Will leaders exhibit emotional discipline this week?©

There’s a part of being emotionally intelligent that is key to leaders successfully creating collaborative outcomes and it would appear, from my experience with thousands of them in training and executive coaching sessions, to be the portion know as “self management.”

Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability of individuals to recognize their own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.  Basically, it’s your “people” skills.  The characteristics include self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills.  Daniel Goleman, a psychologist, developed the framework for it.  Many organizations use assessments that measure your level of development in each of the skills.  Studies of indicated that emotional intelligence is a higher indicator of success, in many areas, than even a person’s IQ.  Here’s a nice article to compare the two for you.

Discipline is defined as:  the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience.  Discipline used to be something that was coveted.  The concept was honored and honorable.  It still is when it applies to having a perfectly sculpted body (one thing I may never see in the mirror).  Everyone seems to want one of those these days and will go to great lengths to have one.

Emotional discipline, though, is something that we may not be focusing quite enough on, right now, and could be the missing key that unlocks the outcomes we want to achieve.  The leaders I have coached and admired have emotional discipline, which I have found to mean that they don’t always do what they want to do, or say what they want to say, when they want to say it.  They don’t always react in anger when they have full justification to do so.  They don’t do tasks when they feel like it, but rather when they have them scheduled to happen.

Leaders that possess emotional discipline have an impulse, quite frequently, to run the other way when the super tough decisions need to be made, and yet they don’t.  They stand up, when others sit down, and they speak their truth in the face of criticism and sometimes serious consequences.

For those of you that are familiar with the DISC behavioral styles here are some areas that each of us may have an opportunity to develop emotional discipline in regard to:

Drivers – may have an impulse to over-confidently say exactly what’s on their mind, with little contemplation. They may speak from the “gut” and may not give consideration to how it lands on peers and team members.

Influencers – may have an impulse to avoid needed conversations and situations if they feel like they could result in a possible conflict, or deterioration of a relationship or a how much a person likes them.

Supporters – may have an impulse to hold back on their opinion or believe that their opinion isn’t as important.  They may also have an impulse to take all of the work onto themselves instead of burdening someone else which may sometimes lead to not delegating well.

Calculators – may have an impulse to NOT communicate instead of communicating.  Calculators can sometimes be more comfortable in their office with “time to think” instead of seeking others’ opinions.

When the rules of emotional discipline aren’t followed there are consequences for the leader, their team and their organization.  They might include and certainly aren’t limited to their team loosing respect and trust in them.  A lack of emotional discipline may lead to lack luster results because a leader did what they felt like doing in meetings and during important interactions with others, rather than calling out unproductive behaviors. Maybe customer centric standards aren’t kept because it’s easier to overlook poor performance than it is to inspire excellence every day.

We all have work to do to right this ship and make emotional discipline as sexy and common place again as it used to be, when we celebrated and were more attracted to a leader taking a moment to quietly contemplate their answer than blurting out the first thing that came to their mind before the other person was even finished talking.

Here are some things to discuss with your team this week:

  1. In which areas of their work do they feel they are exhibiting strong aspects of emotional discipline?  Do they hit deadlines regardless of the internal or external obstacles they are dealing with?
  2. In which areas of their work do they need a higher level of emotional discipline? Do they need to lean into meaningful conversations that can move themselves and the team forward rather than leaning away because it’s more comfortable and familiar?
  3. Where do team members need help in being more disciplined? Is it hard for them to get fired up in the morning and do the toughest tasks they need to get done, first?  Who can help motivate them and keep them on track?

At Cortex Leadership Consulting (www.cortexleadership.com) we provide DISC, Motivators, Leadership Competency, Stress, 360 degree and Team Accountability assessments along with workshops and leadership programs to assist you and your team to reach your peak performance.  You can contact us at lynda@cortexleadership.com or (540) 776-9219 to book a workshop for your team, a customized leadership program for your organization or schedule a keynote speech.

If you would like to receive the Leader’s Launch List, each week, in your email inbox, go to www.lyndamcnuttfoster.com.

