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  • feedwordpress 09:00:44 on 2018/05/15 Permalink
    Tags: , Emapthy, Empathetic, , , , Personal Development, ,   

    How to Be an Empathetic Leader 

    A few weeks ago, I was coaching a top leader across the pond, talking to him about the importance of empathy. When I told him that the best leaders are empathetic leaders, he challenged me on the spot. When it came to his own leadership, he said, he didn’t want to come across as weak.

    Many people view displaying empathy as weakness. I understand that point of view, but I don’t agree. As this leader’s coach, I was charged with helping him see the true nature of empathy and how it could not only benefit his own leadership but also do good for others.

    Empathy is a right-brain activity, the kind that many people consider a touchy-feely discipline—a soft skill, as it’s called these days. But at its core, empathy is a valued currency. Sometimes leaders need to get out of their own shoes and put on someone else’s to truly understand what is happening around them.

    Cultivating empathy as a leadership skill allows you to create bonds of trust. It gives you insight into what others are feeling and thinking, and it helps you understand their reactions. At its foundation, empathy informs your decision making by sharpening your perceptions and intuition.

    So, getting back to my client, here are the tips I shared with him about being empathetic without being perceived as weak:

    Truly listen. Empathetic leaders don’t just listen but truly listen. There’s a big difference. True listening means listening with open ears, open eyes and an open heart. It means paying attention to body language, to tone of voice, to the hidden emotions behind what’s being said. Most of all, it means not thinking about what you’re going to say next. You’ll always gain more from listening than from speaking.

    Don’t interrupt. Empathetic leaders know how easily distractions can affect the quality of listening. A distracted listener often grows impatient or frustrated and interrupts the speaker in an attempt to get them to move along with what they’re saying, leaving the speaker unable to express their thoughts or make their point. However strong the distraction, don’t rush people or cut them off—or worse, try to be the kind of fixer who has a slapdash solution to everything. Giving people the space to say what they have to say is an important form of empathy.

    Be fully present. When an empathetic leader speaks with someone, you’ll never catch them glancing at their watch or scanning the room or checking their phone. It’s simple: When someone is speaking, listen. If they’re expressing their feelings, be there with them. Concentrate on putting yourself in their shoes and think of ways you can be supportive.

    Leave judgment behind. Even when the feelings of others are in direct opposition to their own, empathetic leaders don’t judge. They let go of their biases and allow themselves to be open to new perspectives. When you’re an empathetic leader, you don’t look at the feelings of others in terms of agreement or disagreement but as a window into their perceptions and world view, an opportunity to better understand what they’re experiencing and expressing.

    Watch body language. Empathetic leaders understand that nonverbal communication can say more about what you are thinking than any words. Body language is often the most direct way people communicate what they think or feel, even when their verbal communication says something quite different. Be aware of your own body language as you deal with others: remain open and listening, lean in when people speak, and show that you’re interested in what they are saying. Spend some time considering how you come across when you communicate with others.

    Encourage the quiet ones. In meetings, there are always two or three who do most of the talking. .And then there are the quiet ones who for whatever reason never speak up as much, even if their ideas are solid. As a leader, make it a point to encourage people to have a say; the simple act of encouraging the quiet ones will empower everyone around you.

    Take a personal interest. Empathetic leaders have genuine curiosity about the lives of those who work for them, and they show their interest by asking questions about people’s lives, their challenges, their families, their aspirations. It’s not professional interest but personal, and it’s the strongest way to build relationships.

    When a leader lacks empathy, others approach with their guard up and everyone feels alone in looking after their own interests. With an empathetic leader, though, everyone knows they can be open about what they are thinking and feeling without being judged, dismissed or ignored.

    Lead from within: Empathy is an emotional and thinking muscle that becomes stronger with use. It doesn’t come across as weak but as the best kind of strength.


    N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R

    THE LEADERSHIP GAP

    What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

    After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

    buy now

     

     


    Additional Reading you might enjoy:

     

    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    The post How to Be an Empathetic Leader appeared first on Lolly Daskal.

     
  • feedwordpress 09:00:37 on 2018/05/01 Permalink
    Tags: , Growth Leadership, , , , Personal Development, , ,   

    How to Grow as a Leader 

    Growth in leadership is mandatory, not optional. If we fail to grow it’s not a matter of just staying where we are—we become stagnant and fall further and further behind.

