Think of it as your chance to share ideas in a compelling manner. Identify boring sections of writing and think of ways to liven it up with figurative language. Parents carry pictures of their children with them for a reason. Study great writers and notice how they create personal voice in writing. Focus especially on how writers use humor.
Shakespeare , Dickens, Lardner, Twain, and Keillor are a good start. When you are at a sporting event, what do you focus on? You focus on the action—the players, the cheerleaders, the officials making a call. If your writing is passive, no one will pay attention to it. Personal Voice in Writing Have you ever interrupted your English teacher and asked him or her what personal voice in writing is? We fear that people we think less of us. But the truth is we need the help and support of others to succeed. To be sure, leadership is fundamentally about asking people for help.
Making matters worse, our intuitions about what should make others more likely to help are often dead wrong; our fumbling, apologetic ways of asking for assistance generally make people feel far less likely to want to help. We hate imposing on people and then inadvertently, we make them feel imposed upon. But for some reason we forget that when it is our turn to ask for help. Research shows that people actually like us more when they have been able to help us. It makes them feel good too—unless they feel compelled to help.
So what are the subtle cues that motivate people to work for us? Instead try these three ways of asking others for help: In-Group Reinforcement Those members of our group are the most likely to help us. The Positive Identity Reinforcement Most people like to think of themselves as helpful because it is part of what it means to be a good person. We reinforce that with gratitude and appealing to the things that matter to them. They need not bother. If we feel we are not making an impact, we are likely to lose motivation. People need to clearly understand the impact of their helping.
Research shows that when people are unable to get any kind of feedback about how well they are doing on a task, they quickly become disengaged from it. And be sure to follow-up. Let them know how things turned out. It is practical advice for anyone asking for help in a way that will leave both parties feeling good about the relationship. Beyond the Drama Triangle Y. There's a Password for Every Door H. What Are Good People? Shake it Off I. How Good Could You Be?
The Mood Elevator W. Humility is the New Smart: Creating the Life You Want T. Unlock the Power of Less I. Ego Free Leadership E. Conflict without Casualties C. Are You Living an Adult Story? Seeing Beyond Ourselves A. Nothing facilitates community, collaboration, and innovation like humility. It is inclusive of others ideas, others needs, others strengths, other contributions, and the realities that exist outside of our own head. A humble leader asks more questions and is open to more answers thus deepening the pool of resources they have to draw upon.
But it requires a strength of character. The Secret Ingredient of Success: Humble leaders are strong enough to listen to other points of view. Humble leaders are strong enough to admit their mistakes and learn from them. Humble leaders are strong enough to celebrate their achievements of others. Humble leaders are strong enough to surround themselves with talented people without feeling threatened or diminished.
Additionally, Humble people treat others as equals. Humble people are better team players. Humble people are willing to set aside their egos. Humility is the antidote to insecurity that often plagues us. A lack of humility actually drives insecurity. Humility makes your strengths productive and multiplies the strengths of others. Humility acknowledges a world beyond our own thinking and minimizes our own limitations. A good leader knows this and acts accordingly to produce the best results.
Do you have the strength to be humble? But how do we get outside our comfort zone? Andy Molinsky gives us some practical first steps in Reach: We avoid it altogether. Or we only do it half-heartedly. All of these things sabotage our efforts. And the stories he includes from managers, executives, priests, baristas, stay-at-home-moms, singers, actors and performers, are helpful and relatable. And although these people are very different, there is a common theme. He has found that those most successful at getting outside of their comfort zones have three things going for them: Customization—Designing a Personalized Baby-Step Plan This is the ability to tweak or adjust in often very slight ways how you perform a task to make it feel more comfortable and natural.
When facing difficult situations we often feel powerless, but we can alter situations to play to our strengths. For example, we can change the words we use or the topics we talk about, change our body language, or change the timing or location. Clarity—Getting Some Perspective on Your Fears Clarity is the ability to develop an even-handed, reasonable perspective on the challenges you face. It may not really be as far outside of our comfort zones as we imagine. Here are Five Comfort Zone Myths to consider: All it takes to step outside your comfort zone is taking a leap.
Nearly everyone struggles with situations outside their comfort zones. With enough inspiration, anyone can stretch outside their comfort zone. Anyone can do it, but it takes more than inspiration; it takes effort, persistence, strategy, and a keen understanding of the challenges. As a result, so many aspects of our societies, workplaces, and geopolitics are being reshaped and need to be remained. And he was better for it. What follows is a small selction of thoughts and analysis of and prescriptions for the world we live in: You need a plan to succeed.
