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Creating a Positive Mindset and Company Culture

Creating a Positive Mindset and Company Culture

I’ve learned over the years that my most effective executive coaching leadership clients know the “why” of what they are passionate in achieving. They lead from a compassionate and positive space within.

Positive leaders are mindful, and get excited in my office telling me inspiring stories of their hopes and struggles. They have a growth versus fixed mindset, and are optimistic and forward thinking.

One of my CEO executive coaching clients shared with me that he was struggling to convince several of his senior executives on changing their company culture. The data from a recent company engagement survey indicated that far too many employees were not engaged with the mission and vision of the company.

The company culture was negative and toxic. The big egos of top leadership were consistently locked in a battle of who was right and blaming the others for perceived failures. Each of the leaders had a strongly held belief that others were responsible for the mediocre performance of the organization. As a result, negativity cascaded throughout the organization.

I asked the CEO to reflect on the following question: “What behaviors do you observe now and what would you like to see in the future?” He took a moment breathing deeply and responded, “I can be too negative, and tolerate unproductive beliefs and behaviors that don’t contribute to growth”.  

I applauded him on his self-insight and courage to take responsibility for the current situation. I suggested that he first work on changing his own own habits and patterns of behavior which helped create the current culture. He then would model the new desired behavior of positivity and help create resonance for the organization.

After several months of coaching focused on changing his negative beliefs and focusing on positivity, he reported that he felt he was making progress. The CEO changed his habit of focusing on the negative, and began paying attention to what was working well. He was becoming a more inspirational leader telling positive stories that helped create a more resilient culture.

The members of the executive team thought that if he could change and become more positive emotional attractor and stop blaming others well maybe they could too! The CEO was so passionate about his belief in creating a new culture based on trust. They began to pay attention to their own habits and patterns of behavior that were counterproductive to creating a high performance culture.

At an off site Retreat that I facilitated, leaders at all levels of the company co-created a Values Statement that reflected the aspirations of everyone aligned towards a common goal. Values drive commitment. The energy at work was beginning to shift, and people reported being happier and more committed to achieving business results through passionate and conscious collaboration.

Emotionally intelligent leaders know that creating a positive workplace culture and climate where emotions are appropriately expressed increases engagement and moves things forward. In order for people to be fully engaged, they need to feel they are following leaders who inspire them emotionally. Engagement is most influenced by how their leaders behave.

Positive Engagement

The No. 1 reason why most Americans leave their jobs is the feeling they’re not appreciated. In fact, 65% of people surveyed said they received no recognition for good work in a previous year, according to Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton, authors of How Full Is Your Bucket? Positive Strategies for Work and Life (2004).

According to newer Gallup research, what employees want most — along with competitive pay — is quality management. When they feel unappreciated and disapprove of their managers, they leave or stop trying.

Almost 25% of U.S. employees would fire their bosses if given the chance, and about 50% of actively disengaged workers would follow suit.

A Gallup Management Journal survey found that, of all 24.7 million U.S. workers, roughly 18% are actively disengaged. Gallup estimates the lower productivity of actively disengaged workers costs the U.S. economy about $382 billion (http://gmj.gallup.com/content/28867/Many-Employees-Would-Fire-Their-Boss.aspx).

Because of current economic realities, people may not be leaving their jobs. Instead, they join the ranks of the disengaged and become “missing in action.” It rests upon managers to learn better ways of interacting with the people on whom they depend. Executive coaching can help leaders develop a positive mindset, and connect with the hearts and minds of their people.

The benefits of developing a positive or growth mindset follow:

Ten Benefits of a Positive Mindset

1. Positive people live longer.

2, Positive people are more resilient when facing stressful challenges.

3. Positive work environments outperform negative work environments.

4. Positive, optimistic salespeople sell more than pessimistic salespeople.

5. Positive leaders make better decisions under pressure.

6. Successful marriages are likely to experience a 5-to-1 ratio of positive to negative interactions.

7. Positive people are able to maintain a broader perspective and identify solutions.

8. Positive thoughts and emotions are the antidote to the negative effects of stress.

9. Positive emotions such as gratitude and appreciation help athletes perform at a higher level.

10. Positive leaders are more likely to achieve greater success in the workplace.

You can develop a more positive mindset and company culture by working with an executive coach. The investment is well worth the reward: your ability to influence your organization’s future, your career and your personal-development capabilities.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders put positive leadership into action? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to be more positive? Positive leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a positive leader who helps individuals and organizations achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience elevating energy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders develop more positive teams.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help leaders nurture positivity in the workplace. You can become a more positive leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership Retreats

We coach leaders to cultivate creativity, clarity, focus and trust in a full engagement culture.

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman

Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach|
Trusted Advisor to Executive Leadership Teams
Mindfulness & Emotional Intelligence Workplace Expert

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com


Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com 

Connect with me on these Social Media sites.
 
http://twitter.com/drbrusman
 http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman
 http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman
 http://www.youtube.com/user/maynardbrusman
 http://google.com/+maynardbrusman

 

Categories: 

Driven to Lead - Four Basic Human Drives

Driven Leaders

The late Harvard Business School Professor Paul R. Lawrence and Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria propose a theory of four basic drives that motivate all humans in Driven: How Human Nature Shapes Our Choices (Jossey-Bass, 2002). The drives are:

1. To acquire what we need for survival, conception and our offspring’s survival. This drive far surpasses our drives to acquire food, water, warmth and a mate. We are driven to attain things that interest us, give us a sense of identity and meet our loved ones’ needs.

