Archives For Empowerment
My old college roomie, years ago, sent me a book called:
“What Would Jackie Do?”
subtitled: “An Inspired Guide to Distinctive Living”. If I were to follow the wisdom of Jackie O as outlined in the book, I could know what to do and bloom!
My old roomie would raise her eyebrow if she knew that some on my team asked that same question: “What Would Jackie Do?” — thinking Jackie Y instead of Jackie O — not for “distinctive living” but rather to figure out how to handle difficult work situations.
It was an effective crutch for their leadership (glad it worked!) and an ego boost for me (we all need that sometimes! ~ thank you, team!!), but …
As a leader, you don’t want to be the crutch for people long term.
You want people to graduate from You!
You want to see the core values you set for the organization become their own — internalizing these so they become leaders in their own right and make decisions from their minds and hearts.
Mission statements can be a helpful guide, but how memorable and inspiring is yours? (If yours is like mine was, it’s time to review and update. Some tips in this article from Business News Daily.)
For a simple approach with needed internal heart fueling power …
Try the “3 Words Exercise”
Chris Brogan, CEO of Owner Media Group and NY TImes Best Selling Author, created this exercise for personal growth and as “something that would work within our thought process daily”.
Here’s how to get started.
The Work Sharknado gnashes your good intentions to bits!
An unrelenting torrent of projects needs your guidance, a storm of less than delighted (i.e. irate) customers expects answers from you, and a pile up of high priority demands from your boss and the executive suite screams for your attention.
When can you find the time to thank your hard working team?
Don’t let the Work Sharknado blow your appreciation intentions into disarray.
Counterattack with this simple one-word approach:
Execute on this and you’ll be able to give yourself back the time you need to show gratitude to your team. Here are 3 imminently do-able suggestions — these will also net some side benefits that’ll take you and your team’s effectiveness sky high.
1. Turn Your Office Hour into A “Thank-You” Office Hour
For your stream of office hour visitors, start each conversation with a word of appreciation. Don’t let the issue of the day cloud over and make you forget to express your appreciation!
On the flip side, (yes, hard to admit) there were quiet times during my weekly drop-in office hour when I wasn’t reeling anyone from the team in. Maybe this happens to you, too?
Don’t succumb to temptation to use that time to attend to your own work (I know the temptation myself!). Re-purpose those minutes into productive staff appreciation time.
Fill out your company stationery or a few blank note cards (which you’ve bought previously and stashed in your desk) with your sincerest “merci” to a team member or two. Then personally deliver these notes straight to the recipient!
No stationery? You forgot to buy note cards? No worries. Text or call instead. Email can do in a pinch, but it can get lost in that ocean of an inbox, even if the email is from “the boss”.
Ready to cast your net wider?
Spring makes a statement.
Encouraged, my heart blossoms.
Johnny Jump Ups cheer.
This is my haiku offering to Carol Varsalona (@cvarsalona). She tweeted me an “invitation to find the connection between digital photography and poetic expression”; asking me to submit a photo and original poetry to be part of her “Reflect with Me, April Awakenings Literary Event”.
And from that …
On Day 3 of #100HappyDays
I celebrate leaving my cocoon!
In a cocoon, there is no dancing, no walking, no breathing, not even a wink of the eyes. It is comfortable and sleepy; an intense and very familiar home.
When we begin to examine that comfortable darkness – look at it, smell it, feel it – we find it is claustrophobic.
We want to stretch out and walk, dance, even jump.
from Chogyam Trungpa, “Shambhala, The Sacred Path of the Warrior”.
Though afraid to Jump.
I pushed off the reluctance
To write Spring haiku.
It wasn’t simple.
Reluctance with its comforting scent of status quo can tug hard at me.
Even when I know all the benefits of jumping and I want to jump, the cocoon calls.
“Jump” was one of my 2013 #Threewords. I wrote about it in the comments of Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter’s post. Thank you, Jacqui (@ValueIntoWords — Master Resume Writer / Sailor), for introducing me to the #ThreeWords concept.
But, I did not jump at Carol’s invitation. I tweeted to her that I was not a poet.
Does reluctance pull at you in the same way?
When reluctance pulls,
pull back fiercely;
pull it out like unwanted weeds
by asking these 2 Q’s …
T S U N A M I !
Crushing, demolishing, relentless.
L I F E !
The son, focused on getting his injured mother to safety amid destruction,
purposely ignores a whimper.
Until his mother speaks.
“What if that boy was Simon or Thomas?
You would want someone to help them…
Even if it’s the last thing we do.”
Those words of extraordinary heart-centered leadership are from Maria Belon, the real-life mother who wrote about surviving the 2004 Tsunami that hit Thailand. Her book is the basis for the movie: “The Impossible” and the powerful “Even if it’s the last thing we do” scene:
From which a question emerges for us as leaders:
When the tsunami-at-work hits,
Some leaders say that Empowerment is passe, cliched.
There is still power behind empowerment.
Review this definition from BusinessDictionary.com and see for yourself.
“A management practice of sharing information, rewards, and power with employees so that they can take initiative and make decisions to solve problems and improve service and performance.
Empowerment is based on the idea that giving employees skills, resources, authority, opportunity, motivation, as well as holding them responsible and accountable for outcomes of their actions, will contribute to their competence and satisfaction.”
Empowerment is a Basic Tenant of Good Leadership.
My question to you, as executive to executive, leader to leader, manager to manager —- do you empower your people?
Before you blithely say, “I certainly do!”. Tell me how you would answer the following 12 questions to see how you fare.
If you still don’t agree about the power of empowerment, please humor me. Spend just a few minutes to answer these same 12 questions and see if you feel differently. You might be missing out on having a more effective, efficient and happier team.
