Authentic teams. Is yours?

Whether you are currently leading or on a team now, many of you will have a strong opinion about how you would classify your team with a one-word adjective. If authentic isn’t the first one that comes to mind, don’t worry. You are not alone. However, being on an authentic team can be one of the best experiences you can have. Whether it is a sports or workplace team.

I’m currently working on a research project which involves speaking to leaders of teams. What they have in common is that they are all leaders of sports teams. Different types of sports teams, led by women and men, and from all over the United States. The experience of these coaches ranges from a few years to multiple decades, and from the professional sports level to the high school level.

My research project is in the process of wrapping up, and I have not officially begun to analyze the data, but one thing about all of these teams is certain. The leaders are all authentic leaders, and those being led by them are exceptionally fortunate.

Having worked in the corporate world for decades, I am fascinated by the parallel comparisons of the elements included in what consists of winning sports teams, and high-performance corporate teams. From personal observational experience, two of the factors in common these different types of teams have is how the leader thinks about and manages their team.

When I think back to the business leaders I worked for, admired or interacted with, the word authentic person would be the adjective I would use to describe them. Nothing about them was fake. They were also all extremely humble, many of them were self-deprecating, and all of them viewed every member on their team as being incredibly valuable. You also felt this in their presence, and in how they demonstrated their leadership traits.

More importantly, the leaders of both sports and business teams always put the needs of their team first. What else separates these authentic leaders from everyone else? Plenty. Here are some examples to be on the lookout for to help you identify whether you, or the person who leads you falls into this category.

  • They continually invest in their management and leadership knowledge.
  • They are not concerned about admitting they may be wrong about a decision.
  • They are the ones to accept the blame and not cast it on others when something goes wrong.
  • Investing their knowledge in others is paramount to why they lead others, with the intent of helping them to get to whatever the next level of achievement or performance is.
  • Sharing their knowledge with other leaders or coaches is something they regularly do. They are not fearful of imparting their knowledge on others who would perceivably be their competition, because they are confident in their own abilities, as well as the teams they lead.
  • These leaders literally glow when they talk about the teams they lead. Their pride in the people they are responsible for is contagious, and makes you want to be on any team they lead.
  • Another attribute all of these authentic leaders have in common, is their true passion for the work they are doing. Almost to the point of it being what some would refer to as a “calling”.
  • If you were to ask these leaders would they consider doing something else professionally, the majority of them will tell you they have not considered doing anything else. This is also quite evident based on the lengthy tenure of some of the sports coaches interviewed in the research project I am leading.
  • The majority of the leaders will also tell you they were heavily influenced by one or two people to become a leader themselves.
  • All of the leaders I have ever spoken to, including the ones in the sports coach research project noted that they pursued their path because it provided them with a way of giving back to others what they had experienced under the leader who influenced them.

Although the sports coach research project is still underway, it will be wrapping up soon. At least the first phase of it. I can’t wait to dive in and begin analyzing the results of the findings from the interviews that were conducted. One thing I can assure you about what I will find is that both sports coaches and leaders in business will be able to benefit from the research findings. More importantly, so will the tens of thousands of people who are led by these leaders once the research data becomes available.

TAGS: #Business #Leadership #Authenticity #Beingauthentic #Characteristicsofauthenticleaders #Authenticteams #Authenticleader #SportsTeams #SportsCoaches #Coaches #BusinessLeaders #WhatGreatLeadersHaveInCommon #Management B252

Is being helpful overrated?

I’ve always been a friendly person, and someone who has embraced the concept of reaching out to support others. Especially those who are too proud to ask for help. Sometimes simply acknowledging another person is a form of being helpful. Consider the last time when someone you know walked by you without say hello, and it would have been appropriate for them to do so. Perhaps one of your colleagues, or worse, your boss or a family member.

When was the last time you did something to help another person? Fortunately, the response from the majority of people will be that it was recently. However, what separates people who naturally gravitate towards genuinely helping others, from those who are possibly guilted into doing so isn’t such a stark contrast as you might think.

The reason some people help others more than others is tied to a number of factors. The first one is that there was a point in their life that they can point to when someone helped them. It was also an experience which made a significant difference in their situation. Another factor is that the majority of people will tell you they feel happier when they can and do help out another individual.

People will tell you that they are committed to helping others because they feel they have been granted more opportunities for success than others. Some might call this a form of privilege not everyone benefits from. Not everyone feels this way, but when they do, the difference they can make because of this emotion or recognition in others’ lives can be remarkable. Keep in mind that it is not always a monetary scenario that is helpful. Lending your time and attention to someone can be a more powerful way of supporting someone.

