by Laurie Sudbrink on September 19th, 2017

As George unfolded his story, I could definitely relate. George was getting strong resistance from a couple of people. It seemed ridiculous to him because the project made perfect sense. Why couldn’t they see it and just get on board?

George is a mid-level IT Director in a large company. He’s responsible for a very important project that will impact the entire organization. He has been working with the executive team and an outside consultant for the past six months. They’ve done all the due diligence. They’ve selected the right software. How could people not trust him to make the best decision? George was stuck on “Why couldn’t they see it and just get on board?”  

​It’s one thing to embrace change for yourself - it’s quite another to get everyone else to buy in!

When we’re faced with a change, the initial reaction, whether we’re aware of it or not, is typically to think “what’s in it for me.”  This isn’t necessarily negative - it’s actually quite normal. We want to understand the “why” behind the change and how it impacts us.

In some cases, if we’ve had too much change at once, our threshold for change may be about to break. That’s when people skip right over the “what’s in it for me” and go immediately to resisting the change.

And then there’s the possibility that egos are in play and because people weren’t involved in the decision, and the change feels like it was thrust upon them, they can’t even see the project for what it really is.

While there are other reasons for resistance to change, most boil down to the lack of acceptance from an emotional perspective. The biggest mistake managers make when implementing change is being so focused on the quality of the change initiative that they forget about the people side.

​The question becomes, then, how do we get our people to embrace change?

George was completely immersed in the project much earlier than anyone else even knew about it. There was no doubt to him and the executive team that they had selected the best solution. The quality of the change initiative was not the issue. George, the executive team, and the consultant neglected to consider the change process.

They didn’t think about the time it might take for others to understand and embrace it.
They didn’t consider the other changes people might be going through, at work and in their personal lives. They didn’t respect the interpersonal dynamics of relationships and egos. Just imagine how much more efficiently and effectively this project could have been implemented!

We'll be wrapping up this series with a FREE webinar on October 4th, 2017 at 2pm: How Managers Can Intentionally Lead People Through Change. There will be time for a live FAQ at the end - come prepared!

And stay tuned next week for further discussion on managing change.

Cheers,

Laurie

by Laurie Sudbrink on September 12th, 2017

​Have you noticed the amount of change seems to be compounding? The only way to sustain the change we’re attempting to make, and to save time and money in the long run, is to intentionally lead people through that change.

​We need to carve out time, attention and resources to prevent the fallout from people resisting change.

10 tips to get started:
  1. Take a good look at all the major change that is happening in your organization.  How many new projects or products, IT system changes, reorganizations, new employees, etc.
  2. Do you have a clear vision for each major change initiative?  Are you helping people understand it and get engaged around it?
  3. Proactively provide as much information as possible.
  4. Respect that people progress from the current state to the future state differently.
  5. Understand DiSC styles and how they impact your change initiatives.
  6. Knowing and caring about each person will help you be aware if they have a lot of personal change happening that might be compounding their amount of transition. Divorces, marriages, moves, babies, breakups, family member issues, hurricanes and other natural disasters… these all add to the change threshold.
  7. Be realistic about the time it will take to make change happen.
  8. Be mindful of your desired culture and don’t sacrifice it for short term gains.
  9. Measure people’s engagement levels. The method you use will depend on your company size.
  10. Provide training and development in change management, leadership, emotional intelligence, and effective meetings.
It’s true, the only thing that’s constant is change. Yet we seem to spend the least amount of time on intentionally managing and leading change. Many managers are not truly respecting the change process, whether they’re unaware, impatient or unrealistic.

I’d love to hear your management challenges with getting people to embrace change. Which step is most difficult (1-Awareness; 2-Desire; 3-Knowledge; 4-Action; 5-Perseverance) from The Five Steps of Change?  (If you aren’t using this model yet, you can access it in Chapter 6 of Leading With GRIT, available in Kindle and hard copy).

Join us October 4th, 2017 at 2pm for a FREE webinar on How Managers Can Intentionally Lead People Through Change!

Stay tuned next week for more discussion on managing change!


Cheers,

Laurie


by Laurie Sudbrink on September 5th, 2017

​​If you want to increase employee engagement levels at your company, the smartest place to focus is on emotional intelligence.

​Emotional intelligence, or EQ, has a direct and positive impact on employee engagement.

In the last 10 years, employee engagement levels have remained static, even though companies throw millions of dollars at this issue.

Why? Because they’re working on making the environment more fun, spending lots of money on things like free food and slides and bean bag chairs, rather than working on the obvious and most impactful issue of emotional intelligence.

Having strong emotional intelligence is the key to success for leaders. It builds trust and a sense of genuine connection and caring. This results in loyalty and higher output.

Join us today, September 6th, for a FREE webinar and learn more about emotional intelligence and how it applies to your own leadership practices.

Learn how optimism and perseverance (aka GRIT) have a direct impact on your teams:
  • Avoid politics and power struggles
  • Connect and relate better to your co-workers
  • Develop loyalty and increase productivity
Leaders with a high EQ are happier in their work and home relationships AND are more likely to be promoted!

Is there a situation you find yourself neck deep in?

Save your spot today and join live to participate in our Q&A after the presentation.

Cheers,

Laurie

by Laurie Sudbrink on August 30th, 2017

If you’re looking to move up the management ladder, there’s one area that you absolutely have to master.

Emotional intelligence.

We’ve been writing about it for the last few weeks, and I’m hosting a live webinar next Wednesday on the topic. (Register here!) Wondering what all the buzz is about? It starts with your brain and your heart.

Our brains are amazing. Without conscious thought, our brain circuitry is processing emotions and it almost automatically impacts our actions. We’re not even aware of this happening - How are my feelings affecting myself and others and the behavior I choose in this moment?

Our hearts play a big role as well. Recent research by HeartMath has uncovered that our heart really does communicate chemically to our bodies: “In short, we found that the pattern of the heart’s activity was a valid physiological indicator of emotional experience…(p20)”   “It is important to emphasize, however, that the heart’s rhythmic beating patterns not only reflect the individual’s emotional state, but they also play a direct role in determining emotional experience.” (p38)

If we’re not mindful of this, we can end up reacting too emotionally. With awareness, we have more freedom in controlling our reactions by blending emotions with rational thought.
But that can be easier said than done, as we’ve all experienced ‘losing it’ in reaction to something someone says or does.

Like we saw with Jeff last week, we can be so consumed with our own emotional state that we don’t even consider someone else’s emotions and how we are affecting them.

Once we become more aware and practice processing our emotions, we can genuinely focus on helping others.

