Listen to your Gut
How often do you use your intuition and are inquisitive to what you are experiencing? When you dig deep inside and ask yourself questions, you invariable find the answers. Listen to your gut? It often has the answer that you have been waiting for.
Your intuition is the guiding force that leads your inquisitive mind down the right path. Listening to your intuition or you "gut" feelings open you to new people, opportunities and events. With your intuitive mind you experience benefits and new pathways, that went unnoticed or didn't exist.
How do you heighten and reach into your intuition more clearly? By getting silent. Try being mindful for a moment. Sit quietly and let your mind be open to whatever flows. Like our bodies, we need to give our minds not only exercise but rest to reach its highest capacity.
Get still, trust your intuition and listen for the answers.
For more on mindfulness and listening to your intuition, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Are You Ready For A New Job?
I said in a previous post that I was going to introduce my readers to pages from my new book I' am writing. This chapter is on career and how to find a new job. Thank you for reading and if you like what you read, please share it on social media. Thank you!
Do you often wonder if it is time to get a new job? Are you asking yourself, am I being challenged, am I making the money I deserve and do I enjoy what I do? Perhaps it is time to look for a new job. It seems scary at first, and of course it takes work. But it is worth every bit of your time when you are in a job you love, are good at it and make the money you want.
What is the best way to get started? You never really want to leave your job and then look for a job. It is always best to look while you are employed. But it does take time. If you are going to move from your current position you want to make sure your next move is what you really want.
When looking for a job, there are a few basic steps. The more targeted you can be, the easier it will be. After the initial phase you can always broaden your search. Start with a plan and ask yourself the following questions.
What do you like to do?
Write a list of likes and dislikes. You often formulate a list in your head but the real work begins when you write the items down. Writing a list of likes and dislikes forces you to think about what is really important to you. Plus what you really don't want to do.
What Industry appeals to you?
The industry list is key as this is the first step in looking for companies that you would want to send your resume to. Do you want to work in healthcare, retail, pharma, finance, or technology? The more targeted you make your list, the easier it will be for you.
What companies do you like?
Have you ever thought about the companies that would make you happy each day you go to work? Perhaps they are start ups, established big companies, new emerging or not-for-profit? Get clear on where you can see yourself each day.
Have you recently looked at your resume? When was the last time you revised it? Do you have the latest format? Think of your resume as your brochure. Be sure to highlight your best assets.
Did you know linkedin is the #1 place to find a job? Linkedin should become your new best friend. Plus headhunters want to make sure you have completed your profile completely.
Finding a job is hard work but rewarding. When you are in a job you love, you excel at it. You put your best put forward and your works shows for it. The money will always follow.
At Upstream Solutions, I work with leaders, MBA students and executives who want to find a new job or navigate their career. Let me help you craft your new pathway to success. Together we can work on where you excel, what you want to do and revise your resume and linkedin.
Please contact me at email@example.com, 516-659-9855, Upstream Solutions. @colleencassel
This article was also posted in Stilettos on the Glass Ceiling - SOTGC. Leading Career site for women.
It is the start to another fun and enjoyable summer. You can’t wait for it to begin. But how do you juggle working and being productive when you would much prefer to be at the beach?
According to research, productivity decreases by 20%, and workers are 41% more distracted during the summer months. With that in mind, the following are ways to be more engaged and productive during the summer months.
Motivate and Create
Give your staff a break! Get creative and think of ways to motivate and shake up the usual routine. If you have weekly meetings, plan to have them in different locations or perhaps even outside. Communicate to your staff that you also feel the excitement of summer and understand that it is harder to motivate yourself. When managers empathize with how their employees are feeling, employees are happier and more productive.
Trust that your employees will get the job done, even when the atmosphere is a bit more relaxed. According to a Harvard Business study, workplaces that provide positive environments that foster trust create the most committed and productive employees. Your best employees are the result of a combination of trust and support.
The one thing that most employees enjoy is flexibility. Fifty percent of millennials say that flexible work hours and location are key to being more satisfied with their job. Allow employees to leave work early, come in later, and even work from home. If it is not possible to institute a company-wide policy, give your managers the freedom to offer it at their discretion.
Fun and Enjoyable
Take your team to lunch, bring in breakfast, or have an afternoon gathering instead of a typical meeting. Creating a fun atmosphere at work increases creativity, performance, and motivation.
