5 Types of Power in Leadership

Power is a hot topic. Not all power is equal. In this video, I review the five types of power in leadership, how shared power can make followers uncomfortable, and some considerations you will be able to apply going forward.We have been taught for too long, to let others define our thoughts, feelings, jobs, lives, and meaning for us. What to think, what to wear, how to feel—is it any wonder we get nervous when we receive permission or power to make decisions or design aspects of our lives for ourselves?Like anything else in this world, all forms of power can be for the greater good or for selfish and egoic purposes. As we review these five types of power, consider your former bosses and your own leadership style as you prepare to better define what kind of leader you choose to become.I would love to hear from you. What is your go-to type of power and why?With love,Maria

Coloring the Lines of Leadership

What in the world, do these three things have in common?Everything.As leaders, we have a responsibility to lead and inspire with clarity. In our busy world, we often don’t take the time to just think and get really clear about the vision and more importantly, the path, systems, and steps necessary to realize the vision.And even worse, we think we have to get there on our own.Well, the good news is that we are not on our own.Prayer and meditation are ways we connect with our Source. Stillness and silence are also paths to feeling that connection with the Universe. French philosopher and scientist Blaise Pascal stated, “All man’s miseries derive from not being able to sit quietly in a room alone.”Through stillness, we obtain clarity. When we have clarity, we have time gained. Time gained comes to us because we have a clearer picture of the problem or dilemma and see an unobstructed path to follow.I cannot think of a more cost efficient use of time. The return on investment with time spent in silence with our Source is abundance beyond our wildest dreams. Some color mandalas, some bring mats to work to meditate, while others simply take time during a pause in the day to find their Source connection.As always, I love hearing your thoughts, what topics would you cover if you were meditating on a lunch break?With love,Maria

Who Are You?

Do you remember the classic rock song by The Who, Who Are You? It is truly one of my favorites! Little did I know when I first heard this song in 1978 that I would ponder the importance of this question almost 40 years later.I recently returned from facilitating a leadership boot camp with Dr. Dorothy Bonvillain for the Sierra Vista Chamber of Commerce. We talked about the importance of leadership authenticity and vulnerability, which of course, begins with self-awareness and a ton of bravery.We tell the truth to ourselves when we acknowledge our own imperfections. As we move through our journey, “to deny imperfections is to deny our humanity and to become disconnected from our soul.”1Accepting our imperfections and taking the introspective, reflective journey, we travel to our core and find our authentic leader within.What do you suppose keeps us from our vulnerability and authenticity as leaders? As always, I love hearing what you have to say.With love,Maria

  1. Lee G. Bolman and Terrence E. Deal, Leading with Soul, p. 67.

Comfortably Uncomfortable

As a leadership coach, I am always excited when a powerful question or statement crosses my path or better yet, slams me in the face! Yesterday, I had such an encounter. Seth Godin got my attention when he stated, “If you’re not uncomfortable in your work as a leader, it’s almost certain you’re not reaching your potential as a leader”. He was talking about the discomfort we sometimes feel as a leader and furthermore, when we identify the discomfort, we’ve found a place where leadership is needed. His list includes:

  • Standing up in front of strangers
  • Proposing an idea that may fail
  • Challenging the status quo
  • Resisting the urge to settle

I DO love those moments that move me out of my comfort zone and into what I call a “seat squirming” state. I know when I start squirming, I am onto to something, and that something is usually growth!Of course, I also like to state things in a positive frame, so my list may look something like:

  • Motivating people in the direction of a shared goal
  • Creating and innovating with others, living in a synergy zone
  • Thinking outside the box and trying something that “hasn’t been done before”
  • Pushing myself and others to live in creativity and authenticity, even when it may be more work

My list not only feels good when I put it on, but it moves me beyond comfort to electric energy.What are your thoughts? Comfortable? Discomfort? What would you add to the list?As always, I truly appreciate your insight.With love,Maria

