Our favourite tools to develop your executive presence

When I say executive presence, I’ll bet you have something in mind or someone in mind but you might be hard-pressed to fully define executive presence.

You’re not alone; a lot of folks I talk to feel they know what executive presence is but can’t really describe it.  

Of course, if you can’t describe something, it’s more difficult to achieve it. So, let’s define what it is AND help you develop your executive presence.

Some say that, essentially, having an executive presence is being able to inspire confidence in your leadership with members of your team, among your peers, and with anyone to whom you report.

However, rather than having an innate ability or trait, an executive presence is a combination of qualities or characteristics plus skills that can be developed.

Sure, some people will just naturally have more “presence” and some folks need to work at it a bit more but all of us benefit from naming specific areas we want to develop (particularly as leadership roles become more and more senior and demands are greater).

Why should you care about or want to develop your executive presence?

Having an executive presence inspires confidence and persuades others around you that your leadership matters. If someone believes in your ability to lead, it gives you opportunity whether that person is choosing to be led by you, to work with you, or to hire you or your company.

Here are the key qualities to cultivate that will develop your executive presence. Notice we’ve defined them all starting with a “C” you can think of these qualities as “the C-suite that will get you into the C-Suite”:

  • Connected – successful leaders cultivate a network of relationships and include diverse opinions in discussions, using emotional intelligence skills to navigate organizational politics and the myriad complexities of team dynamics at all levels. Leaders need to be able to delegate effectively and rely on their team members, which means building trust.
  • Charismatic – being a strong leader means having the ability to understand yourself and others well enough to inspire and motivate. It’s being able to talk with anyone and put them at ease; while you are able to engage everyone in the discussion, it’s clear that you are confident in your leadership role. Feeling comfortable talking to anyone is something that a lot of our clients find challenging. One tool that can help is our Everything DiSC workshops that give leaders tools to adapt to people around them and more easily build relationships.
  • Confident and Compassionate – when you are self-aware – knowing your own strengths and challenges and how to work with a variety of personalities – a few things happen. One of them is that your emotional intelligence rises and high emotional intelligence allows a leader to walk that fine, but essential, line between assertive and aggressive. By working with intention and having a purposeful vision, leaders demonstrate self-confidence, build trust, and align goals with core values.
  • Credible and Consistent – understanding builds trust, and it takes effort – but a highly functioning team is well worth the investment. Our Five Behaviours of a Cohesive Team workshop helps leaders and their teams understand themselves and how to work well together (including building trust and how to build the good type of conflict in the workplace!).   
  • Clear and Conciseeffective communication skills are, of course, essential and that includes articulating and rearticulating a clear, consistent vision in ways that others can see it and get behind it. That also means having exceptional listening skills so you can understand how others are receiving your message which brings to mind my favourite quote from motivational writer Stephen R. Covey: “Most people don’t listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Recognizing your listening style is the first step to improving communication with your team.
  • Calm and Composed – being able to function effectively under stress – without losing all the above characteristics by panicking, dramatizing, or appearing overwhelmed – is essential to developing your executive presence. Effective leaders appear capable, in control, and able to handle even difficult or unexpected situations with grace and poise even if that sometimes means you “have to fake it til you make it.” Use the EQi and EQ360 tools to determine where and how you can make changes to improve how you lead your team through inevitable challenges.
  • Coach Approachtaking a coach approach to leadership can be transformative, encouraging greater communication, improving work relationships, and increasing both productivity and job satisfaction. Learning how to build a coaching culture is an important tool to develop your executive presence. Check out our new Coach Approach to Leadership program and recently released Coach Approach to Leadership Journal.  

    Coach Approach to Leadership Journal

    Coach Approach to Leadership Journal

Coach’s Questions:

Which qualities would you like to improve to develop your executive presence? What steps can you take to enhance your growth in this area? What gaps are there between how you see yourself and how others might see you?

Looking back: Why reflection is essential for success in the new year

 

The beginning of a new year always feels like a fresh start, often with a focus on New Year’s resolutions and everything we’re going to start, or do differently, in the year ahead.

But, looking back, isn’t just sentimental or self-indulgent – it’s necessary to achieving success.  A review of the last 12 months helps to evaluate what worked and what could be better. Some of us need to take a moment and remind ourselves of the successes as much as the lessons learned.

At the same time, some folks are hesitant to undertake this process unless it’s been a fantastic year (because then reflection is painless and celebratory!). The truth is, the worst years and the best years all have some wins, all teach us lessons, and can all remind us of our resilience.

So, before you dive into setting goals, plans, and strategies for you and your team this new year, give some thought to these reflective ideas.

Here are five things to consider about the last year as you prepare for success in the new year:

  1. Take stock: What worked with your team? What didn’t? Grab your calendar and start looking back since January 1 of last year make notes about times you and your team members accomplished goals, encountered conflict, or faced challenges.
    Try to take a step back and look at each situation critically – not to judge, but to learn. A question to ask yourself is – “what else was going on at that time?” You may have insight now that you didn’t then. This is important because you may see positive and negative trends or issues that need attention, plus understanding your leadership style can help you facilitate teamwork and manage more effectively.
  2. Be honest: What went wrong and what went right? More importantly, how did everyone react? How did you react? Did you overlook problems? Avoid confrontation? Overreact? Perhaps you’ll decide to have some difficult conversations or delegate more effectively
    Learning from mistakes and achievements is what sets us up for success in the future. Recognizing today’s regret or missed opportunity could help you be on top of your game next time.
  3. Consider change: What does the team look like now versus 12 months ago? What loss and gains in talent have you had? Why? Were there any other disruptions you faced with the clients, workspace, or industry? Take a peek at your roster from last January, and now.
    Hindsight is 20-20 as they say, so shift your perspective on failure: Looking back now may give you insights into what planning, resources, or interventions may have made things unfold differently.
  4. Health check: Does the team feel valued? When was the last time you checked in with your team members? When you consider all of the above reflection you’ve undertaken as you’ve gone back through last year’s calendar, ask yourself whether you are really building a strong team or if you could improve by building team trust.
  5. Lessons learned: After you’ve gone through all of the above, pause and consider everything you have reviewed and reflected on. What did the last year teach you about your leadership and your team? Once you’ve considered what challenges made you stretch and pinpointed some growth opportunities, you can jump into some informed goal setting for your success in the new year (don’t forget our ultimate goal setting worksheet!). This can include refining existing goals and setting entirely new goals.

Pro-tip: Consider starting a journal to make reflection for next year easier!