Will you follow the Platinum Rule for Leaders this week?©

There’s the golden rule:  Treat others as you want to be treated.

Platinum RuleAs a leader, the golden rule works well if the person you are working with has the same upbringing as you did, has the same behavioral style, is motivated by the same things, has the same vocabulary and has the same values.  In other words, if the person is exactly the same as you are and would want the same things then treating that person how you want to be treated, in it’s immediate, literal sense, would work.

Let’s face it, though.  We all want to be treated the way we want to be treated.  I like to be treated the way I prefer to be treated and so, I would guess, do you.  So treating others the way you want to be treated is treating them the way they want to be treated.

Which brings us to the Leader’s Platinum Rule.

Treat others as THEY want to be treated.

This way of thinking will help you:

  • More effectively communicate with others
  • More efficiently get to the goal you want to achieve through others
  • Create more trusting relationships that will result in others being motivated to help you achieve your goals and reach you and your organization’s outcomes.

Who you are talking to and dealing with, many times, is not like you.  You may hate when someone is too direct.  There are people that hate it when you aren’t direct with them.  When you aren’t direct they think you are “beating around the bush” and they are actually wanting you to “get to the point”.

You may think that people sitting there, hardly looking at you when you are talking to them, or who look at you with that terrible, what we call, “resting face” are cold and are ignoring you.  Actually, they may just have a different behavioral style than you do.  You being all bubbly and super positive may be coming across to them as superficial and perhaps, dare I say it, artificial.

How do you find out how others want to be treated?  Ask them things like:

  • How do you prefer to have me contact you? Text, Email, Phone?”  Is there a time, during the day, that works best for me to approach you with certain things?
  • Do you prefer I just come to your desk when I have a question I need answered right away or is there another way that would work for you?
  • When we hit a bump in the road, because everyone always does at some point or another when working together, how would you like for me to approach you with it? Is it best to send you a note and request a meeting, just come up to you and tell you about it, or is there another way of approaching it that you prefer?
  • How is it best for me to get feedback from you about how things are going? Is it best to go ahead and schedule some check-in points now or do you want me to reach out to you in a few weeks, or is there another method that you have found that works best for you in regard to giving or receiving feedback?

If you have taken one of our DISC workshops then you know that different behavioral styles prefer you to approach them with the answers to certain questions if you are requesting something from them.  The sooner you answer the questions that are in their head the sooner you will get what you need or want from them.

D – Drivers prefer you to be direct, to the point, be prepared, and answer the questions What?  As in, what needs to be done?  What are you requesting?  What is the bottom line?

I – Influencers prefer a friendly approach, to talk about personal things for a moment to “check-in” first, and then to answer the question Who?  As in, who will be working on the project, who is coming to the event, who is asking for the donation from us.

S- Supporters prefer you to take a slower pace to approach, be as thoughtful as possible, and answer the question How?  As in, how can I help you?  How can I serve you best?

C – Calculators prefer that you come to them with the facts, take a logical approach, provide them with details at a pace that allows them to absorb the information and answer the question Why?  Why does this need to change?  Why do you need what you are asking for?  Why does this need to be done now rather than later?

HOMEWORK WITH YOUR TEAM THIS WEEK:

In an upcoming work session with your team, start with a round that asks each member to share with the group one thing that helps them serve the group better.  They might share that they prefer to have any instructions in writing so they can be sure to deliver exactly what is needed.  Another member might say that they prefer to get a “heads up” about any changes that might be coming up so they can properly prepare for what’s ahead.  Another person might share that they prefer for people to be direct with them and just say what’s on their mind, to them directly, so that they can handle any issues immediately, before they fester.

You can start the meeting with the question, “What’s going right?” to get your meeting started with the right tone and thinking patterns.

If you would like to receive the Leader’s Launch List, each week, in your email inbox, go to www.lyndamcnuttfoster.com.

