As a busy professional navigating the complexities of leadership, it's all too easy to get caught up in the daily grind and lose sight of our growth and development. We may face challenges and setbacks without realizing the untapped potential within us to overcome them. But what if I told you that the key to becoming a better leader and person lies within your grasp?

The Power of Self-Coaching: Three Key Benefits

Empowerment

"Continuous personal development is a cornerstone of success." - Jack Canfield

In today's fast-paced world, continuous development isn't just a luxury—it's a necessity. Research shows that individuals with a growth mindset are more likely to succeed personally and professionally. By embracing self-coaching, you empower yourself to take control of your growth journey, unlocking your full potential and achieving greater success.

Resilience

Did you know that 85% of successful leaders have a resilient mindset? (Source: HBR)

Resilience isn't just about bouncing back from adversity—it's about thriving in the face of it. Through self-coaching, you build the resilience needed to navigate leadership's inevitable ups and downs with grace and confidence. By reframing challenges as opportunities for growth, you emerge stronger and more resilient than ever before.

Positive Mindset

"Your mindset determines your success." - Carol S. Dweck

Our mindset has a profound impact on our reality. By cultivating a positive mindset through self-coaching, you open yourself up to a world of possibilities. Instead of dwelling on limitations, you focus on solutions and opportunities. By asking empowering questions and challenging assumptions, you shift your perspective from problem-focused to solution-oriented.

Practical Tips for Self-Coaching

Just last week, I had a conversation with a business owner struggling to find fulfillment in her work. The weight of responsibility had taken its toll, and she was stuck in a cycle of negativity and self-doubt. But she discovered a newfound sense of empowerment and clarity through the power of self-coaching.

By reframing her challenges as opportunities for growth and tapping into her inner resilience, she transformed her mindset and reignited her passion for her work. Her story serves as a powerful reminder of the profound impact that self-coaching can have on our lives and careers.

If you are ready to embark on your journey of self-discovery and personal growth, here are some actionable tips to get you started:

  1. Set aside dedicated time each day for self-reflection.
  2. Ask yourself meaningful questions that challenge your assumptions and spark new insights.
  3. Practice gratitude and self-compassion, recognizing the progress you've made and the strengths you possess.

As someone who has experienced the transformative power of self-coaching firsthand, I can attest to its profound impact on personal and professional growth. By embracing the practice of self-coaching, you empower yourself to unlock your full potential, cultivate resilience, and foster a positive mindset grounded in possibility.

Are you ready to take the first step on this journey of self-discovery? I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter and join me as we explore the power of intentional leadership practices and unlock the potential within ourselves and those we lead.

You don't have to navigate this journey alone. I'm here to support you every step of the way, cheering you on from the sidelines and serving as your accountability partner. Together, let's embrace the power of self-coaching and unleash our limitless potential.

In the world of leadership, there comes a point in one's career when the term "executive presence" enters the conversation. It's that juncture when you find yourself with increased visibility in your organization, and suddenly, how people, including senior levels, perceive you becomes crucial. You receive feedback along the lines of, "You need to work on your executive presence," but what exactly does that mean? To complicate matters, there are numerous misconceptions surrounding this elusive quality.

Dispelling Myths About Executive Presence

During my time in the corporate world, I, too, grappled with the notion of executive presence. I believed that to exude executive presence, I needed to “act more like a man.” Over the years, I've coached male leaders who believed it meant impeccable grooming or dressing to impress. It's not uncommon for leaders to have these misconceptions, and often, the process of demystifying executive presence begins with understanding what it is not.

It's often easier for organizations to pinpoint when someone lacks executive presence—when an individual is overly reticent or excessively talkative, when emotions become a stumbling block, when punctuality or professionalism falters, or when nervous fidgeting or rambling takes over. These outward signs of unprofessional behavior, whether in appearance, language, or demeanor, are easier to identify. However, explaining what executive presence is can be a more nuanced challenge.

The Three Key Questions

Identifying executive presence is a personalized journey unique to each leader receiving feedback. One helpful approach is to consider three fundamental questions regarding how people perceive you:

  1. Do they believe you are of value or benefit?
  2. Do they want to engage with you or do business with you?
  3. Do they find you credible?

These questions prompt leaders to reflect on the alignment between their words and actions, a central aspect of authenticity. After all, authenticity is about being genuine and consistent in presenting yourself. It's not a facade or an attempt to mimic someone else's style; instead, it's about being true to your values, strengths, and personality.