Set aside time daily, weekly, or monthly to make notes about your successes, failures, challenges, and other observations. Concrete examples will be very informative the next time you want to reflect.

Coach’s Questions:

What surprised you most during the past year? If it was good, how do you make that happen more often? If not, how do you avoid those surprises in the year ahead?
What steps can you take to improve your leadership? Are there things that you could do to strengthen your team? What goals for success in the new year are the most exciting for you?

10 simple ways to thank your team this holiday season

As leaders we often find it particularly difficult to let go and make the most of the holiday season.

For some of us, the fiscal year ends with the calendar year and so we have all sorts of year-end reporting, planning for the new year, etcetera. That’s all while our staff and our families are gearing up for the break and likely feeling anxious, excited, happy, and stressed all at once.

How do we use this festive time to show staff we appreciate them AND reduce our own stress and burden at the same time? One word covers it all: gratitude.

You might have thought I was going to say, “Bonus.”  While more money and a bigger bonus may work to motivate some staff and it is one way to show them you appreciate them, it won’t work with everyone – and not to the depth of some other forms of gratitude.

Additionally, giving bonuses alone won’t reduce the stress on you, your team, or your organization.

Now, having said that, in our western culture, money does play a factor – so don’t completely discard the idea of compensating folks for their hard work. That’s essential, but think of it as the baseline of gratitude. You can, quite easily, do much more to thank your team that will be impactful for your staff and for you as well.

You see, showing gratitude is great not only for the person receiving it, but for the giver too.  We’ve seen study after study, and tangible proof in ourselves and our clients, that feeling gratitude and expressing it, bring both physical and psychological benefits, including:

    • Stronger relationships1
    • Fewer aches and pains 2
    • Sleeping better 3
    • Reducing aggression while increasing empathy 4
    • Reducing toxic emotions 5
    • Improving self-esteem 6
    • Greater resilience 7

Sounds miraculous, right? Well, tis the time of year for miracles…
Sounds too simple? Give showing gratitude a try; you might be amazed.

How do you show gratitude to thank your team? Well, first, remember to ask yourself that question for each team member individually, not for the team as a whole.

This is important because one approach won’t necessarily speak to everyone. Different people enjoy recognition, appreciation, and rewards in different ways, so cater your communication style to show your appreciation in the most effective way.

Here are our top 10 suggestions for ways to show gratitude to your team members:

  1. Hand deliver a thank you. Wrap small gifts, add a short handwritten note (with sincere and specific thanks for something each team member has contributed), and give the presents out by hand. It’s so much more meaningful to be given a gift personally, especially one with a heartfelt message. Plus you get to say thank you in person, too!
  2. Publicly recognize team members. Again, public recognition doesn’t work for everyone – and some folks hate this – but it can mean so much more than a gift or other reward to some team members. If you know they’ll appreciate it, seize moments to acknowledge extra efforts, exceptional skills, and meaningful contributions as they arise. This might be informally when you meet in the office, during a staff meeting, or as part of a celebratory lunch or dinner.
  3. Link their work to the company. Make the effort to say more than just a generic thank you for working hard; take a moment to really recognize someone’s personal contribution to the company. Acknowledge something specific a team member has done, thank them, and link their work to how they’ve had an impact on the organizational success. Often we hear from folks that they really don’t see how their work makes any difference. Helping them see that is enormous for them.
  4. Skip the holiday party and give a thank you party in the new year. At Padraig, we’re conscious of the diversity of our teams and recognize that Christmas is one holiday at this time of year, but not the only one.
    In a move away from religious-based holidays, we’ve shifted instead to a New Year’s celebration. Other corporations choose to offer a team celebration after the busy festive season. Tying the event in as a thank you rather than a holiday celebration shows even more gratitude to your team.
  5. Give them time to recognize their own team. If you have managers reporting to you who have folks reporting to them, give them time off (and a budget) to take their own staff out for an afternoon.
  6. Encourage journaling. If you’re a regular reader of The Coach’s Questions, you know we advocate journaling to help leaders be stronger and more resilient. In fact, the main reason it works is because we reflect on our gratitude as we write the journal entry.
    Share that gift with your team. Buy them a beautiful journal (remember our first note about hand delivering a thank you!) and talk with them about the benefits that accrue from journaling and being mindful – and why you want to give them those benefits.
  7. Schedule gratitude sessions in your meetings. This can become a habit that has a ripple effect throughout the organization. Simply schedule two to three minutes into every meeting agenda for team members to give spontaneous thanks to colleagues or others in the room. Be prepared to model it yourself the first few times.
  8. Set the tone; lead by example. Start including random acts of thanks in your daily routine. Don’t underestimate the impact of simply expressing gratitude and building relationships with your team in simple, but genuine, ways.
    Heading to a meeting? Think about what you’re grateful for, and mention it at the meeting. Walking to the breakroom? Thank some staff along the way – mentioning something specific that they’ve done or that they’re working on that you appreciate.
  9. Build opportunities to show gratitude along with your team. Find half a day where you can contribute to a charity or local good cause, and ask your team for input into who they’d like to help or where they would like to go. Maybe a local food bank could use your help packing care packages or a community services agency needs gifts for children.
    A lot of organizations that I’ve worked with contribute a holiday hamper to a family in need through a local charity. Sometimes this is just a donation of cash, or often it’s a box in a breakroom where staff can contribute food items and small gifts for the children.
    What if you changed it up and made this gesture of goodwill an event for your team? Take two to three hours one afternoon and you and your team make a field trip to a local store. Go with a list of everything you need and then shop together – some folks picking out the food, others the gifts, and some the extras (warm coats for the kids maybe?).
    You pick up the tab with the company credit card (ideally), but the whole team has an afternoon together, away from work, thinking about others and contributing to their own gratitude and happiness.
  10.  Give a bonus. While relying on a bonus alone as the only way to show gratitude won’t do enough for staff (and it won’t do much for you, either!), let’s not forget that your folks have a lot of bills at this time of year, too.
    If the company can afford it, don’t wait til Christmas Eve – give those holiday bonuses early so everyone feels the weight from extra financial demands lifted. Small gestures like this can have a huge impact.

The Coach’s Questions:

What ways to show gratitude are new for you? Can you think of things (or people) you take for granted? When have you been touched by someone expressing gratitude to you? How can you show your gratitude today?

