Do you Have the Courage to be Vulnerable?

Posted on 29. May, 2012 by in Blog, Coaching, Leadership and Development, Teamwork

AuthenticVulnerable. Exposed.

Hate these words? Most people say they do.

They don’t want to look bad in front of people they work with or lead.

They say, “I don’t want to look silly, stupid – be called a fool.”

Most team members already know who you are. They know what you can do and can’t do – what you’re good at and where you struggle. So why pretend?

At what point do we finally “give in” and just be who we are? Own our strengths and weaknesses, then mesh with others strengths and weaknesses to create something truly special?

In teams, being authentic and real with team members requires self awareness, vulnerability and – the big one –  authenticity. The hardest? I gotta think Vulnerability. And without it, how can anyone truly be authentic? It’s all tied.

Vulnerability has presented some of the biggest biggest roadblocks for some of the best leaders I know. I think their ability to take it head on and embrace it has made the difference. One of the best explanations I’ve heard about the Power of Vulnerability comes from Dr Brené Brown. Funny, practical, authentic, and an expert in her field, she provides insight and clarity about vulnerability and the power of it in all aspects of our lives (not just business).

 Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW (more…)

Leadership: The Muffin-Top Deluision

Posted on 22. May, 2012 by in Blog, Coaching, Leadership and Development

Graphic by Antony Bennison

Yesterday I did it again. Went too far. Asked the question that didn’t need to be asked.

My son just finished a book report. (Always a fun family project) and we were discussing symbols.

I asked him, “if you were to choose a symbol that represents who you are now, what would it be and why?”

He thought for a minute and answered, “a flame.”

He then explained why he chose it with insight and depth I didn’t expected from a fifth grader.

In my surprise – I fell prey to my own curiosity and took it to the next level, not heeding the little voice warning me not to go there… I went there.

“If you were to guess what symbol I would chose, not just as your mom but who I am deep down, what would you guess I’d pick?”

He barely paused. “A muffin top.” He choked through his laugh.

Yes. Of course I was mature. Gave him a playful punch in the arm and wrestled him to prove I am “skinny-tough enough” to still take him. But then had to look in the mirror. How bad is that “muffin-top?” Am I kidding myself? Not seeing what the kid sees? (more…)

The Romper Room Effect

Posted on 28. Jan, 2011 by in Blog, Leadership and Development

In 1952, a new “kiddie learning show” show was launchedRomper Room.  Syndicated across the country and shown in England, Ireland, Japan and Australia, the show provided a much needed ‘time out’ for weary parents as their children sat, eyes glued to the TV.  The preschoolers interacted with their televisions, audibly answering  questions when asked such as, “Did you know the horse was brown?”

Tiny squirming children would wait  patiently (or not so patiently) for the highlight of the show, the closing scene where Miss Nancy (the original host out of Baltimore)

or Miss Debbie, Miss Susan, Miss Sally, etc. would position her magic mirror in front of her face, look directly into the camera, and recite  the names of  the good boys and girls she could see that day.

Some children would jump up and down in front of the TV, attempting to get Miss Whoever’s  attention as the roll call began,

“I see Sarah, I see Bobby, I see Suzie…”  And 40 years later , “I see Michelle, I see Tiffany, I see Tyler, I see Brandy” – you get the idea.

(Nope – I never heard Denise. -Ahh the agony!)

Which, years later leads us to the Romper Room Effect in leadership.

As a leader, how many times have you had the opportunity to hold up the magic mirror?  A way to see people that are doing good things, just waiting to be noticed?

That employee wanting you to notice  he is doing a good job.  That volunteer wanting you to recognize  the hours she is putting in makes a difference.

Did you see him/her? Did you offer a thank you? A “good job” comment?

The recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report  indicates that the number of people leaving their jobs, not affected by a layoff is up by 6%.

Up in an otherwise down economy.  Why? Many cite their boss as a primary reason for exit, along with lack of opportunity for contribution, or loss of confidence in senior management.

Most reasons for leaving are concerns about how they are viewed, treated – noticed.  [note: compensation is hardly ever noted as the reason to leave.]

What about you? As a leader, do you see and value the people vying for your attention??

If not, perhaps it’s time to look in the mirror.