The Role of Authenticity in Boosting Executive Presence

Authenticity plays a pivotal role in boosting credibility and fostering genuine connections, which, in turn, supports your executive presence. Here's how:

  1. Consistency in Words and Actions: Authentic leaders practice what they preach. Their actions align with their words, creating a sense of trustworthiness. Whether in challenging times or when the going is good, they maintain their authenticity, providing a solid foundation for how they are perceived.
  2. Genuine Engagement: Authenticity encourages leaders to be themselves, which promotes sincere interactions. When leaders show up as their authentic selves, it invites open, honest communication, making others more willing to engage and collaborate.
  3. Adaptable Authenticity: Authenticity isn't about being rigid. It's about understanding when to be assertive, when to be empathetic, and when to be visionary. Authentic leaders adapt their authenticity to different situations and stakeholders while staying true to their core values.
  4. Building Trust: is the bedrock of effective leadership, and authenticity is its cornerstone. When you consistently demonstrate authenticity, you build trust with your team, peers, and superiors, which is essential for cultivating a strong executive presence.

Remember that authenticity is not a one-size-fits-all concept in your journey to enhance your executive presence. It's about embracing who you are, understanding your unique strengths and values, and confidently bringing your true self to your role as a leader.

Take Action and Elevate Your Executive Presence

Here are some actionable steps to incorporate authenticity into your executive presence:

Executive presence is a dynamic quality that evolves with personal growth and self-awareness. By prioritizing authenticity in how you show up consistently and working on being more authentic, you'll not only elevate your executive presence but also leave a lasting, positive impact as a leader.

Ready to elevate your executive presence? Take the next step and work with me to enhance your authenticity and elevate your executive presence—and, in turn, your career. Together, we'll unlock your full leadership potential and help you leave a lasting, positive impact on your organization.

As an executive leadership coach who's walked the corridors of corporate leadership, I've witnessed the increasing demands placed on today's leaders and the increased importance of prioritization in leadership. The relentless pursuit of results, the pressure to meet higher expectations, and the evolving dynamics of the modern workforce present challenges that demand a fresh perspective. It’s time to consider a seemingly paradoxical concept—finding ways to "care less"—and how it can unlock a leader's capacity to care more about what truly matters.

The Landscape of Modern Leadership

In a world where job satisfaction is declining, and the workforce is grappling with the stresses of returning to the office or navigating hybrid work, leaders find themselves at a crossroads. Despite efforts to provide flexibility, support, and even salary increases, discontent persists. The distance between leaders and their teams has eroded trust, giving rise to misunderstandings and conflict. The remedy, however, lies not in doing more but in doing things differently.

The Irony of "Caring Less"

As an intentional leadership coach, I often ask my clients a seemingly ironic question: "How can you care less?" It's not a call to apathy, but rather a challenge to shed unnecessary burdens. Leaders must learn to care less about the distracting noise around them - the non-essential matters that hinder their ability to lead with intention. This shift is crucial because caring less about the trivial allows leaders to invest more in what truly matters - leading, engaging and supporting their teams to be their best. 

Prioritization in Leadership & Identifying Less Important Matters

To embark on this journey of caring less, leaders need practical strategies to identify what is less important. Here are 3 ways to navigate this process:

  1. Prioritize Impact: Evaluate tasks and responsibilities based on their potential impact. What actions contribute significantly to team engagement, productivity, and overall success? By prioritizing tasks with a direct impact, leaders can allocate their time and energy where it matters most.
  2. Align with Core Values: Leaders should reassess their activities in light of their organization's core values. Are the tasks aligning with the company's mission and values? If not, there may be distractions that hinder authentic leadership. By aligning actions with core values, leaders can streamline their focus and contribute to a more purpose-driven workplace.
  3. Delegate Wisely: Effective leaders recognize the power of delegation. Identify tasks that can be delegated to capable team members, freeing up time for leaders to concentrate on strategic, high-impact initiatives. Delegating empowers team members, fosters collaboration, and ensures that leaders direct their energy where it matters most.

Embrace a New Era of Leadership

In a time where intentional, heart-led leadership is needed more than ever, the challenge lies in bridging the gap between the desire to lead effectively and the daily grind of overwhelming responsibilities. It's time for companies and decision-makers to invest in developing their leaders, providing them with the skills and support needed to navigate the complexities of today's business landscape.

“Caring less” is not about neglecting responsibilities; prioritization in leadership is a strategic decision to shed the unnecessary and focus on what truly matters. By embracing this shift in perspective, leaders can navigate workplace challenges with resilience, authenticity, and a commitment to making a meaningful impact.

If your leaders are grappling with prioritization of what matters most, it may be time to support them in developing modern leadership approaches critical to sustained success into the future. Let's connect

One of the biggest challenges facing leaders today is meeting fatigue and the epidemic of unproductive meetings. When you ask any leader about their calendar these days, the response is often, "My calendar is unmanageable." It's not just back-to-back meetings, but sometimes two or even three meetings happening at a time.