 

 

 

 


1. Williams, L. A., & Bartlett, M. Y. (2015). Warm thanks: Gratitude expression facilitates social affiliation in new relationships via perceived warmth. Emotion, 15(1), 1-5.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/emo0000017

2. Adler, M. G. and Fagley, N. S. (2005), Appreciation: Individual Differences in Finding Value and Meaning as a Unique Predictor of Subjective Well‐Being. Journal of Personality, 73: 79-114. doi:10.1111/j.1467-6494.2004.00305.x

3. Digdon, N. and Koble, A. (2011), Effects of Constructive Worry, Imagery Distraction, and Gratitude Interventions on Sleep Quality: A Pilot Trial. Applied Psychology: Health and Well‐Being, 3: 193-206. doi:10.1111/j.1758-0854.2011.01049.x

4. Nathan DeWall, C., Lambert, N. M., Pond, R. S., Kashdan, T. B., & Fincham, F. D. (2012). A Grateful Heart is a Nonviolent Heart: Cross-Sectional, Experience Sampling, Longitudinal, and Experimental Evidence. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 3(2), 232–240. https://doi.org/10.1177/1948550611416675

5. Numerous works by Robert A. Emmons. Google Search

6. Lung Hung Chen & Chia-Huei Wu (2014) Gratitude Enhances Change in Athletes’ Self-Esteem: The Moderating Role of Trust in Coach, Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 26:3, 349-362, DOI:10.1080/10413200.2014.889255

7. Fredrickson, B. L., Tugade, M. M., Waugh, C. E., & Larkin, G. R. (2003). What good are positive emotions in crisis? A prospective study of resilience and emotions following the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11th, 2001. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(2), 365-376.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.84.2.365

Are your limiting beliefs holding you back?

The human brain is paradoxical. The same grey matter that helps us cope with everything life throws at us can either limit us or enable us.

That tiny, inner voice can counsel us to wait – or it could encourage us to envision a goal and go for broke. Sometimes ‘wait’ is the right choice, but how do we know?

The question is: Are limiting beliefs holding you back?

Sometimes limiting beliefs may be rooted in previous experiences. For example, if you pushed yourself outside your comfort zone on a school project and it was an epic failure, the thought of trying something that’s a stretch for your professional skill set makes you queasy.

It’s also possible that limiting beliefs were ingrained in you from a young age. For example, if a person whose opinion you valued always said you were academically gifted, but not ‘people smart,’ that may be a belief that you carry with you as an adult. These kinds of formative interactions can translate into deep-seated beliefs.

Now, some of our beliefs have value and keep us safe. But being prudent about when you cross the street so you don’t get hit by a car or knowing when to hold your tongue so you don’t say something you will regret are very different from taking reasonable risks and trying to achieve more personally and professionally.

Limiting beliefs are not grounded in fact. Your inner voice might tell you a bunch of limiting beliefs about your ability, which is the recipe for settling for mediocre (or much less!). For example, a limiting belief could be deciding you aren’t ready to challenge your career comfort zone.

What we want to confront is the kind of limiting belief that holds us back unnecessarily. Many times beliefs we accept, consciously or subconsciously, are very subjective. Our selection process of a lifetime of experience is serendipitous at best!

Even if life experiences resonate with us and become a default belief, future experiences won’t necessarily benefit from past perceptions. You can, and sometimes should, challenge beliefs that shape your life.

So how do you know if you have a limiting belief?

You’ll most often discover limiting beliefs if you consider the areas of your life that end up with you feeling unsatisfied about the results or outcomes.

Often limiting beliefs (and sometimes excuses or reasons) are why these things aren’t working the way you wish they would.

Sometimes they’re quite subtle, and we think we’re expertly engaging in positive self-talk. For example, telling yourself: “I want to ask for a raise, but I don’t think now is the right time.” Are you being practical and pragmatic, or are you fearful that the boss might say no; that they will think you are greedy; or if they felt you were worth more, they’d have already offered it to you?

There are usually strong emotions tied to limiting beliefs, so considering how you feel can help to uncover the underlying limiting belief.

Here are some common types of belief statements we encounter among clients, and ways to reflect whether any limiting beliefs might be causing the behaviour:

  • “I should confront this problem with them … but I’m just not good at it.”
    • I dread confrontation; I’ll make things worse; maybe things will get better if I ignore it or wait a bit longer

Pro tip:  Check out our previous blog on how to have a difficult conversation!

  • “I’d like to find a new career opportunity, but I’m not actively looking right now.”
    • I’m not marketable; I haven’t had enough success to stand out; I’m too young (or old!) to try to get a new position
  • “I’d like to have a relationship, but it’s hard to meet people.”
    • I’ll be rejected again and I’m tired of being hurt; I’m don’t attract the kind of person I want for a life partner; I’m not rich or attractive enough

When your inner voice is stopping you from accomplishing more, you don’t have to listen. Are there goals you’d like to achieve? Do you have secret desires for things you’d like to accomplish?

If limiting beliefs are holding you back or perhaps even making you feel very comfortable and safe when you fail to act, maybe it’s worth pushing back.

Challenging beliefs requires us to:

  • Understand and acknowledge the need for all of us, as humans, to have limiting beliefs. This isn’t a defect of character or some impossible challenge, but rather an opportunity to do some reflection. Is it a limiting belief masquerading as being honest and practical?
  • Trust that you can change limiting beliefs into enabling beliefs. Countless others of us have and you can, too. It can help to ensure your beliefs align with your personal vision statement.
  • You can get help to reframe limiting beliefs; you aren’t alone. If it’s difficult for you, find others who can support you. This might be a coach, mentor, friend, spouse, or supportive family member.

Here’s how to challenge any limiting beliefs you may have:

  1. Uncover the limiting belief. Think about the goals you’d like to set, and what you believe or what you’re telling yourself about them. Write that down, consider the feelings you associate with the words, and reflect.
  2. Notice when the voice is talking. When our Padraig team members went through coach training at Royal Roads, we all found their slightly cheeky phrase to help you notice and stop limiting self-talk to be quite memorable. They likened the voice in our heads always quacking away to a little rubber duck on our shoulders giving us constant limiting feedback “you can’t do this…” or, “you’re not good enough…”. Their suggestion? Knock that little rubber duck off your shoulder to Shut the Duck Up!
  3. Put the limiting belief in perspective. These beliefs that you are holding even if you’ve held them for a long time do not have to be your truth. In this moment, you have a choice to either keep believing the limitation or choose to change it so that you have a shot at achieving your goals or desires for life.
  4. Rewrite the script, transforming the limiting into enabling. Take time to consider what you have learned or what you could do to change things. If you have not asked for a raise because you don’t think it’s the right time, the real limiting belief for you might be that you worry you’ll be refused.

