Do your batteries feel flat, focus is elusive and you are drawn to your couch like a moth to a flame? Symptoms may vary, but you know you are not operating at your best, and you find yourself asking, "how to get out of this slump?"
Having been in slumps myself, there is a surprising benefit to slumps.
As a motivational speaker and author on the topic of self-leadership, there's an expectation that I wouldn't experience a slump. Nothing is further from the truth. You see, when I hit a slump, I'm like a man who is happy at the bottom of a hole. Why? Because I both know the way out and, I know the benefit of being in the hole.
Life can be fast-paced and we can miss the subtle things. A slump is often your body or mind signaling you something. It's only when you accept the slump that you can get the message.
Too often we force ourselves to push through such periods of low energy, but if it...
Teenage girls love their popstars. Young men love their action heroes, and adults can project a type of love on their leaders.
For example, Donald Trump appeals to a certain audience. I remember a particular TV interview of a woman wearing an oversized MAGA hat, saying, “He loves God, he loves the constitution, he cares about us and he will fight for us.”
She was clearly in love, the kind of love where one positively projects perceived qualities upon another person.
Psychologist, Carl Jung maintained that all impassioned, almost-magical relationships between people involve projection. The other person becomes the object of great love or loathing, and sometimes both.
We usually do not see our own projections, because they stem from the unconscious, and because they get cast onto someone with a suitable hook. Positive projections are accompanied by the emotions found in the feelings of awe, adoration, and reverence. We do not realize that...
Leadership matters, especially in times of uncertainty. Leadership matters because people like certainty. Lack of certainty leads to stress, and stress results in poor decisions. Poor decisions can lead to catastrophic consequences.
Corporate leadership is typically measured by quarterly results, market share, and shareholder value. It can also be measured by employee engagement, social impact, and sustainability. Likewise, Political leadership can also be measured by stock market value, amount of fundraising, and the number of reelection votes; or the health, happiness, and economic future of the nation.
For over 20-years, I have been coaching corporate leaders and observing political leadership, and the key metric I have found to matter is – responsibility. Responsibility or response-ability is the ability to take ownership of a situation and respond in ways that provide an improved outcome and level of certainty for the people affected.
Nigel is sitting in his manager’s office for his annual performance review. It had been a tough year, the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic had decimated his plans for Q1 and Q2, but Nigel had put in a superhuman effort and hit targets in Q3. Nigel was expecting nothing but praise for his efforts, so imagine his surprise when he heard the following,
“You have met your Q3 quota, Nigel, but I have some concerns about how you got there”.
All Nigel heard was, “But we have some concerns.”
The word, ‘but’ has the effect of negating everything that proceeds it.
Imagine you and I met, and I said, “I really like you but…”
You would be on the defensive for criticism, even though I prefaced with, “I really like you.”
‘But’; is judgmental and is generally perceived as negative. For example, “I want to do this, but I can’t.”
‘But’ often creates the frame of limited choice. For...
I will always remember an inspiring speech by Darrell, a CEO that I was coaching. The occasion was a ‘town hall’ for employees just after it was announced that he would be moving on to new pastures.
“Make mistakes”, he said.
“Just don’t let your mistakes be bigger than mine”
It is not often we hear a leader encourage his team to make mistakes, but Darrell knew that making mistakes was part of the business and that you should limit the size of your mistakes. Darrell’s leadership had created a culture of creativity and customer service, and many people openly wept on his last day.
A critical test for any leader is how they effectively manage employee mistakes. Mistakes are inevitable but your response to them will determine whether you enhance productivity and employee engagement or destroy moral.
A simple maxim for mistakes would be –
“Be tough on standards, be tender on people.”
Before I discuss how to implement this...
When a team underperforms or experiences failure, who is to blame, the team or the manager?
In sport, sacking the manager is a public answer to this question, but what about in business?
The question assumes full responsibility for failure on either the team or the manager, but what other factors should we consider?
You will have likely experienced working in a team or a group and been frustrated with either the team-lead (manager) or fellow team members. I know I have. Recently I found myself being ‘triggered’ by the behaviors of a group I belong to. The group is a global collective of coaches and consultants who contribute articles to an online magazine. The metrics are simple, provide relevant, well-written content by the 15th of the month so that the magazine can be produced and released at the beginning of the following month. What could go wrong?
Last month, I received an email from the team lead thanking me for my article and letting me know that the...
Your annual review or performance conversation can either be an opportunity to advance your career or, feel like a failed parole hearing, condemning you to another year of being stuck in-situ.
This week, I was coaching a Senior Director in charge of Enterprise Strategic Planning. He has an upcoming quarterly performance review and asked me how to prepare. In my experience, coaching hundreds of executives to senior leadership and C-Suite roles, I have noticed that the ‘difference that makes the difference’ is proactivity.
Proactive Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance (PPPPP). Here is the 3-phase strategy I shared with my client so that you too can ace your next review or performance conversation.
Your boss is likely to start the conversation by asking,
“How do you think you have done?”
This opening invites you to show your self-awareness of your achievements, but so many people trip over themselves with this first question....
Conventional wisdom suggests that for career success, you need to show your value by working above and beyond. But is this the full story?
In the opening scene of The Godfather (1972 Francis Ford Coppola. You can watch the clip above), Don Corleone is receiving requests for favors, on the day of his daughter’s wedding. The undertaker asks for revenge against two boys who beat his daughter when she refused their advances. Don Corleone grants the favor, but not before saying,
“Someday, and that day may never come, I’ll call upon you to do a service for me. But until that day accept this justice as a gift on my daughter’s wedding.”
The Godfather movie is a case study of the power of reciprocity for influence. If you are going to give value, know your value, and seek value in return.
I am currently coaching a Senior Vice President, who has her eyes on a C-level promotion. She has made her aspirations known to her organization and is...
In a Harvard Business Review study of 20,000 employees, 54% claimed that they don’t get respect from their leaders. Respect has shown to improve employee trust and safety and effect a 92% increase in focus and priority. The obvious conclusion, therefore, is to instruct managers and leaders to be more respectful, but what if this conclusion is wrong?
If you are honest with yourself, do you respect someone who does not deserve respect? Are you able to respect someone who does not respect themselves?
The verb respect means to admire someone (or something) because of their abilities, qualities, or achievements. It can also mean having due regard for their feelings, wishes, or rights.
In my work on self-leadership, and through over 20-years of coaching, I can share that most people struggle to respect their own abilities, feelings, or rights. And how can you expect respect if you do not respect yourself!
Recently I was coaching...
I recently shared, on Social Media, that I would be giving a keynote speech at a large online event. Unfortunately, the best image that showcased 'yours truly' included two other white men. The optics were not great considering that I am an advocate for women's leadership and have signed a pledge to not appear on all-male panels.
There were some women and other ethnicities speaking at the conference and the panel was diverse, but not diverse enough. I called the organizer, a former mentee of mine, and he shared his frustration that he had asked many women, but they refused to speak.
I have faced this same issue before when I have organized physical and virtual events. It can lead to weird conversations like, "We are missing a Black Woman or an Asian man, and we have nobody representing LGBTQ".
In a perfect world, we would have the best person for the job, regardless of their ethnicity, gender, age, ableness, or sexual orientation. But...