It is mid year and how is your mindset? The year seems to be passing us by. I have been doing a lot of coaching focusing on ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts), and I wanted to share 3 helpful ways to get a great mindset with you! I use these tips myself, because even I have ANTs at times. I’m only human.
Here are some awesome tips for you to help turn your mindset around and set yourself up for success on those days where you’re just not feeling it –
1. Set your focus
Set the tone for the day, by sitting down first thing in the morning and asking what you want from the day and from yourself? Having a focus for the day will help you feel energised and motivated, ready to smash some goals!
2. Say positive affirmations
You may feel a bit silly to start with, but there’s a reason so many people tout the benefits of positive affirmations – they really do work!
Use ‘I am’ phrases, e.g. I am strong, I am smart, I am worthy.
Before you know it, you’ll start believing your affirmations and feeling a lot better!
3. Think about your thinking
Take moments throughout the day to think about whether your thoughts are empowering or disempowering. Reflecting on these thoughts will help you identify the negative ones that don’t do any good, and you’ll you be able to start correcting these thoughts and making them positive. It’s hard to start this to begin with, so be patient with yourself.
Remember, we need to squash the ANTs; they stop us from reaching our full potential!
More GREAT TIPs
⭐️ Draw a Life Map and list out all your achievements and successes
⭐️ Write down key goals for yourself and what you can achieve today to take steps towards it
⭐️ You are the Director of your Mind. Only have award-winning thoughts on that stage
⭐️ Write down your ANT’s and laugh at them. I bet you can’t come up with any data to prove they are true
⭐️ Use I AM language. I am great! I am worthy! Watch your words – they have power
⭐️ Reach out to a confidant to tell them how you feel and ask for guidance or motivation
If you’re wanting to find out more about the importance of a great mindset, grab my books JUST ROCK IT! and Leadership Attitude (Nothing wrong with a little plug!) at https://soniamcdonald.com.au/products/
Now, get out there and ROCK your new mindset 🙂
Why not join Sonia’s Online Group Mentoring Program from ONLY $70 a month to inspire and accelerate your success. Join at https://soniamcdonald.com.au/group-mentoring/
The fact of the matter is, we need more diversity on boards. Without a variety of different people with different backgrounds, thoughts, and experiences, things will continually be done the same way. This isn’t how innovative processes and ideas come about!
If you’re wanting to get on a board, whether it’s for the intellectual challenge, the networking opportunities, to further your career, or give back to the community (on a not for profit board), here are 3 ways for you to reach your goal and get on a board!
1. Think about how your skills and talents can add value on a board
Just why should you be added to a board? Look at what you can offer your potential fellow board members, and what you can bring to the table – figuratively and literally!
When you can demonstrate what skills and talents you have that would be beneficial to a board, you’re more likely to be chosen!
2. Think about a not-for-profit board
Starting off on smaller boards means you’ll be able to have a larger say in the goings-on of a company, and therefore a bigger influence.
Not-for-profit boards are a great stepping stone towards getting on boards of more senior companies.
3. Start networking and ask people about board opportunities
Networking is vital in the business world; it’s the way to get ahead and build your career.
For help with networking, you can talk to us here at LHQ, utilise the fantastic resources that the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) provides, and get in touch with the Future Directors Institute.
By starting with these 3 helpful tips, you’ll be on your way to a successful board member career in no time! We’re here to help you become a great leader, and provide you with the support you need to get the position you want.
We are hosting a Board Leadership Workshop on 25th July at Rivercity Labs – register HERE. Find out more about Leadership and Board Programs and Coaching today at https://leadershiphq.com.au/programs/
Board Leadership by Sonia McDonald CEO & Founder LeadershipHQ
The ability to oversee and govern your organisation, define its values, mission, and goals, and also create its culture, comes down to your board’s relative strength. Building a strong board is a difficult task for CEOs, Board Chairs, and allied board members, but it is more important than ever.
Over the past several years, news reports from around the world have been filled with stories of various financial scandals, including product liability lawsuits, insider trading, internal theft and business failures. While the names of the institution’s involved change and the specific details differ on a few points, the one constant thread in all of these situations is a failure of leadership, an absence of integrity in the culture, and a failure on the part of the board of directors to actively provide direction.
- Challenges to Effective Board Governance
One reason why we are seeing more boards that are weak and lack strength is that the challenges that our top institutions face are rapidly changing. In addition to traditional governance and oversight areas such as strategic planning, recruiting top talent, and weighing in on potential mergers and acquisitions, organisations now contend with a host of other more complex issues.
These issues are wide-ranging and include dealing with the effects of technological advances that both improve and disrupt the way that we live and work, seeking options for how to succeed despite increased competition from domestic and international rivals, and even how to survive actual battles for control of the direction of the organisation from activist investors.
To meet all of these competing demands, it’s imperative that boards intentionally move from traditional, passive roles and embrace a more dynamic and active approach. The following are four core areas that your board must focus on improving in order to create a stronger and more effective board.
- Lead by Example and Start at the Top – The Case for Ambition
If you want a stronger board that is more engaged and directly involved with providing governance and oversight, you must literally start at the top. Boards must appoint Chairs that will push themselves and their fellow board members to take a more active role in investigating the key challenges facing the institution and developing strategies and solutions to these challenges that remain consistent with the organisation’s core values, mission statement and goals.
The Chair sets the tone and the pace for the rest of the board, so ideally boards need Chairs that are ambitious and that will actively seek out new ideas, diverse opinions, multiple options and even contrarian viewpoints in order to find the best direction in which to guide the organisation.
We love this article from Future Directors too around 5 Motivations for Wanting to Become a Board Director?
- Cooperation, Partnership, and Collaboration
One of the greatest challenges to effective board leadership is a lack of trust and mutual respect among its members or between the board and the CEO and other management. In order to have a strong board, the board Chair and CEO need to be able to work together in partnership and cooperation, rather than in competition with one another.
Board Chairs need to able to work with their fellow board members, and their CEO and each must facilitate more frequent opportunities for communication and more open communication styles.
Boards must do the hard work of taking an active approach to developing relationships with one another, their Chair, and the CEO, so that they are able to more freely discuss all issues that the institution faces and have frank, direct and sometimes even pointed discussions so that they can make better, more fully informed decisions.