    Perhaps you feel angry that you haven’t been given a raise because you’ve worked really hard. Instead of saying it’s not the right time, you can rewrite the belief to be: “After achieving these specific successes and bringing in new business, I’m going to ask for a raise.”

 A great way to help you rewrite the script is to think of your closest friend and imagine they are sharing with you this belief, this feeling they have.  What would you say to them? Can you say that to yourself?

5. Start acting on the new belief. Changing beliefs from limiting to enabling comes with risk, and risk can be scary. However, courage is finding the ability to push through fear to try to achieve a goal. Perhaps find a friend, mentor, or trusted confidante who can help you uncover why you should go for it. Be careful to find someone you know is supportive and believes in you. Going back to the same person who has previously fed your limiting beliefs won’t be helpful.

Acting on the new belief means you are going to choose to act differently. Tell yourself, I have worked really hard and I’ve achieved some good things for the company. I’m not being greedy if I bring value to the business and ask for a raise. Doesn’t feeling you are worthy of asking for a raise feel better than feeling you weren’t valued enough to be offered more remuneration?

If you find yourself thinking something like, “I’ll never be able to do this…” try instead, “what could I do that might help me do this?”

Every time you challenge a limiting belief you are allowing yourself potential for growth. Even if you don’t immediately achieve all your goals and desires, you are taking steps in a new direction and not allowing limiting beliefs to hold you back. It’s all about progress, not perfection.

Coach’s Questions:

What are you telling yourself about your dreams or hopes? Where are you telling yourself something isn’t realistic? Have you stopped to check whether those inner stories are true? What steps can you take to ensure your inner voice is enabling, not limiting?

Preventing leadership burnout

Have you snapped at someone when you’d normally be patient? Felt irritable with everyone and disinterested in what you normally value? Reacted to situations disproportionately?

These could be warning signs that you are suffering from burnout or close to it.

In a recent article on Digital Freelancer, James Sower outlined how to differentiate stress from burnout and it resonated for me; it made sense. Essentially, he explains the characteristics of stress versus burnout this way:

Stress

  • Feel emotions more strongly
  • Feel less energy
  • Leads to being anxious or worried about a situation
  • Manifests as physical consequences, such as feeling tired or nauseated or having headaches
Burnout

  • Feel emotionless or disinterested
  • Feel less motivated, optimistic, or hopeful
  • Leads to feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or depression
  • Manifests as emotional consequences, such as experiencing anger, mood swings, or depression

When you feel the stress list building up and maybe you’re starting to worry about reaching burnout, or maybe you’re already there, try these strategies:

Let go of perfectionism

I think those of us who are overachievers are arguably more prone to burnout than others. If you have perfectionist tendencies, you may be pushing yourself toward burnout by exceeding expectations unnecessarily.

It’s important to understand when your personal expectations are higher than what’s expected. Overproducing can generate a lot of extra pressure as you try to juggle all your deliverables and priorities.

It’s time to step back, take stock, and delegate

When you feel like you’re close to hitting a wall, that should be your trigger — let that feeling catch your attention — and stop. Take a moment to look at what you’re doing and what needs to be done. Are you working to meet goals, or trying to maintain total control? It can be gratifying to have the reputation as a leader who does it all, but perhaps it’s time to delegate effectively to save time and your sanity!

Some folks find it difficult to trust that staff or peers can complete tasks to their own exacting standards, but there are benefits to educating others and giving them opportunities to learn and grow. Notably, giving yourself a manageable workload and the time to add value where it is most needed.

Control your schedule

One of the biggest challenges for the leaders we work with is finding balance, and one of fastest paths to burnout is to lose control of your schedule. While you want to be available to your team, your clients, and your boss or board, you still need to have time for your own work and a life outside of work (that includes weekends!).

It is possible for you to draw pretty clear and firm boundaries about your time and availability. Read our tips on how to set boundaries at work and then implement strategies to help you set limits and say no without losing respect.

Limit tech time

Never being unplugged exacerbates feelings of burnout. It’s an easy fix in theory, because we’re supposed to control our technological devices, but many of us are addicted to the quick fix of “quickly” checking emails and texts and getting sucked into work till late at night or in the early morning hours.

Decide what your boundaries for tech will be and treat it like a ritual. Some people find it helps them to turn off cell phones and shut down iPads and laptops at a certain time each evening, while others will set weekends as their tech-free time or have set hours for connectivity outside the office. Did you know most phones and devices these days allow you to set quiet hours? If you’re curious, Google it for your device.

If you feel you’re not ready to be untethered from electronics, start small. Try not checking your phone as soon as you wake up and wait until you’re ready and have had breakfast. Unplug at night at least an hour before you go to sleep because studies show our brains won’t rest immediately after screen time — and rest helps us avoid burnout. A big step here for a lot of us is to keep the phone out of the bedroom — charge it overnight, in the kitchen, or in the hall by the door where you exit and enter the house.

Accept help on the home front

When things are particularly hectic at work, try to find help at home. This might mean hiring a house cleaning service, ordering ready-to-cook healthy meals, or working out how to divide household tasks with your partner and children.

If you are a parent, carve out some adult time by hiring a babysitter to watch the kids for a few hours. It might be in the morning so you can go to the gym, or for the evening so you can go grab a bite or catch a new movie.

Be creative to find balance and make time to nurture your own interests (and stave off feelings of burnout!).

I get it — it may feel frivolous or it may seem like these little steps aren’t going to make a difference, but take a look again at those two lists at the top — what looks like stress and what looks like burnout. If you’re reaching burnout, every little thing is going to help.  

Cultivate gratitude

It’s pretty hard to feel grateful if all you do is work, work, work and try to eat and sleep as you can around the work. But, finding reasons to be grateful during your day, even tiny little reasons, and taking time to acknowledge them, counteracts the feelings of negativity and hopelessness caused by burnout. This will help you find ways to get (and stay!) motivated about work.

Acknowledge team members who work hard and find ways to make arduous tasks a little less painful by bringing in a snack for the team because joy is contagious. A positive attitude sounds cheesy, but it shifts perspective and elevates the mood. Feeling appreciated and having a shared purpose are not to be underrated!

What is new and exciting at work? Find opportunities for workshops, courses, or conferences that will help you professionally, but also give you something to look forward to. If that’s out of the question, what about setting up a lunch or a breakfast with your team to simply discuss the latest trends, or to talk about a relevant book? Burnout is less likely to surface if you and your team are not only sharing the load, but enjoying the work.