We should always keep in mind that it’s not our responsibility or in our control to change other people. But especially in a leadership role, we do have a responsibility to positively influence, build confidence and self-esteem, and help shape thoughts and beliefs of the people we are leading.

​In relationships, whether it’s a boss/employee, a husband/wife, friends, siblings, parent/child - emotional intelligence plays a critical role.

It’s how we feel about that other person. Is there give and take? (Check out Adam Grant’s book, Give and Take!). Is there trust? Compassion? Is it genuine, or manipulative? Of course, not all relationships are going to be improved. Some need to be abandoned, because they are abusive.

If it’s a relationship you’ve decided is worth improving, focusing on emotional intelligence is the best place to start.

Begin by thinking of someone you admire who has good interpersonal skills and relates really well to others. The Dalai Lama pops into my mind! He is so humble yet has such a huge impact. He’s not judgmental nor egotistical. He’s not self-serving. I also recall a manager I had who listened really well and helped me to see how my emotions were affecting my judgment at times. I felt like he truly cared about me and he wasn’t doing it just to help himself (although I’m sure it did)!

Think about how you might interact with this person differently in order to better connect, relate and communicate.

The lack of emotional intelligence has been found to be one of the biggest deterrents to a manager’s success and her opportunity to be promoted. Join us next Wednesday, September 6 at 2pm EST to discover more about emotional intelligence and how we can improve relationships and success, on the job and at home!

Cheers,
Laurie

by Laurie Sudbrink on August 22nd, 2017

Jeff shared his frustration about one of his supervisors in a recent coaching session. He has 6 supervisors that report to him, and Veronica constantly tests his patience. When I asked what Veronica was feeling, Jeff immediately responded: “how would I know what she’s feeling?”

Some of us don’t naturally think about other people’s emotional states. In fact, it can be hard enough to be aware of your own feelings.

While we shouldn’t assume that we know what someone else is feeling, it is important to be aware of their emotional state, and it’s imperative to effective leadership (take a look at this previous article with 9 Practical Reasons Why Managers Need Emotional Intelligence). It starts with knowing ourselves and knowing why emotional intelligence is important.

Consider these 4 parts that make up emotional intelligence:
  1. Self-awareness (and motivation)
  2. Self management
  3. Social awareness
  4. Relationship management

Last week we shared daily practices we can put in place that help us with self-management. This is the second piece to emotional intelligence and a necessary step before leaders can be effective with their teams.

Social awareness is all about connecting with others by being aware of their emotions.

You might be wondering, how did Jeff make out? Jeff realized rather quickly that he hadn’t even thought about Veronica’s feelings because he was consumed with being frustrated with her. After only a couple of weeks working on some self-management techniques, Jeff began practicing these techniques for being aware of other people’s emotional states:
  1. Slow down and think about the other person.
  2. When things aren’t going well, take personal responsibility.
  3. Set the expectation that you’ll be checking in with how they are doing from time to time.
  4. Practice watching non-verbals, listening to tone, pitch and volume, and checking in. For Jeff and Veronica, Jeff practiced saying “You ok with this?” or “How are you feeling about this?”
  5. Listen, Acknowledge and Follow up (you can remember this easily by using the acronym LAF with your staff).
  6. Be available.
  7. Have a system for providing feedback.

Is there anything you do to practice social awareness? Share it here so everyone can benefit!

Cheers, 
Laurie

FREE WEBINAR!

​How Emotional Intelligence Impacts Leadership
In this free 20-minute webinar, Laurie Sudbrink explains how leaders can improve their emotional intelligence (EQ)! Do you have questions for Laurie? She'll answer questions LIVE at the end.
As always, Laurie has some special offers saved just for webinar attendees. Interested?
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR THE FREE WEBINAR
 

by Laurie Sudbrink on August 15th, 2017

A doctor with bad bedside manner.
A boss who explodes at people.   
A partner who refuses to talk things out.  

What do they all have in common?  A lack of emotional intelligence.

Last week, we started talking about emotional intelligence. One reader, Michele, emailed to ask “but what is causing this behavior?”  This is a great question Michele - acknowledging the cause is the best place to start when you’re looking to improve your emotional intelligence!

We can imagine the dozens of reasons why the doctor doesn’t take the time to connect with his patients, or for the boss exploding, or why the partner won’t talk things out. If it is a pattern of behavior, and not just an isolated incident, it’s time to look inside.

Just visualize this scenario for our blasting boss. His kids left Legos on the floor this morning. Again. He stepped on them with bare feet. Again. He missed his window for a clear drive to work and got caught in a traffic jam. His assistant wears a scent that gives him a headache. He bottles all these things up and, combined with a lack of sleep, when one of his team makes a mistake that triggers the memory of a colossal client catastrophe… BOOM, he explodes! Again.

​Emotional intelligence is a reflection of our own thoughts and beliefs about the situation at hand and/or the past experiences we’ve had.

Remember the definition from Dictionary.com? Emotional intelligence is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.

It takes self-awareness to even begin working on our emotional intelligence. Being mindful of what we’re thinking and how we’re internalizing is so important because that is what is driving our actions.

We could even go deeper and consider things that impact our state of mind - what we eat, our sleep, our exercise - all have an impact. Although we’re not going to dive into this aspect, it’s good to realize that without a certain level of self-care, it will be difficult to be in the mindset it takes to have a healthy EQ.

Managing our thoughts and beliefs helps manage our emotions. When we put daily practices in place, it helps us be more resilient and raises our emotional intelligence. A few things anyone can start practicing immediately:
  • Gratitude – every morning and every evening, list a couple of things you are grateful for.
  • Writing your intentions every morning and every evening. What do you want? How do you want to feel. Write them in the present tense so your mind starts to think that way.
  • Be aware of your own intent – is it helpful or hurtful?
  • Change your perception of others – start believing in people and visualizing them successful.
  • Deep breathing to reset and recharge. Pause and look at something in nature. Clear your thoughts.
  • Move – stretch, dance, or walk while you practice gratitude, or listen to great tunes, or focus on your intentions.
For more on this topic - self-awareness and increasing our EQ - I recommend a couple of my favorite books that help us shift our thinking:
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It’s easy to point a finger when it comes to our emotional reactions, but remember, there’s four pointing right back at you! Join Laurie and her team LIVE on August 30 at 2:00 p.m. EST to delve deeper into how you can improve your EQ! This session is FREE, but there are limited spots to attend. Don’t miss out on your chance to participate in the live Q&A!  

Save my spot!
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​Do you have a practice or intention to help you manage your thoughts and beliefs – We’d love to hear and share these!

by Laurie Sudbrink on August 9th, 2017

​Organizations are feeling the pain of people leaving due to the way they are mistreated by their bosses. Many studies are chalking this up to the manager’s lack of Emotional Intelligence (aka EQ).