    Growing as a leader requires that we give up the things that are familiar to us, that we take new steps and do things in new ways. Those actions are what change is made of. The reward lies not in what we get from growth, but in what we become because of our growth.

    Here are some daily habits you can take to grow as a leader:

    Develop a repertoire of skills. To be the best leader you are capable of being, you need to constantly be mastering new competencies, instead of relying on the skills you already have under your belt. Growing leaders are constantly updating and expanding their skills and knowledge.

    Learn through your experiences. The more you experience, the more you know. That means that even the most difficult challenges present an opportunity to engage in that experience, learn the lessons it holds, and apply your new knowledge to whatever comes next.

    Challenge your comfort zone. It’s tempting to lull yourself into always doing the same things in the same ways with the same people at the same time with the same results. But there’s no room in that picture for stretching yourself to become better. Get comfortable being uncomfortable, because that’s how you grow.

    Focus on the future by being present today. When you’re stuck in the past it can be hard to get unstuck, but when you’re focused on the present you know that everything you do today will affect the future. Growing leaders know that the present is the foundation for the future.

    Set the bar high. Most people wonder, “How can I get there faster, quicker, and in a shorter time?” But leaders who are serious about growth are always raising the bar for themselves, not just for others. They keep the bar high and do everything they can to consistently reach it.

    Look within. When you first start in position of leadership, you’re more concerned with your external qualities, but as you grow in leadership you rediscover that leading is an internal quality. To lead outwardly you first must learn to lead from within.

    Keep asking questions. Growing leaders are always asking questions. Many people believe that leadership is about knowing all the answers, but that’s simply wrong. True leadership is about being inquisitive. When you stop asking questions, you stop growing.

    Leverage your weaknesses. It’s easy to play from your strengths, but when you become better acquainted with your own weaknesses and learn to leverage them, you’re positioning yourself to grow as a leader.

    Embrace failure. All of us fall at some point; it’s getting up again that counts. Being able to weather failure and recover is a sign of growth—and the source of some of the most important lessons you’ll ever learn.

    Work with a coach. The best way to grow as a leader is to have an external support. A coach can help you to become a better version of yourself by guiding you through important decisions, keeping you grounded in difficult times, and helping you understand your purpose and goals. Most importantly, they can help you learn faster from your successes and failures.

    Lead from within: Growth is the great separator between those who succeed and those who don’t.


     

    N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R

    THE LEADERSHIP GAP

    What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

    After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

    buy now

     

     


    Additional Reading you might enjoy:

     

    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    The post How to Grow as a Leader appeared first on Lolly Daskal.

     
  • feedwordpress 09:00:31 on 2018/04/17 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , Personal Development, , Who's In Your Corner   

    The People You Have in Your Corner Matter 

    We’re surrounded with people most of the time—the people we work with, family, friends, romantic partners. Whether we’re aware of it or not, these people all have a tremendous impact on our thinking, being and living. That makes it worth pausing to ask yourself, Are these the people I want in my corner?

    Here are a few of the different kinds of people who may have an effect on your life. See if any of them seem familiar, and then decide how much influence you want them to hold over you. Remember that it matters who you surround yourself with.

    People who bring value. Many people in this world desire to help others. They are the makers—the ones who are all about bringing and adding value. They understand that the purpose of our lives is to add value to the people around us. They’re a consistently valuable presence in your life, so make sure you bring value to them as well.

    People who take from you. Most people are fairly quick to give and a few are wildly generous, but there will always be some who are wholly devoted to taking. They’re the ones who put on a warm friendly exterior to hide their calculated motives. It’s not unusual to have a taker somewhere in your life, but you can set firm boundaries to limit their influence and keep them from draining you.

    People who expand you. Some people seem to have a gift for building others up. Their faith in you makes you feel you can be bigger, stretch further, achieve more than you ever have. They’re constantly challenging you to be your best as they help you embrace your weaknesses and maximize your strengths. If you’re fortunate enough to have one of these people in your life, consider their influence a treasure and keep them close.