Practice mindfulness throughout the day

We hear admonishments to walk and move periodically so that our physical well-being isn’t adversely affected by sitting at a desk for hours each day, but it’s just as important to give our minds a break.

Whether you prefer to think of mindfulness as self-awareness or detaching, it’s important to relax and recharge intellectually every day (not just on a holiday or day off!). Starting with just a few moments a day, at your desk, can help. In fact, a lot of us who have started exploring mindfulness have found it’s a little addictive — it’s so effective, you naturally bring it into your day over and over. Check out our tips for how to be mindful when your mind is full for other ways you can bring greater mindfulness to your day.

Seek professional advice

Athletes have trainers and dancers, musicians, and artists seek instruction and mentorship. Similarly, business leaders can benefit from hiring one-to-one executive coaches.

At Padraig, our goal is to help our clients be better leaders and more successful than they are now.  Take our online quiz to see if coaching might be right for you right now.

 

Coach’s Questions:

Do you recognize any characteristics of stress in your life? What about burnout? Which strategies do you think could help you prevent leadership burnout? What can you try today?

How to delegate effectively to save time and your sanity

It’s no secret: An important best practice in leadership circles is to spend your time on tasks and projects that are the best use of your time and delegate the rest.

Why then, as managers and leaders, don’t we delegate more often and more effectively?

The most common excuse I hear from my clients who resist delegating more is, “it’s just easier to do it myself.”

The trouble with that thinking is that it’s very short-term, and it’s not good for you, your company, or your team.

That way of thinking focuses on the challenge of delegating right now rather than the bigger wins overall that you could make long-term by delegating – or the costs you’re going to face long-term by not delegating.

There are so many drawbacks associated with not fully embracing the magic of delegation:

Opportunity costs

What are you not working on, moving forward with, or making space for (both for you personally and the organization) because your time is being spent on something that you personally don’t need to be doing?

Employee morale

If your team doesn’t feel like you can trust them with taking things off your plate and owning the task themselves, job satisfaction, initiative, and employee retention all start to slip. They’re here to do a job, yes, but they also WANT to learn new things, advance their careers, and feel useful.

Revenue

It costs MORE for you to do that task over time than the time it would take for you to train and delegate said task. Yes, the first few times that you delegate there is an investment of your time, but the return on the investment can be tenfold, or more!

Consider the ROI of the time you spend showing an employee how to do something. Even tasks that appear to be a one-off situation often aren’t. The skills learned can often be transferable.

So, what can you do about it?

There are three steps to effective delegation: knowing what to delegate, knowing how to delegate, and reviewing how the process of delegation worked.

Step 1: Knowing what to delegate

When you have that familiar feeling of: “Oh, it’s easier if I just do it myself,” or when you’re starting to feel overwhelmed by diminishing time and increasing deadlines, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Would this assignment give someone the chance to grow in their role and develop new skills?
  • Is there any chance this activity might occur again? Would teaching it now to someone else provide lasting benefits?
  • Could the assignment be divided up and given to multiple team members, focusing on each of their individual skills? This is an opportunity to encourage teamwork and make use of each team member’s strengths, all while freeing up your time and attention.
  • And quite simply — Is this something that you know should be delegated?

If it’s strategic or highly tactical, this might be something you need to do yourself or with some support from the team. However, if it doesn’t require your direct management and you’re pressed for time on issues that are more strategic, now is the time to practice delegating.

Do I delegate enough?

Start by keeping track of your time for a few days, or even a week and try your best to keep a record of how much time you spend on each task throughout the day. It can feel onerous, but our clients who try this often find incredible opportunities for enormous wins through delegation.

Awareness around how we’re spending our time allows us to identify what’s eating up time. Knowing what to delegate can help your team grow and give you the time to focus on other priorities.

Step 2: Knowing how to delegate

Once you’ve identified something to be delegated, it’s time to hand it over.

To choose the best person to own the task or project ask yourself:

  • Is it best to be split amongst team members or given to one person?
  • Is there someone on the team who has the background, skills, knowledge, or just a keen interest to tackle this assignment? If not, is there someone who would likely learn it quickly? Is there someone who loves new challenges, or thrives on deadlines who could run with this?

To hand it over, you’re going to want to communicate the basics:

  • What needs to be done
  • When it needs to be finished
  • What sort of updates or progress reports you want
  • How big of a priority it is within the rest of their workload
  • What resources they can access to help them
  • Any extenuating circumstances
  • Context – for example, if there are additional stakeholders to consult or advise

How you communicate that list is just as important as what you communicate.  

We’ve created a downloadable DELEGATING CHEAT SHEET for you that summarizes what you need to share and how to share it for different types of employees.

 

Step 3: Evaluate and revise

Improving business process involves constant review, evaluation, and tweaking. It doesn’t have to be onerous, but if you focus a bit of attention on it, things get better quickly.

  • Have a quick debrief meeting with the delegate and ask them if they had all the information they needed to do a good job, if they had any challenges, and what they liked about the project.
  • Look at how much time it took you to delegate and if the outcome was what you wanted or expected.
  • What went well?
  • What could you do better next time?

You know…I get it, delegating is not as simple as sending an email and sometimes that feels harder than doing it yourself, but making a habit of strategically focusing your efforts and your team’s efforts can create huge wins for productivity, employee engagement, and business growth. And who doesn’t want to be a leader racking up huge wins?!?

Frankly, leaders who delegate well are leaders who advance.

Coach’s Questions

What is hovering over you, right now, that could be (should be?) delegated to someone on your team?  What’s stopping you?

Finding ways to conquer the loneliness of leadership

You work for years to climb the corporate ladder and you finally reach the top. This is it! Years of hard work and effort have paid off and you are an executive in charge of a team, a division, or perhaps an entire organization, company or government department.

As exciting as it is, there is a small downside when we rise up through the ranks that you may not have anticipated: It can be a bit lonely at the top. Sure, you’ve probably heard it before but for many of us, until we start to experience it, we don’t expect it.  

For many, admitting to loneliness, isolation and fear equates to weakness and they feel they can’t be weak in the top job — so they try to hide it.  While others, the internal conflict they feel is that when you’re an organizational leader, you’ve got power, privilege, and perks and so it might seem terribly self-indulgent or even wrong to admit you feel lonely and isolated.

For some, they haven’t yet even put their finger on the feelings because feeling lonely as a leader just isn’t often discussed.

