The first day of construction of the Berlin Wall began August 13, 1961 and lasted 28 years. Viewed by some as negatively shameful and viewed by others as positively necessary to keep out the enemy or prevent a war, this wall structure became known as one of the greatest symbols of freedom. Although the construction and destruction of the Berlin Wall was a larger group effort, individually each of us creates this same experience internally without realizing it. We create walls and structures to support us to achieve; we create walls and structures to hide things within; we even create walls and structures to protect us from pain both socially and privately. In the realm of coaching and its forward-action approach, I bring the Berlin Wall metaphor and ask a few questions.
Look at one of your internal obstacles or walls that seem to block you from where you want to be in your career, relationship, leadership or managing your stress. Don’t try to fix it, but rather just observe and be curious as to what shows up. Take some notes if it helps.
What do you notice?
Does it seem like a structure that hinders or facilitates you?
Can you notice a connection between this obstacle and your thoughts or actions? If so, how does it show up?
What might be the message for you in your observation of your wall?
Today I read this great article about deciding who to promote to leadership positions and decided to share it on my blog.
Laser Tag Leadership
This article is written by guest blogger, Dr. James Eyring
Companies move people into leadership positions all the time. Frequently, they make good decisions and advance good leaders. Sometimes, they make mistakes. They might promote a good technical person, only to find that the person can’t lead people. Or, they might promote a senior leader, only to discover that the person can’t drive successful change.
Recently, I was reminded why this sometimes happens while watching my daughter and her friends play laser tag.
My daughter loves playing laser tag, so it was no surprise that she asked for a laser tag party for her birthday. I chaperoned her and 18 of her (sometimes screaming) friends to a local park for the game.
Now, most laser tag parties follow a fairly standard routine for choosing teams. The birthday boy or girl gets to choose a team of his/her choice, or the birthday boy or girl and his/her friend take turns picking others into two teams. Maybe it is the psychologist in me, but I have never liked either option. So, we chose (i.e., I forced) a solution so that we had 4 random groups of kids. These groups were then combined into different teams every couple of rounds. That way, almost all of the kids got to play with and against each other.
After a couple of rounds, I asked one of the instructors how the kids were doing. She pointed to a girl from one of the teams and told me, “she is the natural leader for this team.” True enough, when a round started, she would plan a strategy, rally her team to it, and then assign everyone responsibilities. They listened and followed instructions. They lost. When the teams were mixed up, she still emerged as the leader. Her team lost 7 out of the 7 games the kids played. The instructor still thought she was a “good leader.”
Years ago, I saw the same dynamics while running a simulation for professionals called Lost at Sea. Individuals rated how they would use different items to survive a shipwreck. The group would then have a discussion of their rankings. Sometimes, a leader would emerge to guide the group to a final answer. In some groups, the emergent leaders led their teams to successful solutions. In other groups, the leader would actually cause the group to perform worse than they would without a leader. Just because someone emerges as a leader does not mean they are a good leader.
Too often, I hear HR leaders speak about a manager as a great leader because he/she speaks well or strongly expresses his/her views. I call this the “standing out in the crowd” model of leadership. Managers who don’t stand out versus their peers are not seen as leaders.
There is nothing wrong with standing out in the crowd. Some leaders who do this are very effective. However, not all emergent leaders are effective. More importantly, some individuals (including women) are less likely to be chosen as emergent leaders. Choosing someone who stands out may result in overlooking a good leader who does not.
So, don’t rely on “emergent leadership” when making decisions about whom to promote. Instead, look for leaders who can lead a team to success. If a manager has best in class business results, strong engagement scores, and low employee turnover, he or she is a good leader regardless of whether they stand out in a crowd.
Back to more important matters…laser tag. My daughter’s team won every game they played, even though the team members were mixed up every couple of rounds. What was the secret of their success? The team assigned my daughter as their leader because it was her birthday. As a team, they discussed everyone’s ideas and listened to those who had played most. They put simple strategies in place, and won.
My daughter did not stand out in the crowd, but when her team asked her to be a leader, she did a great job. I am proud of her because she listened to her team, asked questions, and helped them implement ideas. She helped the team succeed.
Turning your brain upside down can reunite you with your natural leadership ability to visualize, focus and manifest your dreams and goals. How do you intend to manifest what you cannot see in your mind’s eye? Re-grasp your natural intuitive ability to tap your inner wisdom through something as simple as turning yourself upside down. Your mind is a powerful multi-functional leadership tool you take with you everywhere you lead. With it you are aware of the present moment. You assimilate new information, utilize decisiveness in decisions, focus, visualize, compartmentalize, or simply stop and bring your mind to silence.
What do you notice if you take a moment right where you are and look at everything upside down?
When was the last time you got knocked down from going where you intended to go? It happens to all the greatest of leaders. Just like learning to walk, no one escapes falling down, crying in the pain of it and getting back up again. Just make sure the hard knock is worth the pain by perceiving the pain as a useful experienced rather than some punishment or victimization.
Think about the last knock-down you experienced.
Name 3 components about the knock-down event that outweigh any ways you might feel victimization from the experience. NOTE: Think from your heart not only your head.
A team busy with lots of activities is not necessarily the same thing as progressing forward toward a bigger goal with whatever amount of activity in which your team engages. You may be crossing a lot of tasks off your list; but when the results are not matching your bigger goal expectations it’s important to understand what’s working, what’s not, where the kinks or blocks are in the flow of team activity, and then adjusting activity and/or people for better progressive flow. Clarity in your activity flow helps you course correct and get back on line or upgrade the way in which you are achieving your team goals. Leadership is also about taking accountability, which is different than blaming. Taking accountability as a leader is about understanding the talents, abilities, and passions of those you lead and then placing people in positions for maximum productivity in end goal achievement. This means turning up the level of your listening and observation skills.
On a scale of 1-10 (10 being best) what number would you give your team activity flow?
What two things can you think of to help upgrade your team activity flow?
Name 3 things that you can implement as a leader for better accountability of team talent and skills?
It’s The first of July! We are half way through this year! Are you where you want to be with your goals—the New Year’s Resolutions you set for yourself this year? If not, let’s team up and get you where you want to be! There is two parts in coaching, the being part and the doing part. It takes both to get where you want to go. Which part holds the most resistance for you right now—being or doing?
Leadership begins with you first! You must take care of yourself, so you are able to help others from a place of strength. Leadership is my coaching focus for July. Let’s look together at your leader within! You’ll be amazed at what’s inside! Schedule today!
So you’re past the honeymoon and fairytale of relationship, and things seem to be escalating the opposite direction, what to do? There are many things to do to get back to the love that enticed you to say yes to this relationship in the first place, or even bring forth a new version of that love connection. It starts with you first. I like to say, when you honor yourself, you honor everyone around you. Next demonstrate to yourself that you have the choice to stay in your relationship, by acknowledging that you can do nothing, you can leave, or you can face the difficulties and work on solutions. A relationship takes continuous nurturing and effort to deepen the love and increase the trust.
Honestly ask yourself, do you truly want this relationship to work?
If there is any hesitancy in answering no, it’s worth making an effort to stay by getting help like counseling or coaching.
Looking at your relationship as a separate entity like a business relationship is to two partners can help distance each partner from the emotional hurts long enough to ask some key questions.
As a separate entity, what does this relationship want from us (me/my partner)?
If the relationship were a painting, what would it look like? And what is its message?