Test out a new program that you normally wouldn’t have time for during your busier months. Offer new and interesting workshops. Perhaps an exercise or mindfulness training, healthy eating or volunteer program that creates a positive and healthy culture.
Prioritize Big Projects
Research has shown that during the beginning of the week, workers are more productive. Plan for larger projects to be due earlier in the week. If you have summer Friday’s, let Friday’s be the day that employees do wrap up or less important work that doesn’t require as much time and effort.
Use the summer months to move outside your comfort zone. Do things differently. Ask for feedback and communicate openly. Ask what is working, not working, and take suggestions that they may have. Let a different team member run the meeting each time. When you give employees new responsibilities, it allows them to shine and show off their leadership skills.
Encourage your employees to take a vacation and NOT to check in with the office.Don’t be part of the 37% of managers that expect their employees to check in while on vacation. Everyone needs time to rejuvenate and relax, so they are ready to come back and work.
Give your employees the option of summer work perks. Consider offering summer Friday’s, casual dress, flexible hours, working from home, or a company picnic. Hire summer interns for added help and longer lunch hours. Empower your employees and let them know you trust them.
Summer is the time when most people try to relax, spend time with family and friends, and recharge their batteries. Remember, an employee that is relaxed and clear minded is more productive, happier, and satisfied at work.
This is the start to my New Book that will be coming out in 2017. It is a sample writing from one of the Chapters.
My book will deliver an engaging, practical guide and lessons to help women, and emerging professionals become confident leaders at a young age. And not wait to be perfect before you shine. Grab life by the horns, believe in yourself and do what you love. Please share and comment about each chapter that you read. I appreciate your advanced interest and comments. Colleen
Sample Chapter: Curious as a Cat
How curious are you? What is it you want to learn and how satisfied are you with what you do? When you become curious you open your mind to new opportunities and things to learn. Curiosity is not always listed as a leadership skill but it is curiosity that leads to growth.
Leaders that are always looking for ways to reinvent and grow know that being curious is a key characteristic trait of great leaders.
How does a leader encourage curiosity amongst their team? By encouraging change and reflecting on what you can do differently. When you ask yourself or others, “What if”, you start to explore other options. Not only do you learn from your failures, but when you learn from your successes, it is leadership.
Ask “What if” and you will find the Answer"
How do you encourage and become more curious? Listen when you communicate. When you are in a conversation, listen deeply to what the other person is saying. Do not interrupt. Listen for the thoughts behind the words, there is always something new you will hear.
After the person has stopped talking open the conversation and ask them a question. How are they doing? What would happen if you were to ask: What, How, When, Why in a conversation? Each time you ask a question, you learn something new.
“Life is about not knowing all the answers, but asking a question and learning”.
I remember coaching a young, rising woman in her career. She was sure to be a future leader. She started out very strong in her convictions and after a few conversations, she began to open up and become vulnerable. She began to shred her outer covering.
After learning more about this very smart professional women, I asked her a question about her network. “Who did she know that perhaps could open doors for her?” She said that she spent each morning at the gym. She would talk to a man next to her but the conversation was simple and strictly about the weather and casual talk. She never asked him a question.
I challenged her to ask him “what he did”. One day, she approached the man while on a treadmill and was surprised by what she heard. The man was actually in a senior role in a similar industry.
Think about what she learned when she became curious. This woman wasn’t being nosey but expanding a present conversation to learn new things. It was only her curiosity and willingness to ask a question that led her down a new path.
When you stop and listen and follow up with questions, you become a leader.
“Leadership ~ Always thinking about new ways to learn”.
Exercise: Try this with a co-worker, your child or a friend. The next time you are together, Ask them 3 questions. The questions can be about anything. You can even write down each question and answer, for future reference or memories. This exercise teaches you to be curious and to learn new things about someone or something. Curious people are constantly learning as each question you ask, can lead you to a new path.
Thank you for reading and please share this on your social media.
It is no secret about what it takes to keep employees happy and productive. It is written about all the time. It is now a matter of putting these simple practices into place. As leaders, you know it is not always about the money but it is often how you make your employees feel that makes a difference. It is the basic skills that you learned along your career path. People, regardless of their title, want to feel respected and valued.