    People who shrink you. It’s rarely intentional, but some people have a way of letting you know you’ll never be quite good enough or smart enough for them, that you’re not living up to their idea of your potential. They behave in ways that are hurtful and harmful, all in the guise of caring about you. If you’re close to someone like this, it can be painful to realize their true nature. It requires that you be strong and consistently resist their messages, both the subtle and the not-so-subtle. You never know—sometimes the best path to connecting with your own strengths is for someone else to try to take advantage of you.

    Who’s in your corner? What kind of people do you surround yourself with? Remember that while everyone in your life is there for a reason, you need to know whose influence to embrace and whose to resist.

    Lead from within: Be picky about the people who you keep around you. You are a product of those you surround yourself with, so make sure it’s the best people.


    N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R

    THE LEADERSHIP GAP

    What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

    After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

    buy now

     


    Additional Reading you might enjoy:

     

    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    The post The People You Have in Your Corner Matter appeared first on Lolly Daskal.

     
  • feedwordpress 09:29:09 on 2018/03/06 Permalink
    Tags: , Demanding Roles, , , , Personal Development,   

    How to Be Your Best In an Emotionally Demanding Role  

    I think most of us in leadership can relate to the experience of emotionally demands in the workplace. It may be more closely tied with some roles than others, but it’s common in every field among leaders and others who give themselves fully to the work they do.

    But it doesn’t come easily. An emotionally demanding role can leave you feeling physically and mentally drained. Work may become less satisfying and you may have problems focusing or thinking creatively—which in turn can lead to irritability, frustration and even depression.

    There are things you can do to help yourself—for your own well-being, and so you and your team can keep bringing your best every day. Here are some of the top techniques I discuss with the leaders I coach:

    Identify your strengths. Emotional demands can tax your confidence and self-esteem, so it’s important to know your strengths and build on them. When you make the best use of your inner resources, you gain power that will bring you through low times and difficult situations.

    Leverage your weaknesses. We all naturally prefer to concentrate on our strengths instead of our weaknesses. But—as you already know if you’ve read The Leadership Gap—I’m a big believer in learning to leverage your own weaknesses. As you go through challenging times, your strength will come not only from what you are strong in but also from the things you struggle with, from overcoming the things you thought you couldn’t do.

    Practice radical honesty. Studies have found that you can alleviate stress and emotional burnout by creating a climate of radically honesty—in short, being as honest and authentic as you can be. When people feel free to be themselves and to communicate their emotions, both positive and negative, workplace tension is reduced.

    Work on conflict resolution. In conflict, don’t let the little things divide you when agreement on the big things can bind you. Escalate or evaluate until you come to a resolution. Being stuck is among the worst things that can happen when you have a lot going on and you’re trying to be productive.

    Know your role. Think about whether in your current situation you’re acting as a teacher, a student, or a peer, and whether you should be teaching, asking questions, or debating. Knowing your specific role is especially important in times of high emotional demands, allowing you to bring people together in a shared spirit of humility and open-mindedness.

    Use your empathy. When your environment and culture are demanding, empathy is especially important. It isn’t always easy to show empathy, especially when situations are challenging or taxing. But seeing through the eyes of another and working to truly understand how they feel will help you connect on a deeper level and cultivate a more meaningful relationship.

    Learn from your mistakes. Great leaders are big enough to admit their mistakes, smart enough to profit from them and strong enough to correct them. We all make mistakes—we all have struggles and challenges and even some regrets. You are not your mistakes, and you are not your struggles. Instead of letting mistakes bring you down, use them to take full ownership of your potential.

    Connect with your purpose. Purpose is incredibly important, not just to leaders but to team members at every level. When work becomes emotionally charged it can be harder to find that purpose or understand the meaning. Doing so may require that you shift your thinking and challenge any entrenched mindsets—individually and as a group—so you can identify how your work makes an impact on others, on the community, on society, and in the world.

    Leading through emotionally demands is often difficult, but the process can help you guide yourself and your team toward new ways to give your best selves in service.

    Lead from within: As a leader, the meaning of your life is to find your gift and the purpose of your life is to share it with others, challenging or not. Too many people have the means to live, but little meaning to live for.


    N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R

    THE LEADERSHIP GAP

    What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

    After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

    buy now

     


    Additional Reading you might enjoy:

     

    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    The post How to Be Your Best In an Emotionally Demanding Role  appeared first on Lolly Daskal.