But what is emotional intelligence, and why is it so important?

​“Out-of-control emotions can make smart people stupid.”

​- Daniel Goleman, Working with Emotional Intelligence
According to Dictionary.com, emotional intelligence is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. The definition goes on to explain that "emotional intelligence is the key to both personal and professional success."

It’s pretty evident why we need emotional intelligence just by that definition!

And I couldn’t agree more. In the majority of the executive coaching, leadership development and management workshops that I facilitate, emotional intelligence is where we focus most of our time! It is the key to higher employee engagement.

Let’s look at nine very practical management reasons why having emotional intelligence (EQ) is so important:
  1. Keeping control of your emotions so you don’t spread the toxicity
  2. Not flying off the handle and adding to the already high disengagement percentages
  3. Better at connecting and relating to your people
  4. Avoid backstabbing and power struggles and it builds trust
  5. Can better notice and probe when a person is giving non-verbal signals
  6. Helps make your people feel understood and appreciated
  7. You get more loyalty and productivity from your people
  8. Gets the team to better gel and creates efficiencies
  9. It is much easier to inspire your team to be accountable
Managers with higher emotional intelligence have more optimism and perseverance (aka GRIT), and this has a direct impact on their teams.

Like any management skill, some people are just naturally good at EQ. But the majority of people need to hone their emotional intelligence.

Stay tuned over the next few weeks for more on emotional intelligence!

Want to get started right away? Check out Leading With GRIT on Amazon, in Kindle or hardcover format).

Let us know what leadership topics you think would help managers the most - just share in the comments!

Cheers,

by Laurie Sudbrink on August 1st, 2017

Did you know that 1 out of every 2 managers is terrible at accountability?

In an article for Harvard Business Review, more than 5,400 upper level managers were researched around the world, and guess what? Holding people accountable is the single biggest thing that managers avoid doing!

If we want our teams to be accountable, we’ve got to walk the talk. If we don’t hold people accountable, how do we expect people to be accountable, for themselves and to their teams?

Top 10 things you might be doing to prevent your team from being accountable:
  1. You’re too casual with your team - Are you hanging out having drinks, talking about other people, complaining, venting? Maybe you’re used to being “one of the guys” and the transition is tough. Perhaps you’re trying to connect with people. Maybe you just like hanging with them. Regardless, if you’re too lax with your team, it will be very hard to hold them accountable. 

  2. Micromanaging - Are you worried things aren’t getting done properly, looking over everyone’s shoulders and putting in your two cents? When you’re too involved, people don’t feel like you trust them. In fact, the more people are watched, the less productive they are. 

  3. Too vague with your expectations - You have an idea in your mind what the outcome should be, but you fail to communicate it. It’s like when you ask your teenager to clean your car and when you inspect it, it’s not even close to your expectation. Their idea of clean was completely different than yours!

  4. Allowing people to come vent about something without having them take responsibility - It’s good to be that ear for your people, but are you letting people vent without turning it around and helping them take responsibility? 

  5. Getting mad about mistakes, or bringing it up over and over - Do you have a tough time accepting mistakes? Maybe you just can’t get it out of your mind and you keep bringing it up? Not being realistic about people making mistakes, and not being able to let go of it is sure to keep your team from being accountable.

  6. Allowing people to get away with the little things, not checking in on a regular basis - Maybe you’re afraid of being that micromanager, so you decide to be hands-off. The problem is, you’re not checking in enough. Finding the balance of checking in and micromanaging will be critical to accountability. 

  7. Not giving feedback often - whether you’re avoiding giving constructive feedback, or you don’t give enough recognition and praise, you are missing the opportunity to help your team learn accountability. 

  8. Solving their problems for them - We’ve all seen this in helicopter parenting! Well, guess what, it’s happening with management in the workplace too. Probably not for the same reasons, but we are enabling our teams to rely on us for problem-solving if we’re not teaching them to solve the problem. 

  9. Doing things yourself because you’re impatient and/or you don’t like the conflict - When you just do it yourself, you’re robbing your team of the chance to grow and develop. 

  10. Making excuses for not being accountable yourself - Most of the time this is masked pretty well. “I changed the date because I had to take another meeting.” Just remember the poem “Children Learn What They Live” by Dorothy Nolte. Replace Children with people and hang it on your wall! 
Do you ever find yourself or someone you work with somewhere in this top 10?

If you want to get your team more accountable, join me Wednesday, August 2nd at 2:00 p.m. for a FREE 20-min webinar! Here’s the link to sign up: From Blame & Complain to Accountability & Ownership for Teams. (the webinar is over, but you can email Laurie at laurie@unlimitedcoaching.com to request a copy of the recording!)
 
Just for showing up to the webinar, I’ll give you a very handy accountability tool you can easily share with your team. No strings attached! 

I have two other resources that will help you with accountability! Everything DiSC® 363™ for Leaders combines the best of a 360-degree assessment with the simplicity and power of DiSC. Plus, Commentsmart™ takes the sting out of the 360 experience with its guaranteed useful comments.
Jessica.Gorrell@UnlimitedCoaching.com In addition, you’ll get three strategies for improving leadership effectiveness. The result is a 360 experience that’s more productive and satisfying! Contact Jessica at Jessica.Gorrell@UnlimitedCoaching.com to learn more about this 363 assessment.

You can also discover everything you need to know about inspiring action and accountability in my book, Leading with GRIT! It’s available on Amazon in hardcover and Kindle versions. 

And stay tuned for the Get Your GRIT Together Planner coming soon! 

Cheers!
Laurie

by Laurie Sudbrink on July 26th, 2017

Laying blame can defeat teams and ruin relationships.

When we blame someone, that person being blamed typically feels hurt or threatened. Reactions can range from shutting down to lashing back.

Ultimately that person who was blamed loses trust in you, and we all know trust is the foundation of relationships.

A past coaching client and I were having coffee a few weeks ago when she told me how angry she was with the way her business partner recently treated her. They are involved in a major project with a tight deadline. They both committed to it, but now that things are getting stressful and they're not sure they're going to succeed, her partner is "freaking out" she said. The partner told her "I only agreed to these deadlines because you said it was possible. I knew I shouldn't have." My client interpreted it as "this is all your fault!"

My client went on to explain how she could get past the fact that her business partner was emotional and probably just needed someone to blame because he was feeling out of control. The thing she was having the most difficulty with was trusting him to be truthful. Was he really feeling that way in the beginning? Then why didn't he say something? And if he wasn't feeling that way in the beginning, but just blaming her now, what is that all about?

When we play the blame game, we're not dealing with the real issue.