Strong bonds enable boards to be able to get to the heart of the matter without fear of causing offense or otherwise stepping on anyone’s toes. In the end, this more active, direct, and dynamic approach helps boards to develop better strategies for dealing with all of the changes and disruptions that are taking place within their organisation and the marketplace.
This is why we are hosting a Board Leadership Workshop at Rivercity Labs on 25th July at 5.30pm. We need more Future Board Directors and Future Directors is offering a chance to win FREE Scholarship to one of those programs!
- Dive Deep and Encourage Diverse Ideas and Perspectives
Building strong bonds between the Board Chair, the CEO, and the board members, and facilitating more open communication is just one part of strengthening the strategic capacity of a board. While the board Chair and CEO must cooperate and work in partnership with one another, boards and their Chairs must still maintain their independence from the CEO and other management.
As part of their oversight and governance duties, boards and their Chair must actively seek out alternative viewpoints and ensure that they have a full and unobstructed view of all of the issues and details surrounding a specific challenge. Oftentimes this means that boards will need specific training and development in order to be informed and competent in specific areas.
Rather than serving as a rubber stamp for the CEO and management of an organisation, boards and their Chairs must dive deep into issues and challenges and the organisation’s comprehensive strategies. From IT and risk management to digital trends, media, marketing and branding and even the safeguarding of the organisation’s reputation, nearly every performance area of an organisation should come under the oversight of the board.
- Make Meetings and Agenda Items Count
Many boards only meet a few times a year, but strong boards make these meetings count by getting actual work accomplished. Board Chairs can strengthen their board and increase its impact and effectiveness by setting an aggressive and ambitious agenda.
Ideally, board meetings should first begin with a short reception that will allow members to mingle, connect and bond with one another before getting down to business. This sets a collegial tone for the rest of the meeting and helps put everyone in the right frame of mind and be more willing to cooperate and work with one another.
Next, the key challenges facing the organisation should become the focal point for the rest of the meeting agenda and should include potential options for strategy and other action items. To keep the board’s morale and momentum moving forward, Chairs should allow strategic thinking and planning to take up the lion’s share of the agenda, and save old business and follow up reports for the end.
As boards become more actively engaged in the governance and oversight of the organisation, they should periodically review their performance, as well as that of their Chair and their CEO, to see how well they are doing at transforming their board and the organisation as a whole.
Setting ambitious goals for organisational change and comparing the results against industry metrics can help boards to evaluate their performance in a more unbiased manner and help them to be able to identify and focus on new areas for improvement.
How active and strong is your organisation’s board and how effective is your board at managing change? Do you know in what areas your board excels and can you identify what areas your board should focus on to improve its effectiveness?
Get in touch today to learn more about how our executive board coaching and advisory or our board leadership programs can help you to develop the leadership skills that you need to help you strengthen your board and increase its effectiveness.
You’ve built your business up through sheer hard work, focus and money. But is that enough to keep your business on track for growing success? Are you a reactive business manager, making just-in-time decisions? Not sure if your business strategy is right? Or don’t even have a business strategy?
You are not alone. Many people start their business with a big fanfare and high hopes, then bit by bit, they lose their crystal-clear sense of direction and their hopes become a distant memory.
But it’s not too late to turn things around and get your business back on track. And the fastest way to do this is to use a business coach. Not convinced? Then read on to find out the top five reasons why you need a business coach.
1 You’ll set realistic goals
Your business coach will ask you questions to get right down to the nitty-gritty of your goals for your business. You might think you just want to make money. But your coach will ask you what that money will mean to you and your life. They’ll question you about the direction you want to take – and then help you to map out the steps to take to reach your goals.
2 You’ll be held accountable
When you get too busy to keep on track, your business coach will hold you accountable. You don’t want to let your coach down, and they want the best for you. So you’ll roll your sleeves up and get going – in the right direction – prepared to do whatever it takes.
3 Your business ego will take a back seat
How much ego do you put into your business? Not sure? How about “My way or the highway,” with your staff. Or a temper flare-up when things don’t pan out as you want them to. Your business coach knows that ego won’t help your hip pocket. Ego can stand in the way of an enlightened approach to your business. It can stand in the way of having great, supportive staff. And it can drive your business into the red. Your business coach will provide a ruthless ego check and give you the perspective you badly need to take your business forward.
4 You’ll go outside your comfort zone
Your business coach will give you the push you need to take you out of your comfort zone and take your business forward. This could be as simple as making some invaluable contacts. It could be trying a new approach. Or it could be addressing a group in an organisation like Lions Club to do some local business and get some great brand recognition.
5 You’ll learn how to make your ideas a reality
If your head is buzzing with ideas for your business, but you don’t know where to start, ask your business coach. They are great at evaluation and cutting through to what’s really achievable – and what’s not. And they’ll make sure that you go about things the right way.
Your business coach keeps you on track, working towards your goals. You’ll have the confidence to make savvy business decisions. And you’ll be accountable for your actions. And in so doing, your business will flourish, and you’ll make more money along the way So ask yourself. Can you really afford NOT to have a business coach?
LeadershipHQ have launched a NEW Program just for you. It is called The Business Collective TBC. Our first program launches in Brisbane. Find out and apply here!
Contact us NOW at Leadership HQ and give your business the boost it really needs!
The lifeblood of any successful career and business is in building great connections. Whether building new connections with potential clients or strengthening relationships with your existing network, making sure they are meaningful is essential to growing your business.
For extroverts, this is often second nature. But for many people, it can be quite challenging.
By using professional networks such as LinkedIn or Twitter, it can be easy to make an initial connection, but then to have virtually no direct contact for an extended period very quickly.
Think about your professional network, how many people have you not engaged with for well over a year?
Here are 5 keys to Building Great Connections:
1. Find a Way To Add Value
Instead of just sending random connection requests on LinkedIn, first, find a way to help that person. Take some time to work out what the potential contact’s concerns and wishes are. Then find a way you can offer a solution to their problem. It’s the perfect way to start a relationship which is a two-way street.
2. Ask Your Contact’s Opinions
Your contacts are part of your network for a reason, so be sure to reach out and take advantage of their wealth of knowledge and experience. Reach out to a contact when they may be able to assist, ask them about their life, and then be sure to thank them for their assistance.
3. Offer Professional Leads
If you hear of an opportunity which may be appropriate, let people in your network know. Rather than just jobs or referrals, focus on things like speaking opportunities, committees, special projects, and board positions. Also, offer to provide an introduction.