Light Of Leadership

I love this quote by Edith Wharton, “There are two ways of spreading light…To be a candle or the mirror that reflects it.”In this season of light, I ponder what light represents in our lives and how that relates to our leadership. I love Edith Wharton’s perspective of spreading light, but what exactly does that mean?Spreading light comes in the form of lighting up a room. As leaders, we can light up a room with our presence; you know, by being fully present to others. We do this by listening without distraction and giving our full attention to those around us.We can also spread light through our attitudes and behaviors. We spread light through love, care, and compassion. Light takes away the darkness. We know that smiles are contagious and can be a great conduit to spreading light and love.As leaders, we can also be the mirror that reflects light. Through encouragement and support of those we lead, we see the light in their eyes, their behaviors, and in their attitudes. Mentoring those we lead and reflecting back their greatness is one of the most profound activities we can do as leaders.We also reflect light by “lightening” the load of others. We can help lighten the heaviness of others by supporting our teams literally and figuratively. We can support others in a variety of ways that don’t cost any money. Sometimes small acts of just listening, giving an encouraging word, or acknowledging others can be extraordinary and have lasting profound effects. Serving those we lead is an example of love-based leadership.Light in the darkness and lightening the load are profound ways we demonstrate love-based leadership. In this season of light, I wish you a blessed holiday season and a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year.As always, I love to hear from you. How can you be a light to others today?With love,Maria

Challenge Your Perspective, Change Your Future

Perceptions are the stories we tell ourselves regarding what we see and how we interpret the world around us. Les Brown, one of the great 21st century storytellers said, “How people live their lives is as a result of the stories that they believe about themselves,” What are your stories?Do they serve you as your aspire to reach your highest potential? Do your stories lift you up or do they bring you down? Do your stories represent who you really are, your true essence?Let’s look at a possible story: If you greeted someone in the morning at work and he or she did not return your greeting, what would you think? Are they mad at you? Do you wonder all morning what you may have said to tick them off? Do you toss and turn that night because you’re afraid that when you laughed too loudly at something they said two weeks ago that you thought was a joke, but it turned out it wasn’t?Or what if the answer is simply that they didn’t return your greeting because they didn’t hear you. Or perhaps, they were distracted replaying a discussion they had with their teenager the night before.What are the stories that you tell yourself? These skewed perceptions can sabotage our relationships with others and our relationship with our self. If your stories no longer resonate with who you are, it’s probably time to create a new story. Change your perception and you change your world.The uncomplicated beauty in this lesson is that by standing in awareness and looking at our beliefs and thoughts, we can simply make a choice to keep them or release them.When we release those beliefs and thoughts that no longer serve us, we take back our power from fear to love, from negativity to positivity, from ego to Spirit. We see and understand perceptions and stand in our power to change those beliefs to experience miraculous shifts in our reality, lives, and work.As always, I love to hear from you. What story do you tell? Does it serve you or drain you?

Working with Uncertainty

We expect leaders, including ourselves, to have the answers. If we don’t have the answer to a leadership challenge, we may feel inadequate. These feelings, like inadequacy, may also include feelings of uncertainty and vulnerability. None of these feelings feel good to us, nor are allowed in the workplace, or so we’ve been taught.Really? Are we really supposed to never experience uncertainty as a leader? We are human beings, “hard-wired for struggle” as researcher, Brene‘ Brown states. We are not the Hollywood version of leaders —we are human. And with our humanness, we are sometimes—make that many times, uncertain.What do we do with this uncertainty? Well, we bury it of course. This strategy may work for us for a while, that is until it shows up again as illness, ulcers, or worse. Why do you think we are so stressed, obese, and addicted? It is because we bury and numb our feelings.The interesting thing about numbing is that when we numb our “bad” feelings such as uncertainty, vulnerability, doubt, and fear, we are also numbing our “good” feelings of joy, peace, and gratitude.Another important aspect to know about uncertainty and vulnerability is that this state is where creativity, joy, and beauty are found. Walking through the door of uncertainty and vulnerability is full of endless possibilities because this is the location of our true, authentic self.How do we work with uncertainty and vulnerability without going crazy? Follow these five steps to support you during these times:

  1. Embrace uncertainty and vulnerability. Reach into it and pull up and out all of the fear, anxiety, and doubt. Burying and numbing will only allow it to surface again, so lean in, feel those feelings, and then release.
  1. Stay present. Don’t worry about the future or live in the past. The only moment you have is the present one, so why waste it?
  1. Stay in your own lane. When we start to compare ourselves to others, we set ourselves up for failure, not because we cannot be as successful as someone else can, but because we cannot be anyone else. What I can be is the best version of me, and what you can be is the best, highest self you can be.
  1. Practice gratitude. Nothing else will bring you into the present faster than gratitude.
  1. Be loving and truthful with yourself and with others.

