Strengths Based Training and Organisational Positivity

Strengths Based Training and Organisational Positivity

Strengths Based Training and Organisational Positivity

One of the techniques we draw on in our leadership courses is strengths based training. This is a technique that I love because it is focused clearly on the positives.

Often, when something stops working in an organisation, people start looking for what is going wrong. With strengths based training we look for what is going right. It’s a different approach to problem solving that brings impressive results.

When leaders look for the gaps in their team’s knowledge or skills, they are instantly creating a disempowering workplace. Of course it’s not deliberate; it’s the way training has traditionally been managed – find a skill gap and fill it. You probably know how it feels when you’re told that you need to “improve on …” or “change the way you…” It can be dispiriting to find that there is yet more that you need to learn in order to keep up with the rest of your team.

Instead, strength-based training is based on the belief that everyone has their own set of strengths and abilities, and an inbuilt potential for personal development and change. We all do something right at some stage! Strengths based training boosts the individual’s self-confidence by showing them what they already do well and using that as the foundation for growth.

Strengths based training shows people how to use the skills they already have in order to bring about the change they need to make. Neuroscience has taught us that the human brain organises itself by strengthening the connections and pathways used most often. When you have a powerful basis on which to build, why wouldn’t you use it?

What does this mean for your organisation?


What does that mean for the individual?

Studies show that taking this positive approach to training actually boosts confidence, well-being and individual willingness to be actively involved in change. It changes the organisational environment into one of positivity and forward thinking.

What does that mean for the organisation?

When the teams are happy and confident, an organisation can expect to see a boost in profitability, a higher rate of productions, a reduction in workplace accidents, better client service and an improvement in employee retention.

If your organisation is still targeting only the negatives, it’s time you changed your approach.

At LeadershipHQ we train leaders to use Strengths Based Leadership and the principles of strengths based training to bring positive change in their teams and gradually throughout the entire organisation.

Are You Hiding Behind Your Leadership Mask?

Are You Hiding Behind Your Leadership Mask?

Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.  

Bruce Lee

If you are a new leader in the present-day world, you may find it natural to adopt a new identity that will help you hide your vulnerability and uncertainty.  Everyone has the image of the perfect leader in their head and it is not uncommon for someone to choose to imitate that model in the belief that it will help them deal better with their team. However, research in the area of leadership so far proves that hiding your real self – hiding behind a ‘mask’ – only makes it much harder for a leader to achieve their set goals.

One of the problems emerging as a result of using a ‘mask’ when leading your team is strongly related to the trust of your colleagues. When you are yourself, you behave in a certain natural way – you behave authentically. The problem is that even if your new team members haven’t known you before, they will feel that something is not right, even on subconscious level. Team members will mistrust you without really knowing why.

Although in the beginning you may consider having a ‘mask’ on and playing a role an easy thing to do, many cases involving leaders not being themselves show that over time it becomes harder and harder to maintain this superficial self. This may be a result of the efforts required to maintain what is almost a double identity, or you may start to feel you are ‘betraying’ your real self.

Most leaders who have placed themselves in this position find that once they have cast away the mask and started being themselves, it is easier to communicate with their colleagues and team members, and to achieve the various goals set for the team.

Being yourself, showing who you are and what you want to achieve, produces far better results in a far easier way. It allows you to use the neural pathways which were already developed, so that your actions are instinctive and not premeditated.

It is natural to be anxious about your new leadership position and to think yourself not fit to cope with it. However, the way to actually make things work and start achieving results is not by hiding behind masks and creating new identities, but by being yourself.

Use your own skills and talents and trust in your own judgements.  Someone has seen your leadership potential even if you can’t see it yet.

Do you need help getting to the core of your leadership potential? Need some help removing the mask? Get in touch! We would love to help you.

The Future of HR

The Future of HR

What is the real future of HR?

And what does that mean for leadership in the Human Resources sector?

 

It has long been the responsibility of Human Resources (HR) for finding the right people for their organisations. In addition to recruiting top talent, HR has traditionally been responsible for training and development, as well as employee retention, and providing management of employee benefits, including insurance and payroll.

That’s no longer enough to justify the existence of an HR team. To meet the needs today’s workforce, the role played by HR must change and evolve.

HR Must Evolve Past Traditional Boundaries

Organisations and their people are losing out by keeping HR functions separated from the rest of the activities. The very structure of the workplace is rapidly changing. To ensure that organisations can recruit the top talent that they need, and that people have the necessary support to produce their best work, HR must change the way it sees itself, and push past the old boundaries.

The HR of the future needs to become human-focused in a way it has never been.

HR is Decentralised

Rather than thinking of HR as a single department, some HR responsibilities will be incorporated into every level of the organisation, no matter where the teams are located. That means learning to think globally about people issues.

To do this, HR must focus on building leaders who can build up and work with teams which are geographically widespread. There are challenges here including technological cultural and interpersonal, but the biggest challenge lies in equipping leaders with the skills needed to make people feel part of a cohesive team, even if they are not sharing an office or even a country.

HR should also focus on creating new opportunities for their organisations to share and exchange talent through collaborations and partnerships with external third parties.

Focusing on the Individual

This is something the millennials have asked of organisations, and to which organisations are just starting to respond. More and more, organisations will need to think about the person, not the team or business entity. Society has changed and people are looking for something worthwhile; a job where they feel they are really contributing.

For HR, this means ditching the blanket approach to personal development and performance management. While there may be a general framework to follow, it’s now all about offering people the opportunity to improve themselves both as individuals and as team members. HR will need to find ways to help people harness their talents and put them to constructive use, and that may mean working outside the traditional ‘job description.”

HR is Pivotal in Leadership.

It’s easy to push out the HR functions into the rest of the organisation, but it’s not so easy to push out the skills that go with it. Leaders will need to be more flexible than ever before, so HR programs will need to concentrate on building communication and interpersonal skills. And not just the kinds of programs we’ve had before…

Leaders will need much deeper and more practiced skills to manage the human needs that come with every team, particularly when they are globalised. They will need to know how to create a career for their team members; a career that allows them to contribute to the world, and which brings them back to work, day after day. They will need skills to help them build cohesive teams, and foster a sense of belonging, no matter where the team members happen to be in the world. Leadership will be clearly about people, not processes.

The future of HR revolves around leadership development. By upskilling HR practitioners, they will become the new frame of reference for leadership behaviour and performance.

To produce great leaders, HR will need to BE great leaders. That’s the real future of HR.

If this inspires you, check out our LeadershipHQ Human Resource leaders program. We believe that one of the best and most effective ways to create and respond to change is to equip an organisations “people” people – HR! Get in touch to find out more.

Leadership is an Attitude

Leadership is an Attitude

Attitude, not aptitude determines altitude

Zig Ziglar

A few months ago I was speaking about Leadership and Confidence to 200 University students. It was one of the best days I have had this year.

What struck me was not only their commitment to being there, listening and really being involved in the presentation, but their lack of self-belief. I asked them, “Do you see yourselves as leaders?” Maybe if that 50% of them put up their hands, if that. Yes kind of a confronting question to ask a group and then ask them to put up their hands. It was a little daunting.

Most of them did not see themselves as leaders. Why? They saw leadership as a role or title. They don’t have CEO, Manager, Managing Director or Leader in their title (maybe some did), so how can they be leaders.

It is not about role or title.

This is how I see it, we are all leaders. We can all be leaders. Leadership is about Attitude. It is how you see yourself. It is how you turn that leadership attitude into action.

Why? Guess what if you don’t see yourself as a leader, you are not one.

As Henry Ford once said, if you think you can’t, you can’t. If you start to see yourself as a leader, you are and will be one. Yeah I hear you saying, really? Or maybe even bring it on! It is about YOU. Putting up your hand to be the best you can be, learning about leadership (yes we can learn!) and about who you are as a leader and not being afraid to fail – and succeed!

As you know we love the Neuroscience space. This is because we see our brains as our most important leadership tool.

Thing is, what we find is that leaders are afraid to stand out and step up. What happens if I fail as a leader? What happens if I succeed as a leader?

I recently spoke at Xmas event for a global organisation on Leadership is an Attitude – and our fear of failing and succeeding. I said don’t be afraid to fail but afraid not to try! What really resonated to me at end of my presentation, was that CEO said one of the greatest moments in her career is when she realised she was afraid of success. This stopped her from trying. Then she decided that she could do this (she changed her attitude, you guessed it) and put her hand up! And look where she is now.

Marianne Williamson once said –

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.

Don’t be afraid. Believe me I get it, the brain finds it easier to focus on threats than rewards. This is from evolution and our focus on survival. We can change this focus. I promise a dinosaur won’t eat you!