4. Keep Your Network Current
With LinkedIn, it is easier than ever to build a network of connections, fast, and develop a professional and modern business Rolodex. Instead of just connecting with people and disappearing, keep in touch through updates, sharing content, congratulating connections on their achievements, and furthering your connection network.
5. Make A Real And Genuine Connection
Watch my 2-minute YouTube video on Connection – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uU8AZ4vStew
If you want your network to be made up of people who know you, like you, and trust you, then just sending a friend request, liking updates and posts, isn’t enough.
Introductions work best to make a real connection. Depending on what suits you – either online or offline is fine, but be sure to be genuine. Start with letting the contact know a little about you, and also provide them with some value in their life.
To further develop your business connections skills and connect with greatness, check out our Business & Leadership Coaching and Programs at LeadershipHQ.
Experience LeadershipHQ and you will leverage the best of the best in Leadership, Culture, and Business.
Stay tuned for our new program and group – The Business Collective in Brisbane. Register your interest HERE.
If you are looking to work with me Exclusively in my Coaching Program; please the Overview, Outcomes, and Bonuses HERE plus a FREE Career or Strategy Plan.
Our Leaders of Leaders interview this week is with the amazing Cameron McIntyre, CEO carsales.com Limited and he is featured in our latest Leaders Hub Magazine.
carsales.com Ltd (ASX: CAR) is the largest online automotive, motorcycle and marine classifieds business in Australia. Attracting more Australians interested in buying or selling cars, motorcycles, trucks, caravans and boats than any other classified group of websites. Together with its subsidiaries employing over 600 people in Australia, carsales develops world leading technology and advertising solutions that drive its business around the world. carsales.com Ltd has operations across the Asia Pacific region and has interests in leading online automotive classified businesses in Brazil, South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Mexico.
1. What do you love best about what you do?
“As CEO of carsales, I get to work with some of the smartest and most capable people in the in the world, which motivates me to always be my best self, in order to support and effectively lead the whole global carsales team.
“Additionally, I love that every day at carsales presents new opportunities and challenges that tests our abilities and help us thrive as an organisation and as individuals.
2. What’s your purpose – your WHY?
“Great question, I’ve never been asked what is my ‘why’.
“I could be commercially correct and say my why / purpose is to ensure I’m maximising return and shareholder value for those who have invested in carsales, which is correct but I feel that is only one part.
“I like to look at things holistically. I feel my purpose is to also lead carsales so that the business positively impacts the lives of people in our eco-system.
“I would like to see our employees grow and evolve into the people they want to be, and for our customers to always have an exceptional experience when interacting with carsales.
“At a local and global level, I want to see the technology sector continue to grow sustainably and thrive to ensure success for our generation and those to come.
“These are the things that I am the most passionate about.”
3. How would you describe your Leadership Style?
“My style tends to be very open, engaging and transparent. I’m quite comfortable to lead from either in front or from behind depending on the need and circumstance.
“At carsales I actively empower and encourage our people to stretch, learn and evolve.”
4. What does Leadership mean to you?
“First and foremost, leadership to me means being authentic – be who you are and not someone people want you to be.
“I believe leadership is also about creating a business culture that people want to be a part of, one that is collaborative to promote diversity of thought, as well as aspirational.
“Additionally, it’s important to develop strategies that the team all buy in to, that they work together to achieve and execute in a timely manner, whilst having a bit of fun along the way.”
5. Why does Leadership matter?
“From my experience, people want to work for an organisation that motivates and inspires them, creates value for themselves, their customers and/or the broader community and society as a whole.
“Therefore, quality leadership is vital to create workplace culture and an organisation that embodies these values, attracts quality employees and has a positive impact on people’s lives in its eco-system.”
6. Key achievements and successes – any come to mind?
“What immediately comes to mind is when I secured the job as CEO of carsales. I replaced one of the most successful technology founders Australia has produced, so I had big shoes to fill, and often these transitions can be can be very difficult, and to date I’ve had positive results.
“Another key achievement that I’m very proud of was our successful Initial Public Offering of carsales. This took place in 2009 during the Global Financial Crisis, and at the time I was the Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary of carsales.”
7. Who has made a difference in your career?
“Greg Roebuck the former CEO and founder of carsales – he continues to be a close friend and mentor.
“My wife – she has been a significant enabler and without her support my career would not have reached its full potential.”
8. What are your strengths and unique talents?
I’m not good at answering what strengths and unique talents pertain to me because I feel mine are not unique.
“However, I think the strengths that most people in my position as CEO would have would include an ability to effectively communicate, agility, diligence and a strong sense of resilience”.
9. What does the future hold for you?
“I love what I do at carsales, the people I work with, and the customers and industry I serve. In the future I hope to have more of these positive experiences and relationships.”
10. Key Learning in your Career
“IQ is a ticket to the ballgame and gets you a job. EQ means you can work with people and you understand how you impact others in the environment around you. But it’s GQ, the ability to grow and push forward in spite of everything, and your ability to leverage the combined talents and capability of others in a productive and constructive manner, that builds real success in careers and business.”
11.What would you say to your younger self?
“Life is short do something cool!”
Stay tuned for Interviews with Simon Sinek, Maxine Horne and more…
You can subscribe to our Leaders Hub Magazine HERE for only $19.95 for 4 Editions per year (plus 11 more editions for free). If you would love to be interviewed, advertise or contact us for an editorial please contact us at [email protected]
And sign up to our amazing new Online Leadership Academy HERE only $395 plus GST until 1st July
Christmas is rapidly approaching which means that the end of the year will soon be upon us. But before it does, you need to start focusing on your development and training plans for the year ahead. Any training and development for 2016 should be given serious consideration; not just how it will impact your staff and your future plans, but also to ensure that it fits any budgetary and time limitations that may be in place.
If you are interested in developing your leaders or your own leadership to ensure they or you are working to their highest potential, we have a number of courses on offer! They ROCK!
