Stubborn? It’s not a good look. 

I’ve always been an optimist. So, when I hear someone expressing that something isn’t possible, my mind immediately begins to diverge into two directions. The first one is to think about why this was stated, and the second path has me considering whether all of the options have been explored to create an opportunity to make something possible.

My skepticism about whether all potential options have been investigated and applied may come from my family heritage of having an “inventors-like” mind. Or, possibly because of my innate curiosity about imagining why a solution has not been developed to attempt what others think can’t be achieved. Which, leads me to wondering if stubbornness could in fact be one of the reasons?

Fortunately, most people are not classified as being stubborn, but we all know someone who might have this adjective associated with them on a regular basis. Possibly without them being aware that others clearly see them being this way more often than not. The person who is unaware of themselves being stubborn might actually think they are just like everyone else. What they don’t realize is that being stubborn generally isn’t working in their favor.

An example of someone who is being stubborn could be that they are unwilling to consider, take or apply practical advice which could be highly adventitious to them. It can be highly frustrating in this scenario, especially when not taking the advice can have less than desirable consequences. However, we also need to factor in that some people learn via experiences, and failing to take advice and the outcome from this could actually result in a positive outcome for them. How? Because afterwards they could appreciate the value of considering to listen to, and ideally applying sound advice the next time a similar scenario arises. 

Perhaps you have heard the expression “you can lead a horse to water when they are thirsty, but you can’t make it drink it.” This expression is ideally aligned with people who are stubborn, because they often do the exact opposite of what they should be doing, primarily due to their stubbornness.  I personally have encountered a number of people who would be far happier, have an easier outcome in numerous scenarios, and much less stress if they would first recognize that their on-going stubbornness is one of the core reasons for many of their challenges and why they are often highly frustrated. 

Telling someone they are stubborn seldomly has any positive impact on someone changing from this disposition. It might make you feel better expressing this sentiment to them, but that’s not going to lead either of you anywhere you will want to end up. So, are there techniques that can be applied to help someone who is stubborn? Especially someone who is unaware of how they are presenting and interacting with others? Yes, there are, and below are some suggestions to ask them, or have them potentially consider. 

·      What is your definition of being stubborn?

·      Ask yourself why you are often considered by others to be stubborn?

·      Is being stubborn an easy excuse of your “why” you are not doing or achieving something you could be?

·      Have you thought about how being stubborn is impacting your relationships with others?

·      Could you potentially be unaware of the fact others consider you to be stubborn, and think you are acting differently than how you are being perceived?

·      Why wouldn’t you accept help, advice or guidance from someone more experienced or knowledgeable than you are that could positively impact you both personally, professionally or both?

·      Do you have an example of someone who others consider to be stubborn, and can’t see how you could be compared to them?

·      Providing you acknowledge you are stubborn; can you imagine the benefits of being less or not perceived as being a stubborn person? This applies to both your personal and professional life, as you might not be as stubborn, or stubborn in one of these scenarios. 

If redirecting energy from a trait such as stubbornness into more productive outcomes is possible, are you, or someone else you know ready to re-develop your person to experience the benefits of doing so? Or, will your stubbornness prevent you from being more happy, less frustrated and experiencing a higher quality overall mental health and well-being?

TAGS: #Leadership #Business #Success #Professionaldevelopment #Sports #Teams #Leaders #Sportscoaches #Coaches #Traits #Stubborn #Stubbornness #Overcomingstubborness #Solutions #Awareness #Selfawareness #Benefitsofbeinglessstubborn

Are new leadership styles emerging?

We are at an interesting point in time in terms of the various traditional, and non-traditional leadership styles I have been seeing emerge over the last decade. More specifically, since our experience with Covid. Like it or not, the Covid period offers a distinct point in time that can referenced to see a turning point in some new leadership styles emerging, while others are being more critically considered whether they are still relevant.

When I consider the variety of leadership styles that are prevalent, I also think about the trends and circumstances that impact their adoption. This leads me to also consider why and how some leadership styles are embraced and have longevity power, and why others, like styles, fizzle out. From a wide-angle perspective, some of the leadership styles that in the past were impactful, are now experiencing a diminished return on their effectiveness. The good news is that there are some new ones that appear to be more promising. 

If you think that newer leadership styles might only be embraced by a younger generation, you would be mistaken. This has to do more with the ability for a leader having the capacity to be flexible and open minded with the leadership style they have shifted towards embracing. The two qualities of being flexible and open minded are independent of one’s chronicle age, and in my experience and through research I have conducted, serve leaders well who possess them. 