We're trying to scoot around the problem.

Sometimes we're not even aware that we're acting this way! The real issue is usually much deeper than that which you are blaming someone for. In this case, her business partner might be fearful of the financial impact, or mad at himself for not speaking up, and/or he could be feeling guilty for not doing his part. Or maybe he has a habit of not taking personal responsibility, or he may be afraid people will judge them as unsuccessful. The point is, there's something else going on. And it can be easier to blame someone else then take ownership of your own part in it.

Just think about when blaming happens within your team at work. Not only does it damage the relationship, but it causes significant problems on the entire team. I've heard countless stories of how employees felt their manager threw them under the bus, or took credit for something they did. Team members complain and blame others when they can't finish their project, or the quality is sub par, or there wasn't effective communication.

By the way, when managers tell people to stop blaming someone else, it's almost useless because the issue is deeper.

If managers don't get to the real issue behind the blaming and if they don't continue to deal with similar problems then ultimately the team will erode.

And if managers are not giving credit where it's due, or they're throwing people under the bus, the damage is enormous. The scariest part is that it's very difficult to measure, but what it's costing your bottom line is greater than any other liability!

So, how can we go from a blaming mindset to a mentality of "owning my part, and how can I help?"

Join me August 2 for a free webinar to find out what managers can do to get their teams fully accountable! Here's where you can sign up: From Blame & Complain to Accountability & Ownership for Teams Webinar

And hey, just for attending the webinar, I'll give you a very cool self-awareness tool that helps you identify when you're in blame mode! Perfect for team discussions on the topic! I hope to see you there!

Cheers,
Laurie

by Laurie Sudbrink on July 18th, 2017

One morning, I was trudging into work in the rain when the wind whipped my umbrella inside out and I dropped all of my important work papers in a puddle. Ugh!

Maybe you’ve had a similar experience? That morning, as I trudged into the office, a colleague (known for her positivity) asked me how I was and I told her I was having a bad day! She replied “oh wow, and it’s only 7 a.m.!” I was about to carry the frustration of that 30-minute event dropping my papers in the rain into my entire day...

Then, I had my AHA moment.

Before we get to that, let me tell you a little about how my career started that led me to do the work that I do today.

My first taste of so-called leadership was not so great. The first manager I had was a hard-driving supervisor in a manufacturing company. I was 17 years old working 9 hour days in a summer job inspecting undergarments. If that wasn’t bad enough, my supervisor didn’t allow talking, frowned on us listening to our headsets, and constantly paced in back of us like a drill sergeant! She never seemed satisfied with our output.

The second manager I had was in a restaurant environment. I was 18 and in college. I was in the position for 30 days when he promoted me to assistant manager - I was so excited! He taught me to do everything he did, increased my pay by 25 cents an hour and then pretty much disappeared, for hours and sometimes days at a time. It wasn’t long that I discovered he threw people under the bus, took credit for their ideas and hard work, and constantly misrepresented himself to upper management (um yes, that’s the nice way of saying he lied!).
My next job was in a corporate environment and lasted almost 15 years. I held many positions as I advanced, and I had a number of managers.,Some were ok, most not so good, and one or two were pretty decent. Those are not very good odds!

I remember thinking, it doesn’t have to be this way! What was going on inside of these managers that made them treat people this way? And even when they were “ok managers”, why couldn’t they be great?

Early on when I landed the position of trainer, I started to see that you could help people change their thoughts and beliefs about things, and this, more than anything else, shaped their behavior. I first saw this in myself. I noticed my negative thinking and dwelling, and I asked myself, “what good is this doing?”

Rewind back to my day with the inside-out umbrella and wet papers and I had this epiphany moment of life-changing awareness and inspiration. I remember being aware of the negative feeling and realizing I was creating it, and I could create something different!

I knew I wanted to continue to work on myself, and to also help people free themselves to be who they really long to be. Too many of us feel trapped in our jobs, rather than inspired by them. It doesn’t have to be that way. I’ve seen people turn it around countless times now over my years of work.

That is what inspires me to do the work that I do. I absolutely love helping people find those AHA moments that make a difference in the rest of their lives!
​Coming from environments where I felt stuck and helpless, I get it. Because leadership positions are the most influential positions, this is where I find the most opportunity to help others.

Developing intentional leaders is my life’s work, because it frees people to live authentically, and to truly be happy and successful, at work and beyond! It’s all about changing lives through leadership!

Most of the managers I’ve worked with over the past 20 years have said one of their biggest struggles is with changing people’s behaviors. While we all know we can’t change another person, we do have the responsibility in leadership to get results through people. Creating that change in people requires changes in behaviors. How we go about changing behavior is crucial.

​​Leadership is a position of influence. And it is certainly not simple. It is complex. But Leadership can be simplified - with the right tools.
Most people who are promoted into leadership positions are not given the tools they need to be successful. Very few people naturally get it all on their own and become excellent leaders.

But just like any tool you use, you need the best tool if you want the best results. I’ve attended too many training classes to count and most were mediocre at best. They always focused on the behaviors that needed to change, providing you scripts and specific steps to take. Yet it rarely if ever worked.

Because focusing on the behaviors is not going to make a lasting impact on people.

​Until people shift their thoughts and beliefs, they will not change their behavior, or if they do, it won’t last long!
​We’ve all seen it in the countless people we’ve sent to training classes and they come back starting strong but soon back to their old habits. We see it in ourselves when we start diets and exercise programs (New Year’s resolutions ring a bell?). It doesn’t last!

​I’ve been studying people and behaviors for over 20 years and the one and only thing that will inspire lasting behavioral change is when people change inside.
Whether you own the business, you’re in the C-suite, you’re a mid-manager or front line supervisor, who you are inside has the greatest influence over who are to other people. When you shift inside, you can then lead intentionally. That’s when you get real results.

That is why I wrote the book Leading With GRIT, and it is why I’m so passionate about developing leaders.

​I believe in the potential of human beings.

​Perhaps you’d like to start feeling differently about your job, your career, your life? Imagine feeling like you have enough time to do the things you WANT to do, you’re not stressed out, you feel confident, positive and courageous! You’re getting so much accomplished through your team, and you have mutual appreciation and respect. Imagine not feeling trapped and constantly out of time.

You can stop imagining those feelings and make them a reality. Join me for this unique leadership experience, Lead With GRIT! Immerse for 3 days with a focus on developing yourself so you can lead intentionally. Your transformation begins immediately.

Will you join me?

Cheers!
Laurie

by Laurie Sudbrink on July 13th, 2017

Nothing wastes time or frustrates people more than someone hijacking a conversation, whether it’s at work during meetings, or in our personal lives.