Leadership is an Attitude Program: Brisbane, QLD
Our Leadership is an Attitude Program will help develop the attitudes of your leaders, so they not only enjoy their leadership roles but also excel in them. We aim to create inspirational leaders who motivate and inspire their team to success. This program covers a ‘leadership is an attitude’ toolkit, a strengths finder assessment, leadership quiz, one-on-one coaching, networking, and a leadership action plan. The cost for this course is ONLY $599 plus GST. We have 4 dates to choose from starting in February!
empowHER Program: Brisbane, QLD
Our empowHER Program will help female leaders appreciate their unique skillset. We aim to build confidence in female leaders and show them that they can be a strong and capable leader and a valuable asset to their organisation. This program covers an ‘empowHER’ toolkit, a strengths finder assessment, leadership quiz, one-on-one coaching, networking, and a leadership action plan. The cost for this course is ONLY $599 plus GST. We have 4 dates to choose from starting in February!
Better Workplaces for Women (BW4W) Summit: Brisbane, QLD
Does your business respect and value the diversity brought by both women and men? Having a workplace that welcomes men and women equally will provide many benefits, including being able to maintain high performers who view your workplace as fair. The summit includes a BW4W journal, networking opportunities, professional insights and take-aways, resources, and key connections. The summit is scheduled for 1 March 2016 and costs $449 plus GST.
Speakers for the summit include Tabitha Pearson, General Manager HR, Super Retail Group; Sonia McDonald, CEO, LeadershipHQ; Lyn Trewenack, Director, BBB Advisory; Tarren Deane, CEO, Corporate Cinderella, Elizabeth Harper, CIO GHD, Gail Creighton-Davies, Strategic Enabler and Leader of Transformational Change; Shirley Robertson, Managing Director and CEO, Business Transformation; and Jacqueline Nagle, Managing Director, Change Consultant.
You might want to put a couple of these engaging opportunities on your corporate Christmas wish list this year. Find out more HERE or contact us at [email protected]
Sonia and her team at LeadershipHQ are experts in building leadership confidence and capability, and they are renowned for their innovative approach to corporate development and leadership.
Getting our team the resources that they need to meet their goals and objectives and perform at a high level is a key focus of many leaders. Looking out for our team members, and their well-being, isn’t just good for them, it’s good for us, and our companies. However, being a leader isn’t just about high performance and chasing success so that we can receive more recognition or make more money and earn more rewards.
In order to be a great leader, we must have a servant’s heart and help others. By placing the needs of others above our own, we build incredibly powerful bonds of trust, respect and cooperation. These bonds make everyone open to sharing and collaboration.
Everyone becomes more willing to work together. By working together and helping one another, we achieve more than any of us would by working alone and doing all of the tasks ourselves.
What Does it Mean to Have Your People’s Back?
When most of us think about meeting the needs of our fellow colleagues and peers however, we tend to think mainly about what physical resources they need to achieve their goals.
For example, if we offer someone more training and education and more opportunities to take on challenges, will they grow and develop both personally and professionally and achieve more success for themselves and for the company?
If we allow someone greater flexibility in their scheduling, or perhaps grant a department more payroll dollars, will they actually achieve more and do better work than just leaving things the way that they are now?
Why Happiness and Emotional Health isn’t Even on the Radar for Many Leaders
Few leaders, even really great ones, ever stop to think about the mental and emotional health and well-being of their team members. For most, this is not an issue where leaders don’t care how their team members feel so much as some leaders fear that they might be prying. Other leaders worry that they might offend a team member if they ask how they are doing and if there is something that we can do to make their work and their lives easier for them.
Some falsely believe that there is nothing that can be done to increase happiness and satisfaction in their workplace so they simply leave any concerns unacknowledged.
Probably the most popular myth that holds leaders back from being concerned about happiness on their team is the false belief that happiness in the workplace can be increased simply by offering someone a greater salary or other material reward.
Putting the Team’s Emotional Health and Happiness First is the Key to Leadership Success
The results of several studies reported in an infographic earlier this year at Hubspot clearly indicate that leaders and companies that put their team’s happiness at work reap a number of benefits. Teams with greater emotional stability and levels of happiness have members with greater engagement, creativity and problem solving abilities.
Teams with happy members also help companies operate more smoothly and efficiently and even increased the bottom line at many Fortune 100 companies by an average of 22% in one year alone! Unhappy teams are also quite costly, as unhappiness can increase indirectly increase company healthcare costs to treat addiction and mental illness in their workforce.
Based on this research, leaders can increase the performance of their teams, and experience more success, by making the effort to increase the happiness and emotional health of their teams!
Steps to Take to Increase the Emotional Health of Your Team
As reported in the same infographic at Hubspot, happiness in the workplace really isn’t an accident. There are a number of steps that leaders can take to lighten the level of stress that their teams experience and increase their happiness and productivity.
Break for It! Encourage your team to take breaks about every hour and a half or so, and lead by example and take breaks yourself! Teams that take breaks come back to their work with greater focus and the ability to think more creatively, which will boost their ability to come up with new ideas, improvements and solutions!
Make it Meaningful. Give your team members work that has meaning, so that they feel that their efforts matter and will be more willing to put forth their best efforts.
Help Your Team Define their Personal “Why.” Why do your work?” “Why are you here?” “Who benefits when you do your best?” Knowing why you are at work, and reminding yourself who benefits from your effort,” can increase team’s feelings of responsibility and pride. Encourage your team to figure out their own personal “why,” and also encourage them to remember their “why” throughout their day.
Variety adds Energy. Doing the same thing, day in, day out, is monotonous and boring, so cross train your team and rotate assignments, as well as shake things up with completely new twists to the work day, to keep your team from becoming bored and burning out. A popular belief is that having a routine provides a sense of security, when in reality it can feel very dull and stressful. So offer your team a variety of tasks as often as possible.
Boost Esteem and Well-Being with Empowerment. Reduce the stress levels of your team by ditching your micro-managing ways and grant them autonomy to make decisions. Giving your team more control will increase their sense of fulfillment and help them to grow.
Share, Consult, And Create. Show your team just how important, and trusted that they are by sharing your insider knowledge with them. Open the lines of communication and increase cooperation by allowing them to offer feedback and to help design projects, set benchmarks and measure their own success.
Rather than leading through direction, lead through partnership and collaboration. When success is achieved, don’t hog the spotlight! Share the credit, recognition and rewards from your mutual creations!
As you place a greater focus on creating an emotionally healthy workplace and increasing the happiness levels of every member of your team, you will see an increase in productivity and efficiency and reap the rewards in the form of greater leadership success!