Remember that uncertainty and vulnerability is the birthplace of truth, authenticity, creativity, and beauty. When was a time you felt uncertain and conquered your fear? As always, I love to hear your thoughts.With love (and vulnerability),Maria

Using Your Backbone Not Wishbone

We have so much we want to do and accomplish as leaders. We dream, create, plan, review, plan some more, and tweak, tweak, tweak. Is this perfectionism or is this fear; and really, aren’t they both the same?Sometimes, we stand behind all of these activities to legitimately stay busy. However, these activities keep us behind the computer. There comes a time (probably now) that we need to step out from behind the computer and into the world of personal interaction. When we step out, then, we can really leave impressions, teaching, help, and love with those we met.My best example lately is when I chose to step up and out when I agreed to speak on a morning television talk show about my book, Love-Based Leadership: Transform Your Life with Meaning and Abundance. I love being on stage talking about my passion, teaching love and leadership, but I must admit this took me a bit out of my comfort zone. However, I coach and encourage others to reach their success; it is always just outside their comfort zone. It is time for me to put my backbone to work and not just my wishbone.Challenge yourself to commit to one activity outside your comfort zone each day (take the weekends off), watch your world change, and open before you.I love to hear your stories! Please share your wins of moving outside your comfort zone.With love and joy,Maria

Creativity Builds Connection

Practicing creativity not only helps leaders make quick, confident decisions, innovate, and problem solve; creativity also helps us interact with others at a higher level. Because creativity is a gift from God, planted in all of us, connecting energetically through creativity goes immediately to our souls. When we experience someone else’s creativity such as music, film, books, or art, we feel something deep down inside. That feeling is our energy of oneness, of our connection.While earning my undergraduate degree, I took an art appreciation course. During our study of abstract art, the professor had us describe how we felt while looking at each art piece. During the exercise, if any of us would say, “That looks like a ship,” she would mark points off our grade. This was an extremely valuable lesson to learn; she challenged us to use our other senses beyond our eyes, and stay in the creative side of our brain. Our logical side wanted to analyze the picture instead of conceptualizing the possibilities. I now do this practice anytime I experience art. I stay present and open to the beauty of an opera sung in another language through many senses beyond auditory. The creative energy moves from the actors to my soul, with complete understanding and clarity when I remember the lesson learned in that art appreciation course.Living in this creative zone is as beneficial for leaders as it is for artists. Observe artists at work, whether it is performing artists, painters, sculptors, writers, or designers. Artists are present in the moment of creating with razor sharp focus as the divine download fills the spaces of their mind, heart, and body.Pablo Picasso reminds us, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” The best way to start is do what we did as children—play. I had so much fun picking out crayons and a coloring book as an adult, although I purchased under the pretense of buying it for my niece! Let’s get the creative juices flowing with the abandonment of child-like play. Your play may include painting, drawing, Play Doh, dancing, dress-up, or whatever makes you smile.Let’s start today and create the world in which we live love. How do you get your creative juices flowing? I’d love to hear it – comment below!Love,Maria

Love is Stronger

This is my blog in the wake of last month’s insanity. Our children were killed on the other side of the world, our children on the other side of the country were slain, and our economies are in a political upheaval. And there were many, many other infractions to our brothers and sisters.

We must stop.We must stop the violence.We must stop the doomsday mentality.We must stop revenge.We must stop ignoring mental illness.We must stop pretending there is no darkness.We must stop destroying each other.We must stop destroying our planet.We must stop our apathy.We must stop our ignorance.We must stop our arrogance.We must stop creating an insane world.We must stop living in ego.We must stop choosing fear.We must stop sleepwalking.We must stop mindlessness.We must stop separation.We must stop pretending we are not connected to one another.We must stop pretending that we not connected to the Divine.