Some leaders find themselves juggling multiple screens and logins, taking multitasking to the next level, but is it really?

In my own corporate experience, I spent hours upon hours in meetings, but I had an executive assistant who could help protect some small slivers of time each week on my calendar. 

Navigating the Meeting Maze

With the ever-increasing speed of change and the rising expectations for urgency, how can leaders be at their best? They plow through the day, switching contexts like crazy, leaving little room for actual work…or leadership!

As companies require their leaders to bring new thinking to the table, keep up with emerging trends and technologies that significantly impact strategy, and lead differently to meet the new expectations of a post-COVID workforce, leaders struggle to find a moment for a bathroom break or lunch.

Of course, we all have the opportunity to hold ourselves more accountable for our own time, our most precious resource. I've recommended and walked leaders through tools like the Eisenhower matrix, "start/stop/continue", and time tracking. These excellent approaches enhance focus, prioritize tasks, and manage time better. However, we've reached a point where companies need to more actively support their leaders in these efforts and in breaking the meeting culture.

We can delve into what's holding us back from setting boundaries or saying no. Still, it's less effective if leaders aren't provided with encouragement or examples of how to do this.

I've spent the last three weeks with three different clients in three states, discussing various leadership topics. The common theme that emerged across all these leaders' experiences and occupied the minds of everyone I spoke to was TIME — specifically, finding time on their calendars to do more: more of what's expected, more of what their teams need, and more of what makes them feel fulfilled and alive.

Leading with Intention in a Time-Starved World

How can I find time in my day to lead ...and lead like I really want to? The desire to lead with intention is there, but stepping off the hamster wheel and making that desire a reality is incredibly challenging.

Shopify recently confronted this problem head-on by installing a calendar app to track the number of hours spent in meetings and their associated costs. By simply being aware of this data, they are on track to save $322,000 in meeting time costs in the first year alone.

During a discussion and facilitated brainstorming session about strategic priorities this week, one of my clients decided to focus on meeting and email overload as a strategy in itself! 

Sometimes, awareness is all that's needed to drive change. Leaders are crying out for help as they feel conflicted, unprepared, and unsupported in giving their best in today's workplace. If we ask leaders to lead differently in this ever-changing world, organizations need to do something different to support them and their teams in this endeavor. 

Support them in pushing back, support them in changing the trajectory of where we're headed, and support them in prioritizing the true value they bring to the table.

Practical Steps to Combat Meeting Overload

Here are four actions to consider in the fight against meeting fatigue at your organization:

  1. Survey your organization to gather facts: Conduct a comprehensive survey across your organization to quantify the extent of meeting overload. Ask employees how many meetings they attend regularly and how valuable they perceive them to be. Gather insights into common pain points and frustrations related to meetings.
  2. Implement technology to track meeting time and costs: Leverage technology solutions similar to Shopify's approach to track the amount of time employees spend in meetings and calculate associated costs. This data will provide valuable insights into the financial impact of meetings and highlight areas for potential optimization.
  3. Establish meeting-free zones in your calendar: Encourage leaders to designate specific time blocks in their calendars where no meetings are allowed. These meeting-free zones provide leaders with uninterrupted periods to focus on critical tasks, engage in strategic thinking, and prioritize their most important work. This practice helps prevent burnout and fosters productivity.
  4. Implement Meeting Purpose and Agenda Guidelines: Encourage the adoption of clear meeting purpose and agenda guidelines within your organization. Require meeting organizers to define a clear purpose for each meeting and share a well-structured agenda in advance. This ensures that meetings stay on track, focused, and result-oriented, reducing unnecessary meetings and time wastage.

What other ideas do you have to help leaders dig out of the meeting culture of today?

If you are ready to navigate these challenges and invest in your leaders, let’s connect.

As we step into the year 2023, corporate leaders are faced with an ongoing challenge of a rapidly changing business environment. For a few of my clients, I am seeing them face a very pressing and unfortunate issue - navigating the challenge of layoffs. This has created a sense of uncertainty and fear among employees and highlighted the importance for them to navigate - purposefully,  transparently, and with care and compassion.

The Heart of the Leader

Recently, I observed one of my executive clients communicate a very difficult message to his team that 50 jobs would be eliminated. Each one of the employees in the room was directly impacted. He delivered the news clearly yet compassionately as he explained the circumstances, acknowledged the impact of the decision, and offered space & uncomfortable silence for the individuals sitting in front of him to process the news best.

