Loading...

Follow Transformational Leadership | Coaching & Leader.. on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook
or

Valid

Today is the International Day of the Girl.

It’s also a day, unprecedented in recent history, when there is a widening gap in trust among genders. As more women are speaking up in the aftermath of the #MeToo movement, more men are feeling like they are the victims of this movement. The Senate Judiciary Committee hearings to confirm Judge Kavanaugh have electrified the space even further. They thrust our country into a place where the political divide is impacting the gender trust divide.

Does women’s empowerment have to mean that men are losing their power? Is power a zero-sum game? I believe not.

It’s time we start an important dialogue that bridges this trust gap. In the view of the world that suggests that if women are to get power, men have to lose power, no one wins . In this view of the world, power is defined as “power over” rather than “power to.” Working together, men and women have the power to drive the human race and progress forward. I believe that you, the male leaders in business, get this and you have a unique opportunity to lead us forward.

I am inspired today by a young woman whose video is going viral. I’m inspired because in some of the first lines of this video she starts to share what the experience is like for many young women:

“I can’t walk to my car late at night while on the phone, I can’t open up my windows when I’m home alone, I can’t use public transportation after 7 p.m., I can’t be brutally honest when you slide into my DMs, I can’t go to the club just to dance with my friends, And I can’t ever leave my drink unattended.”

This young lady’s words describe a sense of constant vigilance, an experience to which I can personally attest. Likely this is not something that many men are even aware that women experience.

This sense of vigilance is an experience of many young women in the workplace as well. It can be related to how they dress, whether and how they speak up in a meeting, how they are being perceived by others, their self-perception that they have to work twice as hard or be twice as good in order to be promoted. It’s exhausting.

This is where you, the male leaders in organizations come in. I know that you are well-intentioned. You want the women in your lives (your daughters, wives, sisters) to succeed. Likely you have even advocated for the women in your workplace (your colleagues, your mentees).

Here is my request of you. Take the time to get curious about what it’s like for the women in your family and on your team. Have a conversation with them about their hopes, the impact they want to make, what they believe is getting in the way of that impact. Ask them what it’s like in the workplace for them: what energizes them, what exhausts them. Then just listen with an open mind and an open heart.

Share your own experience of what it’s like to be a male leader in a #MeToo world. Yes, it can be confusing and you don’t want to cross any lines that you’re not sure about. You want to help, but you’re not sure how. If you have any questions about what is appropriate (in meetings, lunches, dinners, informal interactions) just ask them. Don’t make any assumptions.

Yes, I know this conversation may be hard. I promise you that this trust-building conversation in itself will be transformational for both of you. And yes each of us together can bridge the gender trust divide one conversation at a time. Because that is what leaders do. We exercise courage to influence others and make a positive impact. There is much work to be done and we need both genders to be powerful to move our world forward.

Please share your thoughts, and even better, your experience. That is what we need in today’s world to heal this gender divide so we can move forward more purposefully toward the missions that matter to each of us.

A version of this post first appeared in my Forbes leadership blog.

The post An Open Letter To Male Leaders In A #MeToo World appeared first on Transformational Leadership.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

You’ve found yourself in the job market. You’re likely tempted to start polishing up your résumé, looking online, networking. Stop. Before you do any of this, start dreaming. An executive coaching client of mine recently found out his division is up for sale and he may be out of a job. While his first reaction was fear, as we discussed this, he discovered that he can use this change as an opportunity to find his dream job. I followed a similar process when I left my corporate career to pursue my dream job.

With employee engagement levels stuck at a dismal 30% (only about 30% of employees globally are fully engaged in their jobs), it’s clear that most of us aren’t in our dream jobs. Low engagement not only impacts our productivity—I believe it also impacts our well-being as human beings. When it comes to looking for a new job, start by getting to know yourself so you can bring all of who you are and what you have to offer to your workplace.

Find a quiet place where you can relax and be uninterrupted so you can connect more deeply with yourself. At this point, it’s important that you connect with your authentic self so you can differentiate between what you need and what you think you need in a job (a certain salary, job title, industry or company).

Here are five questions my client and I worked through to discover his dream job.