It happens too often. You know how it goes. Your friend wants to get together to share all about her recent vacation. A few friends decide to meet for dinner and drinks so you can all enjoy your friend’s pics together. As your friend begins to share a photo, she mentions a really cool gift that she found for her son while she was there. Another friend jumps in with, "Oh how is Harrison, is he doing ok after the separation?" and bam, just like that, the conversation is about her son, the kids, the custody battle, which leads to a discussion of the unfairness of custody laws, and another friend’s story of her marital issues and before long it's time to go home and you have only seen 2 photos of your friend's trip to Italy.

This kind of sidetracking happens often in conversations. We joke about ourselves or others who have a tendency to do this, “oh look - squirrel!” Although the intent isn't bad, for most of us who experience this, it usually isn’t a funny matter. In all seriousness, at some level, it doesn't feel like our friend really cares about our vacation. Just think of how often this happens, whether with friends, with your children, your spouse, or your siblings, or at work.

People easily get distracted and forget the purpose of the conversation. A simple question leads the speaker away from where they were going, to where we want to go. Even if the listener is genuinely interested, they can still end up taking the entire conversation off course. The speaker might even feel the departure, but they usually still follow because it feels too awkward or difficult to stop it. Feelings get hurt, people get frustrated, and time gets wasted.

Just consider the impact conversation hijacking has on workplace productivity. A room full of people spend an hour in a meeting. If we tracked the cost every time the conversation went astray we would pay much more attention to this costly sidetracking. Many of us have probably been the culprit at one time or another. So what can we do?

As soon as you notice you've taken the discussion off-course, just bring it back, with a simple statement like "It was good to catch up on Harrison, and I didn’t mean to take us off-course, so tell me more about Italy! I want to see those pics and hear all about it!"

Or as soon as you notice someone else has taken the conversation astray, you could say “Harrison’s fine, and I’d love to tell you all about him but I really want to share these awesome vacation memories with you tonight!”

Especially in workplace conversations, whether you're the listener who took it off-track, or the speaker who is being led off track, it's important to course-correct as soon as possible. "OK, that's a good topic we need to discuss. Let's table it until we get through our agenda, and then we’ll come back to it, or schedule time for it later." In team meetings, use “The Parking Lot.” When a topic comes up, write it in the parking lot. At the end of the meeting see what’s on the list and then either schedule another meeting or task things out. Build in time on your agenda for managing the Parking Lot.

Think of ways you can build in awareness of conversation hijacking. Giving people our full attention and staying on course during conversations is not just a nicety in our personal relationships. If we care about the relationship, we need to take care of it. In our workplace, it’s a cost of doing business and needs managing if we want to improve productivity.

Have you been in this situation before? Do you think these tactics will be helpful to redirect conversations in the future? Let us know in the comments!

Cheers, 
Laurie

by Laurie Sudbrink on July 5th, 2017

​We are free, right?

We are all free to think, feel and do what we like, when we like. But there are always consequences. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, as Newton’s Third Law of Motion taught us in elementary school.  Most of us learned this, but how many of us apply it to our own lives?

Freedom isn’t about skirting our responsibilities. It’s not solely about what I want in this moment without regard to the future, other people, or the environment. There are other people whom our actions affect. And what we do today will have an impact on our tomorrow.

GRIT paves the way to freedom. Generosity, Respect, Integrity and Truth. To genuinely be free, it starts with our own Truth. Freedom starts with self-awareness.

So often, people feel trapped. They can’t say what they want to say, or be who they want to be. They stuff down their emotions and hide their true thoughts. They gossip about others to avoid a confrontation. They rant about the President, the millennials, their partner, or any other thing they can find as an excuse. They feel stuck in the town they’re in, the relationship they chose, the job they have. I wonder if they know how close they are to being happy, to being free from all the negativity.

Freedom is about choice. It’s about what we set in motion, and how we react - even to the things that we didn’t set in motion but still affect us today. When I started to understand this, although it was tough at first, I really began to enjoy catching myself in the negativity, because I knew how close I was to stopping the madness!

But we can’t even choose if we’re not self-aware and self-accepting.

The only way to true freedom is to take ownership of what we’ve set in motion, and how we’re reacting.

We can start with looking at our own Truth; by noticing if we are:
  • Taking things personally
  • Complaining
  • Blaming
  • Numbing out with drugs, television, or any other escape
Then we can use GRIT to pave the way to Freedom:

Truth
  • Practice self-awareness: How are you feeling? What are you thinking? Is it true? Are you complaining or blaming? Are you taking it personally?
  • Use your emotions to help you be aware of your thoughts and feelings.
  • Accept where you are right now.

Integrity
  • Choose what you want to think, feel and do.
  • Take ownership of what you think, feel and do and how it impacts yourself and others, now and in the future.
  • Choose your actions. Align your behaviors to what you want.

Respect
  • Respect yourself by getting the sleep you need, practicing self-reflection, eating the food that makes you healthy, moving your body, nourishing your spirit and your soul.
  • Respect others. Don’t assume you know what someone else is thinking, feeling, believing, and even doing. My grandmother used to say, believe nothing of what you hear, and only half of what you see. That includes your own thoughts!

Generosity
  • Be generous to yourself. Don’t just give, give, give and then feel resentful.
  • Allow the flow. Receive from others.
  • Have gratitude. Give from your heart, not for ulterior motives.
  • You decide where and when you want to give. When it’s genuine generosity, the reward is far greater.

Freedom is living the life you want, not the life you think others want you to live. It’s taking full responsibility for your choices and your reactions. It’s enjoying your journey, and accepting the full spectrum of being human.

While we’re celebrating our freedom in early July, let’s be mindful of the freedom and happiness we can create for ourselves and for those around us.

by Laurie Sudbrink on June 28th, 2017

People often ask me, doesn’t travel get old? For the most part, no. I love it. Travel for me is like opening the floodgates of creativity! Some of my best ideas and productivity came during or immediately after my travels.

Where I travel doesn’t always have to be to somewhere glamorous, but it does help. I’ve had many business trips that weren’t to any special exotic place and still had very creative and inspired moments. However, one of the things I focus on is where I want to be, when I work and when I play. My environment is very important to me. A killer view is more valuable to me than the inside of my house!

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

When I was lucky enough to go to New Zealand on a business trip (by the way, my definition of luck is when preparedness meets opportunity), I tacked on 10 extra days to explore this magnificent country. Hiking a mile up a remote ravine that hardly anyone knew about to get about 6 feet from little baby seals playing beneath a pool with a waterfall backdrop was one of the all-time highlights of all my journeys.  Talk about recharging my battery! To this day when I think of the trip it makes me happy and inspired.