At Cortex Leadership Consulting (www.cortexleadership.com) we provide DISC, Motivators, Leadership Competency, Stress, and Team Accountability assessments and workshops to assist you, as a leader, and your team to reach your peak performance.  You can reach us at lynda@cortexleadership.com or (540) 776-9219 to book a workshop for your team, a customized leadership program for your organization or a keynote speech.

 

 

 

How smart will your failures be this week?©

My big sister, when I used to call her crying over some huge failure I thought I had just experienced used to tell me, “It’s a million-dollar day, Lynda!”  I wanted to hurt her.  She was trying to get me to see that the lesson I just learned was going to make me a million dollars one day.

Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed.  I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Blah, blah, blah, right?  We all know that things can not always work out.  Yes, we know it intellectually, but do we embrace failure in ourselves?  Do we encourage others to fail?  Do we really lead our teams by looking at it’s members and saying, “If no one is failing then no one is probably trying anything new.”   After all, like Edison found, the faster you fail the sooner you find the right answer or solution.

Failure due to laziness, lack of accountability and effort or just being sloppy and uncommitted is not what I am talking about here.

I’m talking about innovation which can not happen without failure.  If you’re not willing to risk you are not going to innovate.  Lack of innovation is going to be the real failure for many organizations in the coming years.

In the article, Why you should encourage failure in the workplace, they explain why failure is necessary in today’s organizations:

  1. Encouraging risk-taking appears to top talent
  2. Risky behavior can yield huge success
  3. Mistakes are great learning tools

In Harvard Business Review’s article, To Increase Innovation, Take the Sting Out of Failure, Doug Sundheim suggests the following questions to help you and your team define if something was a smart failure in order to determine the right and wrong way to fail:

  1. What makes a failure smart in our organization?
  2. What makes a failure dumb?
  3. What guidelines, approaches, or processes characterize smart risk taking?
  4. What clear examples can we point to, to demonstrate smart failures?

How will you reward smart failures on your team or in your organization this year?  Will you only reward successes or can you create a “Dare to Try Award” which would go to the most thoughtful and well-executed failures?

Will you give the gift of knowledge this week?©

 

People ask me frequently what the best book for them to read is.  I consume books, learning videos and articles about business and leadership like it was chocolate or something.  I’m lucky because it’s usually a client that asks and I know enough about what they want as far as their outcomes to suggest a book that will keep them moving forward on their path.

I thought I would throw out a few varied suggestions if you’re trying to think of a gift for yourself or a team member.

A subscription to Harvard Business Review.  Ask for this for Christmas!  If you want to know and use the latest research by the smartest people on the planet regarding leadership, order this subscription or beg a loved one or your boss to gift it to you.  I use this magazine constantly as a resource for the best research to create my launch lists, ebooks and course content.

How Google Works is a new one by Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg, Alan Eagle.
I’m about half way through it and already have 3 launch lists I want to write about it and definitely is one of my favorite audiobooks of the year.  I haven’t finished it because I stop it like every 10 minutes to take a bunch of notes.  It’s not just a sort of bio on the company itself but it is kind of guide written by leaders that help build Google to what it is today.  So far, it has dissected Google’s hiring process in detail which explains how they recruited and developed such great team members.  It’s a book about how they built their culture and the methods you can steal to get the same results with your team.

10% Happier by Dan Harris
This book just makes you laugh the entire time.  In the audiobook version it is narrated by the author and it totally cracks you up!  It is the cynical and enlightening journey of Harris’ path to discovering a method of relaxation that he believes made him 10% happier.

Any of these books by Malcolm Gladwell are super interesting and good reads.
Outliers (my favorite), blink, The Tipping Pont, David and Goliath.
If you haven’t heard of him here’s who he is:  CLICK HERE.

Conscious Business, How to Build Value Through Values, by Fred Kofman.  It focuses on unconditional responsibility, unflinching integrity, authentic communication, impeccable commitments and right leadership.

The Power of Full Engagement, Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal.  This is a great one to read over the holidays to start your new year right!  Full of practical ways to focus on managing your energy which will help you optimize the time you want to invest towards your desired outcomes.