What work energizes me? Take a deep breath (close your eyes, if it helps) and remember the last time you felt joyful, purposeful or impactful while engaged in an activity at work. Fully experience that situation again through your senses. How were you feeling? What was the activity you were engaged in? What was the impact you were having? Jot down the activities you were engaged in. Among my executive coaching clients, what’s meaningful is often quite varied. Some people remember situations where they were solving tough challenges with an energized team. Others remember situations where they were in one-on-one settings mentoring others. When I looked back on my most energized moments, I realized they were when I was connecting with people one-on-one helping them to grow as leaders and they experienced an “aha” moment when they saw a greater possibility for themselves. Sharing the unarmed truth that helped people grow always energized me. This led me to start a second career as an executive coach.

What contribution inspires me? When you contribute in ways that are meaningful for you, it creates impact. It also helps you go the extra mile, enables you to take risks and persevere despite obstacles. You become more resilient in the face of failure. You’re willing to stretch outside your comfort zone for a dream that matters. Take a deep breath. Close your eyes and imagine that you can make whatever positive impact that inspires you. What would this look like? Who would you want to benefit from this impact? Imagine this in as much detail as you can and jot down the contributions that inspire you.

What strengths do I enjoy exercising? I believe each of us has unique superpowers, and when we connect with them we are most successful and engaged. In the situations when you felt most energized, what strengths were you exercising? Sometimes we don’t see our strengths as clearly as others do. Reach out to at least three trusted colleagues who know you well and get feedback from them on what strengths help you be impactful. There are also lots of assessments that can help you discover your strengths. A popular one I recommend to my executive coaching clients is StrengthsFinder.

What work culture do I thrive in? Look back at your career and map out the high points when you were most fulfilled and successful. Find the times when you were being successful and enjoying yourself. What elements of the culture helped you thrive? For some people, it’s a culture where they have plenty of autonomy. For others, it’s a culture where their contributions are valued. Jot down the culture elements that help you thrive.

What are my other requirements and deal-breakers? This is where you can bring location, compensation, benefits, work flexibility or other requirements into the mix. Your dream job is equally about being open to creating new possibilities and being clear about where you will not compromise. Think through the areas that are deal-breakers for you. It could be related to travel requirements or an industry that doesn’t appeal to you.

Now write yourself a job description of your dream job in the present tense as if it were already true. Here’s how that goes.

My dream job is one where I’m (list from the first question of what energizes you). I am inspired by (list the contributions I am making). I am exercising my strengths of (list from the third question).  I am working in an environment where (list from question four). My other requirements are (specify other requirements important to you). My deal-breakers are (specify what are deal-breakers for you from the fifth question).

Here’s what my client created: My dream job is one where I’m inspiring people to be their very best. I’m inspired every day by creating trusted teams where people work collaboratively and find joy in their work and I’m fostering a culture of diversity of thought, learning, growth, and innovation. I am using my superpowers of building people up, recognizing, nurturing, growing talent. I am working in environments that value people at the core of who they are.

Once you have connected with this dream job, it’s time to start practice talking about it with trusted advisers and friends. It will also be good to create a list of questions that you may want to ask during an interview process to find out more about how the opportunity stacks up against your dream job. You may also want to share parts of this during the interview process if appropriate. As you network, share with people your dream job so they can help connect you with the right opportunities.

I encourage you to keep coming back to this exercise. As human beings we continue to evolve and what’s important to us changes and is shaped by our life events. I wish you tremendous success in your job search and hope you will use this change as an opportunity to dream big. I hope you find what excites, energizes and inspires you so you can be the leader that our workplaces need. Because what our workplaces need today are leaders who are inspired, engaged and alive.

A version of this post first appeared in my Forbes leadership blog.

This article was written by Henna Inam, executive coach, speaker, and author of the book Wired for Authenticity. She works with people to help them realize their potential to be authentic, transformational leaders. They create organizations that drive breakthroughs in innovation, growth, and engagement. Her corporate clients include Coca Cola, The Home Depot, and others. Join the thousands who follow her blog here. Connect on Twitter @hennainam.

If this resonated with you please comment, subscribe and share with others.