In terms of considering leadership styles, there is an interesting phenomenon occurring. It has to do with how and whether leaders, and those they lead are supported in embracing a change in their leadership style. This support doesn’t always occur, and a leader can find themselves in a highly frustrating challenge of trying to pivot their leadership style. Of course, this would ideally be for the better, and to be more positively impactful from an outcome and performance perspective. 

Many would agree that attempting to make changes in any given situation, can be difficult to accomplish, and also for the majority of people, isn’t a comfortable process to go through. So, this is one of the reasons attempting to make changes is often avoided. It’s simply easier at times not to make any changes, even it would be ideal to do so. 

Reality and being ideal are broad circumstances that leaders face and must contend with when they are going through the process of embracing a different leadership style. In many circumstances, a leader who either gains awareness that their current leadership style isn’t effective anymore, may need support in coming to terms with and accepting this reality. While there are other leaders who have a pulse on changes they will either need to make themselves,  and elegantly shift and begin the process of morphing into a new leadership style. One that will perhaps suits them better, and that more importantly, serves the needs of those they lead in a more productive manner. 

In terms of the different leadership style trends I am beginning to see emerge, they can be organized into some distinct categories. The first category is oriented around the leader taking an approach to having a higher awareness of who they are as a leader, and embracing and leveraging this knowledge in a tangible way. This type of leader is also acutely aware of how their style impacts others, as they are also attuned to understanding those they lead on a very different level. One that embraces and places an emphasis and focus on others abilities, versus investing time in fixing others deficits.

Another category of leadership I am seeing emerge is that leaders are becoming more approachable, and allowing others to see them as a person first, and a leader second. They are comfortable in their abilities, and have a balanced approach to making decisions based on both data analysis, but ultimately rely upon their gut instincts in all areas of decision making. 

The third leadership style trend I have seen emerge post Covid, is leaders who are allowing themselves to be more vulnerable. This doesn’t mean they have a reduced sense of power due to being this way, it is instead an approach which allows them to have a different lens on all scenarios they will have an impact on. Their vulnerable style also factors in having a more realistic sense of having insight into where there may be opportunities for improvement and innovation. A powerful combination which is also highly motivational for both the leader and those they lead. 

A fourth category is a leader who is hyper focused on what their purpose is in the context of how they go about, and why they are in their leadership role. This style is widely appealing, and also sustainable. However, it isn’t a style that has been embraced by more profit focused organizations or numerous sports teams. Although from a logical perspective, it may not make as much sense, as it is an emotional style, but then again, emotional styles when leveraged correctly can be enormously powerful and effective. Consider any emotional based advertising, and the impact it has on both your recall, and greater sense of supporting the brand or service being offered. 

If you are a leader, or an emerging one, here are some actions you can take if you are seeking to consider either adopting one or a combination of the emerging leadership styles I am seeing. 

·      Ask yourself why you want to change your leadership style? Is it because you no longer deem it to be impactful, or representative of who you are?

·      What is your self-awareness level on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest? 

·      If your self-awareness level isn’t where you want it to be, are you willing to pursue finding options on how to increase your level?

·      How will your team be better off by altering your leadership style?

·      Are there aspects of your current leadership style which can be slightly modified to either augment your style, or transition to a new one that will be more impactful?

·      What type of leadership style is the most appealing to you, but yet you can’t imagine being able to embrace it yourself?

·      How would you rate your level of being a vulnerable leader on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest? 

·      Realistically, how long, and how much effort are you going to need to put into modifying your current leadership style?

No one is perfect, and there isn’t a perfect one size fits all leadership style either. However, the quest should be to find a leadership style that allows you to be an inspiring, impactful and an authentically oriented leader. One that can evolve and embrace a having a growth mindset that serves you well, and those you lead even better. 

TAGS: #Leadership #Teams #Business #Motivation #Inspiration #Success #Leadershipstyles #Purpose #Leadershipalignment #Vulnerability #Impact #Leadershipimpact  #Sportsteams #Sportscoach #Leader

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Announcing my 3rd Book!

It’s official! “INSPIRED! BY THE WISDOM WHISPERER” is focused on “teams”, and is now available on Amazon.

Anyone leading, or on a team, will gain valuable insights and numerous actionable tips from this book!

Here is a review of the book I received yesterday:

I have known Kathleen for 15 years. Not only is she my dear friend, but also a great mentor and an inspiring motivator. I just read her 3rd book which it’s release could not have come at a better time! I was recently promoted to Manager of Technical Account Managers at Zendesk. Her book arrived yesterday and I could not put it down. So helpful in my new role and it will enable me to be a great leader!