I wish for you the gift of grace this week.  Give grace to yourself for all that you do to serve others – whether you always demonstrate it perfectly or not.  Grace to those that are wanting to please and serve you.  They don’t always get it perfectly either.  Grace to those you love and care about.  Family relationships come with way too much history to get it right every time.

Merry Christmas, my friend.  You are a reason why mine is so very, very joyful this year, as I have received more grace from others than I could possibly every measure.

 

Will you schedule a power hour for you and your team this week?©

In my new ebook entitled Time Mastery: 7 Simple Steps to Richer Outcomes I discuss the process of planning and executing a Sprint for you and your team.  These are 2-week long periods in which you hyper focus on a major deliverable that you want to accomplish.  These can be highly effective if you have defined the outcomes you want to achieve, have the authority to properly execute them and stay accountable the results you obtain.

As the holidays approach, you may find it helpful to schedule some Power Hours that are like mini-Sprints.  These microbursts of productivity, packed tightly into one hour of time, can help you and your team enter the holiday season with a clear task list and mind.

Here’s how:

  1. Schedule an hour of time this week that you are able to “rope off” completely.  If need be, you can let your team members know so that they can make arrangements to find assistance elsewhere during that hour.  An option is for you and a set of team members to schedule the Power Hour at the same time.  That way you are working in unison to get as much accomplished in one hour as possible.
  2. Determine which activities or tasks have been lingering around for days, weeks, or months that really need to get completed and haven’t. Things like clearing my inbox, scheduling health maintenance appointments, filing, running multiple small errands, and any number of things that have sat on the “side” of my desk fall into this category for me.  Which tasks do you have that you never seem to get around to doing, but that are not going to go away?  That’s your list.
  3. Schedule the hour for a time of the day and week that gives you the best chance at successfully executing it. When are the phones the quietest?  When do you have the least amount of interruptions?
  4. Celebrate when you have completed your Power Hour. Doesn’t have to be big.  Eat a Hershey’s Kiss if you like chocolate.   Declare to the world with fists in the air “I rock!”  The important thing is that you anchor the positive aspect of getting something done that you really didn’t want to do…and you had the discipline and fortitude to do it ANYWAY!

These Power Hours can be fun.  Put in your headphones and listen to music from the best times you can remember.  Challenge yourself to see just how many of the items on your list you can blast through with the laser focus of a Jedi warrior.

Will you plan for what you want in 2019 this week?©

Nope.  Not a typo.  I meant 2019.  I’ve learned from multiple sources and have come to experience it myself.  You can accomplish less in one year than what you think you can and much more in 3.

2019 imageSo, what do you want your outcomes to be in 2019?  Best to start thinking about it right now.  When you take that perspective you can release the pressure of needing everything to happen quickly and allow yourself to dream big and take the right baby steps necessary to get there.  If you want a better culture in your organization it will probably take longer than you think to accomplish, but the payoffs will be much bigger than you can probably predict.  If you want truly satisfying accomplishments, you need to think longer term otherwise you’ll be hitting tons of goals but they won’t mean that much in the long term.

Try asking yourself and your team these questions this week:

  1. What one or two small habits can you change that, over time, will create a big impact if done consistently for the next 3 years?
  2. Who do you need to deepen a relationship with that will result in an important mentorship or collaboration in the future?
  3. How will you plan each day, week, month and the next year to ensure that you are using your energy and talents optimally?
  4. Why do you want something different than what you have right now? Establish a strong reason that ignites your passion so that when things get tough you remember why you are making the changes and sacrifices in the first place.

 

 

 

 

 

How will you manage silos in your workplace this week?©

Silos are naturally and necessarily created in work environments to house team members into groups that form departments and that are designed to lead to the alignment of authority, responsibility, and accountability.  Silos allow for executives to manage smaller teams that allow for them to create communities that focus on areas of expertise and specific work product creation and implementation.