Fortunately, there are numerous organizations that are setup to support others, and also thousands of opportunities for people to tap into funding to provide them with support. I was reminded of this recently when I was doing some research on funding options for some projects I am working on. Unlike projects I have worked on in the past, the particular project I am focused on could be one to receive a grant to extend help others.

For years others have been tapping into grants to support their humanitarian efforts. It was eye opening for me to see how many funding options are available to provide help. However, this hasn’t been a route I have ventured down. Namely because the majority of my professional career prior to becoming an entrepreneur has been focused on commercial, for profit products and services.

Having access to funding options to help others is definitely something I will be looking more into. It opens up possibilities beyond what I imagined. Even better news is that I have both the ability to seek grants, and also the expertise to share with others to help support them. Both parties benefit from this scenario.

As a business entrepreneur, my mind queued up to consider possible new directions to assist others. From my perspective, this is a win/win scenario for everyone. This wasn’t always the case in the professional world I have evolved out of. However, I am grateful for the experience it provided me to be able to apply and share it with others.

Consider a time when things in your life, or a particular situation were not going well. Was there someone who seemingly swooped in to assist you? Were you surprised by who it was? Or, was it someone who routinely has been there for you? If it was the later response, consider yourself to be very fortunate. Not everyone has someone like that in their lives.

As a parent, I have had a plethora of situations to help our children. When they were younger, I would classify the type of help they needed as being more physical support (e.g., learning to walk, feed themselves). However, as they matured and became young adults, the type of support they needed was far different than I had anticipated. Why? Because it required a great deal of emotional and mental support as they ventured through their new experiences.

Prior to having children, I didn’t realize that the experience of managing other people would provide me with the skills and expertise as an advantage of helping to guide our own children. This has to do with the fact that many of the scenarios I had to help others manage through, are now ones our own young adults are contending with.

Being able to leverage my professional experience to help my own family and now thousands of others around the globe, is beyond something I envisioned happening. However, I’m eternally grateful this occurred, and want to express my thanks to those who supported me to be able to get to this point in my life. They include my husband Stephen Shinnick, my parents Daniel and Emily Murphy and my grandparents who are no longer with us.

So, would I say that being helpful to others is overrated? No. In fact it is one of the most humane acts someone can do. What will you be doing to help someone else today, tomorrow and beyond? I know what I’ll be doing, and I hope you have some solid ideas too.

Tags: #Communication #Havingdifficultconversations #Howtohaveadifficultconversation #Leadership #Management #Business

How are your people management skills?

Thinking back to the first time I was responsible for managing someone, I remember feeling a tremendous sense of being the best boss possible boss I could be. This of course was despite my limited experience in this area. However, when I factored in thinking about the myriad of opportunities to practice managing someone, while being the boss, it became less of an intimidating situation. Perhaps for both of us.

Fast forward in time close to thirty years since having first managed the person I was referring to. The fact I recently heard from this person after three decades was an incredible moment, and not one I expected to occur. What was even more surprising was the fact this person sent me a thank you note for being their boss! It goes to show you there is no time limit on thanking someone, and this is a topic I have previously written about.

In the note from the person I first managed, they shared with me that I was a highly supportive and nurturing boss, and that they were surprised I took a chance on hiring them. They also commented on how hiring them changed their life, and influenced the career direction they ended up pursuing. I never knew any of these facts until recently. My point is that even when I was a freshly minted boss, it was possible to have a positive impact on managing someone and their career.

Until I received the email via a LinkedIn message from this person, I had not considered how early in my career my people management skills would continue to be an asset to both me, and the people I have had the responsibility and honor of managing. Being completely honest, there were times when I recall managing this person that I was unsure of whether I was able to properly guide them. However, each time I felt that way, I had a conversation with myself to remind me that managing someone is actually a two-way process. This made me feel much better when I acknowledged that I was only half of the equation and the outcome results.

When I stopped to consider where I sourced my own people management skills from, I would have to say some of them were modeled by my parents. For the first five to six years of my career, I also learned through observing my bosses how to manage others. Of course, some of my bosses were far better at people management skills than others. Understanding both optimal and sub optimal ways of applying or learning these skills will serve you equally well.

Below are some of my acquired and own methods for how to improve your people management skills.