12 Questions To Gauge How Much You Empower Your People
1. If someone on your team makes an appointment with your boss for a 1:1 meeting just between the two of them, how do you feel?
The wisdom of trees has long been written about. You can find this wisdom in the works of the literary trifecta of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Mary Oliver and John Muir — works that leave us loftily moved about life and leadership.
Wisdom directly from a tree is just as illuminating.
These words are from “Advice from a Tree” written by Writer-Artist-Imagineer, Ilan Shamir.
Inspired, I took my pen (that is, keyboard) to create an homage to Ilan Shamir and to a well-loved large squash — because nature, being abundant, doesn’t restrict wisdom to trees.
A Pumpkin’s Message
Sometimes there is a mask carved on our outsides, put there for protection. I say to you: “Shine brightly through that mask.”
Be the authentic you and #leadfromwithin — be willing to lead not just yourself, but others, too.
If we don’t lead with kindness, who will?
S. Max Brown makes a good point. Let’s meet his challenge and raise our hands. Let’s bring on kindness at work!
With so many hours of our adult lives spent at work, we would all welcome more kindness, but how to do it?
Many years ago, our executive leadership and HR rolled out the sandbox campaign. We didn’t realize the good leadership wisdom contained on those wallet-carrying-sized cards sent with fanfare to all employees. We threw the cards away or those of us who were more politically-savvy displayed the cards on our desks, becoming dusty and forgotten until replaced with the next employee engagement initiative.
Laminated on the cards were these simple rules:
- Throwing sand is never OK.
- Being mean will eventually result in you playing, unhappily, on your own.
- No taking of other peoples buckets without asking
- No kicking or breaking other peoples sandcastles
- Playing nice with others is best.
If we had only embraced those rules!
We do have a second chance. You have a second chance. Did you catch the HuffPost Healthy Living article about the advice from sage third graders (!) on how to ripple kindness throughout the world? I’m gathering inspiration from them.
How about you?
Would you be willing to apply these 50 ideas for kindness from third graders at your place of work?
Try a few today. See the difference manifest in your work world and then try a few more. Note: Words in brackets [ ] are my additions.
1. Smile at a stranger.
2. Say thank you to the bus driver. […or your project manager]
3. Help someone carry her heavy groceries. [What’s on our plates at work can be heavy if we have to do it alone.]
4. Hold the door open for someone else.
5. Leave a kind note for someone whom you usually don’t get along with.
6. Give your Mom a hug and tell her you appreciate her. [How about a hug for your mentor?]
7. Sing a song to your teacher! [Early in my career, I worked in the “pit”, a communal room full of programmers. We, in the pit, would break out in a pop tune, changing the words to suit our situation. What an energy changer ~ even with songs sung on the dark side! What a relief from the dreariness of the pit.]
8. Let someone else choose the game and play it — even if you don’t like it.
9. Let someone else have a seat on the bus or subway. [Encourage someone else to sit in the good seat at the meeting and let them be heard.]
Flag waving, parades, hot dogs, lemonade, family and friends. It’s the 4th of July and you’re looking forward to a break from work.
How about if you not only get a break, but return to work with a new sense of excitement, boldness, ownership, inclusion, and pride?
These 5 Independence Day songs (plus a bonus song) might just do that for you…
1. “Coming to America” by Neil Diamond
Got a dream to take them there
They’re coming to America
Got a dream they’ve come to share
They’re coming to America…
You’ve lost the dream and work is pure drudgery. Your energy and anticipation have dissipated. Revitalize by remembering when it was new. Feel what our forefathers and foremothers felt with the awesomeness of “Coming to America”.
If the song isn’t enough to re-kindle your spirits, read Alli Polin’s “Clear the Dust Off Your Passion”. Alli will get you re-directed. I like her observation and suggestion that “If your current perspective is ‘this sucks’, clearly you need to tap into a more powerful perspective”.
This Girl is on Fire!
I could hear Alicia Keys’ ♫♪♬ voice in my mind. Standing up on that table with my black kicky boots in a warrior stance, my arms jabbing at the ceiling and with my voice unwavering — for just a second — I had successfully F@CKED OFF my Inner Critic at the behest of my coach with my fellow class attendees as witnesses.
Not my usual style, yet strangely cleansing.
Precisely the reason why Sarita Chawla, our coach and senior faculty leader, had chosen this particular exercise for me. Putting me in my Un-Comfort Zone was a way to “out” my Inner Critic who had become too comfortable in my mind and psyche.
The Inner Critic Is Not Your Friend; No Matter What You Think!
Perhaps you are thinking that you don’t need to get into the uncomfortableness of your Un-Comfort Zone because you can make peace with your Inner Critic. You can quiet it down, live with it, even use it for your own betterment. You may be thinking you wouldn’t be as good without its promptings.
Banish those insidious thoughts — that’s your Inner Critic speaking!
What we saw, felt and heard in the New Ventures West’s “Thwarting the Inner Critic” class was this:
- “The Inner Critic causes you to sacrifice freedom for safety.”
- “The Inner Critic usurps your own essential strength and uses it against you.”
- “The Inner Critic dampens your aliveness (the true you vs. who the Inner Critic thinks you should be).”
- “The Inner Critic syphons your energy.”
- “The Inner Critic super glues you to your seat!”
Those observations prompted this tantalizing thought from David Kinsman, fellow coach and attendee:
“We need to meet the world in a different way”.
I take this to mean…
Eradicate Your Inner Critic Now!
And you can begin the eradication with these 3 exercises from the “Thwarting the Inner Critic” class. Continue Reading…