Self Leadership Blog
by Andrew Bryant

Leadership Style to Leadership Practice

What is your leadership style? Does it stay constant, or vary depending on the context and motivation of your employees /team?

Leadership books and leadership blogs are fond of listing leadership traits, but to be an effective leader you need awareness of your default leadership style and behavioral flexibility depending on the context and level of employee motivation. That is going to take some practice.

Leadership Blog to Leadership Practice

Before we explore your leadership style, we must address the fact that there are about as many definitions of leadership as there are authors on the topic. This leadership blog is more focused on practice than theory, so a practical definition, from The Social Psychology of Leadership, is:

"Leadership is the process of influencing others in a manner that enhances their contribution to the realization of group goals."

I like this leadership definition because it speaks to a ‘process’ that requires ‘influence’....

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Times of Crisis call for Self-leadership – Covid-19 Edition

Times of Crisis can bring out the best and the worst in people. Charles Dickens begins his Tale of Two Cities with:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

With the current Covid-19 Virus Outbreak it certainly feels like worst of times, but how do we avoid it becoming, “the winter of despair”?

Before I share some Self-leadership strategies to survive the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on health, business and travel, let’s look at some of the altered behaviors that crisis can trigger.

Behaviors in Times of Crisis

People respond to the stress of crisis in different ways, typical behaviors that let you know that you, or someone you know, is not coping include:

  • Disbelief or Denial
  • Emotional numbness
  • Increased use of alcohol and drugs
  • Anger, moodiness, and irritability
  • Nightmares and other sleep disturbances
  • Panic attacks
  • Isolation or withdrawal from others
  • Disinterest in previous activities
  • Sleeping too much

Primed,...

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Using Metaphors for Change, Growth, Coaching and Leadership

 

As a professional speaker and as an executive coach, change and growth are the things that I have been focused on for my entire professional career. Today, as I was on a call with a prospective client, three metaphors came to me. I then shared these examples of using metaphors to create change on a LinkedIn Live, and you can see the video recording above.

In this post, I thought I would go deeper into the definition and power of metaphor for creating change, as well as show you how to use these three metaphor examples and create your own.

Metaphor Definition and Purpose

A 'metaphor' is a word or phrase that is symbolic of something else. The word comes from the Greek, ‘metapherein’ which means ‘to transfer’. In communication we use metaphor to transfer meaning from one thing to create awareness or understanding in another context.

Not only does a metaphor transfer meaning, it can ‘re-frame’ the meaning that the listener currently holds. This is...

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What Children teach us about Leadership Development

coaching leadership legacy Feb 19, 2020

Children and Leadership Development; at first glance there's not much to connect the two topics, but when speaking at a conference or coaching a leadership team, I often find myself using my children as examples. This is, of course, motivated by the fact I am a proud father - but also because children so quickly reflect our values.

As leaders, our values drive our behaviors, and our followers very quickly pick up on what's important to us. In this post I wanted to share 3 such Leadership Development Principles, that children bring into focus.

Leadership Development Principles

1. Modeling Behavior

Every parent knows that children are great mimics, they watch you like a hawk and duplicate your behavior. This can be amusing, as when my daughter first started painting her nails after watching her mother, or my son picking up my tennis racket and saying, "like daddy." The dark side of this modeling is when children mimic the aggressive behavior of adults. This dark side of mimicking was...

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Presentation Skills – Training Tips to Improve Impact

career coaching speaking Feb 18, 2020

Whether I’m working with graduate trainees or managing directors, there is always a realization of the need to improve presentation skills. Why are presentation skills such an important skill to accelerate your career or secure your position as a leader?

Well, I’m sure you have sat through many mind-numbing, ‘death by PowerPoint’ presentations, but have you also experienced listening to an engaging story-teller, who has you on the edge of your seat and inspires you with new insights?

Being the engaging storyteller gives you visibility, credibility and influence. These 3-factors are essential to your career Success.

Learning Presentation Skills

The ability to present or speak well is within everyone’s grasp. With 20-years’ experience as Motivational Speaker, I have coached the most boring of CEO’s and the most timid individual contributor to speak and present with impact.

Regardless of your current position or skill level, to become effective...

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Get out of your Comfort Zone – Motivational B.S?

“Get out of your comfort zone.”

We have all heard this advice, whether from as a cliché from a Motivational Speaker or in a Social Media meme. But is this B.S? And by B.S I a mean a Belief System!

The belief system (B.S) in this advice is that we employ the courage to try new things, and as such is sound; but how much is too much? Consider the following:

  • The human body has very specific comfort zones for things like temperature, blood glucose, and atmospheric oxygen. For example, humans can survive for periods in double digit zero degree centigrade and although our cells start to die at 41c, people can survive a day trip to Death Valley which reaches highs of 55c.
  • On waking this morning, your fasting blood sugar should be under 100 mg/dl, but if you have just had a good breakfast or lunch it’s likely to be around 140 mg/dl. If you are not a diabetic, your body has a sophisticated method for keeping your blood sugar in a ‘comfort zone’. Too...
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Self-coaching Questions - for when things go wrong

coaching self-leadership Feb 11, 2020

If you have ever tortured yourself over a set-back or failure, or ever wondered if successful people do something different, then have I got news for you?

"Set-backs and failures are part of life, and if you are an entrepreneur or leader, how you handle set-backs and failures will determine your long-term success."

With 20-years experience as an Executive Coach,  I have learned the power of questions, and in this post I will share with you some self-coaching questions you ask yourself.

Read on, or Watch the Video

Quality Controlling your Questions will determine the quantity of your Control. I have been guilty, in the past, of the self-indulgence of asking,

“Why me?”

When the world appeared to conspire against me. Or the self-recriminating question of.

What did I do wrong?”

When things did not go as planned. Perhaps you have caught yourself asking the same questions, but did you know there are better questions?

Questions that move you toward a...

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An Extra-Ordinary Woman shows Self-leadership

In 2010, a shy Spanish-speaking South American woman, leaves her home and family to start a challenging new job in Singapore.

I asked her, what she was thinking and feeling at that time. “I was very afraid” she said. “But I thought I would be good, because I was invited to be part of a big project.”

Then, what was she afraid of? “Of meeting people better than me”, she said.

Does this resonate? Do you compare yourself with others, and give them more credibility than you give yourself?

I asked Victoria (not her real name, not her photo) what she thought she brought to the job, what strengths she had that would enable her to be good.

“I am very focused and understand the complexity of projects, I can work with different people from different cultures and build trust.”

I asked her, “How many people in the world can do what you do, the way you do it?” And her answer was, “Not very many”. So, I asked why she...

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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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How to influence your boss

Research has shown that the inability to build a successful relationship with the boss is a significant reason for managers failing or not reaching their full potential.

When I approach this topic, I encounter several mindsets that lead to an inability to effectively influence, these include:

  • My boss is autocratic
  • My boss doesn't listen to me
  • I don't want to jeopardize my career
  • I have no power in the relationship
  • My boss doesn't give me time

Do any of these, sound familiar?

The problem with blaming the boss is that you have created an external locus of control which is the exact opposite of self-leadership. To influence you must ask yourself, “what can I do that will make a difference?” The purpose of this blog is to provide some ideas to get you started:

  1. Create an Ally

Allies have open and honest conversations; they may not always agree but they will listen to what each other wants and assertively communicate what their own needs. "But my boss doesn't...

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