  • This can apply to both work and life situations, and is a foundational piece of advice to launch from. I know you have heard this before, but it’s not always practiced as well as it should be. Without exception, always treat the person you are managing the way you would want to be treated.
  • People are constantly surprising us with what they do and say. Sometimes this is a positive experience, but if it’s not, consider asking the person “Why did they do or say what they did?” When you ask someone to provide insight to better understand their behavior, it generally offers a teachable moment for you to help them see how they could have handled the situation differently.
  • How often do you praise someone? Often times managers neglect considering how a simple thank you, or positive acknowledgment of a small accomplishment can make someone’s day.
  • Have you considered what adjectives people would use to describe your human engagement skills? Sometimes our perceptions are quite different than the reality of how we are appearing to interact with others. Chances are if this is the case, you may not be aware that this is an area for course correction. If this is a problem area for you, it could also be why you have not, or might not advance into upper management roles.
  • Consider what you have done either in the past, or recently to improve your people management skills. Have you proactively worked on being self-aware of the importance of doing this?
  • Think about people who you would classify as having naturally gifted abilities in managing other people well. Is it possible for you to be mentored by them? Remember the importance of having a mentor, and this applies to all stages of your career. 
  • There are tremendous benefits granted to those who master being highly skilled people managers. They are often fast tracked in their careers, are more satisfied professionally with their roles, have a larger professional network to tap into when they need to do so, and are considered for roles over other people who might be more qualified technically, but are lacking in their human management skills.

This is a rich and ever evolving topic. It is also a subject that you will always benefit from any investment you make in yourself to improve how you interact with others, either personally or professionally.

Tags: #Success #Mentorship #PeopleManagementSkills #Business #Howtodevelopyourpeoplemanagementskills #Business #Sales #Management #Leadership #HumanResources #HumanCapital #Tipsonhowtoimprovepeoplemanagementskills #Strategy

Are you in career survival mode? Many are.

If you are like the majority of the people I talk to, your career is similar to the ocean. What I mean by this is that there is an ebb and flow of when and how often you are satisfied with your current job, or the career you are in.

Surprisingly, many people end up in a career they didn’t intend to be in. Or worse, stay in the one they don’t desire to be in. How does this happen? In a word. Life. Even the people who carefully plot out what they think will be the perfect career for them might not calculate this decision perfectly. If this happened to you, hang in there, as I’ll be sharing some ways to cope, and perhaps thrive again in your present or future and different career.

Speaking of thriving, no one signs-up for a career where the best they can hope for is to be in survival mode. Sometimes survival mode happens in one’s career sooner than they anticipate. If you are one of the fortunate ones and have not experienced this, congratulations! You are in the minority, and should consider yourself fortunate. However, a large percentage of people will find themselves in career survival mode at some point.

What does it mean to be in career survival mode? It’s similar to when you lose motivation about the very thing you are either passionate about, or never dreamed you would become less than enamored with. Other what I’ll refer to as ‘symptoms’, are lethargy, less patience, you can’t seem to think of other options, and you are feeling trapped without an exit sign anywhere in sight. Do any of these “symptoms’ describe how you feel, or have felt before?

Yes, generally, others will notice you are in career survival mode. Although some people are experts at acting as if everything is fine. In my opinion, the energy that it takes to do this isn’t worth the effort. I would prefer to see someone invest their energy into figuring out a better career for them to be in.

I professionally work with people and teams (e.g., work & sports) on helping them to leverage and harness their natural talents every day. Because of this focus, I would be remiss in not mentioning that I would want to see everyone focused on knowing and applying their strengths towards the career or careers which would best suit them. Unfortunately, not everyone has been made aware of the advantages of knowing what their top strengths are when they are making their initial career choice decisions. I certainly wish everyone did.

As a matter of fact, one of my own career passions is to have as many people I come in contact with learn what their Top 5 Strengths are. I know you are smiling right now if you know me, and have learned what your strengths are because of my passion for you to know them.

However, hang with me for a moment on this thought, and imagine if we started out with this knowledge at a much earlier age? I can tell you that I might have ended up in a different career, but the one I initially choose seemed to suit me for a number of decades. It was marketing, in case you didn’t know this.

If you are currently in career survival mode, as promised, here are some suggestions and thoughts for you to consider, and potentially take action on to get yourself out of being in this mode.