When you think about how you would want to be treated, it becomes clear, how others want to be treated. Like all goals, pick one or two of the following and see what happens. When you start to see a change, continue with others. Remember, your employees are your company's future. It is important that they be treated that way.
Transparency - Employees want to feel a part of something. They want to know about the state of the company. According to a Tinypulse survey, transparency is a top factor in employee happiness. It is important to keep your employees in the loop as to the good and the bad news. Make sure they know the vision and mission of the company. Otherwise, people can talk and false rumors can spread.
Work life harmony - This seems trivial but you hired your employees, now you need to trust them. There is no reason to treat your employees like children. They are grown adults. Give them the flexibility to work remotely, or go to their children's school play. When you trust your employees and offer flexibility, they respond in kind. In a caring and productive manner.
Two way Feedback - Insight from employees is invaluable. They are your front line and hear things that top management may not know. Keep an open door policy and encourage communication and feedback.
Career Path - Employees want to better themselves and know there is a future within the company. Be sure to talk to your employees about new opportunities. As a manager you also have to understand what your employees want to do and where they see themselves. Ask them questions and help them along their path.
Gratitude - Regardless of your role, gratitude and appreciation go a long way. Whether it is a verbal thank you, personal note or taking your employee to lunch for a job well done. Small tokens of gratitude, will create a pleasant and positive workplace.
Healthy Environment - Increasingly employees want and know the importance of good health. Provide information and tools on ways to be more healthy. Offer access to gym programs, mindfulness training, and healthy eating. These simple tips will help with employee stress and control health-care costs.
New Challenges - Certain employees will thrive with new challenges. Give them a chance to try something new. Perhaps they have talents you are not aware of. When employees are empowered and actively participate they care about the outcome. Employees that are bored and not challenged become disengaged and consider leaving the company.
When you apply these simple solutions, you will find your employees become future leaders, team players, and more creative. When employees are happy and satisfied, absenteeism and turnover are reduced and productivity increases.
Your employees are the future of your company. When you start to believe and think that way, the rest is simple.
Colleen's article was published in Classycareergirl.com. A leading site for loving work and life!
Are you feeling like you never have enough time in your day and you’re running around and not quite sure what you need to focus on?
One solution that is gaining a lot of attention in the press is mindfulness. Forbes, 60 Minutes, Fast Company, Inc. and others are all writing about it. Doctors, CEO’s, Sports Professionals, including Phil Jackson, the Coach of the NY Knicks, Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks and Tim Ryan, a Senator from Ohio, are all taking time out of their day to be mindful.
Mindfulness is a focused awareness on the present moment. It offers you the space within your mind to think more clearly plus the ability to respond to a situation versus react to it. As Arianna Huffington states, “Mindfulness is an essential part of being more effective and satisfied in work and life.”
The more you can discover and practice being mindful – the more benefits you can enjoy in our health, work, and overall well-being. Plus it is known to keep your brain young as well. According to research, the brains of those who practice mindfulness shows an increase in gray matter. Gray matter in your brain is a layer of tissue responsible for cognition and memory storage.
Scientists also know from a physical and mental well-being, practicing mindfulness can reduce heart disease, stress and even improve your immune system.
How do you become more mindful and present in your day to have more time and focus? To feel less stressed and happier?
Below are a few steps you can take to find balance and focus both on your work and your life.
1. Take a Focus Break. Take a “45-second focus break” throughout your day. Considering there are 1,440 minutes in a 24-hour period, a 45-second break really isn’t a lot of missed time. Try taking a deep breath and focusing on yourself as you walk to a meeting, before you pick up the phone or start a new project. The 45 seconds of focus in between meetings or projects will give you a little bit of space to think more clearly and approach a situation with a fresh perspective. Try a “focus break” every 2-3 hours.
2. Listen with Intent. When someone is speaking to you, whether it is your child or a co-worker, listen fully and focus on just that conversation. Give them your full attention. When you listen to someone fully, you learn new things and show more empathy and care for others. Listening builds trust, communication and focus.
3. Get Clear. When you are confronted with a situation that may not be favorable to respond, do your best to not react too quickly. Take one second to think about how you want to respond instead. When you practice mindfulness, you become more aware of the situation and view things differently. It gives you one second to not get emotionally wrapped up in something and instead gives you the ability to respond in a thoughtful, caring manner.