2. To defend ourselves and our offspring from threats. We’ll protect our family and groups to which we belong, our ideas and beliefs, our sense of pride and hope, and our self-image.

3. To bond and form long-term, mutually caring and trusting relationships with others.

4. To comprehend (to learn, create, innovate, and make sense of the world and our place in it).

Leadership, they note, must effectively balance these four basic human drives. While other species survive by feeding, mating, fighting and fleeing, humans survive by feeding, mating, fighting, fleeing, befriending andfiguring out.

Humans have evolved to survive differently from other animals. We have endured as a species because we learned to work in groups and rely on problem-solving skills, rather than brute force, inborn physical capacities and instincts.

We achieve an optimal state of leadership when we cultivate and consciously manage all four drives. It’s not enough to be mindful of one or two of them. As Lawrence and Nohria wrote:

“We would predict that those who have found ways to satisfy all four drives (at least over time) will feel more fulfilled than those who have focused on some to the exclusion of others.”

Lawrence expands his theories in Driven to Lead: Good, Bad, and Misguided Leadership(Jossey-Bass, 2010), citing contemporary brain research that supports how the four drives influence decision-making and actions.

As a leader or manager, how are you balancing all four drives in making business decisions that respect the drives to acquire, defend, bond and comprehend? If you’re ignoring one drive in favor of another you may find yourself and your organization in trouble.

In the work I do coaching leaders in organizations www.workingresources.com, we discuss how to make balanced decisions that sustain progress and profits. Maybe it’s time we have that conversation? You can contact me here mbrusman@workingresources.com.

For now, gaining an understanding of these drives gives you a tremendous leadership advantage — a valuable lens through which to view people’s behaviors. You can develop these qualities by working with a professional coach.The investment is well worth the reward: your ability to influence the future, your career and your personal-development capabilities.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders put positive leadership into action?Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to be more motivational? Inspiring leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I an inspiring leader who helps individuals and organizations achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience elevating energy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders develop more positive teams.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help leaders inspire followers. You can become a mindful leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership Retreats

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman

Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach|
Trusted Advisor to Executive Leadership Teams
Mindfulness & Emotional Intelligence Workplace Expert

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com 

Connect with me on these Social Media sites.
http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman

http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman
http://www.youtube.com/user/maynardbrusman

http://google.com/+maynardbrusman

 

 

 

                               

Categories: 

Inspiring Leadership - Motiviating Others by Building Relationships

We coach leaders to cultivate creativity, clarity, focus and trust in a full engagement culture.

Driven to Lead: What Makes People Tick

Leadership is about relationships with others. You cannot lead without understanding the innate drives that are essential to human development and survival.

Decades of research have given us numerous theories about drive and motivation, to include:

·  Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem and self-actualization)

·  Intrinsic and extrinsic motivators (inner satisfaction and desires, external rewards and payoffs)

· The well-documented drives to achieve autonomy, mastery and purpose in our personal and professional lives.

·  Economist Milton Friedman’s agency theory, which argues that rational self-interest motivates all human behavior — and that businesses’ sole purpose is to maximize shareholder returns. (Over time, behavioral economists have proved there’s much more to human behavior than rational self-interest.)

Scientists have fragmented the search for the most fundamental drives that make humans tick. Every discipline has proposed a different theory that contains some truths, as viewed through the discrete lenses of:

·  Cultural anthropology

·  Sociology

·  Psychology

·  Genetics

·  Evolutionary biology

·  Economics

·  Neurology

Perhaps the most noteworthy deduction about human behavior can be attributed to Charles Darwin’s scientific studies, published more than 150 years ago. In The Descent of Man (1871), the British naturalist observed that the most important distinction between humans and the lower species is our innate moral sense: our conscience.

The Four-Drive Theory

Humans have evolved to survive differently from other animals. We have endured as a species because we learned to work in groups and rely on problem-solving skills, rather than brute force, inborn physical capacities and instincts.

The late Harvard Business School Professor Paul R. Lawrence suggested that Darwin’s insights about human drives have largely been ignored. He proposed a theory of human behavior based on “renewed Darwinism” and four key drives:

1.  To acquire what we need for survival, conception and our offspring’s survival. This drive far surpasses our drives to acquire food, water, warmth and a mate. We are driven to attain things that interest us, give us a sense of identity and meet our loved ones’ needs.

2.  To defend ourselves and our offspring from threats. We’ll protect our family and groups to which we belong, our ideas and beliefs, our sense of pride and hope, and our self-image.

3.  To bond and form long-term, mutually caring and trusting relationships with others.

4.  To comprehend, to learn, create, innovate, and make sense of the world and our place in it.

Lawrence and Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria applied these drives to the business world in Driven: How Human Nature Shapes Our Choices (Jossey-Bass, 2002). Leadership, they noted, must effectively balance these four basic human drives. While other species survive by feeding, mating, fighting and fleeing, humans survive by feeding, mating, fighting, fleeing, befriending andfiguring out.