If you need some further guidance on how to get started transforming your workplace and your team, get in touch today, we’re here to help! From leadership and people strategies to coaching and leadership development, we can help you get the tools that you need to increase the success of you and your team and take your leadership to the next level!
Recently I came across this quote from the fabulous Fabienne Fredrickson and it really resonated with me because it’s something that I speak about a lot.
My job is my passion. When I found myself as a single mum with no money in the bank, I could not bring myself to just “get a job.” I was fascinated by leaders and leadership, so that’s where I put my energies. It was a risk, but it was so much more exciting than just “getting a job.” When I worked in the leadership field I felt alive. I was excited to go to work every day. I was inspired. That’s what passion gives you.
I created LeadershipHQ because I was passionate about leadership. I was seeing leadership potential in people who were not being recognised. I had seen organisations in desperate need of high quality and inspirational leadership, who didn’t realise they had the people they needed already working for them. I saw people who viewed leadership as an administrative function – be the boss – when actually it’s quite a personal thing. You are dealing with people, not papers.
What they were all missing is the acknowledgement of the role of passion.
Without passion there is no commitment and no inspiration. There is no drive and no leader for the team to follow. When a leader is following his or her passion, it shows, and it’s inclusive. Each member of the team is included as part of that passion, and is inspired and motivated. That’s what you want happening in your organisation.
You have to really look at your people to discover their passions. There are people there, silently working away in unacknowledged leadership roles, holding teams together even though it’s not their official function. Remember, this sort of passion isn’t loud and obvious. Most often it’s silent but very strong.
Take a look around your workplace and pay attention to your people. Who do they go to when they need help? Who guides them each day? Who is the one they model themselves on? That’s where you will find your true and emerging leaders.
Successful organisations look out for these silent passionate people and invest in them, knowing that they are the leaders of the future. They coach them and groom them so they are ready to step confidently into the role of leader.
Talk to us about finding and developing your emerging leaders. We can help you tap into their passions so they can follow their calling.
Why is it that we have so few female leaders? What is it that holds us back from reaching the same levels as our male leaders?
We’ve had our first female Prime Minister, for heaven’s sake. Surely things should have changed by now? But they have not.
Sheryl Sandberg, in her TEDTalk, quoted some statistics on the topic. “Women are not making it to the top of any profession anywhere in the world. The numbers tell the story quite clearly. 190 heads of state — nine are women. Of all the people in parliament in the world, 13 percent are women. In the corporate sector, women at the top, C-level jobs, board seats — tops out at 15, 16 percent. The numbers have not moved since 2002 and are going in the wrong direction. And even in the non-profit world, a world we sometimes think of as being led by more women, women at the top: 20 percent.”
Later in her talk she makes some really interesting observations.
- Women systematically underestimate their own abilities.
- Women do not negotiate for themselves in the workforce.
- Men attribute their success to themselves, and women attribute it to other external factors.
- Success and likeability are positively correlated for men and negatively correlated for women.
All of these observations are accurate. Some of our behaviours (or lack of them) are taught to us by the society we live in, and we have accepted them as being the only way to behave. Others are simply due to the fact that we are wired differently and therefore place value on different areas from men.
It’s a fact that there are basic differences between the male and female brains and that is what triggers our response to the different stimuli. For example, the amygdala is bigger in the male brain. It’s the region which alerts us to and responds to danger, so it is natural for men to be very competitive. Women tend to take a more consultative approach to avoid outright confrontation.
Men are confident in their abilities and that’s an attractive thing in a male leader, yet confident women are not regarded as likeable and in many cases, not worthy of respect.
Let’s not even talk about hormones and the impact they have on our thoughts and behaviours!
A different approach to leadership is not a bad thing. A recent study showed female brains are radically more active in 85% of their brain and it seems that the female brain is actually better wired for the leadership role than the male.
Are we holding ourselves back because we still underestimate our abilities? Are we holding ourselves back because we are so used to accepting the male model of leadership that we can’t see past it?
What do you think?
Recently I was interviewed for the International Women’s Day Business Leader of the Year Awards and I was asked for my answer to a question that I have been thinking a lot about lately. The question was “What does work-life balance mean to me and how do I manage it, being a director of my business as well as a single mum?”
Honestly, it has been as much a struggle for me as it is for any other single parent but my neuroscience work has made me more conscious of the need for balance than ever before.
Why is work-life balance important?
Most working single parents are under huge amounts of stress every day and we know that apart from the health issues, stress can cause, it also affects our ability to function at home, in relationships and at work.
There is a thin borderline between the kind of stress that stimulates performance and the kind which kills it. That’s where neuroscience research has proven so valuable.
The 2010 summit at the NeuroLeadership Institute revealed that there are three factors the brain needs to order to function at its optimum:
- Moderate stress
2. Good nourishing sleep
3. Positive affect (a smile, positive feedback)
As all these areas are linked, targeting any one of these areas for improvement has the benefit of affecting the others.
For me, work life balance is about reducing my levels of stress. If I can do that, I know that I will sleep better and feel better. I know that my mind will be clearer and I will feel happier. That has been my target and, in my work, I concentrate on educating my clients to take the same approach.
To reduce stress levels, modern organisations have to change the way they work and as individuals, we need to ask for the working conditions we need, even if they don’t fit the traditional workplace model.
Neuroscience has proven that happy people are more likely to be actively engaged in whatever they do. To be happy, we need to reduce stress, yet traditional organisations focus on targets and deadlines which are stressors. Instead they should be looking for ways to create an environment which nurtures the brain so it works at optimum levels. That’s how deadlines will be met in a healthy way.
If I can teach my clients to understand how to make their brains function properly, it will help them achieve a sustainable level of performance at work and a much happier and well-balanced life at home.
How do I manage my work-life balance? I strive to create the best conditions for my brain to work under, knowing that it will then allow me to go out and enjoy my family life without restriction.
Times have changed, with women in some sectors now equalling the earning power of their male counterparts. But there is still a perception that proper money management and entrepreneurship is the domain of men, and the perception that women seeking the wisest path in investing in the future should hand their financial affairs over to their husbands or mostly-male financial advisors.
Remember, though, that the perception that these routes are the most secure or successful is not necessarily correct. With more women choosing to control their own financial futures, we can now see that women are, on the whole, better investors than men, and possibly even better in managerial roles.