     
  • feedwordpress 09:17:35 on 2018/02/27 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , Personal Development, ,   

    How to Lead Under Pressure and Remain Calm 


    All of us face pressure—every working professional, regardless of position, profile, title, experience, or gender. Pressure is real and it’s often a constant.

    It may take the form of having so much to do that you don’t even know where to begin. Or it may come from burdensome expectations imposed on you, or disappointment with the progress you’ve made on something.

    Whether the pressure is coming from yourself, from those above you in your organization, from your teammates, or from the situation itself, it’s stressful. Ongoing pressure can be harmful to your sense of well-being and even your physical health.

    A recent study revealed that 80 percent of employees complain of experiencing pressure at work, and nearly 60 percent want to quit their jobs because of high stress levels.

    We all know that leadership is difficult and comes with a certain amount of pressure built in. And those who are called to leadership are often the ones who drive and pressure themselves. But the leaders who are most effective are those who know how to deal with pressure in healthy and productive way.

    Here are some of the thoughts I share with the top leaders I coach about leading under pressure:

    Manage yourself. Learn to build your internal capacity to cope with pressure by pivoting from negative to positive, from stress to coping, and from panic to assurance. Only when you can manage yourself under pressure can you manage manage others in the same situation.

    Be purpose-driven. When pressure is high, one of the best ways to combat stress is to tap into the sense of purpose that fuels your drive. Attaching meaning to your work will give you the power to push forward. It was my mentor Victor Frankl who said, “Those who have a ‘why’ to live can bear with almost any ‘how.’”

    Control your expectations. High-pressure situations sometimes develop because of unrealistic expectations—whether your own or those of others. The best leaders know how to manage expectations—they know when to say yes and how to say no.

    Stay focused and alert. Even with tremendous pressure in every direction to get things done, if you keep your mind firmly focused you can complete the task at hand. And if you can go on to bring that same focus to completing the next task, and the next, in time you will find relief from the pressure and stress of having too many things to get done.

    Forgo perfectionism. As a leader, there’s a good chance you believe you have to be perfect. But you can’t, of course. And the faster you let go of trying, the less pressure you will feel. Instead of striving for perfection, strive for progress and aim for excellence. It’s a vicious cycle: perfectionism leads to procrastination, and procrastination adds to your pressures. Learn to let it go.

    Follow the 80-20 rule. Faced with a problem, most people spend about 80 percent of their time and energy dwelling on the problem. Instead, devote 80 percent to a solution and 20 percent to the problem. When you turn it around, you’ll likely find you’re less stressed and more productive.

    Set clear boundaries. When you’re a leader, everyone wants a piece of you. There are those who think you’re the only one who can answer the question, solve the problem, save the day. Be daring and firm about setting up boundaries. Having the courage to be good to yourself even when you risk disappointing others makes you a healthier person—and a better leader. Healthy boundaries are not walls; they’re gates that allow you to alleviate pressure.

    Keep things simple. The most effective leaders know how to boil things down. They understand their priorities and work only on the things that really matter. When you return to basics you can keep things uncomplicated and less stressful. It’s that simple.

    Deal with ambiguity. Any high-pressure position or situation often comes with a degree of uncertainty. Teach yourself to become more adaptable, to respond to events and ambiguity objectively rather than becoming overwhelmed by your emotional vulnerabilities. Focus on what you have to do and get it done instead of being overwhelmed what you don’t know.

    Delegate what you can. As a leader, you don’t have to do everything yourself. You don’t have to control or micromanage. The most productive leaders know how to delegate and let someone else get that task or project to done.

    Create a longer-term perspective. Leaders know the crisis of the moment can make us all feel that the world’s about to end. But the best leaders, the most productive, understand that most issues will takes care of themselves in time, and they focus on dealing with the issues in the present that will serve them best.

    Lead from within: Pressure can be a useful catalyst in your leadership if you can use it to challenge and stretch your limit to go beyond so purposeful things can be achieved but it only works if you stay calm.


    N A T I O N A L    B E S T S E L L E R

    THE LEADERSHIP GAP

    What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

    After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

    buy now

     


    Additional Reading you might enjoy:

     

    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    The post How to Lead Under Pressure and Remain Calm appeared first on Lolly Daskal.

     
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