4. Be Grateful. When you are thankful and appreciate both the little and big things in life, your world opens up to new possibilities. According to a research study from Baylor University, gratitude can improve your health, relationships, energy and patience towards others. It can even make you happier. Start a gratitude journal and each day, write 3 things that you are grateful for.
5. Be Compassionate. According to research at Berkeley, when you practice mindfulness, you become more compassionate to yourself and others. With mindfulness, our “awareness” of what is happening becomes more compassionate and kind. This helps us see and respond more appropriately to a situation or individual.
6. Gain Confidence. Believe in yourself and know that you are worthy and capable of whatever you want to achieve. Build your self-confidence by recognizing what you are good at. Look at your failures as learning experiences and not something negative. Research shows that once you believe in yourself, you actually embody it.
Mindfulness is a fantastic foundation for a successful career and life. Practicing mindfulness is at the core of who you are. It requires practice but the benefits are plentiful and worth it.
It is no secret that communication is the key to one's success. The most important element of effective communication is not what you are saying but how you engage others and make them feel. True leaders know the art of communicating and are able to influence others and show that they care.
Following are 7 important and easy communication tips of great leaders.
Listen Deeply. Listen with feeling. Listening is one of the most important elements of communication. When you listen deeply, you go beyond the surface and listen with understanding. It is the first step in making a connection. When you don't speak and are mindful of what others are saying, you hear things at a different level. Their message becomes more clear and is not clouded by your thoughts. The next time you are in a conversation, challenge yourself to not talk for one minute, just listen to what the other person is saying. You will be surprised by what you learn.
Less is More. Make conversations meaningful and significant. Most people like to hear themselves talk but a leader knows that what they are saying isn't as important as what the other person is learning and feeling.
Clear with Direction. Focus on being clear and concise. But also know where you want to take your listeners and how you want to make them feel. Your audience will relate and remember what you are saying when you weave a story into your message.
Positive and Show Appreciation. Leaders need to communicate with inspiration and empower their teams to grow. When you see potential within people and are positive in nature, you develop individuals into leaders. There are times when you need to deliver a message that is not positive. In that case, deliver the news with care and appreciation versus fear and judgement.
Ask Questions When you take the time to be curious and understand what is important to others, you start a dialogue instead of a lecture. Asking questions, opens the conversation to new ideas and growth.
Be Confident. When you are confident you are more believable. Remember the power pose by Amy Cuddy. You have to believe in yourself before others believe in you. Tell yourself that you can do it.
Make a Connection. Remember body language represents 55% of communication. When leaders communicate with body language, their stance is open, they are expressive in their movements and use eye contact. Try it and see what happens. When you speak to someone with your arms folded, see how it makes you feel. You are withdrawn and closed off. But when you unfold your arms, you are open to receiving and are more inviting. Try it with your eyes. Watch what happens when two people make eye contact. You often can see what they are feeling.
There are many qualities that make a exceptional leader but when you start with the basics of communication you set the foundation for growth in people and organizations. Communication is not about YOU, but fulfilling a need and adding value to your listeners. How do you rate your communication skills? Do you do at least 3 of the above? Thank you for reading and please leave a comment.
Employee engagement has been proven to be a strong predictor for business success. A reason, companies are paying more attention to how to improve engagement. Recent studies from Gallup show that engagement slightly increased in March 2016 to 34.1%. Up from 32% in 2015 and 31.5% in 2014.
With Gen Y's and Millennials, the majority of the workforce, companies need to raise the bar in how they look at it. Engagement is often one of the deciding factors in whether an employee stays with a company or chooses to leave. Employees today want to feel valued and have purpose in their job. No longer are employees staying with companies due to loyalty. But instead, because they know and believe in the "why" they are doing the job and how they are contributing to the organization.
Most of us learn from watching what others are doing and adding our own spin to it. What are the leading companies that rate high in employee engagement doing?
Making engagement a priority. Engagement has to start from the top. True leaders are not chosen based on their skills alone, but their ability to manage and build relationships across the organization. When it comes to engagement, leaders need to be involved, committed and communicate their mission and purpose.
Clarifying work duties. Employees want to have a purpose and feel that what they are doing is making a difference in the organization. Yes, the fun perks are an added benefit for employees, but when an employee feels as if they bring value and their skills are appreciated, employees become more engaged.