We are the Director of OUR Brain; we can change your perception and attitude. Imagine if you saw yourself as a leader. You wanted to make a difference, lead with integrity and character, inspired and influenced others, created a shared vision, motivated those around you to be the best they can be, created a engaged and positive workplace, coached and mentored your team, lead with purpose and passion and also build our future leaders.  You can do this!

Imagine if we all made this happen and all made a difference. I think we would be leading a difference world if we all had the attitude that we are leaders. Leadership is an Attitude and We Lead Our World!

At Leadership HQ we love how all of our programs help the participants and organisations that they work for develop their own “leadership attitude”… and of course, I love it so much I even wrote a book about it! It matters that much to me!

We are all leaders…Attitude Reflects Leadership

By the way at the end of my presentation, I asked the University Students the same question, and most of them put up their hands. I had tears my eyes.

We can all make a difference.

Why leaders must be authentic

Why leaders must be authentic

Authenticity can transform a good leader into a great one as the ability to be authentic in a leadership role can, in turn, foster the development of authenticity in others.

You may know leaders who show the opposite traits of authenticity?  They are the leaders who tell people what they want to hear, often saying one thing and then doing another.  They are the leaders who always take the most popular route with their decision making, rarely taking a stance on anything.

Authentic leaders, on the other hand, are true to themselves and their own set of beliefs.  They are both motivated by and act on their own personal convictions.  This personal truth is the backbone of a great leader as they show strength in their integrity.  Quite simply they are who they say they are.

Neuroscience has shown us that it is not always easy to be authentic.  Human brains are dual-wired.  One system encourages people to behave as expected and say the words the listeners want to hear.  This is the system that urges people towards conformity and belonging, which is part of the regular human survival instinct.  The other wiring meets the need for individuality and allows people to have original and differing thoughts.  Authenticity is based on a fine balance between the two.

Balanced, authentic leadership has a positive effect on those that follow.  Trust is developed between the two positions helping to build confidence and optimism in a given environment.  Individuals and groups tend to respond well to authentic leaders generally going over and above what is expected of them and enjoying a happy and more positive work environment.

An authentic leader is one who is clearly in touch with their own values and strengths.  They have a tendency to possess and inspire passion in their chosen field and have their own unique vision.

To achieve this level of authenticity, a person must have a clear understanding of:

Greatness can then be achieved as decisions are made and actions realised in accordance with their own self-awareness.

 “I had no idea that being your authentic self could make me as rich as I’ve become. If I had, I’d have done it a lot earlier.” -Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey was definitely onto something when she said this.  While money can be a great motivating factor, there are many other benefits that demonstrate that being true to yourself will definitely prove your worth to those around you.

Leadership should not be done alone! Need some help? That’s where we come in! Get in touch with LeadershipHQ for more information on how to strengthen your leadership and bring value to your business or organisation.

10 Ways to Engage Your Team

10 Ways to Engage Your Team

10 Ways to Engage Your Team and (more importantly) keep them engaged!

“My model for business is The Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other’s kind of negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. That’s how I see business: great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people.” – Steve Jobs

Ask almost any manager “What is the most difficult thing about your job?” Many of them will answer employee engagement, motivation, team chemistry or something to the effect. This quote by the late Steve Jobs perfectly articulates how balancing teamwork and production can be a delicate process.

So, what are some ways to engage your team? Let’s discuss 10 things that you can do or say that will create some spark in your business.

Ask

No quicker way to find out what works for each individual than to simply ask. Those with an introverted (thoughtful, solitary) side will probably not like the loud, “rah-rah” environment. People with an extraverted (energetic, outgoing) side will likely not respond to an email of congratulations. It’s about finding balance.

 

Embrace change

Accept and encourage ideas as part of your team culture. Nobody likes archaic, static environments, so seek to build a culture of innovation and creativity.

 

Give feedback

Feedback is necessary, even it is less than ideal. Performance will always be the primary driver in business, so be willing to take someone (including you) outside of their comfort zone. Honest and frank feedback is key to employee, team and company growth.

 

Resist the “golden rule”

Treat people the way that they (not you) want to be treated. Remember (this is key) that each individual’s personality, communication style, and other work preferences are likely to be different. Understand each person on your team and engage them according to these preferences.

 

Give credit

People should be given credit for a job well done. Even a simple “Thank you” or “I appreciate your effort” will go a long way in making your employees feel positive and motivated.

 

Show interest

This means showing employees that you care about them personally, specifically about their life, goals, and any challenges that they are facing.

 

Develop strengths

Gallup, the data-based news and research company, states that focusing on your employee’s strengths is likely to increase engagement. Focus on what each individual brings to the team and develop them accordingly.

 

Focus on new team members

Research indicates that employees are most engaged during their first six months. Use this knowledge to implement and execute a plan or initiative that will build on their morale.

 

Incorporate new training

Use tools and learning programs to further your team’s knowledge and track progress. Budgetary constraints are likely to prevent a large and elaborate program, so use some creativity to do this.

 

Keep employees informed

There is perhaps nothing more frustrating than a new initiative, policy or program that employees are informed about at the last minute. As soon as feasible, let your team in on any developing trends that may impact them.

 

So there you have it! 10 things to help you engage your team and lead them to the next level. Want to take your leadership further, well that’s where we come in! Get in touch with the LeadershipHQ team to discover how we can help you engage your team and kick goals in your workplace. 

How to help your Team Learn

How to help your Team Learn

Leaders should never stop learning. They should never stop teaching, coaching and mentoring others.

I love that about what we do. Why? We help leaders learn to be the best they can be. How? By doing. We might teach, coach, mentor, facilitate and educate – but we also show them, make them practice, have discussions and reflection, help them put their new skills and learnings into action and give the confidence to go out there and make it happen! Adult educators tell us that adults learn best by doing. They absorb the learning best by having to apply it, which is why on-the-job training has been so popular in workplaces.

How can leaders take that information and apply it to working with their teams, particularly during a time of change? We know that simply telling people what they need to know is not effective. It is unlikely they will engage with the learning nor remember it.

First we need to consider what we are asking learners to do. Steven Novella said “It takes mental energy to pay attention, to know where to focus your attention, and to process the information being presented. You can really only do one thing at a time, so while you are thinking about the information just given, you may miss the next bit of information.”

Then we need to consider how information is remembered. New information needs to create new connections in the brain and to do that, it’s necessary to repeat the information over and over so the new pathway becomes solid. The more practice and reinforcement the learning has, the faster and quicker the pathway will be developed. Practice does not always mean “doing” something; it can also include talking about it and visualising.

As a leader that means you need to do two things:
1. Introduce new information or process in a logical sequence and in logical chunks.
2. Provide an opportunity for discussion

Our ability to focus and concentrate for lengths of time is limited so the best choice is to design learning so it can be presented to your team in short bursts which include lots of discussion and/or practice time.
Adults learn by doing but they also learn by talking about doing or even picturing themselves doing.

Can you see how you might apply this approach to sharing information with your own team? Think you can? Share it with us, we’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

About Sonia McDonald

Sonia McDonaldSonia McDonald, CEO and Founder of LeadershipHQ, is an Entrepreneur, Thought Leader, Dynamic Keynote Speaker, Leadership Coach and Author of Leadership Attitude (now on BOOKTOPIA!). She was recently named in the Top 250 Influential Women Leaders across the Globe. Sonia is one of Australia’s Leading Executive Coaches. She has over 25 years’ human resource management, leadership and organisational development experience. She has held senior leadership roles in organisational development, learning and development, human resources and talent management fields across the globe. She is also an inspirational and dynamic leadership and neuroscience keynote speaker.

Connect with Sonia at:
[email protected]
www.soniamcdonald.com.au
www.leadershiphq.com.au
Phone: 1300 917 665

Being the Jamie Oliver of Leadership! Do you have a ‘‘why’’?

Being the Jamie Oliver of Leadership! Do you have a ‘‘why’’?

It’s not something we might spend a lot of time considering but the ‘‘why’’ behind what we do has a major impact on the choices we make and the actions we take. What do I mean by the ‘why’? Simon Sinek describes it as “The purpose, cause, or belief that inspires you to do what you do.”

In that one simple description you find what may be the factor that transforms you from leader to inspiring leader – passion. Sinek refers to Jamie Oliver as the perfect example of a man who is an inspirational leader purely because he follows his ‘‘why’’ and he communicates it with us. Now, Jamie Oliver is an ordinary man. He is quirky and fun, but he looks, acts and speaks just like the rest of us. The first thing you notice about him is his passion for food – for good, fresh food which will keep everyone healthy. He’s out there, sharing his passion, spreading the word and actively working to make changes in the world. Along the way he has shifted the thinking of some of the people who have been most entrenched in the old-school way of doing things, and he’s done that simply by communicating the ‘why’ of what he is doing.

