to make quick judgments about friend or foe, food source or fatal, predator or pet. They made these judgments using, what Daniel Kahneman, author of the book Thinking Fast and Slow, calls System 1 Thinking. System 1 Thinking is fast, instinctive and emotional as opposed to System 2 Thinking which is slower, more deliberative, analytical and more logical.

Our brain has not had a ‘firmware upgrade’ to help it operate in a modern, multicultural and...

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Tribal Psychology and Self-leadership

Are we part of the same tribe? If we are, you are likely to agree with what I'm about to say, but if you consider me an 'other' or one of 'them' then anything I put forward will feel wrong to you, regardless of the logic.
 
Tribal Psychology & the magnification effect of socialmedia is at the root of the rise of political divisiveness according to Psychologists, Lilliana Mason and Dan Kahan.
 
From an evolutionary standpoint, being able to spot someone different or outside 'the tribe' had distinct safety advantages. So much so that our brain can be tricked into inclusion or exclusion with the smallest and most illogical of differences.
 
In the 1970's, a psychologist named Henri Tajfel developed social identity theory which say that when we define ourselves, we do so in large part by asserting our loyalty to the groups to which we belong. Tajfel developed this theory when in his research he discovered it didn’t take very much for humans to...
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Confidence for Managers and Leaders

Confidence is 'the' key success factor for modern managers and leaders and yet many lack confidence in the following areas:

  1. Managing downwards when subordinates have higher qualifications or are qualified in a different discipline
  2. Influencing peers when there is no direct authority
  3. Managing upwards because you need to influence your boss
  4. Influencing outwards to clients and vendors

With all these scenarios the keys to confidence are, 1) accepting that you are valuable and have contributions to make (Self-esteem), 2) taking ownership of your thought and feelings (Personal Power) and 3) communicating what you want (Executive Presence). In short, the application of Self-leadership.

Confidence for Managers and Leaders

When managing downwards, managers need to remember Henry Ford who said, “The generalist will always employ the specialist.” The manager doesn’t need to know everything about everyone’s discipline they need to know how to engage smart people to get...

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Influence - upwards, laterally, downwards and in circles

career coaching influence Jan 09, 2020

in a previous post, "How to Influence Your Boss", I explored how to influence upwards, but just as important is how to influence laterally.

When I teach programs on influence or influence without authority, I ask participants to create a circle of influence like this diagram:

I then ask them to put ticks or crosses, representing ability or inability to influence, against each circle.  Obviously some circles will need sub-circles to represent individual key people. This is a useful exercise to map out where you need to develop or strengthen your influence.

In a modern matrix style organisation, your success will be determined not just by what you do, but by what you can influence others to do. The effective manager/leader learns to find out what is important to the people in their circle of influence and communicates to them in terms of what matters them rather than directly stating their own needs.

The "How to Influence Your Boss" post expands on finding needs and...

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