You have to know more, you have to update what you know more often, and you have to do more creative things with it. Self-motivation is now so much more important. Maybe this is overly romantic, but I think leadership is going to require the ability to come to grips with values and ethics. The more technological we get, the more we need people who have a much broader framework.
Technology creates possibilities for new behaviors and experiences and connection, but it takes human beings to make the behaviors principled, the experiences meaningful and the connections deeper and rooted in shared values and aspirations. Mastering Civility Civility costs nothing, and buys everything. Life is not scripted but we live it as though it were. In doing so, we create boxes that we operate within without ever really seeing the possibilities. And the problem is we think that is reality. We are sabotaging ourselves. We act more like Coleridge and less like Keats. In I Am Keats , Asacker develops a metaphor for two worldviews as expressed through the poetry of two 19th century poets: He was moved by his senses and imagination.
Capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries and doubts, he was uninhibited, open, and without judgment. Coleridge wants to predict an unknowable future. He is logic, order, control and progress. Coleridge wants you to live a productive and mistake-free life. We never see the possibilities. And then, heaven forbid, we may have to change. Your old eyes adjust to a new world, and you become more creative and discerning. It is a philosophy says Asacker. Surveys show that while some 40 percent of us make them, only 8 percent of us keep them.
We may feel exhilarated when we set a big goal, but that soon gives way to anxiety. There is a way to set goals and achieve them. He did it by getting his pitchers to scale back their goals from lofty to bite-sized, from outcome to process. Instead, Rick refocused his pitchers on short-term, bite-sized process goals. He told them they were professional glove hitters with one simple goal: He has to concentrate on hitting that glove.
Hitting the glove on a high percentage of pitches is also the most probable path to achieving larger, outcome-oriented individual and team goals. How It Translates We can all learn to refocus on hitting that glove. Whatever numbers they produced last year, they no longer matter.
Time to prove yourself all over again. Many sales organizations try to motivate their sales forces with talk of raising the bar and hitting even bigger numbers. But that lofty-goal approach can trigger fear and worry instead. Just like pitchers, salespeople know there are parts of the sales game beyond our control. By focusing on having daily, high-quality interactions with customers, I would make great progress toward putting a dent in my quota.
Thinking about how many high-quality interactions I should have each day, I set the initial target at two. Before you laugh and ask what I was going to do after lunch, consider the math. Two high-quality interactions per day are 10 per week, and 40 per month. As soon as I started focusing on my new simple, short-term, bite-sized process goal — two high-quality interactions with customers each day — I began thinking about my day differently.
I began prioritizing those two high-quality interactions with customers above everything else. I wasted less time. Focusing on that one small change brought about big results. Gratitude encourages, clarifies, motivates, includes, and unifies. But gratitude is good for you too. Gratitude puts you in the right mindset to lead. Gratitude and humility are interconnected. They reinforce each other. We alone are not responsible for who we are and what we do and that is the essence of leadership.
We are never truly self-sufficient. In a practical way, gratitude provides guardrails in our life.
Using Metaphors to Explore Continuous Improvement
Gratitude helps us to protect from ourselves. It is amazing how much gratitude plays into avoiding poor behavior and wrong thinking. Gratitude sets a boundary on our thoughts by making us mindful of others. It helps us to avoid going where we should not go because we are more self-aware.
The Importance Of A Brand’s Voice: Metaphorically And Physically - Brand Quarterly
Gratitude requires that we slow down and reflect. Gratitude is the basis of emotional intelligence. It puts other people first. It says you know and you care. While empathy has been found to be essential to leadership, empathy is not empathy if it is silent. It must be expressed. Gratefulness helps to curb unproductive emotions such as frustration, resentment, and revenge. Studies have shown that it is an antidote to depression.
It has the power to heal and move us forward. It improves relationships and is a remedy to envy and greed. Instead of trying to strive with others we are thankful for what they do. Grateful people find more meaning in life and feel more connected to others. In these changing and uncertain times, gratitude is a leaders ally. Life is a continuum. Gratitude allows a leader to appreciate where they are and the resources they have at their disposal to face what life throws at them. A habit of gratitude gives us perspective. More than a behavior it must come from the heart.
It must be the mindset we lead from, manage from, and make decisions from. Gratefulness is grounded in reality because ultimately we must realize that everything good in our life is a gift. Leadership begins and ends with gratefulness. The ability to quickly master hard things. The ability to produce at an elite level , in terms of both quality and speed. To produce tangible results that people value. The ability to perform deep work is becoming increasingly rare at exactly the same time it is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy.