He put himself in the shoes of his employees - many tenured and committed for years to the organization - and took a heart-centered approach to share the difficult news. In navigating the challenge of layoffs, he met his employees in a place of empathy, went off script a little where necessary, and did his best to hold the space they needed to receive the news. He showed up as an intentional leader during a difficult time, and his actions served as an excellent example for other executives to follow.

In my book, Lead with Heart & Leave a Legacy, I talk about my own experience as a corporate executive faced with communicating a layoff. The lack of progress against the company strategy led to a top-down decision to execute a reduction in the workforce across the organization.  

It was a heartbreaking day, but my team needed a sincere, transparent, vulnerable leader.  The experience taught me the importance of leading with care and compassion during difficult times and proved to be the best approach in minimizing impact on the people. 

Three Ways Intentional Leaders Can Minimize the Impact of Layoffs on Employees

When navigating the challenge of layoffs, intentional leaders prioritize taking steps to minimize the impact on their employees. They do this by adopting a heart-led approach that focuses on transparency, compassion, and being connected.

Here are three things that intentional leaders do when navigating the challenge of layoffs:

  1. Communicate with Transparency
    When communicating with employees, leaders who want to navigate layoffs effectively must be transparent and honest. It is essential to clearly explain the reasons behind the layoffs and what steps the organization is taking to help affected employees. This can help alleviate some of the anxiety and uncertainty often accompanying layoffs.
  2. Show Deep Care & Concern
    It is important for leaders to show empathy and compassion towards their employees during these difficult times. This means taking the time to listen to employees, acknowledging their emotions, and showing genuine concern for their well-being. Leaders can demonstrate this by providing support and resources to employees during and after the layoffs.
  3. Pay Attention to Remaining Workers' Concerns
    After a layoff, the remaining employees may feel overwhelmed, anxious, and uncertain about their own future with the organization. It's important for leaders to pay attention to their concerns and make personal connections to understand how they are really doing. Leaders can organize one-on-one meetings, hold group discussions, and encourage open communication channels to create a space where employees can express their feelings, ask questions, and share their thoughts. This approach can also help identify potential issues and areas for improvement within the organization.

The Power of Intentional Leadership

For my executive client, how he chose to communicate the devastating news influenced how those individuals reacted and accelerated their ability to process through the change. While life-changing, they felt supported and mirrored their leader's calm sense of commitment.

The year 2023 will continue to present many challenges for corporate leaders, including the ongoing issue of layoffs. By communicating transparently, showing care and compassion, and being mindful of the concerns of their remaining employees, corporate leaders can navigate the challenge of layoffs while minimizing employee impact and fostering a culture that will thrive in the years to come.

If you are a corporate leader looking to develop intentional leadership skills in your organization and cultivate a culture of care and compassion even in the most challenging of times, I invite you to work with me

Is employee engagement a priority for your organization?

If it’s not, it should be. 82% of employees want their company to see them as a person, not just an employee (Gartner (2022)). 

Being seen as a person looks like:

To meet the rising demand for more “people-centered” workplaces, leaders must lead differently. 

Which type of leader are you?

In my work, I see two types of leaders:

  1. The transactional leader
  2. The intentional leader

Transaction leaders prioritize results, metrics, and outcomes. Intentional leaders prioritize people – while still meeting key targets and performance expectations.

Given what we know employees expect and prioritize, intentional leadership is more imperative than ever. 

Top performers want to work for someone who is focused on cultivating personal connections, digging into what inspires each individual contributor, and creating personalized motivational strategies. 

How can a leader become more intentional?

It’s easy to tell leaders to show up differently and lean into the proven practices of intentional leadership – but it’s a bit harder in practice.

Change fatigue and work friction, increased by remote and hybrid work, leave most leaders feeling unprepared, unsupported, and uncertain about how to be an effective leader.

Enter: Executive coaching.

This is the most effective way to equip today’s leaders to make behavioral changes and perspective shifts to become an effective, intentional leader.

Executive coaching is effective. It’s also one of the top resources and professional development tools requested by leaders themselves

48% of global leaders want to learn from external coaching (DDI 2022).

4 ways to build intentional leadership through executive coaching

Executive coaching has many benefits for leaders – both professionally and personally. Of those benefits, these are the 5 most important ways executive coaching can impact your leaders:

1. Create Space
An executive coaching engagement can provide the forum and breathing room that allows the leader to get off the hamster wheel for a moment and refocus/reconnect to their role as a leader. This space creates room to feel effective and connected to their purpose again.                                     

When leaders are given the gift of time/space to focus their own leadership, they feel seen, acknowledged, and understood. This leads to feeling inspired and supported, so they can show up and create value for their team and organization.