All sounds great, right? Yep, until you need to innovate or become customer centric and organizationally focused.

A silo mentality can be defined as: A mind-set present in some companies when certain departments or sectors do not wish to share information with others in the same company. This type of mentality will reduce the efficiency of the overall operation, reduce morale, and may contribute to the demise of a productive company culture.

 

Three aspects to consider in the organizational silo barrier are:

  • Non-aligned priorities
  • Lack of information flow
  • Lack of coordinated decision making across silos

When these aspects are occurring it will be difficult to make the changes necessary to remain competitive and get the ultimate results you may need to achieve.

What's your strategy?

In the Harvard Business Review Article, The First Two Steps Toward Breaking Down Silos in Your Organization, Vijay Govindarajan makes the statement, “Companies don’t change because they want to. They change because they are forced to by customers, by competition, by advances in science and technology, and by government regulation. Only when change is being forced upon the enterprise will people seek, give, and accept help.”

So if you need team members who currently operate in silos to begin operating in a way that will lead to the results you want to achieve, you’ll need to:

  1. Make a compelling case for why innovation is necessary to the organization and for each of its members. It will need to be an interactive experience for the leader and team member’s that occurs in as many different forums and formats as possible. Change can’t be “someone else’s” job or need to happen because it was posted in an email or there was one tell and sell group gathering that happened. Nope, you are going to need to lead the campaign throughout the organization and take some serious time to connect with other leaders and their team members to make the message and vision stick.
  1. Create an agenda that develops a step-by-step guide that team member’s can follow to reach the vision you will communicate. You need to not only communicate the vision for better communications you need to demonstrate it by clearly articulating, in multiple ways, what you want to see in the culture of your organization. You need to be the catalyst by being the change you want to see. If you don’t start crossing the silo lines by being more transparent with information that can be shared, being inclusive in your mindset and more effectively interactive in meetings, don’t expect others to execute what you aren’t doing yourself.

TEAM EXERCISE this week:

Before your next team meeting, distribute these questions so that your team members have an opportunity, as do you, to consider their answers. When you get together do a round and allow each member to comment on the one that they think is affecting your organizational progress the most.

  1. What priorities do you or your department have that are not aligned with another’s?
  1. Put yourself in the place of the other silo—what would make that silo realize that your need was a priority?
  1. What information do you or your department have that could be useful to others?
  1. What information or assistance do you need from another silo that you are not getting?
  1. In what areas would increased collaboration and giving up some autonomy be more beneficial for the company than maintaining your individuality?

(Questions excerpted from How Excellent Companies Avoid Dumb Things by Neil Smith with Patricia O’Connell. Copyright © 2012)

Will your brain be on dopamine this week?©

It’s hard to ignore (well, I guess you could if you wanted to) the mounting brain and other research that is proving that appreciation, recognition and gratitude increases workplace engagement, motivation and retention.

One study from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania found this:

“Researchers randomly divided university fund-raisers into two groups. One group made phone calls to solicit alumni donations in the same way they always had. The second group—assigned to work on a different day—received a pep talk from the director of annual giving, who told the fund-raisers she was grateful for their efforts. During the following week, the university employees who heard her message of gratitude made 50% more fund-raising calls than those who did not.”

 The part of the brain that is affected by appreciation and gratitude is the hypothalamus which controls dopamine – the “reward neurotransmitter”. Basically, when we show appreciation or receive it our brain make us feel good. 

Here are some ideas I found from a Forbes article entitled, 25 Low-Cost Ways to Reward Employees:

 

  • Just say thank you for the effort a team member as made recently.
  • Throw a pizza, cake or hummus (ha, I added that one) in their honor.
  • Grant a long lunch break, extra break or comp time.
  • Post a thank you note in the lobby with their name on it.
  • Have the entire team sign a framed certificate of appreciation.
  • Have the whole team give them a standing ovation at the beginning of the next meeting.