As a consequence, the few who cultivate this skill, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive. Learning is an act of deep work. An act of intense focus. We are what we focus on and that is increasingly, the superficial. Shallow work adds to our sense of meaninglessness.
Leading Matters: John L. Hennessy on the Leadership Journey
Here are a few Newport suggests: There is the Monastic approach that eliminates or radically minimizes shallow obligations. The Bimodal approach that suggests binging on deep work for various lengths of time. The Rhythmic approach makes deep work a habit by scheduling a regular chain of deep work in your day. The last approach and the one Newport prefers, is called the Journalistic approach. Using this approach you fit deep work wherever you can into your schedule.
This last approach however, requires a great deal of willpower and practice. The Rhythmic approach may work best to get you started. Take Breaks from Focus Make deep work a priority by taking breaks from focus, not from distraction. Be Intentional with Your Time Have a plan for your day. If you start your day with blocks of deep work scheduled in, you stand a much better chance of actually getting some deep work done.
A deep life is a good life. But a growing feeling of disappointment overwhelmed him. Finding Your Second Anchoring Technique. Our environment triggers behaviors or responses in us. When to Cooperate and When to Compete. What Are Your Hidden Strengths? Your strengths will get you in the door, but to make progress you are going to have to become more of who you are and draw on your hidden strengths. Hidden strengths are not weaknesses. They are capacities you have that have yet to be recognized, developed and utilized. They become your Learned Strengths. Your strengths and weaknesses need to be managed.
Strengths need to be managed so that they are not overused or overbearing. Often they can be delegated. But the area between the two—your hidden strengths—not only provide a deep pool of strengths to draw on but they will help you to smooth out your rough edges and bring into balance your natural strengths. Is it Time to Disrupt You? Disruption can be a powerful and positive force. If we are to work with and take advantage of the disruptions in the world around us, we must be willing to disrupt ourselves.
Return on Character We live in an age where wisdom is only wisdom if it is supported by numbers. There are two obvious problems with this. First, we miss a lot because we are looking for immediate return. And so it puts our focus on the wrong things. And secondly, as a result, we tend to assign value to things in terms of numbers. It is assumed that if it gives us the best numbers, it must be the best choice or behavior. Nevertheless, it is satisfying when the numbers do add up. The 5 Choices to Extraordinary Productivity.
The Ten Golden Rules of Leadership. Do you have Moxie? Where it Comes From Why do some leaders make an impact, while others flounder after initial success? How to Find Leadership Blindspots. The 12 Rules of Respect. How to Discover Your What. What Keeps Leaders Up at Night? Self-leadership is fundamental to good leadership, but it is not the end-game. Self-awareness for self-awareness sake has a limited value. Through introspection and reflection we can get to know a great deal about ourselves—as far as we know.
The problem is that we don't know what we don't know. Only when we are able to test our assumptions about ourselves, can we know if we are getting it right. It is when we see ourselves in relation to others and in relation to a higher purpose that we really begin to clarify and many times even identify our core values, beliefs and intentions.
We can all know who we think we are, but it isn't until we get out and interact with others that we can begin to see where we are right and where we have been fooling ourselves. Who we are takes on meaning when it is in the context of our relationship with others. Superman's stance on "truth, justice and the American Way" is pointless if he remains isolated in his Fortress of Solitude.
His values only have meaning in relationship to other people. All the self-knowledge in the world counts for very little if it is not put to work in the service of others. Self-awareness that points to your unique contribution in the world is leadership. Who you are is leveraged when it is placed in the service of other people. Surely we must lead with integrity—in a manner consistent with who we are.
However, the only way to know if we are really doing that is by looking at how we impact the lives of others—how our leadership is experienced by others. Self-awareness provides the opportunity for us to close the gap between who we think we are or want to be and who we actually are at a particular point in time. But that can only be achieved with feedback of some kind. It's a book about trust in leadership and the trust that is generated by knowing who you are and leading as that person. At thirty-five, I was already an executive vice president with Turner Broadcasting, overseeing two divisions and reporting directly to the second most senior executive who soon would be named the company's CEO.
I believed that I was very much at the top of my game, already delivering a lot of high-level presentations, and getting consistent positive feedback. I was more than a little offended by the suggestion that I needed any help at all with my communication skills. In Atlanta, I participated in Speakeasy's exclusive, invitation-only workshop for C-suite executives. Called "The Leader's Edge," this intense three-day workshop focused on communication style and delivery with respect to leadership. In spite of my initial resistance, I did my best to participate without revealing my conviction that I felt superior to this target audience that needed help with communication and presentation skills.