2. Expand Possibility
A skilled executive coach will guide your leaders to their highest potential. Coaches use their skills, like active listening and building trust, to create a connection with each leader. This personal connection and belief gives the leader a conduit to see their own strengths and potential.

3. Increase Self Awareness 
Leaders need to be more aware of their role. Without increased self-awareness, leaders, like all of us, will blindly continue doing things the same way as usual. The trouble with self-awareness is that it’s challenging to develop on your own. 

An executive coach will guide leaders to examine their behavior, reflect on their decisions, and facilitate a powerful experience that allows the leader to become more aware of their values, emotions, and habits – and how they impact the people they lead.

Coaches help people see themselves more clearly and more compassionately. Executive coaching is the best way for a leader to understand their strengths and weaknesses, learning how to see different perspectives and accounting for their own actions as they are mirrored back. 

4. Challenge Beliefs and Support Shifts

Like with self-awareness, it’s almost impossible to challenge long-held beliefs or shift your perspective on your own. Executive coaching gives leaders the power to examine the things they believe and the perspectives they hold to determine how these things affect their team and overall organization. Leaders who feel empowered to reconsider their beliefs and make important shifts are then able to re-engage with their team, recommit to their values and goals, and reignite their impact.

Leaders who participate in executive coaching feel more aligned to their priorities and are better at helping their team members feel aligned to their projects and responsibilities. An aligned leader is an inspired, effective leader.

Using executive coaching in your organization

The engagement, morale, retention, and overall well being of a company won’t change if leaders don’t start doing something different.

The benefits of effective executive coaching include improved emotional intelligence, better ego control, and an enhanced perspective. Is this the “different” you’re looking for?

If you’re ready to develop more effective, intentional leaders – click here to learn more about executive coaching and how our team of coaches can benefit your organization.

Looking Back Over the Past 5 Years of Business Ownership

I recently read a statistic: only 50% of businesses are still operating after 5 years. So, I quickly did some math and discovered that I established my LLC and took my first client after leaving the corporate world in 2017. Looks like I’m officially five years in – I made it!

My passion for leadership development began in my work at Catalina, and after some life-changing events, I left 70-hour work weeks to follow that passion. I knew I wanted more autonomy, flexibility, and fulfillment, and I wanted to make an even bigger impact. I wanted to take my experience and share it with other grow-minded leaders. So I started my company, named White Cap Coaching with inspiration from my kids (representing the things we love to do as a family – be on the water and in the mountains) and grew it from the ground up. 

The topic of leadership resonated with me so much I wrote an entire book about it – Lead with Heart & Leave a Legacy.

And over the past 5 years, I’ve led my company through multiple evolutions. I’ve refined my messaging, impact, and moved from what I knew – traditional corporate speak (the male CEOs I worked with and for over the years taught me well!) – to a more authentic, relatable and intentional message. Now, my messaging matches my experiences and, most importantly, the unique and meaningful value and service that only I can provide to my amazing clients. 

Learning the Keys to Business

I cannot believe it has been 5 years already! I have connected with so many wonderful, intentional leaders and learned so much from them, and I’ve practiced specific strategies for success to help me stay focused and set me up for success

As a solopreneur with a mission to support leaders as they define their own legacy of leadership for a happy, successful, and fulfilling life and career, I’ve learned quite a few things along the way. And today, I’d love to share the 5 keys to business that I’ve unlocked at this point in my business.

1. Show up for the right reasons – and do so unapologetically

In the early days, I was caught in the trap of looking at others who were further along their path. I thought if I emulated what I saw them doing, it would accelerate my success. 

But the truth is that comparing yourself to others knocks you off track from your true purpose. Comparison is the fastest way to forget the reason you started your business to begin with.

For me, it was to help leaders find simplicity in the complex and to be in service to them to find fulfillment, meaning & impact in their roles as leaders and in their lives as beautiful, whole people. Comparison can be evil. I learned that the faster path to success happened when I wasn’t worried about what others thought, or how others perceive me. I learned to practice finding inspiration in others’ successes while staying aligned to the path I was on without any apology for it. 

2. Progress not perfection 

I quickly realized that if I spent too much time trying to perfect what I was working on, I would never move forward. My business has changed in mind blowing ways since it began. 

Over the years, I’ve changed my:

Trying to perfect everything was a distraction from the true work I needed to do. Instead of creating something perfect, stay in motion and keep moving forward – refining and improving as you go.

3. One of my favorite keys to business? Find ease… not easy 

Starting your own business, especially as a solopreneur, requires a lot. The path will never be easy, but it can involve more ease. 

I was working 70 hours a week in the corporate world, and I easily carried that bad habit into my new business at first. But I had to remind myself that I started this business to be different, to enjoy my work, to have more time and freedom.