One of my goals is to visit at least one new place every year. Usually it’s a lot more than that! I highly recommend exploring and experiencing new places. If you have a team retreat, consider going somewhere new, somewhere beautiful. It may be tough to measure, but there’s no doubt your team will get more inspired and creative.

I just got back from Cleveland, and I hadn’t been there in 20 years. Wow, what a cool place. On my drive back, listening to Tony Robbins and some other podcasts, I was so inspired by the time I got home I could hardly wait to get writing and strategizing!

Next month I’ll be going on a family vacation to Newfoundland where I go every year. I usually explore a new place each time - the island is massive with beauty everywhere. I’ll also be visiting Costa Rica for the first time in July. This is my kind of business trip! I’ll be collaborating with a resort owner and expert physical trainer to design and schedule our first retreat together.

And sure, do I run into snafus when I’m traveling? Of course I do. But we can remember this:

A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.” – John Steinbeck

Whatever happens, it’s more about how you react to it. We can’t change a lot of things - - weather, what other people do, certain situations… the only thing we can change is the way we think about things. Because it’s the thinking that creates the stress and the undesirable behaviors.

Stress is resistance to something. When something happens in your travels (or in your life!), it’s much better for you to go with it, rather than resist it. I’m not saying you should ‘put up with crap.’

​You can be persistent without being pushy!

^ tweet that and tag @lauriesudbrink!
So wherever your travels -  remember, this is a great opportunity for yourself and your team to be creatively inspired and more productive!

I’d love to know where and how you like to get creative and inspired! Leave me a comment!

Cheers!
Laurie

by Laurie Sudbrink on June 20th, 2017

​Your Employee Engagement Roadmap - Part 3
Last week in part two of Your Employee Engagement Roadmap, we looked at the reasons for disengagement and the common connection. Remember Tom and how his employees felt he just wasn’t approachable, and he compounded that issue by reacting poorly? He fell into the common pitfall of getting frustrated and barking orders (Part 1).  We concluded that many managers are not connecting with their people enough.  

If we’re looking to build a truly engaged team, it cannot be done without genuinely connecting with people.

To feel that we are part of a community is a basic human need. We want to feel cared about. We want to be able to trust in leadership. When people feel this way, they’ll do just about anything for you. (Well, within reason!) Just turn it around and think about someone that you feel connected with, who genuinely cares about you, a person you can really trust. Would you be more or less motivated when working for that person?

Trust is an important part of those basic human connections, and connecting with people really doesn’t take that much time. It really doesn’t take that much skill either! But it does take self-awareness, genuine interest in your people and self-discipline to stay consistent with these activities and build trust. These are the three main pillars of building an engaged team.

Master these three pillars, and just like everything else you do to engage employees, like giving those expensive perks, creating a fun place to work with slides, and even giving recognition - it will all be meaningful and impactful. And even if you don’t spend a lot on perks, just by genuinely connecting with your employees, you will immediately boost employee engagement.

The First Pillar - It starts with Self Awareness. How engaged are YOU? What are you doing (or not doing) to show your engagement level? What are you doing to engage with your people?

The Second Pillar - Take a genuine interest in your people. A lot of us are conditioned to think that work is only about work and we should leave personal things at home.
But people can’t leave it at the door – they are still bringing the energy, low self-esteem, sadness, and/or anger with them from the things happening in all aspects of their lives. And as leaders, we are too!
While this is not about becoming an armchair psychologist, it is about connecting in a meaningful and authentic way so people feel that you care about them.

The Third Pillar - It takes self-discipline to stay consistent with these activities. When we start something and we don’t follow through, people stop trusting in us. If we say we’re going to have regular one-on-one meetings, and we keep changing the date or cancelling the meeting, what message do you think that sends to your employee? I can tell you what I’ve heard from people on the receiving end – they think they are not a priority, not really cared about, and not respected.
 
Let’s take a look back at Tom’s situation. Tom really wasn’t doing much to engage with his employees (and it came out in coaching he had his own engagement issues). His employees didn’t feel like he cared about them - it seemed that he only cared about the work. Tom would have a moment or two when he connected, but he didn’t do anything to make this a part of his leadership routine.

Once Tom started working in the three pillars, that’s when things began to really change.

These three pillars immediately boost employee engagement. But we’ve only just scratched the surface of the topic of employee engagement in this series of blog posts. We’ll dive much deeper into how you can master these three pillars in toomorrow’s LIVE webinar at 2:00 p.m. EST!

You will get clear action steps you can take to create a plan for turning your team from disengaged employees to dedicated team members. Attendees can ask anonymous questions about your own challenges in leadership and get advice from me to help you overcome them.

There’s still time to sign up to join us to Boost Employee Engagement Immediately - Without Spending a Dime! Sign up to join us here!
I hope to see you at the webinar tomorrow!

Cheers, 

Laurie

by Laurie Sudbrink on June 13th, 2017

Your Employee Engagement Roadmap - Part 2
Remember Tom (from last week), and the common pitfall he fell into while attempting to improve engagement on his team?

Counterintuitive to Tom, and many leaders facing any one of the common pitfalls is before jumping to action or assuming there’s nothing you can do, just stop and reflect.

That’s right - the single most important step to increasing employee engagement is to stop and reflect for a moment.  

Ask yourself why. Why do you think people are disengaged? What might be causing it?

Refrain from blaming the millennial generation, or whatever else it might be easy to default to. If the majority of people are disengaged at some level, then we have to look at the bigger cause. (When it’s one or two people, then we deal directly with those individuals.)

By reflecting, we’ll get to the root of it, instead of reacting poorly and causing more disengagement!

In my work over the years, I’ve heard these reasons for disengagement (in no particular order):
  • My manager is too busy to listen or follow through
  • People don’t feel connected to the vision/mission; they don’t have their own “why” or purpose.
  • Lack of trust in their leader and/or the organization’s leadership
  • They feel that they are treated condescendingly; too much negative attention on mistakes
  • People don’t feel like their managers care about them
  • Their manager is self-absorbed and not developing them
  • There is no team reward - only individual goals
  • Other team members get away with poor performance
  • Everyone gets treated the same, or some of us are rewarded with more work
  • There is a lack of meaningful communication
  • My manager throws people under the bus or takes credit when she shouldn’t

Can you see the common connection in these things? Yes, the person’s manager is the link to all of these. In the majority, there is a lack of effective interpersonal connection.

When asking Tom’s direct reports what they perceived, they summed it up as Tom was just not approachable. He compounded that issue by reacting with barking orders.

Many leaders are seen by their employees as being unapproachable.