The reality of leader isolation

If you feel lonely or isolated in your role, you’re not alone. And if it makes you feel better about acknowledging it, several years ago the Harvard Business Review quantified the impact of feelings of isolation.

According to the HBR, their survey of CEOs showed that half of CEOs admitted feeling lonely and of these, 61 percent expressed concerns it hindered them at work.

There are many reasons why leaders feel isolated.

Leadership necessitates some distance. You can be friendly with your team members, but as the boss you are not one of them. You’re privy to more information, you need to keep some things confidential, and there will be times, where the difficult decisions you have to make will hurt those around you. As a boss you can’t let on that you don’t have all the answers and perhaps you even struggle with imposter syndrome. Many top executives are under scrutiny, not just by a board of directors or shareholders, but by the press. Protecting your privacy and safeguarding your reputation is an important consideration when you can’t be sure who to trust. There are many reasons why so many leaders keep themselves a bit apart from their team members.

Your team members may be holding back, especially if you’ve been promoted. Where you were once included in informal lunches, birthday parties, and get-togethers, team members are aware that the boss isn’t there to socialize with them in quite the same way as their peers. This might be a natural deference to authority, where they want to ensure the team leader sees them only in a professional capacity. It can also be a case where team members don’t feel their opinions will be valued or heard, so they keep themselves apart from top-level executives and watch what they say. Realistically, many team members may feel separated from the executive tier by office doors and calendar-protecting, access-limiting executive assistants.

It’s new territory. Whether you’re shifting gears from go-getting team member to leader or a veteran leader in a new role, it takes time to figure out how to engage your team members in the ways they want and the ways they need. As you size things up, you’re likely fine with some distance and so is the rest of the team. But on some level it may feel that you’re excluded.

The damaging effects of leadership isolation

As human beings, we’re built for connection. Feeling lonely can affect our health and wellbeing.

When we feel isolated in a social context, it activates the alarm response; on a physiological level, loneliness affects our behaviour (consciously and subconsciously). Those feelings of fight or flight release stress hormones, which cumulatively can make us sick.

When lonely and stressed, many folks won’t sleep well and immunity can be weakened because stress hormones inhibit the production of those germ-fighting white blood cells.

In addition to our interior response, you can guess that your external responses could change too. If you as the leader feel alone and isolated, your actions will reflect this.

You’ve heard of the ripple effect or the butterfly effect? Your actions as a leader will not only affect your performance, but also that of those around and under you. Feeling lonely and isolated could come out as negativity, anger, or perhaps frustration. If loneliness has made you tired and anxious, it could have an impact on the kind of decisions you’re making.

It can also affect how others perceive you. They might assume you are aloof, unreachable, unapproachable, arrogant, or overwhelmed. If they think you’re miserable, will they be inspired to follow your leadership?

How to conquer loneliness at the top

We’ve established many reasons why leaders feel isolated and also the negative effect loneliness can have on you, your work, and your team.

It’s important to feel supported and connected. There are a few ways you can achieve this:

Build a support network. Some folks find professional development organizations, where they can spend time with peers who understand their unique concerns and struggles, to be the answer. Others will pull together a more informal support group, perhaps comprised of a long-standing mentor, retired leaders, or peers who work in other industries. The key is to find a few people you can turn to when you need to vent, seek advice, or brainstorm in confidence. When we have a support network that feels safe and where we belong, we feel happier and more able to weather challenges — and science even says people who feeling connected socially live longer, healthier lives. Lowering stress also improves our immunity (physical health) and feelings of anxiety and depression (emotional health).

Consider an executive coach. When you work with a professional coach, you gain a trusted advisor who can help you through any challenges you face (and many organizations will pay to coach their leaders because the ROI is higher than with other training and development). One to one coaching with Padraig is confidential and personalized, grounded in transformative change.

Find ways to connect appropriately with your team members. Even as the leader, you can connect with your team members in ways that let them see you as an approachable leader. There are many team-building opportunities and it’s good to embrace those times to foster a connection and build trust. It might be talking about shared interests like movies or sports, asking about outside interests, perhaps celebrating successes together, or having an impromptu coffee and muffin together. Stay in touch with the grassroots of your organization so that you know you’re not being given a filtered and managed perception of the business reality. This might mean holding town halls, walking the halls and chatting informally with team members, or having skip-level meetings so that you meet with more junior employees without the mid-level bosses mediating the discussion.

Take work-life balance seriously. Fostering relationships outside of work is important for feeling that sense of belonging and wellbeing. If your role as a leader makes you feel isolated, achieving work-life balance is all the more crucial. Make time for friends, family, loved ones, volunteering, and hobbies or interests. Your connection to other people and feeling well-rounded can improve your health and empower you for the hours you are at work.

Coach’s Questions:

When have you experienced loneliness or feelings of isolation as a leader? Are you already seeing the effects? What changes can you make to feel more supported and connected? What tools will help you cope with leadership isolation?

Tips to get your goals back on track

A lot of us reassess our goals and priorities in the fall after maybe losing a bit of our focus with all the freedom and fun over summer (it could be something about the changing leaves and shorter days reminding us the year is winding to a close, or as I’ve long speculated it’s the school year starting up again and we all live by the school year long after we’ve finished and even after our kids have graduated!).

Some of us may have faced unexpected hurdles like losing a client, that funding you were expecting didn’t come through, or a key member of your team is moving on.

As John Lennon famously sang in his song Beautiful Boy, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

Don’t despair if you look at the calendar and feel that you are nowhere near achieving the goals you set for yourself for this year a little bit of work can quickly get your goals back on track.

Take time to reflect on your goals

If you did some goal setting for this year, make time to review those goals now and remember why setting goals for this year is valuable. Before you reset your goals, you need to take stock.

Revisit your goals and assess what you’ve achieved and what you have yet to complete. You don’t have to fix anything yet just note your successes and challenges. It’s good to remember what motivates you.

Now if you didn’t ever finish goal setting for this year, it’s not too late. It’s never too late!

Check out our blog from earlier this year to work through the steps to set the right kind of goals and you can even download our ultimate goal setting worksheet.

Take time to reflect and learn

From time to time we all need to adjust to stay on course. After reviewing your goals and re-examining what prompted them for you in the first place, you can make informed decisions to get your goals back on track.