Starting your own business isn’t easy but there should be some ease associated. Once I figured out how to stay in flow and connected to the work that I was doing and the impact I was making, I felt a lot more ease. It was also important that I operated in alignment, modeling what I was teaching my clients in my own work and business.

4. Intention in all you do 

Intention is a huge reason my business has thrived for five years! In my work, intention shows up in every aspect of what I do: 

Showing up with intention helps me stay in alignment, be flexible with my work, and know when to pivot. 

5. Celebrating your wins is one of the most surprising keys to business 

This month as I celebrate my 5 years in business, I am privileged to gather with clients, colleagues, and friends to celebrate this accomplishment and thank those who supported me along the way. 

The journey has not always been easy, there have been many ups and downs (including a significant health scare!) but starting my own business and following my passion has been one of the biggest wins of all. Over the past 5 years, whenever work became stressful and busy or something did not go my way, I often forgot to count the wins. 

But celebrating even the small wins matters. All of those tiny victories have contributed to my overall success – helping me become a better leader and entrepreneur. 

My journey to unlocking the keys to business

I started my business journey investing 25 years in the same company, learning 7 leadership lessons.

And now 5 years into my business as a solopreneur, I’m sharing the 5 keys to business I’ve discovered so far.

These milestones are the perfect opportunity to reflect on my experience and share all I’ve learned. 

I’m endlessly grateful for the people I’ve met, the leaders I’ve coached, the lives I’ve changed, and the business I’ve created. Cheers to the next five years as a small business owner!

Your early career professionals and high-potential leadership candidates will shape the near future landscape of your businesses. Looking five years to the future,  what are you doing to prepare leaders for the future of your organization? If you’re unsure or unclear about effectively developing the leadership skills of your early career professionals, this post will give you clear next steps and strategies.

Employees are looking for help developing their leadership skills

A recent Gallup study showed that 70% of workers are likely to change jobs to one offering training/education opportunities that upgrade their skills. Today’s employees want to feel supported and prepared for future roles. If employees do not feel properly trained or know exactly what to expect, they will likely search for other jobs and leave the company.

An organization that refuses to recognize the crucial need for targeted leadership development and ignores its employees’ desire for targeted professional development will lose top talent and struggle to retain long-term employees.

The hybrid workplace

In light of the recent global pandemic, many employees have had to rethink how and where they work. Organizations must be aware of these changes to recruit and retain high-potential leaders. A “hybrid” work environment – with work time split between remote work and in-office work – has become an expectation for many.

As a coach, I help many leaders prepare for the hybrid work environment. Successful leaders need the right tools and strategies to excel in the new, modern workplace.

One of the leaders I coach summarized it like this:

“As leaders, we have to recognize change in the workforce. Instead of measuring hours of people sitting at their desks, we need to measure if the person is getting their job done effectively.”  
B.D. Houston, TX.

Developing leadership soft skills

85% of the jobs that college students will be doing in the year 2030 do not even exist today. That means we are preparing our future leaders for virtually unknown jobs, which is why it is so important that emerging leaders develop the soft skills needed to succeed in the future workforce.

Soft skills are usually the hardest to understand. Technical skills are concrete and simple to measure. Performance can be tracked and evaluated. But soft skills can feel unclear, uncertain, and impossible to measure.

Successful future leaders need to develop soft skills like:

A leader’s ability to manage their emotions, and provide context that helps their employees stay engaged, adapt, practice good judgment, and continue to learn are some of the additional soft skills that set leaders apart.

The High-Potential Leadership Program

Given what we know about the ever-evolving workplace and the needs and desires of today’s future leaders – organizations must be forward-thinking and responsive.

You should be considering:

After working with so many leaders considering these critical questions, I was inspired my High-Potential Leadership Development Program.

This program focuses on the soft skills tomorrow’s leaders need to succeed in an ever-changing marketplace.

Over the course of 6 months, I helped my high-potential leaders develop the key skills needed to succeed as a leader of the future.

They learn how to apply these approaches in different work environments – from remote work to in-person settings and the more complicated hybrid work environment.

They learn how to influence others and be change-capable leaders in an ever-changing world.

The High Potential Leadership Development Program is a six-month group coaching, mentoring, and development program that allows your emerging leadership talent to develop skills, discover tools, and practice habits that successful leaders have proved.

I recently onboarded 30 high-potential leaders into this program, and they are making incredible growth and implementing the skills and strategies we’ve learned.

Ready to make an investment in your own high-potential leaders? Click here to connect with me and learn more about how my coaching program can equip your top talent to become the most effective leaders of the near future.