Most organisations are great at doing the what and how of what they do, but they don’t communicate their ‘why’s. There must have been a ‘why’ in the beginning, because someone was motivated enough to get out there and start the business. Money, though useful, is rarely a strong enough ‘why’ to sustain commitment over the long term. If your organisation could share your ‘why’, imagine the difference it would make in the marketplace but, more importantly, to your teams. The ‘why’ taps into the emotional part of the brain and influences the way people react to your message. It influences their decisions and gives them something to hang onto as they take action.

Click here and take a look at my video where I talk more about “Start with the WHY!” by Simon Sinek and let me show you just how important his findings really are. Once you’ve watched the video, come back and tell me what drives you – what is your ‘why’? Leave me a comment and share your passion with us.

 

About Sonia McDonald

Sonia McDonaldSonia McDonald, CEO and Founder of LeadershipHQ, is an Entrepreneur, Thought Leader, Dynamic Keynote Speaker, Leadership Coach and Author of Leadership Attitude (now on BOOKTOPIA!). She was recently named in the Top 250 Influential Women Leaders across the Globe. Sonia is one of Australia’s Leading Executive Coaches. She has over 25 years’ human resource management, leadership and organisational development experience. She has held senior leadership roles in organisational development, learning and development, human resources and talent management fields across the globe. She is also an inspirational and dynamic leadership and neuroscience keynote speaker.

Connect with Sonia at:
[email protected]
www.soniamcdonald.com.au
www.leadershiphq.com.au
Phone: 1300 917 665

Squashing Those ANTs

Squashing Those ANTs

Do you have ANTs running freely in your mind? ANTs, or Automatic Negative Thoughts, are dangerous creatures. ANTS are those negative thoughts that always seem to be in the back of your mind, regardless of the situation. ANTs make it impossible to relax and enjoy the moment, because they manage to sniff out the negative aspect of any event.

Negative thoughts rob you of being able to feel joy or happiness in the present. When you are unable to control your thoughts, negative thoughts end up leaving you feeling worried, cynical, frustrated, drained, depressed and defeated. Over time, negative thoughts can have a dreadful impact on your physical and mental wellbeing, and your ability to achieve your life goals.

The good news is that despite how destructive automatic negative thoughts can be, most of us can learn how to regain control of our mind and retrain our brains to overcome the power of negative thoughts.

 

How ANTS Form

According to the Center for Redeployment Psychology, all of our thoughts, whether they are our memories of actual events that happened, or are simply random musings and dreams, come to mind as the result of nerve impulses. Usually there is some sort of internal or external event, such as a person, place or thing that triggers the firing of a nerve impulse to make your mind aware of the thought. The nerve impulses generated by both positive and negative thoughts travel along the same pathways in our brain. These pathways are flexible, so they can be shaped and controlled, and over time we can literally reprogram our brains.

Current research shows that no matter how painful, or negative some of our past memories might be, we can each learn to become aware of negative thoughts as they occur, and choose to replace these thoughts with more positive ones. Over time, as we actively practice substituting positive thoughts for negative ones, we can break the power that negative thoughts and memories have over our lives, and move towards a more positive and healthy, frame of mind.

 

Steps to Take to Squash Your ANTS

  1. Look for positives. To begin to conquer your ANTS, you will first need to identify some positive thoughts to have ready so that you can substitute and focus on them, rather than the negative thought, when it comes to mind.
  2. Identify your triggers. Once you have several positive thoughts to use in place of the negative thoughts, learn to identify the triggers of your negative thoughts. Are there certain events, places or people that seem to increase the likelihood of their occurrence? Learn to remain calm when you come in contact with one of these triggers.
  3. Learn to relax. Learning relaxation techniques, such as mindfulness and meditation, such as focusing on your breathing, can help you remain calm when you encounter a trigger for your ANTS. As you become aware of a negative thought, remain calm, focus on your breathing or other relaxation technique and then consciously substitute the positive thought in its place.
  4. Preparing for the trigger. Let’s use an example. Do you often feel nervous before you have to give a speech? Does your mind become filled and eventually overwhelmed with images of the mistakes you just know you will make? By the time you actually give your speech, the ANTS have full control. Your negative thoughts become a self-fulfilling prophecy and you make the same mistakes that you obsessed over.

In a situation like this, it is important to realize beforehand that you feel anxious in such a setting. Before the day of your speech, practice remaining calm, focusing on your breathing and then substituting your positive image in place of the ANTS. In this case, you might imagine yourself being calm and remaining in control during your speech, and your audience actively listening to what you have to say, and enjoying the event. At the conclusion of your speech, the crowd heartily applauds your performance.

Practice this positive thought each day as you lead up to your speech and start each day off right with positive affirmations that help to boost your self-esteem. When the time comes, focus on remaining calm and visualizing your positive thought and you will find that your mind is so powerful, it will work to make your positive vision come true!

You can apply this same technique to virtually any negative thought or memory that can come to your mind. By identifying your negative thoughts and memories, actively watching for them, and substituting a positive thought in their place, you will unleash the power of your mind and it will squash your ANTS for you. Over time, you will overcome more obstacles, reach more goals, and improve your sense of self-worth and well-being and even your overall health!

 

About Sonia McDonald

Sonia McDonaldSonia McDonald, CEO and Founder of LeadershipHQ, is an Entrepreneur, Thought Leader, Dynamic Keynote Speaker, Leadership Coach and Author of Leadership Attitude (now on BOOKTOPIA!). She was recently named in the Top 250 Influential Women Leaders across the Globe. Sonia is one of Australia’s Leading Executive Coaches. She has over 25 years’ human resource management, leadership and organisational development experience. She has held senior leadership roles in organisational development, learning and development, human resources and talent management fields across the globe. She is also an inspirational and dynamic leadership and neuroscience keynote speaker.

Connect with Sonia at:
[email protected]
www.soniamcdonald.com.au
www.leadershiphq.com.au
Phone: 1300 917 665

The Neuroscience of Faking It

The Neuroscience of Faking It

One of the hottest catchphrases these days is the term, “fake it until you make it.” Despite its popularity, some people believe the saying is all about being an imposter. That couldn’t be further from the truth.  

“Faking it until you make it,” is not about trying to bluff your way through a situation for which you are not prepared. There is a scientific, biological basis showing “faking it” can help give you the confidence that you need to keep pushing forward and achieve your goals.  
 

The Importance of Neurotransmitters in Affecting Mood and Resolve

In the brain, serotonin and other hormones act as neurotransmitters of the electrical impulses that are behind our thoughts and feelings. Our moods and our will to act are influenced by how high the levels of these various neurotransmitters happen to be at the time

While it seems unreal that something so small can have such a big impact on our lives, the truth is that much of our behaviour, including how we react and are perceived by others in social situations, is influenced by these same chemicals. Even something as seemingly unrelated as our sleep, our appetites or even the level of physical attraction and arousal that we feel towards other is directly influenced by these compounds.

Scientific research has shown that we can actually influence the number of hormones that are produced and released into our bloodstream simply by altering and changing the position of our bodies!

Therefore “faking it,” until you feel it is useful. If you feel depressed, upset, or even afraid, the first step to changing how you feel is to change the posture of your body. Even the simple act of smiling can be enough to turn your feelings around and help you to feel happier than you did just moments before.
 

How Confidence Greases the Wheels of Success

So, what does changing your posture and putting a smile on your face have to do with your ability to achieve your goals? Absolutely everything!

Of all the character traits that exceptional leaders share, one of the most important is confidence. Those who can overcome obstacles and achieve peak performance for themselves and their organisations are known for being confident and upbeat. It is what fuels their resolve and determination.

Exceptional leaders can keep going and achieve their goals despite the odds stacked against them because they have such a high level of self-belief. They know that the only thing that can stop them from achieving their goals is their own self-doubt.

While a great leader may seem to overflow with confidence, the truth is that few of us are born that way. Therefore I truly embrace the concept of “faking it,” until you “become” it – it works! If you want to succeed you must first believe that you can and will succeed!

If you are feeling nervous, the simple act of standing up, and pretending to feel more confident is actually a great way to tap into the power of your subconscious mind. You’ll release the serotonin and other hormones that will stimulate positive feelings and give you the confidence that you lack!

As you practice using your face and posture to help you feel more relaxed and in control, you will begin to feel more upbeat and positive. You will then start to project a higher level of confidence and sureness that others will mirror back to you as you interact with them. This creates what is known as a positive feedback loop; a perpetual positive energy engine that continues to increase production of the very neurotransmitters that are behind the feelings of positive self-worth and well-being!

Are you ready to be an awesome leader? Are you prepared to reach a new level of excellence in your leadership? It’s okay if you feel nervous as you face your goal. Just stare down the obstacles that stand in your way – you will succeed in your quest if you believe that you can!

Fake it till you make it? Go on. Rock that leadership role!

 

About Sonia McDonald

Sonia McDonaldSonia McDonald, CEO and Founder of LeadershipHQ, is an Entrepreneur, Thought Leader, Dynamic Keynote Speaker, Leadership Coach and Author of Leadership Attitude (now on BOOKTOPIA!). She was recently named in the Top 250 Influential Women Leaders across the Globe. Sonia is one of Australia’s Leading Executive Coaches. She has over 25 years’ human resource management, leadership and organisational development experience. She has held senior leadership roles in organisational development, learning and development, human resources and talent management fields across the globe. She is also an inspirational and dynamic leadership and neuroscience keynote speaker.

Connect with Sonia at:
[email protected]
www.soniamcdonald.com.au
www.leadershiphq.com.au
Phone: 1300 917 665

Focus

Focus

I remember going for an interview for a Senior Human Resources role here in Brisbane with a major government department . I was really excited as well as being rather nervous.
I thought the interview went great. The CEO was really innovative and dynamic and we got along brilliantly. Then the search consultant called me to give me feedback. Apparently the CEO also thought I was great (of course), however he didn’t think I was the right fit. I asked why? He said I was an entrepreneur. What?! I recall replying – what does that mean? What is an entrepreneur…?

“Someone who can define the business they want to create, see where it is going, and do the work to get there.”
Mark Cuban – Owner of Dallas Mavericks, Blogger, Shark Tank Investor

That CEO did me a favour. Even though I think entrepreneurial thinking is an asset!

I didn’t realise it. I didn’t see it. Evidently I did.

The thing with being an entrepreneur; we can lose FOCUS.

Let me share why and how this is a great strength and a great weakness.

We can’t stop thinking – and our brains are always buzzing. With ideas, innovations and new solutions to problems. We love to take risks and we are all about action. Brilliant.

I am always looking and chasing the butterflies and saying to those around me -what about this idea! That one! Let’s do this! Let’s create that!

Well maybe not so brilliant at times. I lose focus. Sometimes it is difficult to really achieve something when your mind is focussing on several different things. You are confusing the market – and you are confusing the universe. You can also confuse your team, your clients – and ultimately this detracts from your purpose. Then we can get tired, lose our passion and energy – it can become a vicious circle!

Focus…

I am not saying we are all like this. Also it doesn’t just apply to the entrepreneurs out there.
What I am saying is be careful on what you focus on – and what you are manifesting.
One of my past mentors emailed me the other day and said to me; Sonia I know you love what you do, remember your focus. We need people like that in our lives to help and support us in bringing it back to why we do what we do. Life is way too short to be doing a million thing just okay. It is more empowering and powerful to focus on your rocks; those big things; your purpose; your why and do it brilliantly.

I am truly passionate about my purpose and wanting to make a difference. However even I have to take a step back and look at where I am focusing my energy and thinking.

Remember –
“Attention Goes; Energy Flows.”

Truly focus on what you really want, your dreams, your why and your purpose. Manifest it everyday. It is amazing to see what will come back…I promise.

Remember to always celebrate those small successes along the way too, and don’t lose focus.

“The gull sees farthest who flies highest”
Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

I still love chasing my butterflies; however my focus is always front of mind…and heart.

Workplace Collaboration

Workplace Collaboration

Workplace Collaboration

Working with Your People, Transforming your Leadership

As leaders, if we want our organisations to remain competitive, it’s imperative that we transform them into literal engines that drive increases in efficiency, productivity and innovation. In the past, leaders achieved results simply by controlling their resources and their people. This type of leadership, controlling and authoritarian in nature, no longer works well in today’s interconnected and interdependent world. “Managing” your people and resources is no longer enough to succeed.

 

Challenges to Collaboration

To be effective today, leaders must learn how to encourage collaboration and use it to create an environment that fosters creativity, productivity and innovation in order to drive growth. Rather than using control to manage people, the collaborative leader acts as a facilitator to link together people, ideas and resources.
A collaborative leader uses their skills to build trust, develop relationships and empower their people. They create an inclusive, open workspace that is full of energy, boosting passion, productivity and enjoyment. In a collaborative environment, work isn’t just efficient and productive; traditional barriers are removed and your people feel free; they are empowered to share and help one another accomplish your objectives and work becomes vibrant, creative and fun!
Many leaders have difficulty in adopting collaborative leadership because it means that they must check their ego and willingly surrender power in favour of building partnerships where everything, control, resources and credit, is shared. Others dismiss the benefits of adopting collaborative leadership because they worry that giving up power will make them appear weak and lead to the perception by others that they are less effective.

 

Top Leadership Skills that Support Collaboration

Collaboration isn’t about being weak and submissive however; it’s about using one’s skills to empower one another and increase the strength and effectiveness of every team member and partner. Leaders with a high degree of self-confidence and a strong sense of self often find it easier to enter into collaborative partnerships. Being forward thinking and open to new ways of thinking and doing things, being flexible and embracing both risk and change are also helpful to leaders that wish to encourage cooperation and collaboration.
In collaborative leadership, leaders rely on their networks and personal connections rather than formal control structures to attract, influence and motivate top talent. They use their communication skills to encourage interaction and connection between diverse groups of people. Empathy, determination and patience help these leaders to be able to manage conflict and build their coalitions.

 

How to Encourage Cooperation and Collaboration in Your Organisation

Adopting a collaborative leadership strategy is not solely about improving certain leadership skills. It also takes a bit more than simply making the decision that you want to encourage collaboration in your workplace.
As a leader, you truly set the tone and create your organisation’s culture. It literally is up to you to blaze the trail and model the attitudes and behaviour that you want your team to adopt. If you want to encourage collaboration, your actions must match your words, you literally must walk the walk!
Rather unwittingly, many leaders poison their own well and destroy any chance of creating a workspace that encourages cooperation and collaboration. In a video detailing research into what makes us open to collaboration conducted by IBM, Dr. Carol Kinsey Goman discusses how something as simple as the way a leader appears dressed at a gathering can have a direct and dire influence on collaboration.

In order to change your corporate culture into one that encourages collaboration, leaders must make certain that their actions match their words and their goals. There are a few questions that you can ask yourself that will help guide you to your own personal “problem areas” and point the way to things you can work on to encourage collaboration in your organisation.

  • What messages, both verbal and physical, are you sending to your people? If you truly want greater cooperation and collaboration is this the behaviour that you are modelling for your people?
  • What steps are you taking to show that collaboration is important to you and that you are serious about breaking down barriers and increasing communication and openness within your organisation?
  • Are you accessible to your people? How many “gates” and “hoops” do your people have to go through before they can communicate and share information or other resources with you and others?
  • Are you making it easy for others to “want” to help you?
  • What steps are you taking to share the glory and limelight with those that do cooperate and collaborate and achieve results?
  • Have you thought about potential conflicts, both internal and external, that may develop as you move forward? Do you have a plan to handle these conflicts when they do occur so that you keep your people working with one another and for you instead of working against everyone?

 

As you think about the answers to these questions, don’t worry if you discover that you need some help developing a strategy to move your organisation forward or find that you need to strengthen some of your leadership skills – we’re here to help you. Get in touch today to learn more about how our personalised coaching and consulting services can help you.

The C Word

The C Word

Compassionate. Is it a dirty word in business and leadership? Or is it the difference between highly effective and mediocre leaders?
When we think of highly effective leaders, it’s often in terms of their decisiveness, strategy and clever thinking. It’s not often that interpersonal traits like compassion spring to mind. Yet no leader can lead without followers, and those followers are human, with all their human needs and frailties.

Can you be a great leader without the softer skills? No, I don’t think you can.

It’s easy to see that compassion belongs in the leadership skill list, but how exactly?

Tibetan scholar Thupten Jinpa says “Compassion is a mental state endowed with a sense of concern for the suffering of others and aspiration to see that suffering relieved.”

Your team wants to be understood. It’s easy to jump to conclusions and make judgements without knowing the full story. For example, when an otherwise well regarded member of staff begins to under-perform for some reason, the assumptions may be that they are no longer committed to their work or have an issue to relating to another team member or manager.

A compassionate leader who asks the right questions in the right way may find out the person is having personal issues creating stress or lack of focus, or some outside pressures on their time and sleep such as illness of a family member. The performance issue in fact has nothing to do with work, and with accommodations and support their usual level of quality and attention will return, and the organisational compassion will be rewarded with increased loyalty and commitment in the future.

So in effect, showing compassion can have a long term benefit to the organisation. This is exactly what researcher Christina Boedker found in a recent study.

‘Out of all of the various elements in a business, the ability of a leader to be compassionate—that is, “to understand people’s motivators, hopes and difficulties and to create the right support mechanism to allow people to be as good as they can be”—has the greatest correlation with profitability and productivity, Boedker observes. “It’s about valuing people and being receptive and responsive to criticism.”

Compassion in leadership isn’t weak. It’s not about simple kindness. It’s not about making exceptions to organisational requirements; it’s about balancing both sets of needs. It’s about leading, guiding and managing your team with genuine consideration and kindness.
Bill Cropper, Director of The Change Forum says, “The reality is powerful leaders, amongst their other traits, have the conviction, confidence and courage to cultivate connectivity and compassion.”

Are you brave enough to become a compassionate leader?

 

About Sonia McDonald

Sonia McDonaldSonia McDonald, CEO and Founder of LeadershipHQ, is an Entrepreneur, Thought Leader, Dynamic Keynote Speaker, Leadership Coach and Author of Leadership Attitude (now on BOOKTOPIA!). She was recently named in the Top 250 Influential Women Leaders across the Globe. Sonia is one of Australia’s Leading Executive Coaches. She has over 25 years’ human resource management, leadership and organisational development experience. She has held senior leadership roles in organisational development, learning and development, human resources and talent management fields across the globe. She is also an inspirational and dynamic leadership and neuroscience keynote speaker.

Connect with Sonia at:
[email protected]
www.soniamcdonald.com.au
www.leadershiphq.com.au
Phone: 1300 917 665

15 Leadership Books Every Future Leader Should Read (or anyone actually)

15 Leadership Books Every Future Leader Should Read (or anyone actually)

Jack Nicholson once said, “When you stop learning, I believe you are dead!” One of the things that helps me to conquer the imposter syndrome is my ability to keep it real and tell people that I am a semi- expert.  Having an unquenchable thirst for knowledge makes it possible to learn new things, grow as a person, and create opportunities for myself and others.

It makes me cringe when people say I am an expert. Even if I had a PhD in leadership, I would not be an expert. I feel that if I say I am an expert, then my brain will switch off and say, “That’s it; you don’t need to learn anymore.” Argh! Hence the semi-expert tag.

I am always learning, every single day. I never want to stop. I love to learn. That is why I write, speak and read about leadership all the time. I suppose when you are truly passionate about something, you love to learn about it.

Many times I’ve had people ask me, “In addition to coaching and training, what else can I do to learn more about how to improve myself? How can I learn to be a great leader that propels myself and others towards greater growth and greater opportunities?”

My answer is simple, read. Read everything you can about successful leaders and the steps that they have taken to achieve peak performance for themselves and their organisations.

The following is a list, and brief overview, of some of the best books that I have read about leadership.

 

Good to Great by Jim Collins

First published in 2001, this book was the result of over five years of research and the intensive study of over 1,400 companies. The conclusions reached as a result of this work are still relevant today – what makes a company great, and why do so many companies remain mired in lacklustre performance and results?

Collins and his team of researchers wanted to discover what essential factors enabled good companies to transition to greatness, and outperform the market by several fold. What they found was most companies fail to make this leap because leadership kills momentum and enters a “loop of doom,’ by focusing on external causes of mediocre performance.

Companies that were able to far exceed their competition did so by focusing on building their team and recruiting talented people who are self-motivated to perform. They also focused on creating a performance “flywheel” by expending their time and resources only on those areas where they can offer something of value, something unique, where they can genuinely excel and which sets them apart from others in the marketplace.

 

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankel

Numerous leaders from every sector, including business, academia, government, the military and even the sports world, are known for their call to pursue excellence as a means of achieving peak performance. Despite their guidance, I am still asked, “Why excellence? Why does excellence matter?” Personally I believe that it is about more than achieving your best.

At its heart, the pursuit of excellence is about finding your purpose, and finding meaning in our lives. Every leader will go through tough times, but focusing on their purpose, their mission, can help them to survive. It gives them the courage to make tough choices and to continue to persist despite the odds.

This is also the theme of this book, first published in 1946. This inspiring work is the story of Dr. Frankel, and his experiences in WWII and the hardships that he faced trying to survive interment in a concentration camp as everyone he knew and loved died around him.

Based on his experiences, he determined that while we have little control over what happens around us, we can control how we react to situations. He also postulated that rather than seeking to maximise the amount of money that we make, or pleasurable moments that we experience, to live a good life we should focus on finding our purpose and allowing it to define and give meaning to our lives.

 

The Truth About Leadership by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner

Thirty years ago, the authors published a book that has become known for literally defining what leadership is, and is not. Since that time, the authors have continued to conduct extensive research into those traits and skills that define what it means to be a leader. Their work includes conducting a leadership assessment that has received over one million responses from leaders at every level.

The current work gets to the heart of what it means to be a leader, and distils their studies down into 10 core truths about what it means to lead. While each page is filled with memorable advice and commentary, one of my favourite quotes concerns the importance of learning and skill training.

“The Truth Is That the Best Leaders Are the Best Learners. Leadership can be learned. It is an observable pattern of practices and behaviours, and a definable set of skills and abilities. Skills can be learned, and when we track the progress of people who participate in leadership development programs, we observe that they improve over time.”

 

The Extraordinary Leader by John Zenger and Joseph Folkman

First published in 2002, the main point of this work is that with training, anyone can learn how to lead. Other key points in the work include the importance of leaders focusing on following through, and that to go from being merely a good manager, to an exceptional leader, they must learn to focus on developing their strengths.

 

Drive by Daniel Pink

Being able to motivate and inspire others is a key trait of effective leaders. The difficulty with being able to influence others lies in the fact that very few, if any, of us truly understand what motivates us to take action. According to Pink, most of us aren’t really motivated by external factors, such as the potential for punishment or reward.

Pink argues that true motivation is internal, and can be divided into three areas: the desire to be self-directed, or autonomous, the desire for self-improvement to perfect our skills, or mastery, and the desire to find meaning, or purpose in the work that we perform. He makes a convincing case that leaders are most effective when they enable individuals to achieve goals that line up with these three key areas of motivation.

 

Start with the Why by Simon Sinek

Like Pink in Drive, Sinek argues that truly great leaders don’t use manipulation and intimidation to get others to act. Instead, they inspire others to work together towards a goal by focusing on why they are working towards a specific, shared purpose.

Sinek makes several valuable points in the book. One of the many worth noting is that leadership is most effective when it is focused on why the company exists. They then must bring clarity to their mission by clearly define their core values and recruiting team members that share their values. Once the “why” is defined, it is easy to see the “how” and to know what action must be taken to move forward.

 

True North by Bill George and Peter Sims

In this book, the former CEO of Medtronic guides leaders in how to use their internal compass of values and experiences to help them bring authenticity to their leadership and to learn how to create and develop their personal, genuine leadership style.

 

Tribes by Seth Godin

In this book, Godin argues that folks naturally organise into networks or groups based on shared values and experiences. Leaders are most effective when they act as facilitators and attract groups of people who share their values, their “tribes” and connect them with a common idea and purpose. In the book, Godin challenges the leaders of tribes to challenge the status quo in order to create meaningful change, provide utility and solve social problems.

 

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

Dr. Brene Brown argues in her book that the way to increase engagement, and make meaningful connections with others is by daring to be vulnerable and open to sharing our real inner self with others. Brown believes that rather than viewing our emotions and being vulnerable as a weakness that must be hidden, we should be open to emotions and feelings.

According to Brown, it is this openness and honesty about how we feel that empowers us, and leads to positive effects including love, empathy, a greater sense of connectedness and community, as well as being a wellspring for innovation and creativity.

 

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

In this book, Pressfield discusses the many challenges faced by artists, performers, inventors and others engaged in creative endeavours as they seek to overcome the status quo and bring into being something new. The work is filled with practical advice and examples of how to overcome the naysayers, and other obstacles that threaten to block creatives as they focus on pursuing their passion and dreams.

 

Primal Leadership by Daniel Goleman

In this work, Goleman focuses on the importance of leaders developing and using their emotional intelligence to increase communication, motivation, cooperation and engagement with the people that they lead.

 

Strengths Based Leadership by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie

This book is the result of research conducted by the Gallup organisation that looked at the importance of leaders focusing on their strengths to create their leadership style. As part of the research, more than 20,000 leaders were interviewed and over 1 million work teams studied to determine why folks follow a specific leader.

Because of these studies, Rath and Conchie argue that the most effective leaders focus on improving skills related to their natural strengths and abilities, and also work to empower others to “play” to their strengths and focus on performing work that relates to areas that correspond to their natural talents and preferences. The work offers practical advice on how to recruit the right people to your team that have the right strengths, and how to meet their needs so that they continue to develop and grow their strengths and use their talents to benefit the organisation.

 

Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin

The ability to get “outside the bubble” to gain insight and objective information is critical for leaders so that they do not fall prey to bias and blind spots. In this Pulitzer Prize winning work, Goodwin looks at how President Abraham Lincoln could accomplish this by assembling a cabinet comprised of people of diverse backgrounds and experiences who often belonged to separate, warring political factions and that strongly disagreed in outlook, temperament and opinion as to what was the right way forward for the President and the country.

Goodwin argues that the President, and the country, benefited from this clash of vastly different perspectives that forced the President to look at issues from unique angles, increasing the chances that novel approaches and unique solutions could be developed.

 

What Got You Here Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith

This work offers leaders practical advice on how to identify, and overcome, those self-limiting habits that can help leaders survive challenges early in their leadership careers, but which are now holding them back and preventing them from achieving their optimal performance.

 

Leadership Attitude by Sonia McDonald

So, why should you read my book? What makes it different from every other leadership book out there?

Unlike other works about leadership, my book isn’t just about how to increase sales or improve some other area of your performance. My book is about how to discover your true self and how to use this knowledge to empower yourself to change the world. Yes, that’s right, change the world.

Creating meaningful change in the world begins with you and your attitude. It starts with confronting and overcoming self-limiting beliefs and changing your mindset.

As your mindset and view of the world changes, the way that others view you also changes. This transformation increases your ability to inspire, and lead others. Working together towards a shared goal, you and your team become an unstoppable force that can literally, should you so choose, change the world. Just be careful when you read my book, and be certain to use the power of your new mindset and attitude for good!

 

About Sonia McDonald

Sonia McDonaldSonia McDonald, CEO and Founder of LeadershipHQ, is an Entrepreneur, Thought Leader, Dynamic Keynote Speaker, Leadership Coach and Author of Leadership Attitude (now on BOOKTOPIA!). She was recently named in the Top 250 Influential Women Leaders across the Globe. Sonia is one of Australia’s Leading Executive Coaches. She has over 25 years’ human resource management, leadership and organisational development experience. She has held senior leadership roles in organisational development, learning and development, human resources and talent management fields across the globe. She is also an inspirational and dynamic leadership and neuroscience keynote speaker.

Connect with Sonia at:
[email protected]
www.soniamcdonald.com.au
www.leadershiphq.com.au
Phone: 1300 917 665

CEOs and the Pain of Company Growth

CEOs and the Pain of Company Growth

I work a lot with founders and CEOs of start-up companies, and they often talk to me about how tough it is to get a business off the ground. What they don’t realise is that at any stage in its life cycle, running a business is a challenge.

While there are many stress points in running a business, one of the most surprising is when the company starts to grow. No matter how awesome you are as a leader, a time of growth can still throw you off balance.

Coping with change

It’s the pace of change that effects people most. Sometimes it happens before you realise it and then the issue is the race to keep up. Your team suffers just as much as you do, so the challenge here is being able to cope with change yourself, and still motivate and guide the team.

Adapting systems

Growth brings with it the need to update your current systems or introduce new ones to cope with the changing demands. It’s a time-consuming process because you’ve got to go back to square one in lots of ways, and trace the work flows through your business to find where the system is not keeping up. Then you must work out a new system, whether it’s people, process or technology driven. For business founders and many CEOs, this doesn’t come easily to their entrepreneurial natures. Yes, it’s painful.

Managing the money

Growth usually comes before the money does, unfortunately. It’s like going up a flight of stairs; you need to take that step before you get to the next level where the payoff lies. Growth brings with it a need to spend money on your teams, training and infrastructure. The most stressful part of it all is trying to maintain cash flow while still being able to upgrade things. Without current cash flow, your business will fail no matter how promising it appears to be for the future.

Monitoring risk

Change equals risk. That’s something all leaders should accept. Any change puts your business at risk whether you make it or it just happens. And risk comes in all shapes and sizes. It’s not just financial. Think about what’s happening to your systems and, more importantly, your people. Think about what they are feeling; their jobs are changing, the demands on them are changing, their skills need to change…. They will be more stressed than you! Great leaders constantly watch their people to make sure they are coping during a growth period.

Improving skills

Even the most amazing leaders can be side-tracked during a growth period. They devote all their time to upskilling people and upgrading their systems, and forget to take stock of their own needs. By the time the business hits a growth stage, leaders need stronger or different skills from those they had when they first started out. Leaders have to grow with – and often before – the business does.

Spotting opportunities

This sounds like a strange thing to list as a stress point, but it’s very hard to see past the quagmire of change. Yet great leaders are those who see opportunities and grab them. The pressure to be alert is enormous, and the regret at missing an opportunity can be devastating.

What’s the best way to help yourself through this stage or, even better, to prepare for it ahead of time?

Seek leadership coaching. Every successful business leader has worked with a coach or mentor at some time during their career. Not only can coaching give you any skills you need at each stage of your leadership journey, it can give ideas, guidance and solid advice when you need it. When you have a coach, there is always someone in your corner to help you along.

Business growth is exciting and it means you’re doing something right! Watch out for the stress points and get help when you need it.

After single-handedly taking her own business from blog to one of Australia’s most successful leadership companies, Sonia McDonald now works with founders and CEOs of start-ups. As an expert coach and advisor, she will to work with you one on one to shape your leadership and culture strategy.

 

About Sonia McDonald

Sonia McDonaldSonia McDonald, CEO and Founder of LeadershipHQ, is an Entrepreneur, Thought Leader, Dynamic Keynote Speaker, Leadership Coach and Author of Leadership Attitude (now on BOOKTOPIA!). She was recently named in the Top 250 Influential Women Leaders across the Globe. Sonia is one of Australia’s Leading Executive Coaches. She has over 25 years’ human resource management, leadership and organisational development experience. She has held senior leadership roles in organisational development, learning and development, human resources and talent management fields across the globe. She is also an inspirational and dynamic leadership and neuroscience keynote speaker.

Connect with Sonia at:
[email protected]
www.soniamcdonald.com.au
www.leadershiphq.com.au
Phone: 1300 917 665

Resilience and Self Esteem

Resilience and Self Esteem

There is a little bit of a misconception in the corporate world that those who appear more confident can handle just about anything. Let me share something with you. I have had my fair share of knocks, challenges, let downs, failures and – at times it is hard to get back up. But I always take something away from these experiences, learn from them, change perspective and sometimes just let it go.

I know it is my resilience that has served me well and it is a focus of mine to achieve my dreams, goals and purpose.

For many years it was believed that a healthy self-esteem, often through praise and encouragement, gave people everything they need to take on just about anything that created a hurdle, and would therefore make great leaders. Whilst in possession of seemingly healthy self-esteem, it soon became evident that there had been a gross oversight. In fact, the loud, brash and seemingly decisive extroverts were often lacking in resilience and, sadly, that the self-esteem was more of a front than anything else.
High self-esteem does not necessarily lead to resilience. The opposite, however, is true; resilience builds your self-esteem.

Resilience is something that needs to be developed, and it has the best opportunity to do this when we are faced with hurdles, failures or situations that cause discomfort. How we choose to handle these situations is what provides us with the experience that builds resilience. It’s as simple as a feedback loop; we’re confronted by an issue that may cause a project to fall over, or will cause anger amongst stakeholders. There are, of course, any number of ways this can be handled. You could admit defeat and let it run its course to a slow death, or step up and work out strategies to save it or take it down a different path. If you succeed in your efforts, you’ve not only learnt some skills for your future arsenal, you’ve proved to yourself that you’re more capable than you thought. This is the strengthening of resilience.

It is also the perfect sort of feedback to boost your self-esteem. Far better than words of praise and encouragement without cause, you have proven you’re capable.
Ultimately, it’s a two for one deal; you build your resilience whilst boosting your self-esteem. That has to be a win-win for everyone.

If you would love to know more about confidence, self-esteem and building resilience as a leader – check out our EmpowHER and Apsire Programs! They rock! Or even contact us for more information and articles on this subject – we love to share!