To start, consider:

  • Roadblocks to successfully meeting your goals: What’s preventing you from achieving your goals? Are these roadblocks challenges you can overcome, or do you need to change direction completely? Are they internal roadblocks, or external?
  • Inventory what lessons you have learned: Every experience is a learning opportunity, so what did you learn from your successes? Are there new avenues there? And, what have you learned or gained even around the goals you haven’t yet achieved?
  • Note the resources you have developed: Thinking about achievements so far, and the ones yet to be reached, what gains have you made in terms of things like human resources, contacts, technology, or capital? What resources do you need going forward?  Who or what could help with those outstanding goals?

Knowing what you’ve faced and which things you can leverage in your future work will help you as you map out the rest of the year or even as you redefine your goals.

Evaluate and rewrite as required

It’s time to reaffirm or reset those goals! Now that you’ve evaluated your work to date, you can make adjustments as necessary.

Some of us might be fine with the goals we defined earlier, but realize that we need to really master daily tasks to achieve the bigger goals. Many folks who struggle with procrastination find it easier to get moving if tasks are manageable. So, for instance, instead of a milestone of “finish the report by Friday,” the steps might be broken down into a section a day and the introduction and conclusion on another day and then reviewed by peers for feedback.

Acknowledging what needs to be improved and breaking goals down into more actionable items helps regain traction and get goals back on track. When you break down those tasks, think about who or what could help you with each one.  

Redraft or start from scratch

There may also be goals that need to be revised or even completely rewritten and that’s fine. A check-in around this time of year is a great time to realign and rewrite some of your goals. This is your plan and it will work best if you agree with the goals and are still motivated to achieve them.

It may be that after examining and evaluating a goal you realize that it is not specific enough or maybe it’s no longer realistic in light of new information. Or, you might realize that it’s time to figure out a new goal altogether.

With more information and understanding, take another shot at setting the right kind of goals with our step-by-step process to determine what your goals are and how to make them actionable. Modify and change what you need to do to improve the goal so it can be met.

Get in the game

Once you’ve revised and reset your goals, you need to keep the momentum going. Here are some ideas to help you move from theory to practice:

Get started. Sometimes, “just start” is the mantra that has most helped me.  Starting something, just diving into the first step without worrying about the next one often gets me into a groove where I realize at the end of the day I’ve accomplished what I needed, or maybe even more.

Stay focused. All of us have things that distract us or derail our productivity. Maybe it’s a chatty colleague or a client who calls repeatedly, or perhaps it’s the temptation to focus on people instead of paperwork…or on paperwork, instead of people! Recognizing what routinely interrupts your workflow is a huge first step in fixing it. Once you do, it’s often quite easy to figure out how to mitigate the time wasting like setting limits or finding other ways to get motivated at work.

Accept that not everything will go according to plan. There will likely be more challenges, delays, or setbacks that you don’t anticipate. It’s hard when things happen to derail plans, but trust that you can work through challenges. The key thing to remember is that you can’t control what happens, but you can control how you react.

Celebrate your successes along the way. Crossing off to-do items on a list is extremely satisfying and a reminder that you’re on track. If that list has the series of manageable steps you wrote out as you revisited and revised your goals, then you’ll be making fantastic progress as you check them off. Track your progress so you notice when you reach each milestone along the way to meeting the bigger goal; you’ll feel like you have momentum. It’s easier to keep going when you know it’s the right direction!

The Coach’s Questions

What stands out when you review your goals for this year? How do you feel about revisiting or rewriting those goals? What will New Year’s be like if you’ve achieved the big goals you’ve got on this year’s list?

 

Boost Your Leadership Emotional Intelligence

While professional and technical competence are essential for workplace success, emotional intelligence is frequently cited as a better predictor of success.

A study by TalentSmart tested emotional intelligence, along with 33 other workplace skills, and found emotional intelligence to be the strongest predictor of performance. The results of the study demonstrate that 58% of success in all types of jobs stems not from professional or technical competencies, but from emotional intelligence.

Why is emotional intelligence so essential to workplace success?

Folks who are aware of their own emotional intelligence are better able to manage their emotions, such as stress and impulse control. This is critical in workplaces full of complex and rapid change, where decisions can’t always be made with certainty. People with emotional intelligence are better able to recognize the emotions of others and display empathy.

Whether you’re a C-Suite leader of a major enterprise, or a high-potential employee trying to cultivate high-value leadership skills, emotional intelligence and leadership capabilities go hand-in-hand.

You can focus on leveling-up your leadership capabilities with these eight helpful tips:

1. Align Yourself with Your Unique Leadership Style

The first step to becoming a successful, future-forward leader is to align yourself with your leadership style. It’s difficult to become the best version of yourself when you’re busy trying to mimic the leadership styles of a colleague or mentor. Take time to lean into what feels good, to recognize your individual strengths, and to develop your own natural professional tendencies to amplify your personal leadership style. (By the way, if you’re not sure what your leadership style is, the folks at Padraig help leaders understand their personal leadership style.)

2. Lead By Example

As a leader, you know which professional and personal traits make an ideal employee: They’re passionate, motivated, enthusiastic, and personable. However, to attract these types of people and reduce employee turnover, it’s up to the leadership team to also encompass these key traits.

When you’re working side-by-side with your peers and employees, make sure that you’re demonstrating the skills that you want to see reflected in others. This can be done simply by positively engaging daily with your team members, giving them recognition when deserved, and sharing your passion for your organization and what you can accomplish together.

3. Practice Mindful Leadership

Your mental health and that of your employees is vital to a successful organization. Leaders who can prioritize the mental health and wellbeing of all team members help cultivate an understanding and compassionate environment that drives success and increases engagement.

In a survey from Mental Health America, 35% of respondents reported that they miss three to five days of work each month due to workplace stress. When you take the time to practice mindful leadership by emphasizing the importance of mental health, you’re not only enhancing your success, but that of those you lead.

Not quite sure about this idea of mindfulness? Check out the Padraig blog Mind FULL or Mindful for ways you can be more present – and see the impact of mindfulness at work!

4. Cultivate Empathy and Compassion

Empathy is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.” When leaders are able to utilize their emotional intelligence and develop empathic skills to understand their colleagues and team members, they can create meaningful professional relationships that provide a win-win for both parties.

The more a leader can relate to the decisions made by their employees, the better they can change their own actions to create high-value change.

5. Focus on Leadership as a Skill

Leadership isn’t simply one aspect of a job, it comprises a set of many skills that can be developed through effective emotional intelligence training and development.

Take the time to invest in leadership development exercises: Find books and courses dedicated to honing your leadership skills and watch your leadership capabilities increase.

6. Build Your Social Skills

When a leader is focused entirely on personal wellbeing and livelihood, they cannot connect with their team members on a level necessary to drive positive change in the workplace.