May is mental health awareness month, so it feels like the perfect time to discuss what burnout and self-care can look like in the workplace.  

The topic of burnout is becoming a major focus for many organizations. It’s encouraging to see workplaces raise awareness of the dangers of burnout and the importance of self-care and acknowledge the significant impact of workplace stress and long hours on employee health.

But this is still an area where many leaders need to deepen their understanding of burnout and self-care – putting in the time and energy to truly care for their employees and team members.

What exactly is burnout?

Burnout is defined as Chronic workplace stress not successfully managed by employers or employees.

One important thing to note here is that the opposite of burnout is not an absence of stress, but rather the successful management of stress. Leading successful teams will always carry some stress, but if we can learn how to use self-care to appropriately handle our job responsibilities – and teach our teams to do the same – we can avoid the dangerous repercussions of severe burnout.

How does burnout show up in the workplace?

Here’s what we know is true: Teams are burnt out – it’s a global health condition at this point.

According to Gallup, workplace stress costs $300B per year and 44% of workers regularly experience burnout and exhaustion. 

These stats show us that, as leaders, we are acutely responsible for the mental health and wellbeing of our people. We must be aware of what can happen when we ignore the signs of burnout, push our teams too far, and don’t make space for proper self-care. 

I started thinking more about burnout – specifically who is to blame when it happens – after I was asked to speak about the benefits of self-care (and the negative impact of burnout). I personally experienced a serious health scare due to the burnout I suffered, which ultimately led me to make huge changes in my lifestyle and career. And I really wanted to know – whose fault is it? 

Was it my leaders’ fault for not seeing the signs and creating an unhealthy environment?

Was it my organization’s fault for creating a toxic culture and having outsized expectations?

Or was it my fault – for letting things get so bad before I made any personal changes?

As I thought about who to blame, I realized something: The better question is what can be done about burnout and self-care in the workplace?

We have all played a part in letting things get so out of hand, and I think our energy should be spent on finding solutions and creating positive change within our realm of influence.

Before we can find feasible solutions, we need to understand how burnout occurs, even in businesses that don’t intend to work their employees into an unhealthy state.

What contributes to burnout and self-care?

The world is changing at an exhaustive rate. We are always on. We have competing priorities to keep up with and everyone expects instantaneous gratification. We can always be reached. Everything is urgent

And while it’s convenient to blame COVID, this burnout culture existed long before the global pandemic. COVID simply accelerated and exacerbated the issue.

For organizations who thrived during COVID, it was game on to capitalize on the opportunity to experience exponential growth in a new segment, new category, or new industry.

For organizations who struggled during COVID, it was game on to keep the business afloat, rethink, reinvent and emerge on the other side so they could rebuild what once was.

Employees on either side of the coin were overworked with blurred lines between work and home, anxiously facing sleepless nights, worried about their job, or worried they wouldn’t appear as productive as they needed to be to save themselves if they had to.

The demands of our busy lives, coupled with the performance cultures we face in our jobs, wear us down and make burnout a real experience.

Burnout is caused by:

And these are all things that destroy performance while harming individuals.

How do we treat burnout and self-care in the workplace?

When speaking to a local news channel about burnout in 2019, I gave a suggestion to “get 7 hours of sleep” as an effective way to combat burnout. This simple suggestion garnered a snicker from the anchor – you can watch the clip here. It just shows how far we have to come, and how embedded the burnout culture truly is. 

So what are we, as leaders, supposed to do?

The solution for burnout isn’t “self-care” – and it isn’t lowering performance expectations. 

Solving burnout in the workplace requires a co-created space between employees and the company that includes ambition, drive, results, and time to rest and recharge.

Hard work should be met by equal rest. The most ambitious of your people need to be praised for recharging the same way they are praised for meeting big goals. We must remove the stigma of “laziness” and reframe genuine rest and recharging as essential components of success.

Whether you’re a leader looking for better ways to support your employee's overall well-being or an employee teetering on the edge, looking for ways to avoid burnout – here are 3 strategies to try:

  1. Get clear on expectations. Only 60% of workers know what is expected of them at work. This causes conflict between manager and employee and creates internal conflict for the employee when they place unrealistic expectations on themselves.
  2. Get comfortable disconnecting. A vacation is a great option and many employers are offering unlimited PTO, but employees aren’t taking it. Leaders need to encourage it and even consider more unconventional options, like sabbaticals. At a minimum, leaders must be aware when employees eat at their desks and answer emails in the evenings. As a leader, discourage this behavior. As an employee, stop doing these things.
  3. Get serious about a People First Culture. When an employee is able to be their best self at work, the company gets the best outcome. Employees should know what things give them energy, and be encouraged to share these with their leaders without guilt. As a leader, show you care, and ask them how you can support them in this without making them feel they have to get the company’s buy-in.