We must shift to a force stronger than greed, hatred, violence, revenge, and fear.And that other force…simply…love.Choose love.I’m in! Are you?With the intensity of divine love,Maria

5 Steps To Creating A Leadership Brand

I recently conducted some market research to learn from leaders how I can best support their leadership growth and development. I asked a series of questions and received great responses, food for thought, and feedback.When I spoke with a man in the military, he said one of the most important aspects that he looks for in leadership is “keepin it real”. OK, he is quite a bit younger than I am! However, this message is ageless and timeless.Most of us have a pretty good B.S. meter and can smell fake a mile away. This is especially important to us, as leaders, to tap into truth and stand in our authenticity. When we stand in authenticity, we stand in power. THAT is what makes us powerful leaders – authenticity.And let’s face it; there is nothing more authentic or real than love.When we lead with love and authenticity, we practice:

  • Truth
  • Mindfulness
  • Awareness
  • Non-judgment
  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Compassion
  • Service
  • Presence
  • Humanitarianism

Branding and image consulting are terms that we’ve no doubt heard before, typically in the context of marketing. Have you thought about your brand? No, I am not talking about the company for which you work—I am talking about YOU!What is your brand, your leadership image? Are you keepin it real? Are you respected because you’ve earned it or are you feared because of your title? What is the first thing your team thinks about when your name comes up?Some of us may say that we don’t care about what others think about us.Really, is that really true?As leaders, our primary task is to motivate and influence others toward a vision and/or goal. If others are not buying our brand, then we don’t really have followers.How can we consciously create our leadership brand? Follow these 5 simple steps:

  1. Intentionally determine what you want your brand to represent.
  2. Reverse engineer the steps necessary to develop and create that brand image.
  3. Be accountable to doing the work – find an accountability partner or coach who will be honest about your progress and a resource when you are stuck.
  4. Be vulnerable and do spot checks with others to see if you are on the right track (in other words—ask!).
  5. Keep it real – Authenticity is a real attractor

I would love to hear from you. How would you describe an authentic leader, one who is keepin it real?With love,Maria

Leadership from Management Separateness & How to Incorporate Authenticity & Vulnerability

The debate continues – should we separate leadership from management? We explore that question and look through a self-awareness lens at authenticity and vulnerability.In my experience, the words leadership and management are used interchangeably in the workplace. In the management and leadership classes I've taught over the years, we define those terms differently, while recognizing that leadership is a critical part of management. In this episode, we look to Forrest Gump’s mamma for some sage advice about this distinction.I recently facilitated a leadership boot camp where we discussed the importance of leadership authenticity and vulnerability – yes, in a boot camp!  Of course, going to those vulnerable places begins with self-awareness and a ton of bravery.In this episode, I answer the question, “What do Forrest Gump, The Who, and leadership have in common?”I would love to hear from you. What do you suppose keeps us from our vulnerability and authenticity as leaders?With love,Maria

How to Have Meaningful Work and Enjoy What You Do

Did you know the majority of heart attacks occur around 9:00 AM on Monday mornings? “One study showed that the most common factor in these heart attacks was that the victims were people whose work had become joyless striving. In other words, they could not find meaning in their work, and their lives had become so out of balance that, one Monday morning, their bodies said, You are not going to work today. Zap.”* Researchers found those victims in a state of “joyless striving” – in other words, without meaning. In today’s video, I share with you five steps to get started on the path of self-discovery and meaning and read an excerpt from my book, Love-Based Leadership: Transform Your Life with Meaning and Abundance.I would love to hear from you. What techniques do you do to go inward?With love,Maria *Study cited in Leading with Soul” by Lee Boleman and Terrence Deal.

A New Professionalism and Emotional Intelligence

What would a new professionalism look like? We are taught to remove ourselves from any emotion (including love) and be “professional” as if being professional makes us non-human or even worse, super-human. This practice, and many of us have gotten this concept down good, has propelled us in our careers, but also has left us empty. Developing emotional intelligence in the workplace with leaders and all levels of the organization will help to create a new professionalism.Being professional does not mean being distant, aloof, uncaring, and impersonal. We are in a world of transition and change. We are in a world where many of us are creating new models for living. In this spirit and in the spirit of love, let’s create a new professionalism. Let's create a professionalism that stands for something powerful, serving, supportive, and love-filled.In today’s video, I share what a new professionalism looks like.I would love to hear from you. How would you create a new professionalism and what does it look like?With love,Maria