By building your emotional intelligence you will naturally increase your social skills, and with that you can better communicate with others while propelling your organization in a positive direction.

7. Self-Regulate for Positive Professional Development

Self-regulation is a powerful emotional intelligence tool for enhancing leadership capabilities. When you can redirect disruptive emotions and adapt to change easily, you can change your perspective and make level-headed decisions during stressful situations.

I recall one of my clients was faced with the difficult challenge of firing several long-term, dedicated staff due to unexpected budget cuts. To make it more difficult, he professionally disagreed with the decision, which put him in a very negative space.    

To help him redirect his emotions, I asked him, “What do you value from others in a difficult conversation”? He responded, “integrity, respect, and empathy.” Later he shared that it was in that moment that he voiced his values, where he realized he could remain true to them in the delivery of this task. He opened up emotionally, listened, and collaborated with his staff throughout the process. He has helped many of them move on to their next career and maintained many of those relationships.

8. Set Goals and Reflect on Them Regularly

Goals don’t necessarily have to be about breaking personal records or receiving a promotion. Sometimes, goals can simply focus on the outcomes of exciting changes that you want to make in how you perform as a leader. Goals allow you to find a new purpose, change your outlook, and redirect feelings of negativity.

There’s no better time than now to consider the professional goals you want to achieve this year to become a better leader. By enhancing your leadership capabilities through training, you can drive valuable change not only in your own life, but throughout your organization.

Coach’s Questions:

What steps are you going to take to increase your emotional intelligence? What’s holding you back from emotional intelligence workshops for you and your team? What are you reading to help you increase your own emotional intelligence?

 

Janice Gair, PCC, CPHR is the co-founder of EI Advantage, which is dedicated to helping leaders and teams explore their emotional intelligence and level-up their leadership skills.

 

 

It’s time for women leaders to bring out hidden powers

I recently had the privilege of hosting Day 1 of the 2018 Wisdom Mentoring Program, an event held by the Women’s Executive Network. Given carte blanche to develop a full leadership day, my intention was to provoke the attendees to realize how their leadership is critical in light of three massive and key cultural shifts changing our world.

The attendees were women who hold senior or executive positions in primarily male-dominated industries. Think: oil and gas, manufacturing, and international consulting firms.

These smart and outspoken leaders patiently indulged me in painting the picture of what’s underpinning the confluence of change that is happening now and expected to accelerate over the next two to five years. This will have an impact on not only our work, but also the ability of businesses to adapt and how we as a society choose to respond.

I’m talking about Industry 4.0, the intergenerational workplace, and #TimesUp.

Three key cultural shifts

If you don’t know much about these three key cultural shifts or perhaps haven’t even heard about them, I’ll help you out.

Industry 4.0 is the first shift, and this alone will change the world in ways we can’t even imagine. Think big data, artificial intelligence, and self-driving cars. Essentially, Industry 4.0 is the bridging of physical industrial assets and digital technologies in so-called cyber-physical systems. It’s already here; humans just aren’t ready for it.

We’ve been talking about the second key shift, the intergenerational workplace, for over ten years.  Now we have members of Generation Z filling positions. Millennials expect flexibility, diversity, and ethical business practices. Generation Z expects the same and more: mainly, a self-actualized workplace culture. The Gen Z employee wants regular feedback, access to all levels of the company, and to feel personally valued. This means instead of power situated top/down, they expect power that flows down, up, and across.

#TimesUp is the third significant phenomenon. For centuries women have been relegated to subservient positions. It’s taken women of the Hollywood machine to break the silence about inappropriate behaviour both men and women have always known exists. #TimesUp is the recognition that women will not tolerate inequality and harassment in any industry. This will have huge impacts on the ways we communicate and who sits in the C-Suite offices.

Time to bring out hidden powers

With these three key shifts on the table, I proposed it’s time for women leaders to bring out their “hidden powers.” I’m talking about the characteristics we have in spades but don’t necessarily bring to our work. The women attendees dug in and came up with lists of values, behaviours, and ways of being they don’t show up with at work.

I was met with myriad complaints of situations such as, “my male colleagues speak over me in meetings,” “I’m called aggressive if I stand up for myself,” and, “it’s so hard being the only female at the board table.”

I don’t doubt the challenges these women face. What I’m suggesting is to change how we, as women, show up. We may work in male-defined structures, but if we consider the three key cultural shifts in front of us, we have compelling reasons to change the book on leadership.

We’re moving into a time of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. Businesses will embrace agility, speed of change will be the norm, and innovation and failure will be paramount. Employees will need to feel they matter and that their work has meaning.

Four themes emerged through the hidden powers discussion:

  • Empathy
  • Inclusion
  • Vulnerability
  • Resilience

Now, I’m not suggesting men don’t have these same qualities – they do!

In a recent HBR article, authors Tinsley and Ely pinpoint that it’s actually organizational structures, company practices, and patterns of interaction that position men and women differently, creating systematically different experiences for them.

In essence, we’ve created narratives over the years that reinforce gender stereotypes; the real explanation for any sex differences that exist in the workplace is context.

With three massive shifts in our midst, it’s time to let go of ancient directive management behaviours and bureaucratic structures where few hold the power. It’s critical to replace them with values and behaviours that support, not disenfranchise, people.  

Since the 1990s Daniel Goleman and others have been proselytizing Emotional Intelligence. The idea that we need leaders with self-awareness, empathy, and self-regulation has taken hold, and yet, it’s not enough.

For women in leadership positions, stepping up and promoting their hidden powers will generate learning for both genders. This can influence a shift in context, thinking, and behaviour from gender bias and stereotyping to one of inclusion and equality.

As we embark on the agile corporate landscape, we’ll need an antidote to the lightning speed, innovate/fail/adapt/change processes of cross-functional teams. We’ll need teams supported by senior leaders who are not only empathic, but who are vulnerable, support failures and successes, understand and support inclusivity, and create climates of resilience.

We may be heading into a future of artificial intelligence and robots, but as the women of the Wisdom Mentoring Program discovered, it will take very human actions and qualities to support people into this new era.

The Coach’s Questions

Where do you see evidence of the Industry 4.0, the intergenerational workplace, and #TimesUp shifts? What as yet hidden powers could you bring to your work? What’s required for your company’s leadership to meet these cultural changes in the workplace?

 

 

Eve Gaudet, PCC, is an executive coach with a passion for supporting others. She is known for her caring and direct style in working with her clients. She has been with Padraig since 2014 and also has her own firm, Eve of Change.