It turns out that the personality traits which men, through biology, tend to come by most easily, can actually be to their detriment when it comes to investing and trading. Confidence, aggression and risk-taking behaviour have long been seen as essential in building a profitable investment portfolio, but time has shown that in the long run, caution, research and careful planning go a long way. And guess who has these avenues covered? Yes, women.
Women are excellent investors, as they tend to research their options thoroughly, take fewer risks than men, and invest for longer periods of time, generally weathering the ups and downs of the market through to successful outcomes. On the other hand, men can be overconfident, and treat hunches as truth. The may take unnecessary risks, and lose out through excess trading, always being on the lookout for better performing investment options. Following the GFC of 2008, many male investors reacted by selling stock low, investing elsewhere and trying to recover their losses quickly, whereas the prevailing female reaction was to hang on until stock recovered, which in many cases proved the better financial choice.
Studies show that women investors are more likely to ask for advice, and seek information that may challenge their own assumptions, making sure their final decision reflects all available information. This thorough and patient approach allows them to make objective decisions, and develop clear investment strategies that they can stick to, and reduces the instance of rash reactions when the market shifts. Not only does it result in less hasty selling, it also allows these cautious investors to let go of poorly performing stock, without feeling a personal loss or failure.
Female entrepreneurs show similar management traits, and are learning quickly from lessons the male-dominated business sphere is sharing. Women in business are also reaching out to one another, sharing their wealth of information, and building networks that strengthen all connections within them.
Given these facts, one of the wisest choices an organisation could make would be to develop a strategy to attract more female investors, and make room for more women on executive committees. Time is showing the companies that do so are outperforming the rest.
How much stronger and more balanced would your organisation be if you were able to draw equally on the talents of both genders? Two halves always make a whole, and the power is in the mix. Gender balanced leadership and management will smoothly and dynamically drive your business forward.
“…to avoid your strengths and to focus on your weaknesses isn’t a sign of diligent humility. It is almost irresponsible. “– Donald O. Clifton.
From the very first day that we begin our formal education and schooling, homilies such as “practice makes perfect,” are used to impress upon each of us our innate abilities and preferences, we should constantly be seeking out our weaknesses and looking for ways to improve every aspect and detail of our lives. Seeking to be diligent, and hardworking, does have its merits. However, since we are finite creatures with limited amounts of time and resources doesn’t it make more sense to focus on those things that we are good at, our natural talents, and play to our strengths, rather than obsessing so much over our weaknesses?
Our world is filled with examples of why it pays to work on our strengths and hone our natural skills and talents. When you take a close look at the lives of those who are considered to be true innovative leaders in science, sports, entertainment and business, you quickly realize that these gifted individuals all share on thing in common: they played to their strengths and then either delegated, or simply disregarded, their weaknesses.
Focus on Your Strengths to Become the Best in Your Field
Albert Einstein is famous for his theory of relativity which shook up academia and redefined how we look at matter. In addition to his work in mathematics and physics, he also enjoyed playing the violin, and was known as an excellent player. While Einstein was certainly talented at playing the violin, at some point he realized he did not have the time necessary to devote to it to achieve the level necessary to become a concert violinist and continue his work in physics and mathematics.
While Einstein remained passionate about the violin, it became a talent that he minimally practiced as he grew older, and shared with only with a select group of friends and relatives. It’s difficult to imagine this same man having the time and energy to discover unique insights into physics, and indulge his love of the violin, if he had also spent a considerable amount of his days worried about the proper styling of his hair, or cleaning and organizing his home – two tasks that he either disregarded or delegated. Just like any other “genius,” Einstein knew he only had a limited amount of time and resources, so he played to his strengths.
Of course, regardless of our career path and talents, there will always be skills that we will need to practice and achieve some competence in so that we can be successful. However, if we want to rise from being marginally functional and become exceptional, become the best in our field, we must first learn to identify our strengths and spend the time and energy necessary to hone them until they are razor sharp.
Do You Want to Be a Genius? Then Narrow Your Focus
No one can be “all things to all people at all times.” It’s okay to admit our weaknesses and limitations to ourselves and others. It’s also okay to delegate tasks for which we have limited ability to others more talented in that area. Learning how to accept our limitations and embrace our strengths helps us stop dividing our focus so that we can zero in on those things we naturally excel at. In this way we can raise our competence level and become an expert in our specific area.
Learning to Identify and Trust Strength in Others
The ability to become an exceptional leader doesn’t stop at learning to play to your own strengths. To continue to progress you must learn to trust yourself and have confidence in your ability to assemble teams and assign tasks to its members based on their own strengths and natural innate abilities. If you have an associate that isn’t performing up to par, the trouble may not be that they have a weakness that needs improvement, but rather you may have paired them with a task that doesn’t fit their strengths and talents. Learning to trust your instincts and shake things up by reassigning tasks and members based on these strengths will help you to encourage excellence in both yourself and all of your associates.
If you’d like to find out more about why focusing on your strengths is a good leadership choice, take a look at my video. http://youtu.be/_zxflmklT5M
If you are having difficulty identifying your individual strengths and the talents of the individual members of your team, why not contact us today and ask how Strength Based Leadership can help you and your team to progress from mere competency to true excellence.
When power feels like a scarce resource, people will compete with one another to grab what influence they can. Historically, women have perceived that a small amount of power and opportunity are available to us—and that these resources are controlled and granted to us by others. So when some small door of opportunity cracks open, we greedily shove one another out of our way in an effort to be the first—or better yet, only—woman through the gap. We often feel we must compete with one another to win a share of influence, and we resent one another for successes, believing other women’s achievement inherently erodes our own. The irony here is that in buying the idea of scarcity and bruising each other on our way through the door, we essentially guarantee that the real power stays in the hands of others.
So what happens when, instead, women stop focusing on scarcity, recognize their own abundance, decide to stop competing, and support each other? They find a kind of power they never would have otherwise: solidarity. For most women solitude is necessary and welcome, but it can become crushing. Particularly when words we painstakingly pour on paper are misunderstood, rejected, or harshly and personally criticized. Like everyone else, we need kind and understanding friends to help us see what’s true, to keep everything in perspective, and to keep going. But since we work alone, those friends can be hard to find.