We achieve an optimal state of leadership when we cultivate and consciously manage all four drives. It’s not enough to be mindful of one or two of them. As Lawrence and Nohria wrote:

“We would predict that those who have found ways to satisfy all four drives (at least over time) will feel more fulfilled than those who have focused on some to the exclusion of others.”

Conflicting Impulses

We are hardwired to feel conflicting emotions. As leaders, we must continually assess our options and arrive at acceptable decisions.

Animals don’t have this problem. After acquiring food, shelter, a mate and ways to defend themselves against threats, they’re basically set. We, on the other hand, must balance two additional drives:

·  To bond with, trust and care for other people (and to be trusted and cared for by them)

·  To make sense of our lives (understand the “why” and “how”)

These additional drives allow us to adapt better than lower animals, but they also give us more to react to and consider when making decisions. We must balance our teams’ needs and desires against those of the boss, corporation, customers, environment and self.

We are built to work and achieve in groups: to lead and follow, to learn from each other, to trust, to protect and care for each other, to acquire what we need collectively even if we later enjoy it individually. We have evolved in this way because it’s a very successful means of survival.

Bad Leadership Defined

We expect the best from our leaders, but we’ve become inured to news reports of serious political, business and organizational failures — from Wall Street’s historic financial meltdowns to tolerance of child abuse in religious institutions.

Bad leadership becomes an appalling part of the human condition when those at the top focus solely on acquiring more for themselves. “Horrible bosses” have no interest in bonding and getting along with others (unless it furthers their agenda). They spend more time covering up their crimes than finding legitimate ways to succeed.

Good leaders take appropriate actions and make sound decisions that are not based on self-interest. They manage all four drives, recognizing that inaction and lousy decisions spring from focusing on only one or two drives, to the exclusion of others.

A Leadership Advantage

We cannot afford to be “mystified” by our own and others’ behaviors. We’ve seen how destructive we can be to each other. Corporate misdeeds have a significant reach as the world becomes an increasingly global village.

Professor Lawrence’s theory of the four drives is universal, testable and actionable. Time will tell if it gains favor as a basis for understanding motivation and drives.

For now, gaining an understanding of these drives gives you a tremendous leadership advantage — a valuable lens through which to view people’s behaviors. You can develop these qualities by working with a professional coach.The investment is well worth the reward: your ability to influence the future, your career and your personal-development capabilities.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders put positive leadership into action? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to be more inspiring? Inspiring leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I an inspiring leader who helps individuals and organizations achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience elevating energy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders develop more positive teams.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help leaders nurture mindful conversations in the workplace. You can become a mindful leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership Retreats

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman

Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach|
Trusted Advisor to Executive Leadership Teams
Mindfulness & Emotional Intelligence Workplace Expert

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com 

Connect with me on these Social Media sites.
http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman

http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman
http://www.youtube.com/user/maynardbrusman

http://google.com/+maynardbrusman

 

Categories: 

TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR VISION

While I catching a flight out of Winnipeg this week I met Gavriella. At the age of twenty-two Gavriella emigrated from Israel to Canada in search of freedom and the opportunity to live a life that she perceived impossible if she remained in Israel. Our paths crossed when Gavriella, working at a kiosk in the airport  lounge selling credit cards, asked if I was interested in upgrading to a travel points card. We laughed once she realized that I was already a predominant client of the bank she represented.

 

I've always had respect for those practicing "direct sales" as success requires a high degree of confidence and tenacity, combined with a strong sense of self worth. If you can't find opportunities in rejection, you can never be successful in direct sales.


During our brief discussion I learned that Gavriella had emigrated from Israel to Toronto about two years ago, relocating to Winnipeg in the past month to meet up with her parents who had just recently emigrated.

 

Reflecting on our discussions during my return flight to Toronto, I realized that by the young age of twenty-five, Gavriella had already left her family and friends to immigrate to a new country, and after perceivably becoming comfortable in Toronto, had once again packed her bags and relocated to a new province, taking on employment in perceivably one of the most challenging careers in existence.

 

At a very young age, Gavriella was not only clear on a vision for her life, but she had proven through her actions that she had the courage and confidence to take significant steps towards its attainment. In essence she had done more by the age of twenty-five to achieve her goals then most ever accomplish in a lifetime.

 

Are you clear on the vision for your life; for your career; or for your business?

 

What are the perceived challenges or obstacles that stand between you and your vision?

 

What is stopping you from overcoming those obstacles?

 

If it's courage you seek, take a page from Gavriella's book. Courage and confidence increase as we prove to ourselves what we are capable of achieving. What are you doing to achieve your vision?

 

 

 

Categories: 

Developing Wisdom after Leadership Failure

We coach leaders to cultivate creativity, clarity, focus and trust in a full engagement culture.

The Crucibles of Leadership

The ability to extract wisdom from challenging experiences distinguishes successful leaders from their broken or burned-out peers.

Difficult and, in some cases, career- or life-threatening events are called leadership crucibles. They are trials and tests — points of deep self-reflection that force you to question who you are and what really matters.

After interviewing more than 200 top business and public-sector leaders, authors Warren G. Bennis and Robert J. Thomas were surprised to find that all could point to intense, often traumatic, always unplanned experiences that transformed their distinctive leadership abilities.

Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Al Gore and Barack Obama have all been willing to talk about their contributions to national failures. As leaders, they thrived because they learned from their mistakes, which inspired confidence, loyalty and commitment even in adverse times.

In Search of Leadership Gold

To a scientist, a crucible is a vessel in which substances are heated to high temperatures to trigger a chemical transformation (for example, a steel refinery’s blast furnace).

In the leadership context, think of a crucible as a transformative experience from which you can extract your “gold”: a new or altered sense of identity.

As Bennis notes:

“Just like the alchemists in history used crucibles in the hopes of turning other elements into gold, great leaders emerge in their own lives as a result of how they deal with their crucibles.”

Crucibles set the stage for adaptation. We are forced to develop new competencies that prepare us for future challenges.

In many ways, our capacity to change hinges on our ability to think creatively — to look at a problem and spot unconventional solutions. Adaptive leaders can entertain opposing views. They learn to thrive in the face of uncertainty and negativity. They can tolerate ambiguity and consider multiple options, without defaulting to short-term thinking or premature decision-making.

Buried Treasures

It’s inherently difficult for us to reflect on painful moments, so their lessons may be buried or forgotten on a conscious level. But pain forms memories that subconsciously affect our current behaviors.

Viewed in retrospect, a crucible may become a defining moment in your life, even if you cannot recognize it as it’s happening. Ultimately, it’s an opportunity to question your most basic assumptions and values, and determine how you want to show up in the world.

Conflicts, challenges and early-life difficulties all contribute to crucible moments. For many of us, a crucible may not initially appear to be a loss or hardship. But as you reflect on it, you’ll discover the many ways in which events influence your unconscious behaviors. Some underlying memories are carried into adulthood, undermining your coping skills until you acknowledge and understand their impact on your life.

From Principles to Practice

Business experts once believed we could master leadership skills by reading books and taking classes. It slowly dawned on them that we practice leadership on the job. We learn to be effective leaders by interacting with other people and groups.

Thomas offers three important insights in Crucibles of Leadership: How to Learn from Experience to Become a Great Leader(Harvard Business Review Press, 2008):

1.  Practice can trump talent.

2.  Outstanding leaders devise a strategy for transforming crucibles into learning.

3.  Organizations can grow leaders faster by helping them learn from experience.

Discovering Your Crucibles

It’s almost impossible to take stock of yourself without guidance from a trusted friend, mentor or coach. To be truly self-aware, you need someone to hold a mirror so you can observe past and present behaviors.

Begin the discovery process with writing exercises, which you’ll share and discuss with your coach or mentor. Determine whether difficult childhood experiences are triggering strong emotional reactions in the present.

In Finding Your True North: A Personal Guide(Jossey-Bass, 2009), Bill George, Andrew McLean and Nick Craig suggest writing a letter to yourself describes key crucibles in your life. Present these experiences in one continuous draft, taking as much time and space as you need to complete the letter. Tell the whole story: context, high point, what changed, the emotions you felt, and the consequences and aftereffects.

Answer the following questions as your write:

·   What was the greatest crucible of my life?

·   Why was this experience so challenging for me? (List all reasons.)

·   What was the most stressful, challenging or hard-to-endure point in my story?

·   How did I resolve the crucible experience at the time?

·   In retrospect, how would I reframe it today?

·   What resources did I have at the time, compared to those I have now?

·   Which emotional scars must be healed for me to become a better leader?

·   What fundamental insights did my crucible teach me?

From “I’ to “We”

Leaders often begin their careers with a strong drive to achieve and succeed. They focus on themselves, their performance and the results they want to achieve. As they mature and rise to higher responsibilities, there must be a shift from “I” to “we.”

Great leaders become teachers, role models and mentors, using their influence to groom others. They are ultimately rewarded with the gifts of authenticity, compassion and humility.

As you gain greater self-awareness from your writing exercises, add the following questions to the assignment:

·  How have my crucible experiences enabled me to discover my passion for making a difference in the world?

·  How do my crucibles affect my view of my leadership abilities?

·  Can I pinpoint examples of leading from an “I” vs. “we” perspective?

·  How much time do I spend focusing on others vs. myself?

Be sure to review the answers with your coach or mentor.

You can work on positively impacting your leadership crucibles by working with a professional coach.The investment is well worth the reward: your ability to influence the future, your career and your personal-development capabilities.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders increase their self-knowledge? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to become more resilient facing difficult challenges? Resonant leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a mindful leader who helps individuals and organizations achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience elevating energy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders develop more positive teams.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help leaders nurture mindful conversations in the workplace. You can become a mindful leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership Retreats

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman

Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach|
Trusted Advisor to Executive Leadership Teams
Mindfulness & Emotional Intelligence Workplace Expert

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop emotionally intelligent leaders. Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com 

Connect with me on these Social Media sites.
http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman

http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman
http://www.youtube.com/user/maynardbrusman

http://google.com/+maynardbrusman

 

Categories: 

The Crucibles of Leadership - In Search of Leadership Gold

We coach leaders to cultivate creativity, clarity, focus and trust in a full engagement culture.

The Crucibles of Leadership

The ability to extract wisdom from challenging experiences distinguishes successful leaders from their broken or burned-out peers.

Difficult and, in some cases, career- or life-threatening events are called leadership crucibles. They are trials and tests — points of deep self-reflection that force you to question who you are and what really matters.