I wasn't the least bit nervous when it came time to watch the video recordings of our individual presentations.
I was sure I'd done just fine. With the others in our group, I watched as the executive persona of Scott Weiss delivered his speech from the screen. The guy up there looked pretty good. Very sure of himself. I expected to be told, as I always had been before, that I was a very effective presenter. But after a moment, Sandy Linver, the faculty leader who had directed our session turned to ask me a question. If you could separate yourself from this person and experience him objectively, would you want to hang out with a person like that on the weekend?
But I looked at that person frozen on the TV monitor and thought about it. Reluctantly, I had to tell the truth. I had just admitted that the person I was projecting was not someone to whom I could relate. He wasn't even someone I really liked! And apparently, I wasn't the only one to be put off by Scott Weiss's executive persona. In our remaining time together, other members of the audience began to offer more specific impressions of how they had experienced me as a communicator, and as a person.
Those were just some of the terms they used. I had never heard myself described this way before. I felt like the emperor with no clothes. I had not gone to Speakeasy for a consciousness-raising experience. But I sure had one. In the weeks following that close and uncomfortable encounter with my own executive persona, I did a lot of thinking. I examined what I had learned about how others actually did experience me, and thought about how I wanted people to experience me. There was a gaping abyss between those two extremes, and I realized that I had a lot of work to do to bring them closer together—to become more congruent as an individual and as a leader.
I needed to find my authentic self and learn how to bring more of my real personality to my vocation. I appreciate Scott Weiss sharing this story, for it's not just a process all growth oriented leaders must go through, but a process we must seek out continuously. Feedback is a process that, if we allow it, will keep us honest with ourselves.
We see things as we are; and we see ourselves through our intentions. Feedback gives us a reality check that we are free to accept or reject, but without it we have no way to combat our own self-deception. We must be able to experience ourselves in relation to other people if we are to have a genuine understanding of who we are and why we do what we do. So the place to begin if we truly want to know ourselves is to reflect on the impact that we have on others. Only then can we lead authentically knowing that our inner being is congruent with our outer behavior.
Self-awareness is vital to the development of a leader. But it's not navel-gazing. It is not an inward focus. It is an outward focus. Its ultimate goal is to improve our connection and effectiveness with others. The self absorbed leader struggles with self-awareness and emotional intelligence because self-awareness is about how we are perceived by others.
It's about understanding how our behaviors are affecting other people. And we just can't do that by focusing on ourselves. It is easy for us to focus on ourselves—to think people just don't understand us. And when we do, we tend to rationalize rather than grow. Explain rather than listen. Disconnect rather than lead. Self important leaders can't see how they are sabotaging themselves because they focus on their needs and feelings and not those of their followers.
Consequently, they don't encourage feedback because it never seems relevant to them. An inward focus dooms us to operate from a place of weakness—never able to see what is holding us back. It is in the character of great leaders to have a great appetite for feedback. It's a gift and still the best way to gain an awareness of ourselves. You might think of it as a personal scorecard. To see where we need to grow, we need to see how we affect other people. Only then can we begin the introspection that will lead us to a deeper understanding of ourselves and learn to move past unproductive thinking and develop new behaviors.
Self-Awareness Like us on Facebook for additional leadership and personal development ideas. How to Make Better Decisions "Why do we have such a hard time making good choices? We often just go with our gut. And that hasn't always served us well. Are You a Giver or a Taker? Learning the Wrong Lesson. Fred exemplified an attitude of exceptional service delivered consistently with creativity and passion in a way that values other people.
Leadership and the Art of Struggle: The problem is we view struggle as a negative.
But struggle is how we grow. How to Make Work— Work for You. If I did that, if I was good to my family, true to my friends, if I gave back to my community or to some cause, if I wasn't a liar, a cheat, or a thief, then I believed that should be enough. We begin with values that drive our behavior based on intrinsic rewards. But over time, something can happen if we are not careful. Competitive pressures weigh on us. The chance for extrinsic rewards like money and power loom larger.
So if we want to have lasting change, the beginning point has to be our thinking. When we look at our behavior we have to understand that there is a thought going on in our heads that is tripping us up. And we have to change that first. How to Avoid the Artificial Maturity Trap. Feedback Can Be Fun. You According to Them. They have limited our responses. And it profoundly affects our ability to adapt. Behaviors and Mindsets that Ruin Careers. The Titleless Leader Leading without a title is about taking personal responsibility. We—the world—is in desperate need of people who will choose to lead whenever and wherever they can.