If you really want to know what will ring the appreciation bell for someone that you care about, try asking your spouse, child, friend or other family member to take the 5 Languages of Love free assessment. It will help you understand which of these 5 languages make them feel the best when they receive it:  

  • Quality time
  • Gifts
  • Words of Affirmation (that’s mine!)
  • Acts of Service
  • Physical Touch

It was incredibly helpful to our family when we realized that each one of us had a different language of love, but were constantly trying to give what we wanted to get from the other. I wanted words of affirmation so I gave those all the time whereas my daughter was happy with the most minor gift (even a cup cake counted) and my husband Allen, we found out, was all about quality time and couldn’t give a hoot about acts of service. The knowledge we got from one another, after taking the assessment, helped us more effectively give and receive appreciation to one another.

Gary Chapman’s book, The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace could be just the right gift for yourself and your team this holiday season. 

 

How will you stay focused this week?©

Okay, folks. There’s only 7 weeks left of 2015. You still have time to make things happen for you and your team, but you are going to need to stay focused on the most important action steps that will help you arrive at the desired outcome you set for yourself this year.

Maybe you have reached that 2015 outcome already. Woohoo! Congratulations. It’s smooth sailing from here. Enjoy the holiday season and rest up for an amazing 2016. A relaxed brain discovers all kinds of amazing solutions.

If there are still a few things you want to accomplish, or that you are required to, you might find helpful a video from Brendon Burchard (about 12 minutes long). It points out some key ways to remain focused.

  1. Make fewer decisions. You want to be sure to remove any decision making from your plate that you can. Are there small decisions that are you making everyday that you can take off your plate and off your mind?   He points out that “mindlessly browsing consumes an incredible amount of brainpower; every new link and every new piece of information to pay attention to eats up your mental energy and reserves.” Save your brainpower for the highest-level thinking that really matters.
  1. Define mission. This one goes back to always start with the end in mind. What is your desired outcome today? This week? This year? 3 years from now?
  1. Say NO to everything immediately, as a first response, from now on. Rather than saying, “sure”, perhaps you could answer with, “That sounds great, but I need to check the other commitments I’ve made and get back to you tomorrow with an answer.”

The amount of binging and dinging that goes on in our world is endless, it seems. I don’t think Steve Jobs created some of the coolest technology every invented so it could control us. In fact, I’m quite sure it was so that we could use it to reach our best outcomes. What distractions can you remove tomorrow that will allow you to focus on the things you know that matter most to you, your team, and your organization?

TEAM EXERCISE:

At your next team meeting you could do a few rounds where each person discusses these three items:

  1. What decisions are they making everyday that they don’t need to be?
  2. What is their desired outcome for the coming year?
  3. What do they keep saying yes to that they need to be saying no to, instead?

Another good reference on this topic is an article from Harvard Business Review entitled, Train Your Brain to Focus.

 

Will you read as much as you want to this week?

Most leaders I coach and train want to read more books, they just don’t seem to have the time.

You’re in luck! I discovered a free resource I think you are going to like. Brian Johnson has created something called “Philosopher’s Notes” which I have now fallen in love with. The library of free YouTube videos he created on some of the best books for self-improvement is extensive.

He boils down the concepts in the books to 5 or 6 big ideas from them in about 10 minutes. The format is easy to follow and it gives you enough to learn from and wet your appetite if you want to read more by buying the book. The reason it is so helpful is that you can be getting ready in the morning or walking on your treadmill and quickly watch any of the videos.

There are 266 videos total – seriously – and they are all free. I like the newer ones way more than the older ones. When he stands in front of the chalkboard the technique is very effective at making the concepts “sticky”.

Here’s a link to The Art of Achievement by Tom Morris as an example.

Some of his others include:

Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy
Change Your Brain Change Your Life by Dr. Daniel G. Amen
David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Introvert Power by Laurie Helgoe, PhD

He has a subscription service which I have not joined yet.

TEAM EXERCISE:

Try assigning one of these short videos to your team and having a lunch and learn discussion about the main concepts. Allow each team member to choose which main point they found the most helpful and explain why.

 

 

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