When Are Emotions Appropriate in Leadership?

Stressful businessman at outdoorsMartin was going through a tough divorce that took him by surprise.  He knew his angst and sorrow showed through at work.  “I worry about how I’m being perceived – less leader-like, more needy.”

Emily had frequent encounters with a colleague who was consistently mean-spirited, un-collaborative, and dismissive of her team’s work.  After six months of forced efforts to find common ground, she admitted she “felt angry at the very sight of him, and totally out of control emotionally when around him”. Continue reading

Left Brain and Right Brain – Not Either/Or

Left Brain and Right Brain - Not Either/Or“I’m afraid I let my emotions influence my decisions too often.”
“I try to remain rational at work.”
“I am empathetic with my staff, but when it comes to getting the work done, I can’t let emotions get in the way.”

Somewhere in our normative formation as leaders, we learned that the left brain and right brain were meant not to mix; that we were to separate their usage in our business lives. Continue reading

Helping an Employee – or Are You?

Helping an Employee - or Are You?Ella steamed out of Diane’s office and directly to her mentor, Greg. “She did it again!  She knows the recommendations I gave her for the Highlands project are going to resolve all the issues the customer has raised, yet once again, she had to ‘help’. She just couldn’t resist offering her own little ‘improvements’. Why can’t she ever just say, “nice job, Ella”?” Continue reading

Offering Help to a Fellow Leader

Business colleagues sitting at a table during a meeting with two male executives shaking handsIt seemed logical and right to Fred to offer his help to the sales director.  After all, “sales is everyone’s responsibility”, acknowledged Fred, even though he was the operations manager.  Fred was watching his colleague Ryan’s area flounder in the new sales campaign, and he was sure he had some experience with the business-to-business customers that would really make a difference.  He knew that Ryan was under a lot of pressure from the CEO, and that the impact of a poor sales campaign would be devastating for the company. Continue reading

Coaching vs. Consulting – What’s the Difference?

coaching-vs-consulting“I’m frustrated with my coach,” said Eva.  “She is not helping me to solve my problems.”

Her contact in Human Resources dug a little deeper.  “What problems are you hoping she will help you to solve?”

“Well,” Eva responded, “I thought she was going to be able to give me some expert business advice to help in my decisions on the major marketing efforts we’re undertaking, but she’s asking more questions of me than giving me answers.” Continue reading

Mentoring vs. Coaching – What Do I Need?

mentoring-vs-coachingOften, we are approached to provide a ‘mentor’ for a leader, and our next step is to ask the questions that will discern the real need.  While we take this step in all requests, we listen especially intently when the request is for a mentor, because often what the client is requesting is different than our specialty in coaching. It’s not uncommon for us to redirect the client to a different type of learning relationship for the leader.  We thought it might be helpful to provide a little clarity around the two roles, how they are the same, and how they differ. Continue reading

Individual or Group Decision – Your Choice Matters

Individual or Group Decision – Your Choice Matters“This decision is urgent and critical.  I don’t have time to bring together a group that will analyze for days before making a decision.  I need to just make the decision,” said Ian.  Was Ian right about his choice of who should who should make this ‘urgent and critical’ decision? Continue reading

The Four Defining Traits of a Leader

Business Leadership Attributes and Features in LiteratureAs one young professional recently told us, it’s overwhelming trying to understand what skills to work on to become a good leader.  “Where should I start?  Where does it most pay to focus my attention?”  And indeed, look at the websites of such thought leaders as the Center for Creative Leadership and Harvard University, and you’ll find a staggering set of leadership skills to develop.  One website proudly announces “101 Leadership Skills & Traits (The Complete List)”.  No wonder our young professional feels flooded with too many potential ‘leadership skills’ to digest! Continue reading

The Leader’s Abbreviated Book of Etiquette

Etiquette text conceptJudith Martin, also known for decades as ‘Miss Manners’, is now 77 years old, and famously wrote a column about such important subjects as ‘don’t value your furniture more than your friends’, or ‘don’t hog your airplane window seat’.  But is a Miss Manners and her insistence on etiquette still important in today’s much more informal world?  After all, etiquette arose as a rigid code of manners for those attending kings and queens. Continue reading

Nonverbal Communication in the Virtual World

Smiley face and emoticon simple set with facial expressions isolated in white background. Vector illustrationAs you dash off a text message to your colleague in New York about a project you’re working on together, how are you feeling?

If you’re feeling like the second emoji in the top row, is your colleague likely to feel like the second-last emoji in the bottom row when he receives your text?

The truth is, even in virtual communications, nonverbal communication is present, whether we take advantage of the clever little emotional indicators available to us or not. Continue reading