Just take a look at research from Gallup which you can see in this chart:
While there could be some systemic problems, most of the time most of us are not connecting with our people enough. And no I don’t mean micromanaging and interfering. I mean connecting on an interpersonal level.

If you are connecting with your people, then they will begin to feel that you are open and approachable.

In next week’s blog post, the last part of this series on your employee engagement roadmap, we’ll share what it takes to connect with your employees and explain why that’s so important for building a truly engaged team.

We’ll dive even deeper into your employee engagement roadmap in my upcoming FREE webinar on Wednesday, June 21 at 2:00 p.m. EST.  

In this LIVE webinar, Boost Employee Engagement Immediately - Without Spending a Dime, you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about how to be a truly engaging leader within your organization (and in your life!). You can also ask anonymous questions during the webinar specific to the challenges you’re facing with your employees.

Sign up to join us!
Cheers!

Laurie

by Laurie Sudbrink on June 7th, 2017

Your Employee Engagement Roadmap - Part 1
​2016 engagement statistics released by Gallup revealed that we’re at 69% either not engaged, or actively disengaged(1). That means 2 out of 3 of your team members might be doing just the minimum to get by, or worse yet, showing up and actively working on other things, or even working against you!

Of course, statistics vary by company size. In most cases, the larger the company, the higher the percentage of disengagement. The smaller the company, the lower the disengagement percentage.  Regardless - most of us do have employees who are not highly engaged. They are showing up to work, but they’re not really putting themselves into the work.

So what do we do when we realize there are disengaged employees in our department, or on our team, or in our company?

Many leaders fall into one or more of these classic pitfalls:
  • Get irritated, start pointing the finger and blaming something or someone.
  • Get really frustrated and start barking more orders.
  • Resign to the fact and not even do anything.

About 10 years ago I was working with a professional services organization that had what they diagnosed as “minor employee engagement issues.”  After some discussions and questions with a few employees, it was clear what was causing employees to disengage. You probably already guessed that it was a person. Yes, it was their direct manager, Tom.

Tom fell into the classic pitfall of frustration and barking orders.

You see, Tom was told by his Sr. Leader that people were not as engaged as they could be, and he needed to do something about that.

So he did what he thought was the best thing to do.

He did what he had learned was effective - and maybe it’s what you’re doing too...

Tom started barking more orders.

And the situation got worse.

Counterintuitive to Tom (and many leaders in this situation), was a very simple but critical step he was missing. In fact, this step is necessary to avoid any of the classic pitfalls!

We’ll cover this simple and very important step next week in Part 2 of Your Employee Engagement Roadmap - The Single Most Important Step to Improve Employee Engagement.
And, we’ll go much more in-depth in a FREE webinar on Wednesday, June 21 at 2:00 p.m. EST.  
​In this LIVE webinar, Boost Employee Engagement Immediately - Without Spending a Dime you'll learn the secrets to becoming a truly engaging leader within your organization (and in your life!). You can also ask anonymous questions during the webinar specific to the challenges you’re facing with your employees. Sign up to join us here!

Seating is limited so register today!
Cheers!,

Laurie
​(1) 2017 Gallup State of the American Workplace Report

by Laurie Sudbrink on May 31st, 2017

Picture this - you've just finished up a huge project at work or at home and you're looking forward to spending some time kicking back to relax and take some time for yourself. 

Then, WHAM - you get sick. 

I remember having this pattern in my life, and admittedly it took me quite a while to figure out that I was the common denominator!

Often, we’re causing our own illnesses, and stress is the culprit.

If you break down the word disease to dis – ease you can see where the problem is!  While stress isn’t always a bad thing, if it is not managed correctly it can be detrimental to our health, and cause us unhappiness.

Recognizing the signs early, and taking proactive measures is the best way to prevent damage from stress. So how can we recognize stress before it causes the damage? Try these tips:
  1. Pay attention to your thoughts. Are you being kind with your words to yourself, or are you beating yourself up about things? As Don Miguel Ruiz shares in The Four Agreements, “don’t go against yourself with your word.”
  2. Know yourself and pay attention to your physical body. We all hold stress in different ways. When you pay attention regularly, you’ll catch yourself grinding your teeth, scrunching up your shoulders, or tensing your muscles. Listen to what your body is telling you and try to make an effort to release that tension.
  3. Think about situations that could cause stress. Set yourself up to flow through that stress rather than resist it. Resistance is what makes negative stress. Having unrealistic expectations can set us up for stressful situations. Create a plan for yourself for what will happen when you get to the other side of your stress and envision yourself there to help you get through the stressful moment.
  4. Be mindful of your emotions. Your emotions are great triggers! Most of us simply react when we feel frustrated, disappointed, or angry, rather than using it as a way to look inside and see what’s going on.

Realize that stress is bound to happen – the important thing is how you react.

Take ownership of your tension and stress before the collateral damage takes its toll. Proactively take care of yourself so you’re better equipped to deal with it. Eat healthily, get sleep, exercise your body and your mind. While there’s no way to guarantee that you'll prevent every illness or negative situation, you’ll undoubtedly decrease a lot of unnecessary illness, and you’ll absolutely enjoy life more! 

Do you have any tips for managing stress in your life? Share them in the comments so others can benefit from your suggestions!

Cheers,
Laurie

by Laurie Sudbrink on May 23rd, 2017

Words can trap us or empower us. And it’s the words we are telling ourselves that are the most influential.

Consider this.

I am going to try to write a book.
I am writing a book.  (Hint - even if you haven’t put pen to paper; you are incubating it in your mind. These words will propel you to action. The former will hold you back.)

Which feels more empowering to you?

I am trying to change.  
I am changing.

I am trying to lose weight.
I am losing weight.

I am trying to be a better listener.
I am listening more fully.

Often we don’t notice the language we’re using and how it is controlling us. Our words are simply a reflection of what is going on inside of us.

Reflecting back on when I wanted to write my book, I held myself back by saying “I’m trying to write a book.” I was trapped for years by this one little word! Once I shifted this, I remember feeling it was happening. I am writing a book!

Try allows us to hesitate, to not take ownership of it.

It can be difficult to recognize when our language is constricting us rather than enlarging us. A trusted friend can help you be more mindful of this. Just by sharing this with someone, you will become more aware and start doing rather than trying.

Our bodies can help us if we pay attention. How do you feel when you say that? Do you feel constricted and smaller, or do you feel open and more liberated?

Sometimes just the awareness of how we’re feeling will be enough to release us from the stranglehold of our words. Other times we may need more. If you are still feeling hesitation once you change those words, it’s a great opportunity to dig deeper. Why am I hesitating? What is holding me back? (Pay attention to your energy and emotions and you’ll know if you can work on this on your own, or if you need help going deeper. Many of us use professional coaches or even our therapists to help us go deeper. Contact me if you need help finding a resource.)