People are frustrated, angry, disillusioned, tired, and afraid. Not to mention skeptical, cynical, and distrustful. And those plaques touting people as the most important asset should be taken down. Not everywhere, of course, but in far too many organizations. But we have a choice. No one needs to appoint you, promote you, or nominate you. What Russell is talking about here is a different kind of leadership that starts with what all good leadership begins with: It is taking responsibility for the outcomes in your area.
Negativity Loops Destroy Intention When the stakes are high, negative thinking is a no-brainer; it comes naturally to any of us. Living intentionally is the path to success, but what happens when our intentions are derailed? Kristi Hedges is an expert in executive presence. Negativity dramatically affects your ability to lead. Negativity pulls us down and inward. Positivity pulls us up and outward. Negative thoughts have two characteristics: When they have setbacks, they see the issue as temporary and specific, not permanent and pervasive. Most of our pessimistic thoughts are just catastrophizing with little or no root in reality.
They destroy our game. Learn to challenge your thoughts before, during, and after a stressful situation. Find a pregame ritual—a repeatable process to get yourself in the zone of your intention—to get yourself into a positive frame of mind from the outset. When you have a physical reaction in a stressful situation, accept that it is a normal response and use helpful strategies to work around it, including taking deep breaths, pausing, and simply acknowledging them. The Power of Habit Habits will always be with us. But how do you replace bad habits with good habits? More importantly, how often do we ask ourselves if what we are doing is really just a habit?
We are less intentional than we think we are. Develop a Relentless Solution Focus. Where Negative Emotions Come From. Finding Gratitude in the Common Things We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. Do You Have Moral Overconfidence? Most will behave well or poorly, depending on the context…. Business leaders need to remember that most of us have too much confidence in our strength of character.
Nohria is exactly correct. Update your account information, organize your saved links or documents and view the latest News, Blog and Discussion Forum topics. Organizations face tough, recurring questions as they adopt, nurture, and spread a culture of continuous process improvement. The diagram below shows some of these critical questions within key dimensions inside the organizational "cube. Metaphors can be powerful tools for learning and communication, and we will use them to explore these six questions: Why should we lead people away from the status quo? How can we balance creativity and productivity?
What strategic tradeoffs and risks are we willing to make? Where do we reduce the burden of measuring what matters? When can we engage in conversations and promote collaboration in our social networks? Whose needs do we address, anticipate, and prioritize? Focusing on customer needs, as well as understanding and potentially involving customers in designing products, services, and experiences, is the key ingredient in any successful change effort. Mapping out who the "customers" are-patients, their families and peers, staff members, management, payors, the criminal justice system—is useful in identifying the stakeholders who will be affected by change, as well as in determining linkages and common needs.
Home in on customers' needs. For each customer group, you can use different strategies in concert to get a better picture of what customers require or desire. Surveys and suggestion boxes are useful in determining an effective range of what customers need, while interviews and focus groups delve into their motivations, preferences, and the critical incidents that trigger certain behaviors. Walk-throughs, while time consuming, are extremely useful in understanding first-hand what customers experience.
Day-to-day observation unearths a multitude of invaluable small details, especially when they are incongruent with what customers say they do. Adopting a multi-pronged approach to understanding the customer also makes it easier to anticipate and prioritize customers' needs. Think out of the cereal box. Some useful questions in this regard can be inferred from something as mundane as a typical cereal box: What are the things that give energy and provide excitement to our customers? Contrary to popular belief, Edison did not really invent the light bulb—he just made it better by making it last longer.
After observing many filament breakages and the uneven blackening of bulbs which was later coined the "Edison effect" , and after experimenting with hundreds of materials, he eventually found a way to solve the problem, by adding a more positively charged piece of foil that attracts electrons and causes current to flow.
As a metaphor, the Edison effect shows that productivity is only one part of the equation—it is necessary to balance it with the positive charge of creativity in order to drive innovation and keep motivation high. Mix people and assign roles. One way of doing this is through the selection of team members who will be part of a Change Project, and by defining specific roles for each of them.
Organizing a Change Team composed of a mix of detail-oriented, artistic, and "just get-it-done! The structure and dynamics of brainstorming sessions also influence the quality of solutions that are generated, and in this regard, we can learn something from the world of improvisational comedy.
The underlying philosophy of "improv" is simple: This change of perspective is significant in brainstorming sessions, because the predominant reaction most of us have when presented with others' ideas is "yes, but!