Kit Prendergast, PCCKit brings you a wealth of expertise and experience as well as a wonderful spirit, energy, and a gift for inspiring you to create the life you truly want for yourself.
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Tag Archives: energy
Women need to believe in themselves again. In the late 1960’s to the 1980’s we saw women embracing their own self-worth and capabilities with strong confidence. They didn’t need to be perfect but they wanted to make things happen and they did.
But then what happened? For the past 15 – 20 years, we have steadily seen women fall off their career growth and success. Yes, we know there are major societal and cultural barriers to women here in our country but there is something more subtle going on. Women become their own worst critics.
These highly educated, capable young women start falling behind at almost every turning point in their career paths. That inner voice of self-doubt becomes louder and they begin turning down opportunities to advance saying to themselves “I’m not good enough, qualified enough, and smart enough or the time just isn’t right”. Interestingly, we don’t see the young men saying that at all – they tell themselves “I’ll learn it as I go”. The result . . . they move ahead and advance quickly.
This disturbing trend has been well documented but has received little serious attention by human resource professionals or the leaders of growing organizations – all who are now scrambling to recruit and retain top talent especially among the millennial generation.
What can we do? Here are three actions that HR departments and company leaders can take.
- Establish one-on-one mentoring programs
- Create confidential professional peer support groups
- Teach coaching skills to all managers/supervisors.
This is just a short list – there is so much more that we all need to do to stop this talent drain. Let’s help these young women grow their self-confidence so they can step up to critical leadership positions in their professional work and in their communities. We need them!
I was intrigued by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie’s book, Strengths Based Leadership (See more on that below.) and especially intrigued on their chapter on why people follow certain leaders. Gallup conducted a random sampling of 10,000 people using just these two questions:
- “What leader has the most positive influence in your daily life?” and
- “Now, please list three words that best describe what this person contributes to your life.”
The results were fascinating because, with no prompts or categories to choose from, the respondents overwhelmingly identified the same four characteristics of the leaders they choose to follow in their work, personal and community lives. These were: Trust, Compassion, Stability and Hope.
I found myself wondering how we feel we meet these characteristics. Here are some questions to ask ourselves.
- Trust: Do others see me as honest? Having integrity? Being ethical?
- Compassion: Do I show that I care? Am I empathetic and aware of other people’s needs?
- Stability: Do I lead from a solid foundation of values and strength? Can I move through change?
- Hope: Am I realistically optimistic and able to provide positive guidance for the future?
What are your thoughts? How do you rate yourself? How would others rate you? We all may need to take our leadership skills up to that next level and embrace these qualities more on a daily basis. I’m sure we will see powerful results!
As a leader, do you bring positive energy into the room or do you drain it as soon as you walk in? Think about it . . . you may have a good sense of what emotional impact you have on others or maybe you don’t have a clue.
Why is it even important? A core competency for any leader in any capacity is their ability to connect positively with others up and down their organization’s structure. These leaders bring an energy, optimism and a sense of hope to their work and relationships. This positive connection expands into an ability to engage and influence others in the mission and desired outcomes of the company, organization or team effort. People gravitate very naturally to this kind of leader.
But how do we as individual leaders develop this competency for ourselves? It’s so easy to slip back to the doom and gloom of everyday work life. Neuroscientists tell us this is actually how our brains are hard-wired – for basic survival – but our world has changed and we need to change our thinking as well.
Here are my favorite three ways to practice changing these old thinking habits:
First, when you wake up tomorrow morning think of 3 things that you are thankful for or grateful for in this new day. These are the lenses through which you will see everything that will happen during your day – a perspective of abundance rather than scarcity.
Second, do a small act of kindness today – and don’t mention it to anyone.
Third, when you go to bed tonight think of 3 things that went well during that day – not what you didn’t get done or what went wrong but rather What Went Well (WWW) (Seligman).
As a leader in any capacity, these simple daily practices will help you refocus on what is going well and restore a sense of positive energy that will ripple out, increasing your ability to engage and influence others.
Try it and let me know what happens!
What is your favorite question to be asked? What question or questions can someone ask you that engage you right away in a meaningful conversation? And what signals do you pick up that tell you this individual is genuinely interested in you?
It’s a gift when someone is truly curious about us and interested in learning about what we think. And it’s even more unusual for someone to be willing to listen deeply to what we have to say without interrupting with their own agenda or opinions. When we feel “safe” in those conversations we can relax and be ourselves. And just as importantly, we can share our own wisdom freely.
As leaders in today’s rapidly changing world, we all need the very best of everyone at the table. We can’t afford to ignore or minimize the strengths of those we work with simply because we don’t know how to ask the right questions at the right time. But how do we know what to ask and when?
Here’s how to start . . .
First, know that people are naturally “resourceful and whole”. This is a core belief of coaching and challenges us as leaders to create safe conversations for others to bring their best ideas, energy and focus to mutually desired outcomes.
Second, step into your curiosity. Be quiet, mindful and simply curious. Start the conversation off with a “What” question or a “How” question. Avoid “Why” questions because they often have the unintended result of creating defensive feelings. Examples of questions are:
- “What have you already been thinking of?”
- “What would that look like?”
- “How will you know you/we are successful?”
- “What is the opportunity/challenge here?”
- “What is your professional assessment/recommendation?”
Third, listen deeply without interrupting, especially if the other person is more introverted. These questions are some of my favorite.
- “What else?”
- “What is the part that isn’t yet clear?”
- “What other resources/planning do you need?”
- “What is getting in the way of your success/movement ahead?”
Finally, ask several questions directed to action steps and accountability. That’s the easy part for leaders who are strong problem solvers. Remember to stay curious and ask how they want to move forward. Listen for their wisdom – that’s why you hired them!
It’s not surprising. . when we find meaning and purpose in our daily work we are significantly more engaged. Think about it. When are you the happiest? Feel the most excited, passionate, and energetic and focused? It’s when you see the deeper reason and benefit to your efforts.
And as leaders committed to inspiring and guiding others, we know that we can create that authentic meaning at work and when we do so, we tap into the key to full engagement.
As Tom Rath describes in Are You Fully Charged?, creating meaning in our work evolves over time rather than just falling in our lap. It’s the culmination of small actions that result in people becoming more energetic, optimistic, creative and flexible. It is a commitment to a deeper purpose that brings out the best of what each of us has to offer. But how do we as leaders do that?
Here are three questions that I ask and encourage my coaching clients to consider each day. You may also find them helpful and could modify them to work in your own unique work setting.
- Ask yourself each morning: “What will I do today that will make a positive difference in someone else’s life?” Set that intention, follow-through and then observe what happens for you. It’s almost always a sense of increased well-being.
- Ask yourself: “How does my daily work provide positive benefit to others, or doesn’t? Is there a way I could change it up to be more impactful? What would that greater positive ripple effect look like?” Have the courage to make those small changes.
- Ask yourself: “From what perspective or lenses do I see my world each day? Is it from an abundance or scarcity perspective?” This has an enormous effect in your own sense of well-being as well as your ability to be fully engaged in meaningful work.
Let me know how these three questions and resulting actions work for you. I’ll be doing the same – and even picking up the pace as we speak!