You need people who love you but will tell you when you are royally screwing up. These people will help point out things that you may be too close to see clearly, or when you’re not seeing things objectively. It’s true, you screw up (as do I). You are human. It’s not in our nature to be perfect because perfection doesn’t exist. Having sisters around you that don’t have any other objective but your well-being are your best source of that elusive objective opinion. Your friends can see your crap and call you on it when you can’t see it yourself. When you have trusted people around you, they’ll be the first ones to see your patterns, good or bad.
Nurturing relationships are a two-way-street! You deserve time to nurture relationships that nurture you back. Having nurturing relationships outside of family isn’t an option, it’s a necessity. You will be a better person for you, and to everyone around you, when you give and receive with people outside of your family. Supporting other women is so rewarding and is the clearest way to receive the support you need when you need it. It just feels good to support others for no other reason other than you want to see them shine. All I want is the women I support, care about, work with, coach, educate, inspire and empower to be a million times more successful than me. Why? I was part of their journey and I will be there on the sidelines cheering them on.
In turn, research supports the finding that having a network of social contacts helps people have longer, healthier, happier lives. When you live your full of a sense of purpose, you wake up every day with something to look forward to. When women decide to support one another rather than compete—when they feel abundance rather than their own scarcity, and they share out of that abundance—great things can happen. When we take small steps in solidarity, watch out. We’ll make a difference. Because we’re together, and that makes all the difference. Be a cheerleader! Surround yourself with cheerleaders!
Last week I attended the Neuroscience of Leadership Effectiveness Summit in Sydney. Over 200 people from around the world attended to listen to insights and research about Neuroscience and Leadership.
This is the first blog post I am going to share from the Summit around why our brains are wired to connect.
Matt Liebermann, Professor at the University of California told us that our brains need to be socially connected or we will die.
Apparently if Facebook was a religion, it would be the 3rd largest in the world! It seems that we actually do like to be connected.
One surprising piece of information he shared was the fact that being socially isolated has the same health risks as smoking 2 packs of cigarettes a day!
Additionally, we have separate systems for the social and non-social thinking. Social thinking is what we do when we engage and interact with people. Non-social thinking is based in logic and data.
When I reflect on the information Matt shared, I see that this is why is it so important for organisations to focus on the social brain and to create cultures of inclusion and belonging.
Our ability to live in community with others is due to one of the most strongly wired networks in the brain. Our brains were tapped into listening and empathizing, well before we used it as a tool for decision making and analyzing.
There have been many discoveries by scientists like Matt which relate to the social brain including facts like:
- Our Brain registers social pain in exactly the same way that it registers physical pain
- Our Brain contains a set of neurons called mirror neurons. Their job is to make you feel as if you are living in the other person’s mind and experiencing their thoughts and emotions
- Storytelling and pictures light up a greater area of the brain than facts and figures
- Having a higher sense of purpose and helping others lights up the brain like a monetary reward.
You may be asking why, if our brains are socially connected, so many leaders have poor emotional intelligence.
Many leaders are chosen because of their technical skills and knowledge. They aren’t chosen for their people skills. That’s why our leadership and coaching work focuses on helping leaders understand their social brain.
I believe we give and receive limited feedback on our judgments and need to spend more time listening and reading the whole person, not just the words. That is something we can all learn to do.
I educate my leaders to undertake reflection as a way of really looking back at situations, challenges and interactions, so they can maximize their learning.
I would love your feedback on the social brain and how you can create an environment of connecting.
“I am not a teacher, but an awakener.” ― Robert Frost
Many of us were fortunate enough to have mentors as we grew into our leadership roles. Now it’s our turn to pay forward.
The mentor/mentee relationship must spring out of a genuine respect and empathy because it’s quite a personal one which thrives on honest and open communication. That means you may not be the best choice of mentor for everyone in your team. But that’s OK. There are people in your team who really do need you. They are the ones you should be working with.
Why bother being a mentor? The biggest reason is that it is a form of personal and professional development. The process will hold a mirror up in front of you so you can assess the type of leader and person you are.
Remember, mentoring is a learning process for both of you.
Benefits to Mentors
- Personal satisfaction, not only because you are helping someone but because you can see their progress and know you have helped them get there
- Clearer vision. You will see situations through the eyes of another person, giving you a better perspective on the way your team works.
- Improved leadership skills
- The chance to update your own skills and knowledge
- A reputation as an expert in the area on which you are mentoring
- A more prepared and capable team which you are developing through your mentoring process
Benefits to Mentees
- Individual attention
- Development specifically targeting their needs
- Live and hands-on learning, which brings better results than formal training
- A solid and honest relationship with you, the mentor
- An independent point of view on topics which bother them or need to be considered
- Improved competence and confidence in the leadership role
- Accountability for not following through on decisions
- Support – no matter what.
I think Robert Frost’s quote sums up the role of the mentor. While we can teach to pass on skills and knowledge, our real value lies in the awakening of our mentee’s consciousness of their own abilities and their potential. We can’t usually see our own potential; it takes someone with awareness and understanding to point it out and show us how to leverage it.
You are a leader. You have a great team. How strong could each individual – and therefore your whole team – become if you were to mentor those with whom you really connect?
Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase, ‘A rolling stone gathers no moss.’ In essence, it refers to the concept that a stagnant position quickly becomes useless, unable to move forward when the environment dictates. And in the arena of business, forward progress is key. When faced with change, the past place a leader wants to seek solutions from is the past, as it is inevitable that what once worked will not do so again in the same fashion. Seeking new solutions to a conundrum with a result in different outcomes, and innovation is significant in this process.
A Chinese proverb tells the tale of a farmer who once watched as a hare raced across his field, scattered and afraid, only to rush into a large stone outcropping and die. The farmer ate well that night on rabbit stew, yet starved the remainder of his days waiting at that same stone for another rabbit to come along and do the same. To be mired in the ways of the past is forgo being open to changes. With the business world constantly evolving, new methods of leadership are essential to accomplish the goals set out for a team.
It is always best to be at the head of change than to follow behind, as by the time things trickle down, there will often be little left. Looking for new ways of thinking, and therefore improved means of productivity, ensure a fresh approach to any situation. And for a leader, being the agent of change places them in the position of subject matter expert, increasing their marketability and promotion potential.
It does not need to be an earth shattering innovation in order for its effect to be of significance. Simple additions or changes to one’s leadership style can also have positive outcomes in the long run, as long as they are given the attention they deserve. A quick review of productivity results through an online app over a period of time might demonstrate a drop just before noon, prompting a shift in scheduled lunches on a given day. Another analysis of time might determine that employees using outdated software may only be producing 80% of the work compared to team members using an updated version. With this information in hand, a team-wide update and training session could see productivity and therefore profit margins increase.