After interviewing more than 200 top business and public-sector leaders, authors Warren G. Bennis and Robert J. Thomas were surprised to find that all could point to intense, often traumatic, always unplanned experiences that transformed their distinctive leadership abilities.

Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Al Gore and Barack Obama have all been willing to talk about their contributions to national failures. As leaders, they thrived because they learned from their mistakes, which inspired confidence, loyalty and commitment even in adverse times.

In Search of Leadership Gold

To a scientist, a crucible is a vessel in which substances are heated to high temperatures to trigger a chemical transformation (for example, a steel refinery’s blast furnace).

In the leadership context, think of a crucible as a transformative experience from which you can extract your “gold”: a new or altered sense of identity.

As Bennis notes:

“Just like the alchemists in history used crucibles in the hopes of turning other elements into gold, great leaders emerge in their own lives as a result of how they deal with their crucibles.”

Crucibles set the stage for adaptation. We are forced to develop new competencies that prepare us for future challenges.

In many ways, our capacity to change hinges on our ability to think creatively — to look at a problem and spot unconventional solutions. Adaptive leaders can entertain opposing views. They learn to thrive in the face of uncertainty and negativity. They can tolerate ambiguity and consider multiple options, without defaulting to short-term thinking or premature decision-making.

Buried Treasures

It’s inherently difficult for us to reflect on painful moments, so their lessons may be buried or forgotten on a conscious level. But pain forms memories that subconsciously affect our current behaviors.

Viewed in retrospect, a crucible may become a defining moment in your life, even if you cannot recognize it as it’s happening. Ultimately, it’s an opportunity to question your most basic assumptions and values, and determine how you want to show up in the world.

Conflicts, challenges and early-life difficulties all contribute to crucible moments. For many of us, a crucible may not initially appear to be a loss or hardship. But as you reflect on it, you’ll discover the many ways in which events influence your unconscious behaviors. Some underlying memories are carried into adulthood, undermining your coping skills until you acknowledge and understand their impact on your life.

From Principles to Practice

Business experts once believed we could master leadership skills by reading books and taking classes. It slowly dawned on them that we practice leadership on the job. We learn to be effective leaders by interacting with other people and groups.

Thomas offers three important insights in Crucibles of Leadership: How to Learn from Experience to Become a Great Leader(Harvard Business Review Press, 2008):

1.  Practice can trump talent.

2.  Outstanding leaders devise a strategy for transforming crucibles into learning.

3.  Organizations can grow leaders faster by helping them learn from experience.

Discovering Your Crucibles

It’s almost impossible to take stock of yourself without guidance from a trusted friend, mentor or coach. To be truly self-aware, you need someone to hold a mirror so you can observe past and present behaviors.

Begin the discovery process with writing exercises, which you’ll share and discuss with your coach or mentor.

Determine whether difficult childhood experiences are triggering strong emotional reactions in the present. In Finding Your True North: A Personal Guide(Jossey-Bass, 2009), Bill George, Andrew McLean and Nick Craig suggest writing a letter to yourself describes key crucibles in your life. Present these experiences in one continuous draft, taking as much time and space as you need to complete the letter. Tell the whole story: context, high point, what changed, the emotions you felt, and the consequences and aftereffects.

Answer the following questions as your write:

·    What was the greatest crucible of my life?

·    Why was this experience so challenging for me? (List all reasons.)

·    What was the most stressful, challenging or hard-to-endure point in my story?

·    How did I resolve the crucible experience at the time?

·    In retrospect, how would I reframe it today?

·    What resources did I have at the time, compared to those I have now?

·    Which emotional scars must be healed for me to become a better leader?

·    What fundamental insights did my crucible teach me?

From “I’ to “We”

Leaders often begin their careers with a strong drive to achieve and succeed. They focus on themselves, their performance and the results they want to achieve. As they mature and rise to higher responsibilities, there must be a shift from “I” to “we.”

Great leaders become teachers, role models and mentors, using their influence to groom others. They are ultimately rewarded with the gifts of authenticity, compassion and humility.

As you gain greater self-awareness from your writing exercises, add the following questions to the assignment:

·   How have my crucible experiences enabled me to discover my passion for making a difference in the world?

·   How do my crucibles affect my view of my leadership abilities?

·   Can I pinpoint examples of leading from an “I” vs. “we” perspective?

·   How much time do I spend focusing on others vs. myself?

Be sure to review the answers with your coach or mentor.

You can develop these qualities by working with a professional coach. The investment is well worth the reward: your ability to influence the future, your career and your personal-development capabilities.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders put positive leadership into action? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to be more positive? Positive leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I an emotionally intelligent and mindful leader who helps individuals and organizations achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience elevating energy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders develop more positive teams.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help leaders nurture mindful conversations in the workplace. You can become a mindful leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership Retreats

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman

Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach|
Trusted Advisor to Executive Leadership Teams
Mindfulness & Emotional Intelligence Leadership Development Expert

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com 

Connect with me on these Social Media sites.
http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman

http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman

http://www.youtube.com/user/maynardbrusman
http://google.com/+maynardbrusman

Categories: 

New Technologies Transform Work and Life

We coach leaders to cultivate creativity, clarity, focus and trust in a full engagement culture.

