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My AHA Moment for Developing Intentional Leaders

Updated: Oct 4, 2019

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.

Cheers! Laurie

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