When it comes down to it, being open to change and innovation with practical applications is a significant part of a leader’s influence over their team, and to be blind to change can mean being left behind.
Many of us are aware of the term “mindfulness” and what it refers to; the idea of being present and aware or mindful of not only where our thoughts are, but also what we are dealing with in the moment.
Leaders also know that it is what they focus on that, ultimately, is accomplished. Focusing on the past, especially the failures, or worrying about the future, and particularly what may go wrong, only creates overwhelm and confusion, and significantly lowers productivity.
It is impossible to take positive action when your mind is not focused on the task.
Attentional Intelligence is not merely similar to mindfulness. In fact, it is practicing mindfulness regularly that assists in developing your attentional intelligence.
Like all forms of intelligence; academic, emotional or spiritual, whilst you are born with it, each requires work to grow and develop. You learn to read, and you practice reading regularly and your intelligence in that area improves.
As the name implies, attentional intelligence it is how well aware you are of where your attention is focused. Ultimately it is how effective and efficient you are in being in the ‘now’ and mindful not only of your circumstances in each moment, the challenges you are confronting and problems that may require solving, it is also being aware of where your thoughts are.
It, too, as with all intelligence, requires conscious practice and awareness to grow and develop.
Attentionally Intelligent Leaders
Did you know that most workers are distracted as often as every three minutes? Just imagine how much that slows down the team and how often it might put your or your team member at risk! A momentary lapse in attention is all it takes for a workplace accident to happen.
When you come to work with your mind busy on what’s happening at home or worried about something at work, it’s easy to lose your productivity. Psychology Today tells us that “Attention regulates emotion. This little ploy uses selective attention to quiet the agitated amygdala.” It goes on to say that “Executive attention holds the key to self-management.” So, not only does attentional intelligence improve your focus, it helps to quiet the stress noise in your brain which distracts you in the first place.
Attentionally intelligent leaders are for more effective in their role, and produce far more valuable teams. When you can build teams filled with people who have developed heightened attentional intelligence, they are less likely to be affected by productivity stoppers such as stress and overwhelm. They manage themselves better as individuals, which helps build stronger and more focused teams.
Attentional intelligence also hones traits such as focus and creativity, opening your mind, allowing for effective planning, productivity and action in the right direction.
By becoming aware of where your attention is, you have the ability to control it and divert it to the task you need to focus on. We can change the structure and function of our brains by practicing this ability to focus on what we choose to, rather than on what our mind chooses for us. The more often you do this, the more natural the process becomes.
Attentionally intelligent leaders build attentional intelligent teams which, in turn, builds stronger and more productive organisations.
Where is your attention at the moment?
It is not that women are not as smart or hard-working as men. It is not even that we don’t have the opportunities to reach the top. The main reason why we do not have more women leaders in our modern world is rooted in ourselves and in our thinking. If we want to change the statistics and the figures related to the successful women leaders, we first need to change the stereotypes.
It is not impossible. In a TED Talk, Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and a successful US business woman, gave women 3 tips on how to become leaders.
First of all, it is important for women to sit at the table, to take responsibility, to show that we want to be, and we are, equal to men and we can do as well, if not better than, they do. Don’t stay in the shadow of your male partners or even bosses, try to stand out and do it with style. Show that you have worked hard to reach a chief position and you are ready to go up.
Another important piece of advice for women who want to be successful leaders is to find the right correlation between your career and your family life. The statistics show that in a household where a man and a woman each work full time and have a child, the woman spends two times more than the man on household duties and three times more on raising children. In the perfectly equal world men and women will be able to divide the responsibilities so that neither makes compromises with their career. Or, if it is necessary, the men will take more household responsibilities in order to help women with pursuing their career.
When it comes to building a family, women tend to be ready to give up on their careers, sometimes way too early. Although sometimes we cannot avoid leaving work because of pregnancy or maternity, we can leave when the right time comes, and no earlier. Some women start to prepare for leaving once they start thinking about a family. This way, they again make a compromise with their jobs and lose a number of opportunities for promotions, for new activities, for better jobs, and so on. The third important piece of advice for women who want to be leaders is ‘leave when you leave.’ Give the best of yourself when you are working and then leave, thus knowing that when you are ready to come back, a good job full of career opportunities will be awaiting.
To cut a long story short, we don’t see many women leaders nowadays, because most women are not grabbing the opportunities, not believing in themselves, not giving everything to become the best. What you need to do is sit at the table, realizing that you are the reason for your own success. You also need to show your partner how to really be a partner – sharing responsibilities and duties in order for everyone to be able to pursue their career. And, last but not least, work at your fullest capacity to the very end before you leave to raise your child. Then when you are ready to go back, you will have a challenging job worth returning. Good luck!
There’s a lot of research out there that shows that ‘practicing gratitude’ has a profound effect on our mood as well as our health, both mentally and physically.
It seems there is a direct correlation between low mood and the physical act of expressing gratitude, whether this is in the form of performing random acts of kindness on or for others, physically writing those things you are grateful for on a daily basis or telling a friend, spouse or child what you love and appreciate about them each day.
Benefits of practicing gratitude, beyond the usual please and thank you that really is just a part of a well-functioning society include:
- A healthier immune system
- Lower blood pressure
- Optimistic outlook on life
- More joy and happiness in life
- Less loneliness and isolation (or the feelings of)
So what is it about gratitude that makes us happy?
It’s all chemical and all in our heads!
When we actively express gratitude, we feel a sense of happiness.
When we’re feeling happy, dopamine, a neurotransmitter that exists within each of us, is released into the brain. Dopamine controls the brain’s reward and pleasure centres and helps to regulate emotional responses.
Basically, dopamine not only helps us to feel good in those moments that we’re feeling happy, but also seeks out those feelings of reward and pleasure more often.
Being authentically grateful in any given moment will trigger this release and make you feel good, causing you to want more of that feel-good feeling.
Regularly practicing gratitude keeps that feeling around for longer and will not only cause you to become more gracious and compassionate, so you can revisit that experience, but will also become a habit for you.
There could be many worse habits a leader could have than expressing gratitude and being perpetually happy.