New Technologies

To be competitive, many companies may find themselves in a Houdini-like twist. How can they respond quickly and nimbly to the ever-changing business environment without getting caught in knots?

In today’s data-driven age, the ability to use new technologies to quickly transform information into insight creating new markets for their products and services is core to sustainability. Companies need to breathe innovation and be passionately customer-focused.

Technology can play an important supporting role in enabling organizations to become more innovative and agile. Technology should function as a change agent in the use and adoption of best-in-class information sharing processes, so company’s can improve their use of targeted customer data.

Transform Work and Life

A couple of real work-life examples follow:

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is transforming his company’s culture from self-indulgent egocentric hackers feeding on their owncompetiveness and self-gratification to creating apps for mobile devices focusing on loving their customers. Jay Elliot CEO of iMEDGO and author of The Steve Jobs Way developed an app to monitor customer’s vital health functions and in an emergency alert medical assistance. Creating loving customer relationships to connect, consume and communicate through new technology is truly the killer app transforming work and life.”

You can develop these qualities by working with a professional coach. The investment is well worth the reward: your ability to influence the future, your career and your personal-development capabilities.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders put positive innovation into action? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to be more innovative? Innovative leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a new technology savvy leader who helps individuals and organizations achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience elevating energy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders develop more innovative products and services.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help leaders adopt new technology and passionately love their customers. You can become an innovative leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership Retreats

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman

Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach|
Trusted Advisor to Executive Leadership Teams
Mindfulness & Emotional Intelligence Leadership Development Expert

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com


Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com 

Connect with me on these Social Media sites.
http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman
http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman
http://www.youtube.com/user/maynardbrusman

Categories: 

Different Ways to Motivate the Millennial Workforce

How Are Millenials Different?

What happens when younger workers don’t share the same values and beliefs about workplace success? Millennials have different workplace values and definitions of success.

Millennials aren’t interested in time-honored traditions or “the way things have always been done.” Rather, they’re single-mindedly focused on what it takes to get ahead to reach their perceived career destination.

This group shuns past definitions of success: climbing the company ladder and earning the rewards that come with greater responsibility.The company ladder, in their view, is irrelevant.

Mature workers and Boomers in managerial and leadership positions struggle with these differing values and beliefs, wondering how to motivate their younger colleagues. If promotions, raises and bonuses fail to motivate, then what does the trick?

We can identify several differences in values. The new generation of workers has:

1.  A work ethic that no longer respects or values 10-hour workdays

2.  An easily attained competence in new technologies and a facility to master even newer ones with little discomfort

3.  Tenuous to nonexistent loyalty to any organization

4.    Changed priorities for lifetime goals achievable by employment

Younger workers view work as “something you do,” anywhere, any time. They communicate 24/7 and expect real-time responses. The rigidity of set work hours seems unnecessary and even unproductive in the information age.

To younger workers, success isn't defined by how many hours one spends at a desk. Success is defined not by rank or seniority, but by what matters to each person individually.  Younger workers want to cut to the chase and define their true value. They don’t want to be paid for time; they want to be paid for their services and skills.

For younger employees with working spouses and children, work-life balance and flexible conditions have greater priority. Is someone who arrives at 9:30 a.m. necessarily working less hard than those who arrive at 8:30 a.m.? Differences in generational attitudes must not interfere with progress and productivity.

Newer workers learn “on demand,” which to Boomers means they just want to “wing it,” figuring things out as they go. Gen-Y learning is interactive, using the Internet, Wikipedia and blogs. They rely on Google and web searches to find answers.

Gen Y doesn’t hesitate to call a friend or send an email directly to the CEO. They ask questions and get their information instantaneously. They are easily bored by training sessions, manuals and programs that spoon-feed information over time.

Questions to Ask Younger Generations

How can leaders harness Millennials work force’s skills? What is required to lead young people who believe Boomers are outdated and out of touch?

Leaders should ask themselves the following questions:

  1. What do my employees want from their jobs, bosses and work experience?
  2. How do salary, benefits and promotion opportunities affect loyalty?
  3. How do my direct reports define themselves? How do one’s job and the company enter into this equation?
  4. Do my newer workers believe in paying their dues for a given time period, or are they motivated by challenges and self-fulfillment right from the very beginning?
  5. How self-sufficient are my younger workers? Are they still living at home? How much are they committed to their jobs as their only means of support?

For younger generations, the job future has never been more precarious and uncertain. As a leader, one of your primary responsibilities is attracting and retaining employees, especially talented ones.

You need to learn to put yourself in the younger generations’ shoes, without prejudice or judgment, even though it’s human nature to view them as inexperienced and naive.

Business consultant Cam Marston presents new insights into motivating the Millennial Generation in Motivating the “What’s In It For Me?” Workforce (2007, John Wiley & Sons).

You can learn how to better motivate millennial employees by working with a professional coach. The investment is well worth the reward: your ability to influence the future, your career and your personal-development capabilities.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders better motivate millennial employees? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to be more positive about Millennials? Mindful leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a leader who motivates all individuals to achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience elevating energy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders develop their millennial employees.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help leaders nurture millennial employees. You can become a more mindful leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership Retreats

We coach leaders to cultivate, creativity, clarity, focus and trust in a full engagement culture.

