Developing Extraordinary Leadership Through Simplicity

Taking a holistic approach to leadership, we want to develop our whole selves. As with our mind and body, it is important to take care of our soul.We need to nurture your soul with love, kindness, and depth. When we do not care for our souls, we end up with what Albert Schweitzer referred to as, “A sleeping sickness of the soul. Its symptoms are loss of seriousness, enthusiasm, and zest. When we live superficially, pursue no goals deeper than material success, and never stop to listen to our inner voices, we stunt our spiritual development.” How do you develop your spirit? Spiritual growth and development manifest through inspiration. Do what you love and you’ll find that you love what you do. Music, art, nature, and literature are a few of the paths for inspiration. What stirs your soul? For me, when I hear drumming—Native American drumming, Irish drumming, Kudo drumming, or nearly any type of drumming—my soul stirs. Looking at a beautiful sunset feeds my soul. When I listen to music that feeds the souls of musicians, it nourishes my soul. Watching cloud formations or the dance of a butterfly warms my soul.In their book, “The Spirituality of Imperfection”, Kurtz and Ketcham wrote, “Spirituality transcends the ordinary; and yet, paradoxically, it can be found only in the ordinary. Spirituality is beyond us and yet is in everything we do. It is extraordinary, and yet it is extraordinarily simple.”Listening to and honoring your heart’s call honors your soul, your core, and your very essence. When we are aligned with our soul, with our spirit, we are authentic, abundant, and at peace. Meaning is not a destination, but a way of life, like the air we breathe. There is no better way to achieve well-being and love for ourselves than aligning with our spirit.I would love to hear from you. What do you do to nurture your soul?With love,Maria

Image Development in Leadership

I just got back from New York City and four days of meeting over 70 media including television producers, writers, agents, and editors. I gave 2-minute pitches to all of these people, which felt like speed-dating! This got me thinking about the impression we make in 2 minutes, and how we could possibly influence someone to take action.This is not a whole lot different from leadership. What sort of impression do we make with our leadership influence in 2 minutes? What kind of impression do we want to make? What is the lasting or lingering thought we wish to impart on someone?Follow these simple IMAGE steps to create a lasting, positive impression:

Integrity – Stand in your integrity, be honest about who you are and what you stand for, demonstrating this with your behavior.Mannerisms – Be cognizant of your body language. Are you open or closed? Are you inviting? Are you demonstrating confidence?Appearance – Does your appearance match the impression and image you want to portray? Show up in presence as well, remembering to practice active listening more than speaking.Greeting – Greet others with openness, kindness, warmth, and a smile. People do not always remember what we say to them, but they always remember how they felt when with us.Enjoy the experience. We are more attracted to fun and joy than anything else.

Be the master and creator of impression. We always leave an impression, whether we are aware of that or not; so step into awareness and consciously create your leadership impression by choice.With love,Maria

What is the Definition of Leadership & How to be an Effective Leader

So often, I am asked these simple, yet profound questions: What is leadership? How can I be an effective leader?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 them differently, however, recognizing that leadership is a critical part of management. I’ve always believed that defining leadership as a component of management was like saying cocoa is a component of chocolate.Many organizations use the term leader when defining certain management positions. However, a title does not make a leader. My Grandpa Jaime used to say, “You can put a suit on a bum, but he is still a bum.” One may put the title of leader on a person, and he or she may or may not be a leader.Most definitions of leadership have one over-arching similarity: vision. Creating vision and motivating followers towards the vision is the fundamental foundation of leadership. If there is no place to lead (vision) and no one to follow, then leadership is absent. I define leadership as the action of inspiring and motivating others toward a vision. I don’t believe it needs to be any more complicated than that.In this episode, I share with you 15 essential factors of being an effective leader.

 I would love to hear from you. What do you think? How do you define leadership? What are the qualities you admire in leaders?With love,Maria