Creating a culture. When engagement is weaved into a manager's performance expectations, they realize the importance the role of engagement plays. They feel empowered and can execute on what needs to be done. Working together with employees, leaders can identify roadblocks and opportunities for growth. An engaged culture includes acting on what needs to change, follow up and always making engagement a priority.
Open communication. Communication is essential in employee engagement. Whether it is at team meetings or one on one meetings, managers need to communicate and share best practices and offer feedback. When managers and employees communicate and listen to each other. They act as a team, learning and growing together.
Building Relationships. When employees are treated as individuals and not just as employees, it creates a positive atmosphere. Managers need to go beyond just knowing who their employees are, but understanding who they are and what makes them tick. Knowing your employees talents, beliefs, experiences and goals will drive performance and success.
Hiring and Coaching Managers. Look closely at who you are hiring and who is being promoted. Promotions are often given to the wrong person for the wrong reason. And not to the employee who will make a difference and knows how to manage people. Considering people are your best asset in a company, leaders need to make managing and caring for their employees a priority. Coaching managers and emerging leaders will spotlight people development and management skills.
Who are some of the top companies that are noted for excellent employee engagement? Achievers nominated 50 companies that were leading the way in engaging employees and making their workplaces more productive. These companies were honored with "Achievers 50 Most Engaged Workplace Awards". The criteria included communication, leadership, culture, vision and values, rewards and recognition, corporate social responsibility, performance, and professional and personal development. One of the companies awarded was Cargill. They were recognized as "going beyond just employee surveys but continually pushing themselves to include community involvement and engagement in the hearts and minds of its employees." CBRE was also recognized as it creates "a workplace environment that promotes creativity, collaboration and integrates and encourages a healthy work/life balance." Other companies awarded included Autotrader, CISCO service platform group, Humana, KPMG, Tata and Zappos.
As leaders of companies, you need to ask yourself. Why not go the extra mile and make employee engagement a priority? Why contribute to the staggering $350 billion dollars lost in productivity with disengaged workers?
But rather, strive to increase the 34.1% of engaged employees, each month beyond March. Remember engagement is not rocket science but putting a flashlight on the obvious. Engagement occurs when employees know the mission, are treated as individuals, relationships are built, learning and development exists and yes, a little bit of fun is present. When companies realize that their bottom line is being affected by employee engagement, more companies will make it a priority.
Steps to Improving Your Focus
Are you feeling like you never have enough time in your day? Running around and not quite sure what you need to focus on.
There is a simple practice and solution. One that is gaining a lot of attention in the press. Forbes, 60 Minutes, Fast Company, Inc. and others are writing about it. Doctors, CEO’s, Sports Professionals, including Phil Jackson, the Coach of the NY Knicks, Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks and Paul Ryan, a Senator from Ohio are taking time out of their day to be mindful.
Mindfulness is focused awareness on the present moment. It offers you the space within your mind to think more clearly. Plus the ability to respond to a situation versus react to it. As Arianna Huffington states, “mindfulness is an essential part of being more effective and satisfied in work and life.”
The more you can discover and practice being mindful – the more benefits you can enjoy in our health, work, and overall well-being. Plus it is known to keep your brain young. According to research, the brains of those that practice mindfulness show less age reduction of gray matter. Gray matter in your brain is a layer of tissue responsible for cognition and memory storage.
Scientist also know from a physical and mental well-being, practicing mindfulness can reduce heart disease, stress and even improve your immune system.
How do you become more mindful and present in your day to have more time and focus? To feel less stressed and happier?
Below are a few steps that you can take to find balance, self-care and focus both in your job and life.
A Focus Break. Take a “:45 second focus break” throughout your day. Considering there are 1440 minutes in a 24 hour period, a :45 second break really isn’t a lot of missed time. Try doing it on your walk to a meeting, before you pick up the phone or start a new project. The :45 seconds of focus in between meetings or projects will give you a little bit of space to think more clearly and approach a situation with a fresh perspective. Try a “focus break” every 2-3 hours.
Listen with Intent. When someone is speaking to you, whether it is your child or a co-worker, listen fully and focus on just that conversation. Give them your full attention. When you listen to someone fully, you learn new things and show more empathy and care for others. Listening fully builds trust and communication.