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman


Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach

Trusted Advisor to Executive Leadership Teams


Mindfulness & Emotional Intelligence Workplace Expert

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a San Francisco Bay Area executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop emotionally intelligent and mindful leaders. 

Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.



“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching 



For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.



Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com

Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com 


Connect with me on these Social Media sites.

http://twitter.com/drbrusman

http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman

http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman

http://www.youtube.com/user/maynardbrusman

Categories: 

ADAPT RATHER THAN PRESCRIBE

There are two fundamental approaches to leadership: “telling” employees what they should do, and “asking” employees what they think they should do. I call this Prescriptive leadership (“here is what I want you to do next,”) and Adaptive leadership (“what do you think you should do now? How can I support or help you?”).
 
I often find that leaders who perceive themselves as overwhelmingly "busy" use the Prescriptive leadership approach. They are prescriptive because employees constantly ask them seemingly simple or obvious questions (questions they believe the employees should already know the answer too). These leaders perceive that employees ask these simple questions because they truly don't know the right answer and are concerned at moving forward without having clarity. Prescriptive leadership provides the executive or manager with a sense of worth. If no one asks me anything, I don’t feel like they need me as a leader.
 
Adaptive leadership however is much different. In Adaptive leadership we ask questions of employees to direct them towards making suggestions and taking actions on solutions to the challenges or opportunities they face. Adaptive leadership means that as a leader I “adapt” to the suggestions that my employees provide, allowing me to support them in introducing, pursuing, or implementing their ideas. To achieve success in this approach, we must focus on being in the moment, attentive to employee needs, and flexible in allowing employees to understand the desired outcome rather than the path to get there.
 
If you want more time to focus on strategic issues, put effort into being an Adaptive leader. You will have more time available for your priorities, and employees who feel empowered to make decisions and take action.
 

Categories: 

Leadership Self-Knowledge

Overcoming Leadership Blind Spots

“Leadership is a struggle by flawed human beings to make some important human values real and effective in the world as it is.”~ Steven Snyder, Leadership and the Art of Struggle

There’s no escaping it: Everyone has blind spots. No matter how hard we try to be self-aware, everyone—including the best leader—has unproductive behaviors that are invisible to us but glaring to everyone else.

Our behavioral blind spots create unintended consequences: They distort judgment, corrupt decision-making, reduce our awareness, create enemies and silos, destroy careers and sabotage business results.

Leaders are particularly vulnerable. They often buy into the overpowering belief that they should have all the answers and easily handle challenges great and small. They exploit their powers of self-confidence at the expense of introspection and self-questioning. For many, the need to be right trumps their mandate to be effective.

These leaders fail to see that their behaviors can be destructive to themselves and others, even when their intentions are positive. They forget that others judge them on their behaviors and results—not by intentions.

Research Revelations

A blind spot is a performance-hindering mindset or behavior of which you’re unaware or have chosen to overlook. A recent Business Weekarticle cites some important research:

· A Hay Group study shows that an organization’s senior leaders are more likely to overrate themselves and develop blind spots that can hinder their effectiveness.

· A study by Development Dimensions International, Inc., found that 89 percent of front-line leaders have at least one skills-related blind spot.

The Hay research suggests that, as executives rise within an organization, the less likely they are to see themselves as others perceive them. They often lose touch with those they lead—not surprising, given their increased isolation and the executive suite’s “rarified” atmosphere. As they reach the pinnacle of their profession, they have fewer peers and greater power. Honest feedback and open dialogue often become rare commodities. This poses a serious problem, as researchers have found a direct correlation between high performance and accurate self-awareness.

You can learn to spot leadership blind spots by:

· Establishing 360-degree feedback processes (even in the executive suite)

· Providing executive coaching

· Fostering a culture that values open feedback and dialogue (particularly at the top)

Two Minds: Fast and Slow

“Blind spots are the product of an overactive automatic mind and an underactive reflective mind.”~ Snyder
The brain has two systems for thinking, explains Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman in Thinking, Fast and Slow:

· System 1 for fast thinking

· System 2 for slower thinking

The fast, or automatic, mind reaches judgments and conclusions quickly, but often prematurely. Intuitive and aware, it makes associations with already-stored and easily accessible information. It is eager to achieve order and understanding, and therefore subject to making errors.

System 2, also known as the reflective mind, is slower and more methodical. It is capable of rational thought and even metathought: the ability to consciously observe one’s thinking processes from a distance. It challenges assumptions and generates alternatives, objectively evaluating and analyzing them.

System 2 helps us take conscious and intentional actions—but it’s also slow and requires lots of energy. It therefore often cedes control to the automatic mind, which conserves energy resources.

Great leaders learn to train Systems 1 and 2 to work synergistically. They nurture their reflective mind to be more proactive and sagacious, while training their automatic mind to increase its associative powers. They are ultimately rewarded with more creative ideas for the reflective mind to consider.

Five Common Blind Spots

An Internet search for “blind spots” produces a virtually endless list of disastrous leadership decisions, based on common cognitive biases that led to faulty thinking.

We can group the most common blind spots into five key categories:

1.  Experience

2.  Personality

3.  Values

4.  Strategy

5.  Conflict

The Experience Blind Spot

Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” ~ Microsoft Founder Bill Gates, The Road Ahead

Success boosts confidence—and while it can feel especially good, it leads to errors in thinking.