The post Five Questions To Discover Your Dream Job appeared first on Transformational Leadership.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

“Every day it feels like I’m rolling a big boulder up a hill. I’m tired. I wonder what all this hard work is for,” an executive coaching client said this to me recently, somewhat resigned.

For many of us work is a paycheck and we think we’ll find fulfillment elsewhere. Yet, by the time we’re done putting in the hours at work, there is no energy left for anything else. Despite all the research that shows that finding meaning in work is good for our well-being and for our work, Gallup surveys show consistently almost 70% of us are disengaged. Many stay at work for the (allegedly) secure paycheck and benefits.

My client is not ready to quit either. He is searching for that which makes work meaningful. Here are three ways we talked about finding purpose at work.

Find Purpose in the Moment

True story that illustrates the importance of finding purpose in the moment. On Saturday morning I went to the bank to get cash. The bank was closed and I needed more than the ATM would give me. As I stood pondering options, an older lady walked up. She had walked in the summer Atlanta heat. She too was disappointed to see the bank closed. I had forgotten my phone but she had hers so we decided to look up other bank branches that would be open on a Saturday. We found one within two miles and I offered to drive her. As we sat in the car, she said her name was Wanda and shared her story. She had walked from the emergency center at Emory. Her husband was in hospice care. He was suffering from cancer and had complications from the chemotherapy. He had asked to be removed from life-support tubes. He was breathing on his own but hadn’t eaten anything in a few days. She had asked her two daughters to come back to town to say good-bye. I felt at once sad and grateful for our encounter. It seemed like we were both in the right place at the right time. We hugged as I dropped her back to the emergency center. In that moment, I felt purposeful.

When we are present to be useful to others who might need our help, we can find purpose in the moment. Many of us are in search of a grand purpose to which we can dedicate our lives like Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela. I hope many of us find it. But, when we myopically search for this grand purpose, there is a risk. Let’s not lose the opportunity to recognize the daily moments where we can be purposeful. If you feel gratitude, you may have just found your purpose in the moment.

Find Purpose in Values

During a recent trip to Iran, I had the opportunity to visit the Armenian Genocide Memorial in Tehran. As I visited the museum, learned about the genocide and saw pictures, I was moved and saddened to the point of tears that lasted a few minutes. How can human beings do this to one another? Normally I am not an emotional person so I didn’t expect to be so viscerally impacted. As I reflected on my reaction, I realized that there is a value of “people being together in peace” that matters to me. A great way to discover a value is to pay attention to when you are moved or experience depth of emotion.

Since that realization, I look for opportunities where I can help people better understand each other. It shows up in my course on Managing Team Conflict. It shows up in my executive coaching work to help my clients find ways to restore trust when it is broken. Recently, I volunteered to deliver leadership training at the Non-Violence Institute at the University of Rhode Island. It felt like a gift to me to be of service in this way.

What are values that are important to you? How can you more consciously exercise these values in your workplace?

Find Purpose in Peak Experiences

Many times we find ourselves unexpectedly fueled or energized in a meeting, a work project or in an interaction with a colleague. I ask my executive coaching clients to pay attention to their energy throughout the day as a way to expand their self-awareness about what fuels them. As they pay attention and reflect on this, they discover they can be more intentional about creating those moments of meaning and purpose.

My client recently discovered that a particular work project really energizes him because it serves the broader community. Another client found out that she was fueled by interactions with people where they were brainstorming ideas. Yet another client finds his peak moments when he is mentoring others. The key is to build more of these peak experiences into your workday so you find the meaning you seek at work. Your well-being and your work is at stake.

What is your experience with finding purpose at work?

A version of this post first appeared in my Forbes Leadership Blog.

This article was written by Henna Inam, executive coach, speaker, and author of the book Wired for Authenticity. She works with people to help them realize their potential to be authentic, transformational leaders. They create organizations that drive breakthroughs in innovation, growth, and engagement. Her corporate clients include Coca Cola, The Home Depot, and others. Join the thousands who follow her blog here. Connect on Twitter @hennainam.

If this resonated with you please comment, subscribe and share with others.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

The question “why?” has been reverberating through my head.

This past week, many of us experienced a stunned sadness. The suicides of two celebrities, Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade, left us wondering what happened. What did we miss?