Need one-on-one help navigating burnout and self-care as a leader?

My work is centered around helping leaders become more effective while also leading more fulfilling lives. If you’re interested in working together to avoid burnout, recover from existing burnout, help your employees avoid burnout, or learn how to implement a self-care practice that prioritizes success and recharging – I’d love to chat with you.

You can contact me here to get started. 

Leading leaders is a complicated, complex task in the best of times. And I think we can all agree that the past two years have been more challenging than easy. 

Do you have a newly formed team of leaders?

Have the changes required by the state of the workplace (and the world) over the past two years challenged your team of leaders?

Have you found yourself focusing more on the short-term, immediate survival and results instead of prioritizing nurturing and communicating with your leadership team?

These scenarios cover a wide spectrum of experiences, but all of them have a similar effect – your team has become a “working group,” focused on their individual performance and only interacting on a transactional, informational basis.

This helpful graph shows how your team’s performance and effectiveness affect each other.

What To Do When “Working Group” Is NOT Enough

A “working group” of leaders should not be the goal. Effective leaders and CEOs want to foster a truly high-performing team.

Given the challenges and setbacks of working in and through a global pandemic, you may have had a high-performing team that has slid into “working group” mode.

You may have a new team that hasn’t reached its potential yet.

Or maybe you have a team that has just never gotten past the “working group” stage.

Regardless of how you got here, you know that “working group” is not where you want your leaders to stay.

But how do you initiate change?

It all comes down to building connections and TRUST.

Trust is the foundation of a high-performing team. When trust is present, your leaders experience the psychological safety they need to make mistakes and learn from them, be vulnerable with one another, hold each team member mutually accountable, and be ready and willing to share professional wins and failures.

That is the true picture of a high-performing team.

Let’s look at an example in action from one of my recent clients.

Developing Leaders with Trust: A Case Study

I was introduced to our case study team in early 2021. They were a newly-formed executive team that was brought together in a restructure post-acquisition. (Never an easy position to be in for any leader.)

The team members joined the new team from different functions in different companies with the goal to provide a new analytics function to the organization.

This group of individuals – the very definition of a “working group” – had the opportunity to move through the “Team Performance Curve” (see graph above) to establish a common purpose, performance goals, trust, and accountability.

We had 12 months together, and I needed them to make significant progress in the 5 core behaviors of a cohesive team:

I pulled the team together for monthly leadership development sessions where I covered these behaviors and then helped them apply what they learned in their own monthly meetings. They could practice demonstrating each behavior in real-time as they came together to address their business agenda.

This approach supported and developed an effective, cohesive team post-merger and reorganization.

Developing Leaders: The Results

In our first meeting, I had the leaders on this team score themselves in the 5 core behaviors. After 12 months of working together, I had them re-assess and we saw significant improvement across all FIVE behaviors.

Their growth in the 5 core behaviors helped this team move from a “working group” all the way through the curve to a high-performing team.

The leaders’ results were also seen across the organization, and our team’s mission became a new corporate pillar for the entire organization!

Want to Improve Your Team’s Performance? Start with Trust

It can feel overwhelming and impossible to make changes with your senior team devolves or can’t seem to move past the “working group” stage. But you will see results when you start with trust.

Building trust among your team is the foundational first step to moving through the performance curve and becoming the established, high-performance team you want to have. And when your team of leaders becomes high-performing, you’re going to elevate the performance of your entire organization.

Ready to get started with your team? This is a simple trust-building exercise I encourage you to try in your next team meeting.

Personal Histories Exercise

  1. Give everyone 2-3 minutes to think about their responses to these questions.
    • Where did you grow up?
    • How many siblings do you have and where do you fall in the sibling order (oldest, youngest, etc.)?
    • What was an important or unique challenge of your childhood - of being a kid?
  2. Ask for a volunteer to begin. Each person as 3 minutes to share
  3. Once everyone shares, discuss what you learned about your colleagues that you didn’t know.

When you try this, you’ll see the level of psychological safety increase as your team starts to actively build trust. It’s simple, effective, and productive.

Ready to Increase Your Team’s Trust and Performance?

Once you see the benefit of building trust – and the other 4 core behaviors – with your team, you’ll wish you had started this process even sooner.

When you’re ready, I provide customized team development programs based on your unique team needs, personalities, and goals.

Reach out and schedule a call to talk about how I can help your leaders become a high-performing team and elevate the results and efficacy of your entire organization.

Tricia Manning © 2024 All Rights Reserved.
crossmenuchevron-down linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram