I recently went to the police station to be fingerprinted as a requirement for a volunteer project I am working on and on the way home, I saw a man driving a small electric car. When I saw the car, I assumed one of his objectives for buying it was to leave less of a carbon imprint. This got me thinking about imprints... What if we were to consciously craft and design the imprint, the “finger print” we desire on the world? How would this change our leadership? Our print, imprints, or impressions are the lasting effects of our attitudes and behaviors. We leave these impressions whether we are aware of this fact or not—the prints are still there.Are we leaving those we “touch” with feelings of encouragement, empowerment, or love? Or, are we impressing people with negativity, helplessness, or fear? At what point in time do we consciously design our leadership impression? Is it when we have 200 people to lead? Is it when we are preparing for retirement? Or, is it now, with our own life, leading ourselves? I love the old proverb, “The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.”Consciously creating our imprints and impressions increases our leadership influence and effectiveness. In fact, I had a trip to New York City with four days of meeting with over 70 media representatives 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 than 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.I would love to hear from you. What is the impression and image you wish to impart? What immediate step can you take today to reinforce or refine this image?
Organizational and leadership models throughout history, and still today, are like authoritative kingdoms. The ruling king or queen sits on their throne (corner office in the executive suite) and the serfs and subjects (subordinates and “team”) support them in any way necessary. Oh, we have the right words today—team, collaboration, and empowerment. Unfortunately, in many organizations, actions do not match the words. We know consciously and unconsciously these models do not work; however, we don’t know how to replace them.
We just simply have to turn away from fear and stare right into the face of love. In those beautiful eyes, we find our answers.
Service paves the path of leadership. Through love and a love-based leadership model, we serve others, our Source, and ourselves. To make this miraculous shift in our perception about service, we must consciously be aware of leading with a service-mindset versus a sales-mindset.
Many leaders I know lead with a sales-mentality, seeking “buy-in” from those they lead. They obtain buy-in through persuasion, manipulation, and control. These techniques can be effective, but the leader will not get long-term commitment.
A service-mentality shifts from "what can you do for me?" to "what can I do for you?"
This is similar to the phenomenon in marketing and product development happening today. Find out what they want and we’ll build it replaces the old mental model of build it and they will come.
Leadership focus is on service, instead of self-interest and the ego is not going to like it!
When leaders shift from sales to service-mindsets, organizations shift from a kingdom culture and hierarchical structure to community. I am not describing Utopia or something found only through rose-colored glasses; I am describing what can be, and what is in some organizations and communities. By serving and giving, we are more successful. The more we give, the more we receive; the more we serve, the more we are served. This again demonstrates that to wherever you put your attention, that you will manifest.
I would love to hear from you. How do you recognize when you are being sold to? How do you demonstrate service instead of sales?
Ask any successful leader or business owner what one of the most critical factors is for success today, and you will hear: creativity. Now, more than ever, innovation and creativity are sought-after skills in organizations for their leaders. Old models steeped in scientific management and mechanistic thinking no longer serves our needs today. As Einstein and Susan Powter so eloquently remind us, we must and look toward new models and creative ways of leading people and doing business.
For decades, our American culture has devoted most curriculum and teaching models to developing the left-hemisphere of the brain. This is the part of the brain for logic, linear and sequential thought processes. This style of learning and development continued into colleges and universities where the mechanistic model of managing business remained a primary focus. Perhaps a nod to the “soft skills” of leadership appeared in the curriculum, but not until quite recently are we actually teaching leadership skills to future leaders.
Many organizations now focus on teaching the soft skills in their leadership development programs because they realized a profound need for their leaders to have these skill sets. The soft skills to which I am referring are connecting with people, motivating teams, inspiring followers, creative thinking, innovation, quick decision-making and big-picture vision. Each one of these skill sets requires right-brain thinking.
The right hemisphere controls the left side of the body, is simultaneous, specializes in context, and synthesizes the big picture. Clearly, the ability to think quickly in today’s fast-paced world requires right hemisphere functions.
I am not advocating tossing aside the value of the left-brain—our entire brain is a gift. I am simply seeking to focus on development of our right-brain functions. At this point, most of us have fairly well developed left hemispheres. After all, we have spent most of our lifetime educated and trained to use our left-brains. What we now need as leaders is to develop and reconnect with the processes of our right brains.
Lateral thinking is perception thinking, looking for creative and innovative ways of viewing the world. This process is not constricted by boundaries and limited beliefs; it challenges us to move into expansiveness, unlimited possibilities, and abundance thinking.
Are you ready for the shift?
I would love to hear from you. What activities do you do that develops your right brain thinking? How do you get your creative on?