The Uncertain Leader

We expect leaders, including ourselves, to have the answers. If we don’t have the answer to a leadership challenge, we may feel inadequate. These feelings, like inadequacy, may also include feelings of uncertainty and vulnerability. None of these feelings feel good to us, nor areallowed in the workplace, or so we’ve been taught.Really? Are we really supposed to never experience uncertainty as a leader? We are human beings, “hard-wired for struggle” as researcher, Brene‘ Brown states. We are not the Hollywood version of leaders —we are human. And with our humanness, we are sometimes—make that many times, uncertain.What do we do with this uncertainty? Well, we bury it of course. This strategy may work for us for a while, that is until it shows up again as illness, ulcers, or worse. Why do you think we are so stressed, obese, and addicted? It is because we bury and numb our feelings. We’ve become comfortably numb.The interesting thing about numbing is that when we numb our “bad” feelings such as uncertainty, vulnerability, doubt, and fear, we are also numbing our “good” feelings of joy, peace, and gratitude. Another important aspect to know about uncertainty and vulnerability is that this state is where creativity, joy, and beauty are found. This is the place where great art is created.Walking through the door of uncertainty and vulnerability is full of endless possibilities because this is the location of our true, authentic self.How do we work with uncertainty and vulnerability without going crazy?Follow these five steps to support you during the uncertain times:1. Embrace uncertainty and vulnerability. Reach into it and pull up and out all of the fear, anxiety, and doubt. Burying and numbing will only allow it to surface again, so lean in, feel those feelings, and then release.2. Stay present. Don’t worry about the future or live in the past. The only moment you have is the present one, so why waste it?3. Stay in your own lane. When we start to compare ourselves to others, we set ourselves up for failure, not because we can’t be as successful as someone else, but because we can’t BE anyone else. What I can be is the best version of me, and what you can be is the best, highest self you can be.4. Practice gratitude. Nothing else will bring you into the present faster than gratitude.5. Be loving and truthful with yourself and with others. Remember that uncertainty and vulnerability is the birthplace of truth, authenticity, creativity, and beauty.I would love to hear from you. When was a time you were uncertain and did it anyway? Let’s celebrate you!

Open Heartedness = Open Mindedness

Living with two bulging, herniated discs can be a pain (no pun intended), especially in our rainy season, when my back seems extra sore. During a family barbecue, my sister, who is an RN, asked if I was experiencing pain. When I asked why she inquired, she said that I looked like I was guarding. This is a medical term indicating when a person has pain somewhere in their body they become rigid as though to protect the area from further pain or injury. We do the same in our lives with our minds and hearts. We protect ourselves from perceived pain…basically, we guard. To be open, for many of us, means to be vulnerable. We’ve been open and we’ve been hurt--at least that explains some of the our experiences.Ego loves it when we stay closed and works over-time to ensure we do not enter openness. “Remember when you did that before and this happened?” is one of the many voices of ego. When we are open, the gates of Divine guidance, to intention, to the flow of Spirit happen. Closing the gates of our minds and hearts is insanity.Why do the barriers to openness show up, guarding our sacred spaces, putting another brick in the wall? Ego, again is the answer. Blocks to openness manifest in the forms of negative voices cemented in our dialogue and culture. Evidence of this insanity in our workplaces includes statements like,” Nice guys finish last”, or when considering doing something nice for someone, like a favor, we hear, ”If you do that for one, you’ll have to do it for everyone”, or “No good deed goes unpunished”.Opening our perceptions and inviting in Spirit through surrender, allows healing of the mind and heart to take place. Through healing, the ego no longer has hold on the barriers and blocks to the gates of openness. Just as a clenched fist cannot receive a gift, a closed mind cannot grow and a closed heart cannot receive love.So how can we practice openness? Here are three strategies to being open:1. The first step is reflection. In what areas of your life do you feel closed or blocked toopenness? Work? Love? Spirituality? Journal your thoughts.2. Practice random acts of kindness. These don’t need to be grand gestures,sometimes the smaller the better!3. Develop compassion and let go of your need to be right.I would love to hear from you. What are some other ways can we practice being open?With love,Maria