The Self-Awareness Guy

positive leadership

Leadership and Letting Go of Negative Behaviors

Leadership and Letting Go of Negative Behaviors

Have you ever kept doing something even though you understand it doesn’t work?  Perhaps you’ve kept enabling a negative workplace behavior because you’ve grown used to it and it’s always been there.  This is natural because we tend to be most comfortable with what we know.  The next time you find yourself hanging on to a negative behavior try letting go of it.

The act of deliberately letting go of a negative work behavior and trying something new helps  you consider new perspectives.  Leaders who let go of the behaviors of the past aren’t weighed down by the old way of doing things.  It’s like taking a breath of fresh air when you’ve been stuck in a stuffy room all day.  You can actually deal with your issues instead of just enduring them and believing there’s nothing else you can do.  When you give negative behaviors less weight you’ll find that they have a way of disappearing.

How do you do it?  Replace the old behavior with a new, positive one.  Practice the new behavior over time until it becomes the new way of doing things.  Support yourself and your employees along the way.

What negative behavior will you let go?


5 Ways to Be a Better Leader Starting Today

5 Ways to Be a Better Leader Starting Today

You can be a better leader starting today by doing some straight-forward things. It doesn’t take a complete personality change or throwing everything you know out the window, we’ll simply look at ways you can strengthen your skills.

1.  Let Go

You don’t need to control everyone to show you’re in command. You really don’t need to even command anyone. Practice letting go of power and control issues and looking at your employees as human beings with unique talents and perspectives.

2.  Let Your Employees Have Independence

Encourage your employees to think and do things for themselves. Ask them to solve their own problems and tell them that you trust their judgment. Independent employees feel happier because they have more control over their destiny.

3.  Make Yourself Available

This doesn’t mean hovering over your employees all day long. Be there to answer questions and provide guidance when your employees ask for help. Practice a true open-door policy by welcoming employees to come in and bounce things off of you only when they feel it’s necessary.

4.  Don’t Hoard Information or Knowledge

Many leaders fall into the trap of thinking they are the only people with a certain body of knowledge. Give your employees training opportunities so they can acquire valuable knowledge and help make your job easier. Sharing information will make your organization run more smoothly because more people will know what they’re doing.

5.  Be Flexible

People have personal lives in addition to their work lives. Create a policy that allows flexibility in hours or the ability to complete tasks regardless of location. Make sure you don’t check on people every ten minutes to make sure they’re doing what they said they’d do. Dare to toss aside punitive policies in favor of ones that seek to build people up or reach an agreement.

Being a better leader is often about what we don’t do, the ways we show restraint. We’ve been conditioned to think that leaders are the courageous swashbucklers that swoop in and fix everything single-handedly. Try the ideas we’ve talked about here and you won’t need to save the day anymore because your workplace will already be functioning positively.

Your employees will like you more as well.


Self-Awareness Leadership Examples

Self-Awareness Leadership Examples

People frequently ask me to give them examples of self-aware leadership. A good way to demonstrate the difference between leaders who possess self-awareness and those who don't is to describe how they behave during a training session. Imagine someone who behaves this way:

  • Doesn't listen.
  • Interrupts.
  • Gets angry.
  • Confrontational.
  • Talks too long.
  • Tells others what to do.
  • Has an opinion on everything.
  • Seeks attention.
  • Uncooperative.

When someone practices these behaviors in a training setting you can pretty much guarantee what they're like in the workplace. They likely are people who don't listen, interrupt others, get angry, confront people, talk too long, tell others what to do etc. Very often these individuals don't realize how they're behaving because they're so used to doing things a certain way.

This is why I emphasize self-awareness in my training programs. It's the ability to take a look at your own behaviors so that you can keep what works well and modify what doesn't. It's the capacity to examine who you are and behave in different ways. It means that you understand how your behaviors affect both you and other people. The goal of self-awareness is to become a more effective person and leader. Effective leaders practice the following behaviors the majority of the time:

  • Listen.
  • Don't Interrupt.
  • Moderate emotions.
  • Communicate instead of confront.
  • Listen more than they talk.
  • Encourage people to work independently.
  • Value other people's opinions.
  • Give people attention.
  • Cooperate and collaborate with others.

Leadership is often about consciously setting an example of positive behaviors in the workplace. A leader who behaves based on the first list will get predictable results in the form of a dysfunctional workplace while one who practices the behaviors on the second list will move in a more productive direction. There's no mystery to this process, positive behaviors lead to positive results. What do your behaviors say about you?



15 Tips to Practice Kind Leadership

15 Tips to Practice Kind Leadership

Do you practice kind leadership?  I train leaders both in the business community and nonprofit sector and I've both cringed and been impressed by many kinds of leadership styles.  I've noticed over the years that leaders often fall into two categories:  Those who think they have to dominate their employees and those who think they have to be their best friend. The results are predictable for each approach.

People who feel a need to dominate employees may get a lot of work done but people are rarely happy.  The myth dominating leaders believe in is that you can't get results unless you're tough and personally involved.  On the other hand, the leaders who want to be friends frequently run a chaotic, drama-filled operation which ironically, also leaves most employees unhappy.  The myth they ascribe to is that you have to be liked to run an organization.

Why is it that such different styles can both lead to unhappy employees?  Lack of balance.  I'm a big fan of finding a practical balance point in leadership and I've found that we can practice leadership that is kind and gets excellent results.  Here are a few ideas on how you can practice kind leadership.

  • Be consistently kind to employees.
  • Set clear goals but ask employees to contribute to setting them.
  • Listen to employees on a regular basis.
  • Ask employees for input on assignments.
  • Be consistently and genuinely friendly to employees without expecting anything in return.
  • Give your employees opportunities to grow.
  • Allow people to choose the work they would prefer to do.
  • Stay away from having favorites.
  • Set firm personal boundaries so you avoid getting enmeshed in other people's problems.
  • Keep your workplace relationships professional.
  • Practice empathy.
  • Expect results but do so by consulting with employees.
  • Praise your employees every day.
  • Behave kindly.
  • Did I mention being kind?

There's no mystery to kind leadership. . You just focus on behaving kindly while practicing the other things that get you positive results in the workplace.  The bottom line is that you don't have to be a jerk or pushover to get great results.  You can do it by being effective and kind at the same time.  For leaders who are a little on the tough end of the spectrum, just dial in a few more kind behaviors and give your people a say in what goes on in the workplace.  For those who want to be everyone's best friend, try setting some limits and boundaries while remaining friendly.

The reason for much of the difficulty we encounter in leadership is that we tend to go to extremes.  We believe there are no other options except for how we currently do things.  I've found that the best leaders get stuff done, are friendly with people and do it with kindness.  What's your experience with practicing kind leadership?