We rarely examine or analyze what led to a successful outcome, including luck’s role in the process. We automatically assume we were right on the money. Our automatic mind consequently encodes the strategies and tactics we used, along with the confidence we gained.

When we encounter a new situation, we spontaneously draw on our memories of success, without questioning whether prior strategies fit the current circumstances.

Thus, a long history of accolades and achievements can potentially produce troublesome blind spots. There is danger in assuming that past results will guarantee future successes. Intuition takes over, shutting down the need for proper investigation and analysis.

The experience blind spot comes into play when you move into a new role or change jobs. It also surfaces when you’re entrenched in a job and neglect to pay attention to shifting priorities and environmental changes.

The Personality Blind Spot

Personality-based blind spots are epidemic. You cannot avoid them unless you have a high degree of self-awareness, monitor your thoughts and make frequent course corrections.

Each personality type has strengths and weaknesses. But when carried to the extreme or inflamed by stressful situations, even our core strengths can become career-damaging weaknesses.

For example, if you’re naturally optimistic, your thinking is biased toward the positive. This is usually good if you’re charged with inspiring others. But there are times when optimism backfires and leaves you blindsided by negative realities—something you miss until it’s too late.

Similarly, an affable personality usually benefits from strong interpersonal relationships. Unfortunately, he may also avoid necessary conflict. For every strength, there’s a related blind spot.

Personality blind spots are often hard to discover because we value our strengths so highly. We often fail to see the downside of what works so well for us. But with increased awareness, you can train yourself to detect emerging blind spots.

Ask yourself:

· Am I playing to the downside of my strengths?

· How will I know when my strengths blind me to my inherent weaknesses?

· Who can be a sounding board as I work toward increasing self-awareness?

Blind spots restrict our options. Soliciting diverse perspectives helps expand our awareness.

The Values Blind Spot

When your attitude and emotions are out of sync with your values, you become uncomfortable and unbalanced—a state psychologists call “cognitive dissonance.” In short, what we say and do is incongruent with what we believe and who we are.

Values blind spots can occur on a personal or group level. They are particularly insidious when you’re somewhat aware of them, but fail to take appropriate corrective action.

In business situations, a values blind spot can affect large groups. Can you think of a time when an implicit incentive to maintain the status quo conflicted with a change initiative? That’s a typical values blind spot in action.

Strategy Blind Spots

Organizations often reward conformity and punish critical or questioning voices.

When a collective worldview becomes self-reinforcing around a set of practices, assumptions or beliefs, there is potential for groupthink. Creativity and agility suffer because conformance is valued above change, and risk is discouraged.

Strategy blind spots can occur in any organizational area. They’re not restricted to values. Unfortunately, they are often spotted in hindsight, after an important opportunity is missed.

Leaders who prize openness and transparency have the best chance of spotting strategy blind spots. They encourage input at all levels, fostering a culture of trust where ideas are honestly debated.

The Conflict Blind Spot

Conflict can be healthy in relationships and organizations where trust has been established. Diverse perspectives challenge tunnel vision and the status quo, while promoting learning and innovation. When issues are constructively debated, new solutions emerge.

But it’s human nature to want to defend and win an argument. Conflict becomes destructive when positive energy turns negative and erodes trust. Empathy and insight are tossed aside when we filter incoming information through the lens of what we believe and want. We categorize others as the enemy, who must be wrong.

Instead of debate, conflict becomes a power struggle that prevents you from seeing any solution (other than winning your point). The automatic mind is in full force, fueled by strong emotions, and the reflective mind is ignored.

You must reactivate your higher intelligence to find your way out of a conflict blind spot. Slow the discussion; perhaps even take a break. Breathe deeply and re-center yourself. When you return to discussions, acknowledge common ground instead of focusing on gaps. What problem do you both want to solve? What goals and values do you share?

Overcoming Blind Spots

“Only in acknowledging our own flaws and vulnerabilities can we become authentic leaders who empower people to perform to the best of their abilities.” ~ Snyder

A blind spot’s effects may not show up right away. Without paying careful attention, you may miss the warning signs. It’s therefore critical for you to proactively work toward discovering them, before you feel the effects.

Consider working with a professional coach who can help you collect data from your boss, colleagues and coworkers. Your coach can administer a personality test and then show you how to evaluate and interpret input.

Also take a look at past or current struggles to determine whether blind spots have hindered your performance. What can you learn from your mistakes? What would you do differently in the future? Reframe situations from others’ perspectives.

When you have a vague awareness of a blind spot, fight against the normal psychological inclination to remain anchored in safe, established patterns. Change occurs only when you engage others in the process.

Above all, don’t blame others for yourblind spots or comfortably coast along in unproductive patterns.

You can develop these qualities by working with a professional coach. The investment is well worth the reward: your ability to influence the future, your career and your personal-development capabilities.

Are you working in a professional services firm or other organization where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders put positive leadership into action? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to be more positive? Positive leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help leaders nurture positivity in the workplace. You can become a positive leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage  and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership Retreats

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman
Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach
Trusted Advisor to Senior Leadership Teams

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com 
Connect with me on these Social Media sites.

http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman
http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman
http://www.youtube.com/user/maynardbrusman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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