Don’t forget #yourock and have an awesome Tuesday!

 

About Sonia McDonald

Sonia McDonaldSonia McDonald, CEO and Founder of LeadershipHQ, is an Entrepreneur, Thought Leader, Dynamic Keynote Speaker, Leadership Coach and Author of Leadership Attitude (now on BOOKTOPIA!). She was recently named in the Top 250 Influential Women Leaders across the Globe. Sonia is one of Australia’s Leading Executive Coaches. She has over 25 years’ human resource management, leadership and organisational development experience. She has held senior leadership roles in organisational development, learning and development, human resources and talent management fields across the globe. She is also an inspirational and dynamic leadership and neuroscience keynote speaker.

JOIN OUR FREE SMS LEADERSHIP TOOL! #ATTITUDE

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Connect with Sonia at:
[email protected]
www.soniamcdonald.com.au
www.leadershiphq.com.au
Phone: 1300 917 665

Passion. It Matters

Passion. It Matters

This might be a shock to you but I am SO passionate about what I do.

Why? Easy. Leadership is my Why, Purpose and Passion.

It matters. Truly matters.

 

Think of it like this. There are A LOT, I mean A LOT of consultants, companies and coaches that work in the Leadership space. We all pretty much have the same purpose (well I hope so!). Now, imagine working with a company or coach who didn’t have passion for what they do versus someone who truly loves and believes in what they do – and they show it! I bet you, you would want to work with the person who is passionate?

Martin Luther King, Jr. Richard Branson. Steve Jobs. Oprah Winfrey. All incredibly passionate leaders. They truly love and believe in their purpose and vision – and this is why we want more of it! People didn’t follow I think I might have a dream…they followed -“I have a dream!”
 

Passion is SO contagious.

 
I do this Passion activity all the time in my workshop and events. I get on stage and I speak and facilitate with excitement, energy and passion. Then when I talk about our presence and how we are showing up, I suddenly change my whole energy and communication style. I become dull, bored and show a true lack of passion and energy. It is amazing to see everyone’s reaction in the room. They hate it! I do this to demonstrate why passion matters. We have something called Mirror Neurons. We automatically pick up the emotions of others.

Have you experienced sitting in your office and someone who has had a crap morning has just walked it and literally lumped it all over the office. They have been cranky, down or upset; and the whole energy in the room has changed. Yep! I bet you have!

I am not saying passion is about jumping around the room like the energiser bunny or yelling at the top of your voice. Some of the most passionate leaders I know and around the globe are actually introverts! Passion is about believing in what you do, inspiring others to believe in it, and loving why you do what you do.
 

Simon Sinek who wrote one of my favourite books “Start with the Why” said –

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

 
As a leader, it is vital to turn up with passion and be passionate about what you do. Okay, I am not Miss Passionate 24/7 but I always focus my mindset everyday around how I can be the best and use my passion to create change and greatness in others. In turn, somedays I have to do things I am not that passionate about, but I always focus on WHY I do what I do.

Also I have worked with and met the most remarkable people; construction workers, cleaners, sales assistants, nurses, counsellors and people who you might think at times might not have the most fulfilling or exciting jobs; but they always find the purpose and passion around what they do.

Have you ever watched that show The Uncover Boss? I LOVE that show. Why? It is just awesome to see these bosses, CEOs or Managers go under cover and speak to their talent on the ground. They listen and see why they love their jobs and what they do. It is always about the people and purpose. They find something about what they do that serves as a purpose and they are passionate. It shows too!

We all want to be passionate and we want to work with and be lead by people who are passionate.
In turn, if you are finding it difficult to be passionate or have passion in what you do. What do you need to change? Think about it.

I met with the Bronwyn Lewis, CEO of Think Pink. I have to say they do AMAZING work. Our conversation centred around why do people change their lives when they are sick and are told devastating news. PLEASE DO NOT WAIT! Find passion in what you do, find your why – or change it!

Life is WAY too short not to live and lead it to the fullest with passion.

 

About Sonia McDonald

Sonia McDonaldSonia McDonald, CEO and Founder of LeadershipHQ, is an Entrepreneur, Thought Leader, Dynamic Keynote Speaker, Leadership Coach and Author of Leadership Attitude (now on BOOKTOPIA!). She was recently named in the Top 250 Influential Women Leaders across the Globe. Sonia is one of Australia’s Leading Executive Coaches. She has over 25 years’ human resource management, leadership and organisational development experience. She has held senior leadership roles in organisational development, learning and development, human resources and talent management fields across the globe. She is also an inspirational and dynamic leadership and neuroscience keynote speaker.

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Connect with Sonia at:
[email protected]
www.soniamcdonald.com.au
www.leadershiphq.com.au
Phone: 1300 917 665

Qualities of Highly Successful People

Qualities of Highly Successful People

Success is something that all of us wish to attain. But if it were so easy, everyone who wanted it would have it – it’s relative elusiveness is what makes it special. It’s exclusive to a handful of people who did extraordinary things in their lives to get them to where they are today. And it wasn’t because they were lucky or because it was just handed to them. Being successful is all about how badly you want it and how much you’re willing to work for it – it’s about the qualities you possess to help get you there. Do you have what it takes? The best way to figure that out is to look at the traits of highly successful people and see how you can begin adapting them into your life so that you can eventually end up just like them. Remember success means different things to different people – what does it mean to you?
 

They have a purpose

Clarity of purpose and direction is one of the keys to become a successful person. Successful people clarify their purpose and direction. They figure out what they are meant to do in this life. They build their goals on this purpose. They visualize themselves achieving their goals. They keep their purpose in mind when they encounter problems and setback as they work on their goals. They clarify their personal values. They use their values as guides to decision making in ambiguous situations. They are tenacious, persistent and passionate about achieving their goals and realizing their purpose.
 

Are Incredibly Curious and Eager to Learn

Most people are stubborn; they don’t like to learn or explore new things and are very narrow-minded. Successful people are the complete opposite. They are very open-minded and are always studying something new, learning and constantly asking questions so that they can find out more information.

They know that knowledge is the backbone of success and they are hungry for more information because the more they know the easier it makes it for them. They apply or take advantage of what they learn in life. Successful people want to learn everything about everything!
 

Work On Themselves

Peasants are stagnant, they never grow and they get very comfortable with where their life is. The truly successful people are the ones that are always working on themselves and their lives. They are working on their personality, leadership skills, management skills, as well as every other detail of life. Successful people don’t tolerate flaws; they fix them.
 

Are Extraordinarily Creative

There are those who just accept everything in life and don’t like change and then there are successful people who like to question the status quo and change things that are too consistent. They go around asking, “Why not?” They see new possibilities and opportunities where others see problems. They wake up in the middle of the night yelling, “I’ve got it!” Successful people create stuff and innovate things. They are the ones that change the world.
 

Self-Reliant and Take Responsibility

Many people will find things to shift blame towards or find excuses as to why they are not successful so that they can make themselves feel better about the situation. All they are doing is giving themselves bullshit reasons. Incredibly successful people don’t worry about blame, and they don’t waste time complaining. They make decisions and move on. Extremely successful people take the initiative and accept the responsibilities of success.
 

Live in The Present Moment

They know that “now” is the only time they can control. Successful people don’t waste time; they use it! They understand that the past is the past and they have learned from it. The future is what will happen when they are exceling in their present.

They are always focused on the current moment and don’t get lost in the game of time. They “look over the horizon” to see the future. Extremely successful people live in the present, with one eye on the future!
 

Never Quit

Most people in today’s world will walk away from something because they find it too hard, whereas successful people love challenges. They understand that if it were easy, they wouldn’t want it and sacrifice it all to defeat the challenge at hand. They would rather die than quit at what they are doing. Their goal is to be the best always and to be on top because that is where their ambition and passion lies.

 

About Sonia McDonald

Sonia McDonaldSonia McDonald, CEO and Founder of LeadershipHQ, is an Entrepreneur, Thought Leader, Dynamic Keynote Speaker, Leadership Coach and Author of Leadership Attitude (now on BOOKTOPIA!). She was recently named in the Top 250 Influential Women Leaders across the Globe. Sonia is one of Australia’s Leading Executive Coaches. She has over 25 years’ human resource management, leadership and organisational development experience. She has held senior leadership roles in organisational development, learning and development, human resources and talent management fields across the globe. She is also an inspirational and dynamic leadership and neuroscience keynote speaker.

POWER SESSION OFFER ONLY $95

Due to an overwhelming response to my last Power Sessions I have decided to run more! The focus of these new Power Sessions will be LEADERSHIP brand, how to make yourself shine and how to put yourself out there. Book now!