Trying keeps us from taking ownership and taking action. What are you trying to do?  How can you make a change to empower yourself? Share your feedback in the comments so others can benefit from learning what works for you!

by Laurie Sudbrink on May 17th, 2017

Being present in the moment doesn’t come naturally to all of us. In fact, with our busy lives and so many distractions available, it’s tough for most of us to stay present! We get hooked by something that pops up on our screen, or a text that comes in, or a car that cuts us off, or a thought of something that we had forgotten to do! We soon learn the habit of becoming reactive, rather than present and mindful - a place where we can make better choices that align to what we really want.

If it’s not a physical distraction, it’s typically our own thoughts that get in our way. Our minds are usually in one of two places. We’re either in the future, worried about everything we need to get done; or we’re in the past, fretting or regretting what we didn’t get done.

Of course, we have to spend some time in the future - planning, dreaming, visualizing what we want. And it’s good to reflect on the past to learn and grow. But we need to just take quick trips to the future and the past, and then spend most of our time being mindful in the present moment.

In addition to helping us make better choices, being present brings many other benefits:
  • We listen more fully, which builds trust and much better connections with people.
  • We have a calmness that spreads positive energy.
  • We are more productive and effective with our choices and solutions.
  • We are more creative.
  • Our memories improve.
  • We are happier.
  • We are less stressed - take a look at just one of many articles on the benefits on mindful.org  

The good news is we can all improve and be more present in the moment. It just takes practice.

And it really is pretty simple because you can practice being present in the moment on any daily activity, so you don’t even have to build in extra time for this. The hardest part will be to remember to do it. So you may need to set yourself some reminders.

Here are my favorite 3 simple ways to practice being present:
  • When you’re brushing your teeth, do your best to just be mindful of the act of brushing your teeth. This one can be particularly challenging because most of us have learned to brush our teeth really well and we don’t need to think about it. That’s why it’s a great one to practice with. Every time your mind wanders, just catch it and bring it back. In the 2 minutes you spend brushing, see how long you can stay completely present on brushing. I ground my feet first, and this helps me remember to stay in the moment.
  • When you’re driving, do your best to stay completely present and mindful. How many of us get to our location and then think “wow, how did I get here?!” We were so deep in thought. This is another good practice opportunity because we’ve learned to drive well and think at the same time. You might also get angry at someone in traffic and create a lot of stress for yourself. Emotions are a great awareness opportunity. When you feel yourself getting angry, frustrated, irritated - turn your thoughts inward and see what’s happening with you, rather than focusing outside on what someone just did. Choose how you want to be.  
  • Find a plant, look at the sky, a pond or a stream - anything in nature. Take a full minute to just be with it - no other thoughts. Every time your mind wanders, just bring it back. If you can’t have the real thing, get a great picture that makes you feel like you’re with nature.
These are just three simple practice suggestions. I’m not saying you need to do this to have better teeth or drive better (although you might!). But if you practice this, you will start to notice yourself being more mindful and present in other areas of your life, without even trying. And just like any exercise, it will get easier and feel more natural.

I’d love to hear other ways that you practice being present in the moment! Please share your best tips in the comments!

Cheers!
Laurie

by Laurie Sudbrink on May 10th, 2017

​Do you ever feel frustrated because you want to tell your manager something but you just don’t know how to go about it?

This came up recently in a leadership class I was facilitating. Donna was expressing her frustration with her boss for not giving team members the opportunity to weigh in on things in the meeting. What Donna noticed was a lot of venting and complaining after meetings because people don’t feel heard.

Most often what happens in this situation is instead of going to our manager we get irritated and start to vent to other people. Or we get a sarcastic or edgy tone when we are speaking about the situation. Sometimes we actually speak that way to our manager. We feel powerless, discouraged and even resentful.

Guess what? This behavior never helps the situation, it makes you look like the problem, and it almost always makes things worse.

How can you become the solution, rather than the problem? How can you influence, and manage UP?

It all starts with one little shift. You might have guessed it - it’s in the way you’re thinking about it. (Remember, in this article from a couple of months ago, I wrote about how thoughts and beliefs drive our actions).

What do you imagine your conscious or even subconscious thoughts might be around this situation?
  • “I can’t tell my boss what to do.”
  • “It’s not my role. She ought to know this in her position.”
  • “I’ll be seen as negative and even disrespectful.”
  • “My boss will hold it against me.”

It’s true, these thoughts may have stemmed from past experiences. However, let’s be really objective for a moment. We probably played a role in those past experiences, perhaps with an edginess to our tone of voice, or just not being direct enough. And even if we didn’t play a role, realizing that everyone has their own issues and not taking it so personally will help us to not let that deter us from doing the right thing.

Changing our thoughts and beliefs will allow us to be open and helpful:
  • “I can help my manager see things from a different perspective.”
  • “One of my roles on this team is to contribute with feedback and helpful solutions - up, down, and across!”
  • “I’ll be seen as helpful.”
  • “I won’t take my manager’s behavior personally. I’ll continue to help with potential solutions.”

When we think positively about helping our manager to realize something, sharing this information will come across much better.

“Hey John, I noticed something the other day I think might really help the team. I’m not sure if you noticed it too - it seemed that people needed a little more time to respond in the meeting?” [pause, and give time for your manager to reflect and respond].  

If he’s open and agrees, you might offer a solution:  “Maybe we could have them jot their ideas down, then take a few minutes to hear them. I think we might be missing some good input.”
If he’s not in agreement or not interested, you might back it up with why it’s important to him. “I’m telling you this because we might be missing some good input, and it might save us time later because people leave the meeting and talk about everything they would have said - and then it turns into excuses and complaining.”

If we truly believe our role on the team is to help, our intent stays in a positive place. Most managers appreciate your input when you show them how it helps. If your manager does not appear to be open to input, you may decide to help that person see that and the impact it has. In private, you could say something like “Julie, I felt like you didn’t want to hear what I was bringing up about the team meeting. I know it’s tough to get through everything in that meeting, and the impact of not getting people’s input is hard to see because they’re careful to keep it concealed. I just felt you deserved to know this and I’m willing to help with it if you like?”

Our role on a team is to contribute and help.

Whether we’re a mid-manager and report to a senior leader, or we’re a supervisor reporting to a manager, or we’re a customer rep, in sales, a project manager or any position at all - we can influence others and manage up to help make a positive impact. It all starts with believing our role is to help the team.

What other ways can you help inspire growth with your team? I’d love it if you shared your ideas in the comments!

Cheers,
Laurie





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