The Bourdain and Spade suicides have opened up new questions about my assumptions about dream careers.

Bourdain and Spade had achieved significant success. They were at the top of their fields. They were engaged in work that they were passionate about.

They had fame. They had fortune.

They had somehow figured out their unique talents and were fully expressing them to create positive impact for so many.

They had family and friends who loved them and fans who adored them.

The place they reached is the place many of us aspire to. For many of us, isn’t the dream to find our passion? To connect with our talents? To live our passions out loud? To impact others positively? To love and be loved? To find work that is not just a paycheck but fills us? Isn’t this what self-actualization is about? I imagine nirvana lives just on the other side of self-actualization. Does it?

At the height of what seemed on the outside were enviable lives well lived, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain chose to end it all.

I am not a mental health expert. I can’t even begin to fathom what was going through their minds when they made the decision to leave. But, here are some questions that are going through my mind this week. I urge us to reflect on these questions as we go about pursuing our dream careers:

Most of us assume that we will be happy when (fill in the blank). The fill in the blank can be the next achievement, the corner office, the success of the side gig, the perfect partner. What if we will not be happy “when”?

I imagine both Bourdain and Spade experienced some sense of emptiness or despair. As we go about pursuing dreams important to us, what are the just-beneath-the-surface moments of emptiness we feel? What is the emptiness we avoid? What do we seek on the outside to fill that emptiness?

Suicide rates have increased by 25% in the last 20 years. Almost always, loved ones are surprised. Who are the people that we can reach out to help us when we feel despair? Who are the people in our lives we can reach out to, to be of help? What are the signs we need to be aware of?

There is still too much shame around mental health issues. How do we as a society and as individuals stop hiding behind masks of perfect Facebook-worthy lives? How do we acknowledge our humanity to others in a vulnerable way? How do we create the space for others to share what’s not perfect in their lives?

What is the cost to us of creating a public persona that is all about the positive? Success. Fun. Fame. Adventure. How painful and lonely must be the discord between the real experience of emptiness and the image of fullness that we feel we must display to the world.

What if our assumptions about the pursuit of the dream that will ultimately make us happy and successful are wrong? What if there is a dark underbelly of the human experience in each of us that we’re missing as we seek self-actualization? What would it be like to claim that dark underbelly? To accept that we are each flawed and that may never change? To accept that there is less within our control than we would like to accept?

Would our dreams be different if they emerged from an acknowledgment of our imperfections and most painful emotions?

I imagine that each one of us will have different answers to these questions. I leave you with a quote from Bourdain in celebration of being curious: “That without experimentation, a willingness to ask questions and try new things, we shall surely become static, repetitive, moribund.”

What are the questions you have as you process the passing of Bourdain and Spade? I welcome your thoughts and reflections.

A version of this post first appeared in my Forbes leadership blog.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

In my work as an executive coach, I have the privilege of being part of a large number of confidential conversations. I don’t have many talents, but I do have a super-power. People somehow feel safe to open up to me about their challenges and their colleagues. Many times there is a great overlap between the two. Invariably as I gather 360 degree feedback about leaders from their colleagues, I run into situations where trust is broken.

“I just don’t trust her.”

“He has proven to me that he can’t be trusted. He’s gone behind my back to my boss.”

“Most of our meetings end up being cancelled. We don’t have much to say to each other.”

Sound familiar? When trust is broken, work stalls. Well-being suffers.

Each of us can probably think of relationships where trust is broken. For most of us, we live with the uneasy status quo because it takes too much effort or courage to change it.

In my coaching, that’s part of the work: to examine and take responsibility for what’s not working.

Two questions always come up when I share the feedback with my coaching clients:

Whose job is it to restore trust when it’s broken?

How can trust be restored?

The simple but uncomfortable answer to the first question is “me (the leader).” Why? Because that’s what leaders do. We practice courage to see the truth of what’s not working. We engage in essential dialogues that bring energy and trust back into relationships that matter. We resolve conflicts in healthy ways. When we do this, people and workplaces thrive.

The answer to the second question is harder: How can trust be restored?

A great tool that I have personally used comes from a leadership classic book called The Anatomy of Peace by the Arbinger Institute. The tool offers a great approach to get to the heart of any conflict.