  • Consider how you ended up in the career you are in. Was it by choice, or did someone steer you in that direction?
  • If you were given the opportunity to pick a new career starting tomorrow, have you given thought about what it would be?
  • If you could change your career, do you think you would?
  • Be honest with yourself. Are you more satisfied with complaining about how much you do not like the career you are in, versus taking action to do something about this?
  • Is it possible you are currently in a burn-out mode from not being able to, or taking any time off?
  • Have you kept up with the educational demands of your career? This may not apply to everyone, but if it applies to you, perhaps you are in survival mode because you have not kept up with the knowledge and expertise needed to thrive in your role. Maybe you couldn’t afford to do this, either monetarily or because of lack of time and other obligations. Or, perhaps both and other contributing factors.
  • Some careers are more demanding than others from a physical, emotional and intellectual perspective. Perhaps all three, or more! Is it possible to reduce the level of any of these factors to a more acceptable level?
  • What if you looked at your current career from a different perspective? Is there a new lens you can look at it, and which would re-energize you to be in it? Make a list of the things you like and dislike about your job or career. Is one longer, or could if you had a different perspective add more items to the “like” category?
  • Ask people in your circle of influence what other career they could envision you in. Make sure you ask people who know you really well, and can see you from a multi-dimensional perspective.
  • Regardless of your age, and how long you have been in your current career, would it be possible to shadow someone who appears to be in your desired career? Or, perhaps to talk to them about how they ended up in this career, and why they made the decision to pursue it? You might find clues about whether this may or may not be the next potential career for you to consider exploring or aiming to be in.

As an eternal optimist, I can always see the upside of every situation. In the case of experiencing career burnout, I look at this situation as temporary. Life moves fast, and circumstances can change quickly. The trick is to focus on knowing this, and realizing that even though your situation may seem permanent, it isn’t. As my Mom likes to say “this too shall pass.” Hang in there, you will survive.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too.  She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Finder Coachauthor of two business books (e.g.,  Wisdom Whisperer, Evolve! With the Wisdom Whisperer), and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer with a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances. She also is the creator and Host of a TV Show and Podcast called Murf & E Unfiltered – Zero BS Biz Talk.

Essentially every team is dysfunctional in some way. Our expertise is in uniting, motivating and bridging dysfunctional teams (sports & business), and turning them into epic ones.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Our coaching produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally. Need proof? Just talk to our clients, or read through our testimonials.

If you want better and different results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

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Have you or your team reached your full potential yet?

It’s easy to talk about reaching your potential. However, does anyone really have a roadmap, or is there actually one that exists to help you or your team achieve its maximum potential? Or, once you reach your or a team’s potential, is it possible to maintain this potential?

These are all really difficult and profound questions to consider, let alone answer. In terms of having a roadmap, yes, it is possible to have one, especially if you intend to get to where you desire to be. Potential can be a subjective concept, and depending on what you are measuring, your measurement criteria may or may not be accurate.

Some potential is more elusive and difficult to quantify. For example, people who are considered friendly and able to converse with anyone may have potential to have a career in sales. For those of you in sales, you know there are varying degrees of being a good conversationalist, and it might not have anything to do with being friendly. So, if you were in a position to judge someone’s potential about whether they would be successful in sales, you would likely need to factor in other criteria to help you.

Measuring potential is not a single dimension exercise. When you factor in assessing more than one person’s potential and are asked to determine an entire team’s collective potential, this becomes much more challenging to do. However, I have found it is possible to do this type of measurement. In addition to leveraging the Gallup StrengthsFinder Survey to determine each team members Top 5 strengths, there are a number of other criteria I overlay to help me.

Here are some of the criteria I apply to help me determine both an individual, as well as a team’s success potential.

  • You need to assess the motivation level of each person on the team. This can be achieved by asking them a series of questions which will reveal what their current motivation level is, and what level they have the capacity to get to.
  • Different from assessing someone’s motivation level, is determining what motivates them. You might be surprised by the variety of answers, and they are not all driven by tangible things you might expect to hear them tell you.
  • Each person has a different definition of what success means. When you find out what theirs is, it can provide clear insight into what their potential level is.
  • Find out what the team leader is doing to serve as a role model to help inspire and motivate their team to reach each of their potentials, as well as for the collective team potential.
  • Asking someone to visualize and then describe their vision of reaching their potential isn’t something most people are asked, especially in the workplace. This is more commonly asked in the sports team industry. However, it is a powerful method for both the individual as well as their leader to have insight into how the person perceives what their potential can look like.

There are numerous other methods I apply when I am helping leaders and teams help to assess people’s potential. All of the suggestions above can be applied to any industry, profession or career level.

In terms of addressing whether it is possible to sustain potential, my take on this is that it tends to vary. However, a high level of potential can be both achieved and maintained given the right circumstances to foster and nurture an individual or team’s potential. Consider whether you are a guardian of others potential, or detracting from it.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too.  She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Finder Coachauthor of Wisdom Whispererand is a well-respected motivational and social influencer with a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances.

Essentially every team is dysfunctional in some way. Our expertise is in uniting, motivating and bridging dysfunctional teams (sports & business), and turning them into epic ones.