Get Clear. When you are confronted with a situation that may not be favorable respond and don’t react. Take One Second to think about how you want to respond. When you practice mindfulness you become more aware of the situation and view things differently. It gives you one second to not get emotionally wrapped up in something but the ability to respond in a thoughtful, caring manner.
Be Grateful. When you are thankful and appreciate both the little and big things in life, your world opens up to new possibilities. According to a research study from Baylor University gratitude can improve your health, relationships, energy and patience towards others. And even make you happier. Start a gratitude journal and each day write 3 things that you are grateful for.
More Compassionate. When you practice mindfulness, according to research you become more compassionate to yourself and others. With mindfulness our “awareness” of what is happening becomes more compassionate and kind. Helping us see and respond more appropriately to a situation or individual.
More Confident. Believe in yourself and know that you are worthy and capable of whatever you want to achieve. Build your self-confidence by recognizing what you are good at. Look at your failures as learning experiences and not something negative. Research shows that once you believe in yourself, you actually embody it.
Mindfulness is a fantastic foundation for a successful career and life. Practicing mindfulness is at the core of who you are. It requires practice but the benefits are plentiful and worth it.
Leader of the Week - 10k Coffees
I am proud to say that I was featured as a Leader of the Week on www.TenThousandCoffees.com. A site to connect and build your network.
10KC Leader of the Week: Colleen Cassel
LEADER OF THE WEEK
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I started my career in Advertising Sales. Eventually landing in Management roles at CBS Television and Cablevision. Working and managing budgets in excess of $10 million dollars for the television and the digital space. I worked with National Advertisers and Sports Professionals guiding them in their marketing and promotion of their business. After many successful years, I yearned for a career change but with the caveat that I would use my talents. Having mentored many new employees, I took my corporate business experience and combined it with a certification in business and career coaching. Along with a certification in Corporate Based Mindfulness and Mindful Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). As Founder of Upstream Solutions, I now work with organizations and individuals helping them to become and build more authentic and mindful leaders and teams.
What inspired your career path?
My career path started with a burning need to make money in order to raise two babies on my own. That landed me the job. But my career path developed due to my love and interest with building relationships and getting to know people. I love interacting with people. By building trustworthy relationships, business success followed. My second career of owning my business was started because of my belief that when you embrace change, exciting challenges evolve.
Do you have a story about how mentorship has impacted your professional or personal development?
Mentorship is key to building a career and life. You always need a support team and network. It is not only important for the mentor but mentee. Both parties learn from each other. I remember during a crucial time in my career, a mentor guided me on the next steps and showed me the possibilities and pathways of my career in advertising. This led me to take on a new job at a new company that excelled my earning potential and advancement.
What advice would you give to yourself when you were starting your career?
Do not be afraid of change and never get comfortable. With change comes growth, new challenges and life experiences.
You have an interesting custom question, how’d you choose it?
Your story determines you as a leader - what's your story?
What’s the quote that you live by?
“How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something but to be SOMEONE” ― Coco Chanel
Without Fail -
Studies have shown that there isn't a set list of skills that defines a leader. But it is a combination of an individual's unique qualities that shapes them as a leader. Leadership stems from self-awareness and the ability to know one's strengths, weaknesses, values and purpose. But it is also the ability to relate to and know others. It takes a courageous leader to do both.
One quality that is not often spoken about, but is important in leadership, is Courage. The meaning of Courage as stated in the dictionary, "is the ability to face difficulty, uncertainty or pain without being overcome by fear or being deflected from a chosen course of action." As Mark Twain stated, "Courage isn't the absence of fear, but its mastery." It is a learned skill. That similar to any other skill can be strengthened with practice.
Aristotle called courage the first virtue because it made all other virtues possible. With courage, a leader can make decisions that are often outside of the norm. A courageous leader has the confidence that the direction one is taking is the right path for the company's growth. Take courage out of the picture and leadership collapses or never gets started.
Courage for a leader comes in 3 ways. It is about action, thought and letting go.
Courage is about taking action. When a leader sets a course for change, it takes courage and conviction to stand behind the decision. A leader takes a step into the unknown or a new direction because they have confidence, have done the preparation and careful deliberation and believes in their team to be able to handle the challenge.
When leaders are courageous they can be creative and think outside the box. With creativity and focus comes innovation. When a leader is innovative they think differently and are not afraid to face growth and a new challenge.
