Self-leadership (a.k.a Personal Mastery) is the answer to how do we develop ourselves to survive and thrive in a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous world. Developing self-leadership enables you to become the ‘Chief’, ‘Captain’, or CEO of your own life and career. Self-leadership is also foundational to the success of organizations.
Research by the McKinsey Global Institute has looked at the kind of jobs that will be lost, as well as those that will be created, as automation, AI, and robotics take hold. And it has inferred the type of high-level skills that will become increasingly important as a result.
The research identified 56 Deltas ( a mix of skills and attitudes) across 13 skill groups and four categories. Digital fluency is not a surprise, but did you realize how important self-leadership is to the future of work?
With the importance of self-leadership, we need to define and measure it.
In my 2012 book with Dr. Ana Kazan, ‘Self Leadership – How to Become a More Successful Efficient and Effective Leader from the Inside Out’, we asked are you the Driver or the Passenger of your Life?
Self-leadership, and whether you are the ‘driver’ of your life and career depends on accessing the self-confidence to exercise your autonomy (ownership) over your thinking, feeling, and actions. Passengers, by contrast, wait to be told what to do for fear of failure or because they lack the self-belief that they can.
I recently heard from one of my executive coaching clients that he would be promoted before he expected.
“How do you feel?” I asked.
“I don’t feel ready”, was the reply.
This is interesting because, in my experience, how ready we are for a new challenge depends on our willingness to get comfortable with the unfamiliar and our belief in our ability to learn.
I have recently moved from...
I don’t usually get requests for articles or blog posts, but I have had so many messages asking how and why I moved from Singapore to Portugal during a pandemic, so here goes.
Digital Nomad is not a term I would apply to myself, but digitization has certainly enabled me to be geographically independent. Openness to experience is, I think, the personality trait that is essential to change countries or circumstances. Thankfully I score high on this, and life experience has reinforced it.
Leaving home for university at 18, was my first big test. Then, at 25, I left, London and the country of my birth. I lived in Australia (W.A and N.S.W) for 18 years before moving to Singapore.
Singapore, the gateway to Asia, was where I really put down roots. This island nation was where my children were born, and from where I established a Global business, but I never intended it to be my final stop. The questions were when and how to leave, where to go next, and why?
In decision-making, the...
Americans celebrate their freedom on July 4th, whereas Indians celebrate their freedom from British Rule with an August 15th independence day. A quick web search of National Independence Day reveals a long list of countries that celebrate their freedom from some form of prior government or oppression.
The dictionary defines freedom as, The state of not being imprisoned or enslaved, but it is also:
The power or right to act, speak or think as one wants.
Reflect, for a moment, on your own freedom to act, speak or think as you want.
You were not free to choose the time and place of your birth. You were not free to choose your parents, their economic status, religious leanings, political affiliation, or educational background. You had little or no freedom in where you went go to school and the ideology of your teachers.
We all imagine we have free will, but so many of our choices and decisions are influenced by things we have no freedom over and are unaware...
It often starts with a phone call or a message. Suddenly the world is different, and you must reorient yourself, or be overwhelmed by feelings of helplessness.
Whatever the bad news, financial, relationship, reputation, or health, with the application of self-leadership we can apply strategies. Self-leadership strategies to intentionally influence our thinking, feeling, and actions. To once more become the ‘Captain of our Ship’, or the ‘Master of our Soul’.
Four weeks ago, I visited my family doctor, and as I’m just turning 60, I asked proactively for a full health screen. I did this because I knew it was the right thing to do, given my age and family history, not because I was experiencing any symptoms, quite the reverse in fact. My frame of mind was, therefore, “this is one more thing to check off the list”.
Then the phone call came, and my world changed.
“Andrew, this is Dr. Seah, your blood shows a Cancer...
Nathan, my coaching client, was asking how to deal with a monthly meeting that frustrated him.
“Have I told you about, Kenneth?” He asked and then went on to explain how Kenneth would throw verbal jabs like, “Your department loves to create procedures”.
I listened carefully to Nathan about he had become triggered by Kenneth’s words and actions and explored why and how Nathan chose to be triggered.
As we peeled back the layers, it became clear that Nathan was frustrated by Kenneth’s tactical approach in a meeting that was supposed to be strategic.
“Do you think Kenneth is capable of being strategic, or is he just acting from his programming?” I asked.
Now to understand why I asked this question, and its impact, you need to appreciate my self-leadership approach to coaching. Neuroscience and Psychology have concluded that we do not have as much free will as we think we have. Many of our decisions and actions are...
You probably have first-hand experience with conflict and issues with communication, and you have likely struggled with whether you should speak up, or not.
As a coach and motivational speaker in Singapore, I regularly hear of the problems people face in getting heard, the ‘right way’ and I even teach a class on conflict and communication at Singapore Management University, but if you think this means I don’t mess up, you would be mistaken. In this post I will share a framework and my own experience because I have come to realize:
“We teach best what we most need to learn.”
Culture, gender, age, and personality are just some of the factors that complicate communication and lead to conflict. I am a nearly 60-year-old, university-educated, white male, whose personality is high on directness and only moderate on diplomacy. I work with both Asian and North American clients and yet the challenge to speak up without causing conflict is a common...
Jeff Bezos famously said, "Personal Brand is what people say about you when you leave the room", but executive presence is what will get you into the room in the first place.
If you are not known for something, or unforgettable, you can forget career advancement or financial success.
The key to personal branding is that you clearly communicate your value, and that value is relevant to your audience (clients, colleagues, senior executives).
I was recently coaching a Professional Speaker in Singapore, who was struggling to find his 'tagline', that value statement that follows your name.
Do you have a tagline?
Ironically, this speaker was an expert on communication, but calling himself, 'The Communication Expert' was a bit too generic, so I challenged him to articulate, his Message, his Methodology, and his Market. I asked him what problem he solved for people and what they said about him after he solved it for them.
Do you know what...
When creating change, whether personally or within an organization, you will encounter resistance. People will tell you they are on board with the new vision but then engage in behaviors that sabotage objectives.
The first key to creating change is to acknowledge that every behavior has a ‘frame of mind’, constructed of values, beliefs, identity, and intentions. This frame of mind can be conscious or unconscious but will act like a gyroscope, always bringing your behaviors back towards a programmed destination.
Let’s take an example of creating change that most of us are familiar with – dieting to lose weight. We have a vision of ourselves as fitter or thinner, and we set a goal to lose X number of kilos by Y date; but what do we do? We cheat, we make exceptions and before long we are eating as we have always done.
Why do we default? Because our eating behavior, like all our behaviors, is controlled by a frame of mind. What are some common...
Remember back in 2013, when an employee (Bob) outsourced his job and was fired?
Before being fired, Bob was considered a ‘model employee’, his work was above par, his code was clean, well-written, and submitted in a timely fashion. Quarter after quarter, Bob’s performance review noted him as the best developer in the building.
In many ways, Bob was a 'man before his time'. He chose to spend one-fifth of his salary to free up his life, reduce his stress, and ensure he hit his targets. Companies in 2013 had different criteria, they liked to ‘keep an eye’ on who was doing the work, for both productivity and security reasons.
With the pandemic hitting in 2020, and most people working from home, ‘keeping an eye’ on people seems less important, and keeping employees healthy, and well-balanced with manageable stress is much more so. Security will remain a concern, but solutions have been found for that.