As the book explains, the root of any conflict is when our own “heart is at war.” Often our goal is to change the other person. We would have a better relationship with them if only they would behave or be different. At the bottom of any conflict is a judgment we have about the other person. We feel either superior or inferior. We feel we deserve better than we’re getting from the other person, or we feel we must be seen in a certain way by the other person.

The below is a chart referenced in the book that is worth examining when you’re in conflict to see which box you might find yourself in.

To restore trust in a relationship and resolve any conflict we have to look in the mirror to see how our own judgments are contributing to the broken trust. Our own (often unconscious) beliefs and stories drive our emotions and behavior and create resistance in the other person. Of course, being human, they also have their own beliefs, stories, and boxes they are in that constrain them.

As we examine the ways we are contributing to the broken trust, we now have access to a choice we didn’t have before. Do I stay in my box or make the courageous decision to step out of this “comfort zone.” As we make a decision to move ourselves out these boxes, we move from a “heart at war” (we are in a place of judgment of ourselves or others) to a “heart at peace” where we see our common humanity and engage with others from a place of curiosity and empathy.

This practice is not always easy as our beliefs, stories and emotions are often sticky. They have been with us for many years of repeated stories we have told ourselves. With awareness, every time we are in conflict, we can practice turning to this tool and see what box we are in. This tool and exercise is transformative in our own well-being, in improving our work relationships, and in creating cultures of collaboration, trust and high-performance. Importantly, this tool is transformative in our most important personal relationships and understanding the ways we sabotage ourselves through the beliefs that keep us stuck.

As I engage in this practice myself, and witness it in my clients, I feel grateful for the wisdom of The Anatomy of Peace to bring about transformation. To dig deeper into this topic, you can check out my LinkedIn Learning online course on “Managing Team Conflict“. As always I welcome your challenges, comments and stories.

This post first appeared in my Forbes.com blog.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

April 4 2018 marked the 50th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. His vision, leadership, wisdom and capacity to be a transformational leader who inspired change is captured in these ten quotes. In our noisy, fast-changing world, his wisdom is more needed than ever.

I imagine that if he were alive today he would want each of us as leaders to look in the mirror and ask ourselves “What is my dream for a better world?” I believe we each have an infinite capacity to be transformational leaders. When we connect with the dreams and purposes that inspire us, we call forth the courage and perseverance that makes a difference, big or small.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy. As we stand in the middle of chaos and change, what is a stand you are inspired toward? What is your wish for a better future?

 “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” As transformational leaders, we are driven by a set of inner values that fuel the courage to stand up in the face of adversity and do the right thing. Our convictions, the emotional commitment we feel to something bigger than ourselves, moves and inspires others.

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?” Transformational leaders are motivated by creating a positive change in the lives of others. Who are the others you are most inspired to serve?

 “If a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.” These prophetic words by MLK point us to discover our own deeper sense of purpose.

“A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.” MLK reminds us of the power we have as leaders to listen deeply and bring people together in discourse.

“People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.” In a world today that is torn apart by polarized views, we must dig deeper to find the common humanity and aspirations each of us holds.

“There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love.” Failure and disappointment are inevitable companions to any worthy effort. In this quote MLK invites us to expect disappointment, and despite this, to prevail and persevere in our efforts.

“Ten thousand fools proclaim themselves into obscurity, while one wise man forgets himself into immortality.” In our distracted, noisy world where many clamor for attention, MLK reminds us to focus on the quiet inner satisfaction of a small difference made, rather than the hunger of the ego wanting to stand above all others.

“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.” Speaking truth to power in a way that is non-judgmental is at the core of bringing about change. What is a truth that is important for you to speak?

“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” It is not the position of importance, but the painstaking effort to do well what uplifts others, that matters. Transformational leaders are found at every level in an organization. They are the people that find meaning and purpose and a higher calling in their daily endeavors.

As you let these words sink in, what needed change do they inspire in you? My dream for a better world is leaders who are inspired, authentic, moving purposefully toward missions that matter to create a better world for all.

A version of this post first appeared in my Forbes leadership blog.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free month
Free Preview