Courage is about giving feedback and raising difficult conversations when others don't want to hear it or are afraid to say it. Feedback is not about being rude and arrogant. But it is about learning, teaching and exploring new ways to discover unchartered waters. A courageous leader can face an adverse situation and challenge the conversation to think differently.
Courage to have faith in others and let go. This is a big part of leadership. Knowing that you are not the only one with answers but having faith and belief that your team can also perform. Letting go is the courage to believe that there are people, other than yourself, who can do the job. A leader that can let go, allows the team to step up and take responsibility. With responsibility comes engagement. With engagement in the global workforce at an all time low of 13%, it is time for leaders to let others takes responsibility, get involved and feel a part of the greater whole.
Leaders who really want to succeed and make a difference, need to have courage to step outside of the safety zone. With safety you will most likely do a good job. But will you surpass what you set out to achieve? In order to go above and beyond, a leader needs to be brave and not afraid of uncertainty. They need to have confidence in one's ability and faith in the team.
Courage is a skill that can be learned through repeated interaction and leaning into one's own discomfort. As published in Neuron, research has proven that you can access and increase your courage center in the brain. The courage center in the brain is located in an area responsible for fear, stress and emotion. When activated it can actually cancel out some of the fear activated by the amygdala. Thus courage trumping fear.
When deciding to be a leader, don't forget about courage. The courage to act, think and let go. Courageous leaders foster trust and set the stage for others to follow. Think Richard Branson and his first mail order business venture, or a young 15 year old Bill Gates or Ray Kroc, and the courage he had to start the Franchise Realty Corp and the first McDonald's.
What leaders in your mind show courage?
Colleen Cassel speaks, coaches and trains individuals and organizations on impacting performance. Colleen works with you on leadership, communication, career development and creating thriving work environments.
6 Traits of a Focused Leader
There is all sorts of research about the benefits of being a leader that is focused. Research shows that when you are focused, you are more productive, performance improves, you are resilient and more creative. But true leaders know that they have to focus in 3 ways. Their focus needs to be on themselves, others and the wider organization or group.
Studies and an article from Harvard Business Review show that when you practice mindfulness it improves your focus, and clarity. It helps you to not only focus on yourself, but connect and have empathy towards others.
With focus you can more easily respond and think about a situation instead of just reacting to a situation. Put this in the work context. What if you could actually show more compassion for your co-workers, interact and communicate more fully and manage more effectively? With mindfulness and focus you can do that. Below are 6 ways that mindful and focused leaders impact and benefit an organization.
Connect. When a leader connects, engagement increases. According to Gallup, employees go the extra mile, work with passion and have a profound connection to the company. They are the employees that drive innovation and move your business forward.
Listen. The best leaders are not concerned with always talking. But listen to what their employees are saying. Communication is a two way street. It is listening and engaging. Listening is about understanding, learning and then responding.
Collaborate. Research shows that collaboration in the workplace is better than having sole individual talent. With collaboration overall performance and loyalty is increased. When employees and leaders collaborate, motivation, customer experience, innovation and morale is boosted.
Creative. When you are focused and practice mindfulness your mind becomes clear and sharp to make creative and critical decisions. You begin to view situations and challenges not as obstacles but opportunities. Leading to new ideas, creativity and innovation.
Feedback. Feedback is an important element in the workplace as it increases productivity, quality of work and effectiveness of the team. Employees initiative, innovation and motivation increase with regular and constructive feedback from leaders.
Compassion: According to an article from the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, when leaders put pressure on employees it increases the stress level of employees. Stress ultimately leads to higher employer costs. Plus 52% of employees report that workplace stress will result in them looking and leaving for a new job. With compassion the work environment becomes a happier place. Resulting in better customer service, engagement, commitment, social connection and an improved bottom line.
With focus a leader can think more clearly. Have the space to make critical decisions and be more creative. Remember, a great leader is not without skill and talent. But has the added dimension of quality personal skills and embraces collaboration, compassion and communication in the workplace to improve the bottom line.
Have you seen the benefits that focus and mindfulness has had on leaders that you respect? Please leave a comment and thank you for reading.
Colleen Cassel is founder of Upstream Solutions, a business and career consultancy. She speaks, trains and coaches leaders and organizations on impacting performance in their business and career. Working on authentic and mindful leadership, communication and creating thriving work environments. Connect with her at Twitter, Facebook and Google+