Thank you Kathleen for all you do!!! My favorite quote in the book “ Regardless of where you are at in your career or life journey giving and taking feedback is always a bit challenging especially if you are attempting to do it gracefully”. As leaders, Feedback should be part of our DNA! — Richie Halstead – Huntington, New York.

* An autographed book option is also available, so please let me know if you want one for you, someone else, perhaps both!

My other books are:

  • Wisdom Whisperer
  • Evolve! With the Wisdom Whisperer

Thank you for reading my weekly blog articles, I truly appreciate your support. – Kathleen

Intimate teams and camaraderie. Which comes first?

Intimacy. It’s one of those words when you hear it expressed in professional settings and related to the development of business and sports teams which can conjure up associations which make people feel uncomfortable. However, it should elicit the exact opposite response.

So, why are most people uncomfortable with the concept of discussing team intimacy? One of the reasons is because our society tends not to have much experience with talking about concepts that fall into the emotion category. Especially in work and sports environments. It is also frowned upon to talk about subjects which may fall into the personal category, or are on the edge of it.

Another reason people are uncomfortable, especially managers and coaches, is that emotional development, which team intimacy falls into the category of, is not something taught in academic environments. As a result, we independently learn when we are growing up about how to apply emotions, and the appropriate ones to our social interactions. As you already know, there is a wide spectrum of people’s abilities in this area. Unfortunately, the majority of people are not at the level they may need to be.

Why are people not at the levels of where they should be in the areas of emotional intelligence and common sense? Simply put, these attributes are not equally distributed, and neither of them are academically taught. Now, toss in having to navigate and apply emotional management either as an individual team member or manager or coach, and that’s when most teams start to have challenges. Now what, and how is this remedied?

The first thing to consider is to think about why does this happen? It namely occurs because the managers and coaches are not taught how to positively leverage emotions of their team members. However, if they were, the outcomes of their team’s performance would be entirely different, and much more in their favor.

Let’s look at team intimacy from a different perspective. Whether you played on a sports team, or have been on a work team, think about which one of these were the best teams you have ever been on? What were the characteristics which made the team outstanding? If I had to pick one word to represent what is the essence of an outstanding performance team I had been on, it would be camaraderie.

Camaraderie isn’t something which is developed overnight. It takes time, and knowing how to develop it. Unfortunately, very few managers or coaches achieve the level of knowing how to do so. However, there are ones in the sports world that are shining examples of knowing how to develop teams that have incredible camaraderie and intimacy. Alabama football Coach Nick Saban is one example. Scores of content have been written about his ability to develop intimate teams. In the business world, Richard Branson is famous for developing intimate teams via the long list of Virgin brands he has crafted.

What separates Coach Saban and Sir Branson from others? Simply put, they have figured out the formula it takes to produce team camaraderie from leveraging the concept of team intimacy. They are also not afraid of harnessing human emotions to create powerful, high caliber producing teams, and so have I.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to determine whether you have what it takes to create the type of team camaraderie which others admire, and wish they knew the formula for:

  • Do you have emotional based techniques which repeatedly produce high performance results for your team?
  • On a scale of 1-10, ten being the highest rating, how comfortable are you with having emotional conversations with each of your team members?
  • How would you rate your awareness of what truly motivates each team member on a scale of 1-5, with five being exceptional?
  • What was the last conversation you had with one of your team members which caused a conversational breakthrough, and which resulted in that member producing results you have not seen before?
  • Do you know how to influence the camaraderie of your team?
  • What methods of influencing the camaraderie of your team result in sustainable and increased performance metrics?
  • Would you classify your mindset as being self-growth or self-interest?
  • What was the last thing you did to develop team intimacy?
  • What are the systems, structure or processes you have in place to develop sustainable team camaraderie and intimacy?

The questions above are not easy to answer, and chances are you will want to reflect on the outcomes of your responses for a short period of time. If you are not satisfied with your answers, and the results your team is getting, perhaps it’s time to begin considering the importance of leveraging team camaraderie and intimacy in a way you never considered doing. Although there are few guarantees in life, in this case, I guarantee those who have, are the ones who are routinely outperforming your team.

The good news for you? You get to decide which type of team you want to have. I’m guessing I know which type you would prefer to be managing, coaching or be on.

TAGS: #Business #Leadership #Teambonding #Tipsonhowtobondateam #Sportsteam #Sportscoach #Motivation #Success #Nicksaben #Coachnicksaben #Richardbranson

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Ambition. How do you calculate (or measure) this?