JOIN OUR FREE SMS LEADERSHIP TOOL! #ATTITUDE

We want to create a world of Great Leaders and that is why this FREE SMS Leadership Tool has been designed for YOU. We would love your feedback on our New SMS Tool – sign up today by sending a SMS #attitude to 0429 398 095 (Australia) and we will make you ROCK as a Leader. Remember #attitude to 0429 398 095

Connect with Sonia at:
[email protected]
www.soniamcdonald.com.au
www.leadershiphq.com.au
Phone: 1300 917 665

5 Tips To Boost Your Productivity

5 Tips To Boost Your Productivity

Friday rolls around quite quickly when you are busy but there is a difference between being busy and being productive. Holding a leadership position is difficult enough, but if you fail to dot the I’s and cross the T’s, then it becomes even more challenging.

Neuroscience has shown us a lot about how the brain works and why some of the traditional productivity boosting tips work better than others. Let’s take a look at 5 tips which work and start to understand why.
 

1. Make a list

At the start of the week or at the end of the previous week (schedule permitting) you need to sit down and make a to-do list. Don’t kid yourself that you will remember all the things that you need to do because that just takes up more of your time. If it is your intention to enable your team or organisation to be the best it can be, then being organised is the best way to achieve it. A list will allow you also to prioritise your responsibilities more effectively.

Why does it work? The conscious mind can only cope with remembering a few items at a time. Add in a new task to remember and an old one slips out of your head. Your subconscious mind will keep niggling away underneath, trying to keep you on track. By writing everything down, you ease the pressure on yourself and your mind can relax.
 

2. Reduce distractions

There are many disruptions during the span of a day that can take your focus off what you are meant to be doing. So if you are working on a project which needs all of your focus, then do just that. Shut your door. Switch off Facebook. Close down your email. Reward yourself with the necessary time to do the best job possible. Your emails will still be there when you are done.
Why does it work? When you try to focus on just one thing, your brain produces a chemical called noradrenaline, which helps you concentrate on the task at hand. In effect, your focus is turbo charged!
 

3. Say no

This can be a big issue for many leaders. You maybe want to please those colleagues above and below and have a tendency to say yes to whatever appears on your desk. But sometimes that can be to your personal detriment, not to mention increase those stress levels. If you are having a particularly busy week or are behind in your projects, then allow yourself to say no in order to give you time to at least catch up or complete a task. Rushing through your day will benefit no one.

Why does it work? It frees your mind to concentrate on the things which are really important. It eases pressure on you which in turn, boosts your ability to be productive.
 

4. Reduce meeting time

Much of a leader’s time is taken up in meetings and many of them are unnecessary or go on for too long. Don’t be afraid to specify a time limit to your meetings so you can get your work done – you can probably find you can halve the time and make them more productive if everyone understands you are time limited to begin with. Or if a meeting can be summed up in an email, get someone to attend on your behalf. You can’t be everywhere or do everything at once, again prioritisation is important.
Why does it work? The brain has an incredible ability to focus when a task must be done within a specific time frame.
 

5. Just do it

Negativity can slow down a task – it may never be as good as you want it to be, or perhaps it could do with some finishing touches. Shut out that negative talk and march on boldly doing the best you can. Negativity is generally followed closely by procrastination which can put a whole damper on a week’s worth of productivity. If you need a second opinion, certainly ask for one, but don’t spend too much time overthinking your tasks unnecessarily.

Why does it work? Taking a physical action is enough to shock the brain out of the mental loop it may be stuck in as it assesses both sides of the argument.

So when Friday rolls around again, this time analyse your performance. If you have applied any of these 5 tips, assess your success and how you feel about it. Remember that, as leader, you are the role model for your team. If you can find a way to boost your own productivity, you’ll find the way to help your team members boost theirs.

If you are looking for even more ways to increase productivity in your organisation get in touch today!
 

About Sonia McDonald

Sonia McDonaldSonia McDonald, CEO and Founder of LeadershipHQ, is an Entrepreneur, Thought Leader, Dynamic Keynote Speaker, Leadership Coach and Author of Leadership Attitude (now on BOOKTOPIA!). She was recently named in the Top 250 Influential Women Leaders across the Globe. Sonia is one of Australia’s Leading Executive Coaches. She has over 25 years’ human resource management, leadership and organisational development experience. She has held senior leadership roles in organisational development, learning and development, human resources and talent management fields across the globe. She is also an inspirational and dynamic leadership and neuroscience keynote speaker.

POWER SESSION OFFER ONLY $95

Due to an overwhelming response to my last Power Sessions I have decided to run more! The focus of these new Power Sessions will be LEADERSHIP brand, how to make yourself shine and how to put yourself out there. Book now!

JOIN OUR FREE SMS LEADERSHIP TOOL! #ATTITUDE

We want to create a world of Great Leaders and that is why this FREE SMS Leadership Tool has been designed for YOU. We would love your feedback on our New SMS Tool – sign up today by sending a SMS #attitude to 0429 398 095 (Australia) and we will make you ROCK as a Leader. Remember #attitude to 0429 398 095

Connect with Sonia at:
[email protected]
www.soniamcdonald.com.au
www.leadershiphq.com.au
Phone: 1300 917 665

Be the Best you can be!

Be the Best you can be!

One of the key components of being a successful leader is knowing when to seek out additional resources to be a better leader. The realisation that one person can’t do it all is a major step in developing personal strength, and for leaders, this means investing the time and trust in a leadership coach to advance personal development.

Looking outside the box to a leadership coach gives a manager the opportunity to reflect and analyse their leadership style and actions with a critical eye, all the while using their discoveries to make even better choices in the future. With a clear goal of self-improvement in mind, each step of the coaching process can bring insight and new avenues of productivity simply by building on the lessons previously learned as well as true self-awareness.
 

The Leadership Coaching Process

The first step in the coaching process is a careful review of the significant decisions and leadership actions taken in the recent past, looking for elements that not only went well, but those that didn’t work as expected. By identifying these opportunities, a leadership coach can garner a better grasp of the manager’s style within their working environment, using real examples and studies on which to base an analysis of leadership style. It’s all about self-awareness. Gaining an understanding of who YOU are as a leader. Your values, purpose, beliefs, experiences, strengths and philosophy. This drives behaviour and decision making.

The next step is to critically breakdown the actions that led to these decisions, looking for repeatable correlations and how they might better be addressed when a similar situation arises in the future. Though each instance of decision making is uniquely different, the core elements feeding into a decision will remain somewhat constant. By understanding how a situation played out in the past, adjustments and corrections can be made in the future.

Lastly, the leadership coaching process puts in place a series of actionable items from which a leader can draw from depending on the situation. By moving in a positive direction by learning from past choices, a manager builds their knowledge base and by default improves their qualities. A team is only as strong as the weakest link, yet by striving to constantly improve and gain knowledge from the decisions of the past, a team leader finds strength in confidence. The decisions become simpler to make, with a growing retinue of experience to draw from.

Retaining the services of a leadership coach helps to develop a deeper understanding of leadership style, all the while strengthening the foundation of the team – one decision at a time. Learn more about how LeadershipHQ can support you in becoming the Leader you want to be! It will be the best decision you have made this year! Get in contact today!

 

 

About Sonia McDonald

Sonia McDonaldSonia McDonald, CEO and Founder of LeadershipHQ, is an Entrepreneur, Thought Leader, Dynamic Keynote Speaker, Leadership Coach and Author of Leadership Attitude (now on BOOKTOPIA!). She was recently named in the Top 250 Influential Women Leaders across the Globe. Sonia is one of Australia’s Leading Executive Coaches. She has over 25 years’ human resource management, leadership and organisational development experience. She has held senior leadership roles in organisational development, learning and development, human resources and talent management fields across the globe. She is also an inspirational and dynamic leadership and neuroscience keynote speaker.

POWER SESSION OFFER ONLY $95

Due to an overwhelming response to my last Power Sessions I have decided to run more! The focus of these new Power Sessions will be LEADERSHIP brand, how to make yourself shine and how to put yourself out there. Book now!

JOIN OUR FREE SMS LEADERSHIP TOOL! #ATTITUDE

We want to create a world of Great Leaders and that is why this FREE SMS Leadership Tool has been designed for YOU. We would love your feedback on our New SMS Tool – sign up today by sending a SMS #attitude to 0429 398 095 (Australia) and we will make you ROCK as a Leader. Remember #attitude to 0429 398 095

Connect with Sonia at:
[email protected]
www.soniamcdonald.com.au
www.leadershiphq.com.au
Phone: 1300 917 665