Two Leadership Strategies

Two Leadership Strategies: Don’t Lose Your Mind & Be a Coach

Are you feeling overwhelmed, a lack of confidence or under a ton of pressure? Are you trying too hard to make something work and focusing too much on trying to fulfill other people’s needs and expectations? You may have “lost your mind!”

My small still voice often speaks to me in cryptic one-liners. I’ll never forget the first time I heard the quiet whisper, “You’ve lost your mind.” And no, I had not lost my mind through hearing strange voices! Rather, this cryptic one-liner was reminding me I was trying too hard to fulfill other people’s expectations and solve their problems.

This cryptic statement harkened back to an article I had read by Management Consultant, Barry Oshry. This article referred to Middle Managers who begin their careers as healthy humans but in time become confused, weak, powerless and self-doubting as they slide into the ‘Middle Space’ becoming torn between demands from the people Above and Below? hence “losing their mind.”

At that time I had taken on a new contract to facilitate a six week “Leadership” series for a local college. In my anxiety to do a good job I was trying too hard to emulate the program designer’s “superior knowledge” and trying hopelessly to solve the high-stress, workplace problems of the managers who were my participants. Of course, I knew I had the necessary skills and experience to facilitate this series yet, I had “lost my mind.”

Focusing on other’s needs and expectations removed me from my own knowledge and power. My stress elevated and my self-confidence plummeted. Thankfully, that gentle nudge of “you’ve lost your mind” helped me see how I was eroding myself through comparing myself and worrying about what other people thought, wanted or needed. This is our cue to stop, step back inside and reconnect with our own truth – our own God.

In doing this we step back into our own authenticity and own power. Here we can reformulate our own view, thoughts and perspectives on what is happening and what we need. We can let go of the guilt and self-doubt we feel in trying to meet other’s expectations or in trying to solve their problems. We can relax and trust in our Higher Power always there for us.

Certainly, as leaders, managers, family members and humans we have a responsibility to listen and empathize with those in our close circle but it is not our job to solve their problems or fulfill their expectations? which is all a part of the coaching process. Rather than striving to give other people answers, everyone concerned is better served if we instead help others to reflect on their own solutions or options. This is what it means to be a coach.

Be a Coach

We can let people know we care about their situation and that we are willing to work with them to empower them to solve their own problem.
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Proactive Networking

Proactive Networking To Grow Your Business and Your Career

Did you know that contacts are the bread of career life? In times of change, information and relationships are a source of power. As a business leader, focused networking will help you to tap into this power to grow your business and your career.

Proactive networking is a systematic process of establishing and maintaining relationships for seeking out information and resources in order to accomplish specific goals. Its primary aim is on the building of rapport and long term interactions rather than quick, short-term connections of ‘here today gone tomorrow’. Its purpose is to access all kinds of information and a wide variety of resources in order to achieve one’s individual career goals as well as one’s team or work group’s objectives.

Some of you may have a negative opinion of networking. Some of you may think it is a selfish or egotistical activity with an emphasis on, “What can this person do for me?” However, networking is not only committed to the meeting of your goals but also must be concerned with the following:

“How can I specifically be of help to this other person or team? What is it that I can give? What kinds of information do I have access to? Or what kinds of support can I provide?”

Reciprocity is the key. It is the getting of what you need to achieve your goals or perform your job effectively as well as the giving to others what they need in order to achieve their goals or do their job more effectively.

In focused networking, peer relationships are more important than ever given the rise of team based organizations. As the leader of these work or project teams, your challenge is that you may not have the formal authority over people whose support you need.

For example, you may be tasked with accomplishing the following:

  • assembling a group of people of different backgrounds or from different areas to work together.
  • obtaining essential resources from others such as information, technical expertise or political backing.
  • coordinating efforts with other teams who have their set of priorities which may be different than yours.

Your ability to get the job done hinges first on your success in cultivating, mobilizing, and maintaining relationships with others. Second, it is dependent on your ability to influence or gain cooperation from these people to accomplish specific goals.

Stephen Covey, in the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, states: “Inter-dependence, not independence, is the new watch word.” Forget being the Lone Ranger! Connect for success. Start building dynamic networks and relationships.