Why would grace be a lesson on leadership? How can it not? Grace is the state many wise leaders seek: grace under fire. The state of grace, however, is not just essential under fire; grace serves leaders all of the time. During times of stress, confusion, joy, and peace, grace is always at its best. Many leadership books talk about policies, procedures, and processes. The extreme challenge in today’s organizations is that we value policies and procedures more than we value and honor people. Grace is a word and concept ripe with different mental models for people. Most definitions and constructs have common elements such as beauty, elegance, dignified manner, generosity of spirit, and a gift from God. The ability to see beauty in anything is a gift of grace. Mother Teresa saw beauty in the poorest of the poor, when she said, “Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.”Grace is elegance personified. Many of my female executive clients work with me to reclaim their femininity in their high-level leadership positions. Through the process of reconnecting with their feminine energy, they discover elegance and grace. Elegance is a calm, quiet knowledge of self-efficacy that you can handle anything that comes your way with dignity. Grace through elegance is a powerful leadership example. Remember the 3 Cs as outward manifestations of inward grace:care, compassion, and confidence. Confidence is one of the elements that draw followers to great leaders. But remember: confidence is not arrogance. Care and compassion are grace manifested in outward behaviors toward others, demonstrated through acts of sincere kindness to each other. I would love to hear from you. What are some of the ways you demonstrate grace in your leadership and in your life? With Love,Maria
I love the phrase, “An Attitude of Gratitude”. What exactly is an attitude of gratitude? In basic terms, gratitude is thankfulness.We usually remember to give thanks when we feel great. However, living in a state of gratitude is a way of being. Gratitude may be an activity, but you will live a much fuller life, and lead others more effectively, if it becomes your natural state and not just an occasional activity.In addition to the health benefits of gratitude, it is also an abundance magnet. The power of attraction applies; abundance creates more abundance. Many of us have found ourselves to be in the scarcity cycle. Scarcity thinking is focusing on lacking such things as finances, health, relationships, opportunities, etc.It is important to remember that whatever we focus our thoughts and attention on becomes our intention; you become what you think about.Sometimes scarcity thinking shows up in the form of accumulation and greed. People who hoard are deeply immersed in this mental model. If we hold on to anything too tightly, our hands cannot be open to what may be coming.#1. Keep a gratitude journal. Several years ago and I committed to keeping a gratitude journal. Each day I listed at least five things for which I was grateful, big, or small. Some days the list was a dozen, other days I struggled to come up with five! Then something happened…I soon realized that I was receiving more of whatever it was that I was grateful! Blessings surrounded me in my life, and continue to today.#2. Decide to live in a state of gratitude. Be conscious of your thoughts, always shifting from fear to love, scarcity to abundance. Soon enough, gratitude will become your standard operating procedure!#3. Move your thoughts into action. Tell those employees, family members, and friends that you are grateful for their presence in your life, and why.I would love to hear from you. What are some of the ways you cultivate gratitude in your life? How do you demonstrate gratitude?With Love,Maria
Sometimes we find that we have too much on our plates. Okay, that can be both literal and figurative. When we have too much on our plates literally, we experiences unhealthy consequences such as weight gain, high blood pressure, heart disease, and more.When we have too much on our plates figuratively we become overwhelmed and stressed and we suffer unhealthy consequences such as weight gain, high blood pressure, heart disease, and more. Deja vu!As we move into the fourth quarter of the year, it is a good time for us to look at our plates and see what’s there.The following exercise is one I do with my clients and is very helpful to take a good hard look at what’s on your plate:
- First, section your plate into eight different sections:• Spiritual• Work/career• Personal growth• Family• Financial• Living environment• Community/volunteer• Health/wellness
- Next, identify challenges or issues from the sections of your plate.
- Finally, review each section of the plate and answer the following questions:• What can come off my plate?• Where can I take control and shift some of the responsibilities?• Pay close attention to your feelings as you complete this exercise. Do you feel resistance in an area, relief, or something else?
When you complete the exercise, commit to at least one change on your plate per week between now and the end of the month. Remember, it takes at least 21 days to set a new habit.Good luck and let me know how it goes!With love,MariaDr. Maria Church, CPC, is a leadership coach, speaker, and author of Love-Based Leadership: Transform Your Life with Meaning and Abundance and her upcoming book, A Course in Leadership: 21 Spiritual Lessons on Leadership, Love, and Life. Maria holds a doctorate of management in organizational leadership, teaches at several universities, and is CEO of Dr. Maria Church International LLC, a leadership coaching, development, and training firm. For more information, visit www.DrMariaChurch.com.