A bridge to confidence.

Overview: Imagine if confidence was sustainable. Or, if confidence could be used only in support of making good things happen. What would your life, profession and our world look like via this type of lens?

There are few things in life that we don’t have to work to maintain in some way, yet there are many other aspects of our life we need to continuously work on. Perhaps improve, but ultimately accept and come to terms with. One of these areas is confidence.

When I was researching this topic, I was interested in finding out at what age do we become aware of being confident? As I was reviewing information, I came across a wonderful sentence in the opening of the article I was reading. It referred to the link between a person’s early self-esteem and confidence. The sentence which stood out expressed that “Self-esteem is your child’s passport to a lifetime of mental health and social happiness.”. It went on to also say that self-esteem “is the foundation of a child’s well-being and the key to success as an adult.” Wow! That’s a powerful statement.

Now imagine if everyone had an idyllic childhood which laid out the perfect foundation for us to have our self-esteem and confidence built on? Some of us do, but many of us don’t. Even if our foundation started out strong, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be weakened by events which happen in our lives. The type of events that chip away at our foundation, and without addressing these chips or cracks, add up and end up eroding our confidence foundation.

For me personally, I recall a distinct moment in time that I understood what it meant to have my confidence take a hit. It happened in a second-grade math class when I was called up in front of the class to visually show how to get to the answer of a math problem. I was randomly asked by the teacher to do this. As I stood in front of the class unaware of how to accomplish what I was asked to do, or how to articulate this, I was overwhelmed by emotions. The first one was fear, followed by embarrassment and then ultimately an enormous crack in my confidence foundation.

Ultimately, I ended up in tears in front of the class. What was worse than this, was that I did not have any experience to draw from with how to contend with the way I was feeling. However, this experience stands out in my mind as the first time my emotions were tied to my confidence.

As I think back to that day many decades ago, I believe I realized I needed to find a way to build up confidence. To come up with a solution from having to experience those type of negative emotions again. Or, at least not frequently.

Although I realized early on I was never going to be a math genius, I was OK with that. However, finding out what I was good at became something I put myself on an early journey to figure out. Of course, being so young, I didn’t realize that I was intentionally trying to solve my own challenge to having experienced what it is like to have your confidence rocked. However, as I think back, this was essentially what I was doing, and have continued to do my entire life.

You could say my first experience with having my confidence being challenged turned out well. Perhaps you also might be under the impression that I had an easy road to working on building up my confidence? This couldn’t be further from the truth, as I continued to struggle in school. Why? Because no one realized I was dyslexic. In fact, I did not officially find out I was until I was tested in college at the age of 21. Yes, finding this out made many experiences in my life come into focus in terms of having a reason why I struggled academically, yet I still persevered to obtain strong grades sheerly based on tenaciously doing do.

So, do I think there is a bridge or a way for people to increase their confidence? At any point in their lives? Yes, I do, and it is something I have like most people who have figured out the confidence equation, work on all the time. I do this, because as I mentioned earlier, confidence can be fleeting, and it needs to be nurtured to maintain it.

To describe to others how to develop or increase their confidence, I can offer the following suggestions:

  • Find one thing you are good at. It doesn’t matter what it is. Focus on becoming exceptional at it, and draw from this like it is your confidence battery.
  • I’m certain you are good at more than one thing. However, do you know what your top talents are? When I found out what mine were, it was a liberating day, and allowed me to finally be able to focus on what I was good at, versus focusing on trying to fix or become better at things I did not have a talent for.
  • Visualize yourself in a really happy place or time in your life. Consider the factors which contributed to this experience. Can you repeat aspects of this?
  • Do you surround yourself with people who build you up, or tear you down? Or, perhaps it’s a mix. What if you could edit out some of the people who chip away at your confidence? I don’t subscribe to someone saying this is impossible. It might be harder to accomplish, but it will be worth achieving.
  • Seek out one person who can be your “confidence champion”. This person is someone who never lets you down, and always helps to build back up your confidence during those times you might be struggling on your own to do so.
  • Commit to embracing that you will need to continuously work on your confidence, as like a vine, it can wither without care.

Building your confidence bridge can actually be fun, although it will take hard work to accomplish. However, when we have confidence, it can positively impact our lives in numerous ways that will be worth putting in the effort to do so. One of them is being happier and healthier. Now go out and start building that bridge, and be proud of showing the world what it looks like.

TAGS: #Confidence #Personaldevelopment #Mentalhealth #Positivity #Benefitstobeingconfident #Howtobemoreconfident #Business #Motivation #Life #Profession #Success #Fear #Dyslexic #Dyslexia #Business #Leadership #Communication #Management #Strategy #Success #Teams #Motivation

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

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.