Let’s begin by thinking about whether ambition is something we innately have within us, or if this is a learned skill? For me personally, ambition is a concept which I didn’t begin thinking about until my late teens. At that point, I would admit that my ambition level wasn’t as high as it should have been, but I managed to attain the goals I set out to achieve.

Sure, I was proud of my goal attainments, but I wasn’t purely satisfied with them. I knew I could accomplish more, yet I was aware that there was something holding me back from doing so. For context, it wasn’t anything that was tragic, or that was impeding my mental or physical ability, but it did have an emotional component factor. A few people in my life know what was holding me back, and eventually I reached a point when I arrived at a place in my life where I accepted and allowed myself to put my ambition drive back into gear, and motion.

Admittedly the process of having my ambition level ramp up was slower than I would have liked it to have been. However, I also embraced the minor wins I saw which contributed to reaching new levels I was striving for both personally and professionally. This was a solo journey, and perhaps if I had asked for support from others, I might have gotten to the ambition level I wanted to be at faster. Although there is something to be said for achieving something on your own timeline and via pure grit.

As I was in the process of tuning up my ambition level, I was paying close attention to others around me who had seemingly cracked the code on understanding how to be ambitious, and attain exactly what they wanted to. I noticed some factors about these individuals as I was learning from them. One of them was that they had a monomaniacal focus on going after and achieving what they wanted to. I admired this trait, but struggled to do this myself. Eventually I figured out why I struggled with this ability to focus, but it wasn’t until multiple decades into my professional life that I did, and found a solution to help me.  

The combination of focus and having a clear vision of what you want to achieve is part of the equation which contributes to being able to calculate someone’s ambition, but it only scratches the surface.

Another contributing factor to measuring ambition is understanding what you are willing to truly sacrifice to reach the goal or goals you are aiming towards. Let’s face it, the word sacrifice comes with lots of strings, and not always pleasant ones in order to make what you have to sacrifice worth it. Added to this mix is that we know there are no guarantees that when you sacrifice something, that it will be worth it. This makes doing so much harder, and this is where another element of measuring ambition comes into play.

The element is tenacity, and this is also something that is difficult to find the mental reserves and energy levels to maintain this. Doing so isn’t impossible, but having the right state of mind will contribute to whether you will succeed at having the tenacity level you will need to factor into the ambition equation.  

Self-confidence, or at least the appearance of having this was another ingredient which I noticed those who would be classified as being ambitious also possessed. The word swagger comes to mind when I visualize people who appear to be this way, and in a very positive way of representing this.

Speaking of visualizing, I would add that having a clear vision of what a person wants to achieve is critically important. In the absence of having this, it will make it much more difficult to attain the goal or goals one is seeking without this. Particularly on days when your ambition level may be waning. In other words, it is important to include as much detail in your mind about what it will look like when you attain your achievements. This includes factoring in thinking about how you will feel when you arrive at your goal.

Having outlined the majority of the elements associated with what it takes to have ambition at any level, this still presents the question of how do you measure this? Either for yourself or someone else?

In terms of measuring ambition for yourself, my feeling is that you need to have your own method for determining and agreeing upon what your own definition of ambition means. Everyone is going to have a different definition, so it’s important to consider this when you are calculating what your own level is. This brings up the point of whether having ambition is an innate skill, or one that can be developed over time. For me personally, I will vote for the latter option, and this is based on my own personal experience.

If you were to come up with a method to calculate someone else’s ambition level, one way of doing so would be to determine via asking them questions what either their current or future ambition levels might be. Here are some questions to give this a try.

  • How do you define success?
  • What are (3-5) drivers for you personally which allows you to strive to achieve a goal?
  • Why or what things would you sacrifice doing in your life to achieve a goal?
  • What motivates you when your goal looks like it’s not attainable?
  • Why is it important for you to be perceived as being ambitious?
  • What do you envision your life to look like in a decade from now?
  • On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest), what ambition level are you currently at?
  • Are you focused on increasing your ambition level, or are you satisfied with the level it is at?
  • Does being compared to others in terms of their achievements, inspire or have no impact on you?
  • What are the intangible benefits to being ambitious, and that are important to you?

Given the reality that measuring ambition might be challenging to do, if it is something you want to do, then I’m sure you will find a way to ultimately do so, and I hope that my suggestions will help you along the way.

TAGS: #Ambition #Success #Business #Achievement #Beingambitious #Measuringambition #Leadership #Motivation #Inspiration #Howtobeambitious #Elementsofambition #Management #HR #Sales #Salesmanagement #Marketing #Leader

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