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?
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
For some of us, finding our passion may be an ominous task or we may wonder why leveraging our passion is even relevant. However, when we find and leverage our passion, the magic happens.For example, for Tom, the cleaning and maintenance man for a homebuilder I worked with, it meant creating beauty. Tom worked by maintaining and cleaning model homes and guesthouses. He treated these homes as if they were his own home with great care and love. The models and guest homes Tom maintained were so immaculate and clean that you could eat off the floor.Tom passionately cleaned and organized homes in his care, giving the appearance that the homes were just completed and furnished that same day. He delighted prospective customers with all of their senses, from the special aromas he hand-selected, pillows he fluffed, blankets folded beautifully, to detailed floral and accessory arrangements.Tom was passionate about beauty and he shared his unique love by ensuring that those around him too, would experience beautiful sensations as well. The homebuilding company led the sales in our marketplace, due in large part to Tom’s passion.What entices passion in you? What makes your heart sing, your soul stir, and captivates you for endless hours? Where do you first when you go in a bookstore? What section catches your attention, your desire? If you had a day off, with nothing to do, what would be your first choice to spend your day? What would you teach to others? What brings you joy? The answers to these questions will give you some clues as to where you passions lay.What are you passionate about and how do you leverage your passion?With love and passion,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.
To lead and live on purpose, we must become aware of our values. You may have heard of “values-based” leadership. Aligned with the concepts of love-based leadership, this idea of self-awareness around our values makes complete sense. Our values play such an important role in our leadership. Values are the foundation on which everything in our life is built. Our attitudes and beliefs, our thoughts and our behaviors, all stem from our values.
Knowing your values, helps bring clarity to what is significant to you. Take a look at your calendar and review how you spend your time. Do the activities on your calendar align with your values? If not, why not?Looking at our values is a conduit to our inspiration and our passion. We have developed our strengths, in part, because we value those behaviors, and at some level of awareness, we’ve felt passionate about those activities. With the alignment of our values, our strengths, and the flame of passion and inspiration, leadership effectiveness is certain.This is the road to fulfilling our purpose. Leaders who live and breathe passion are irresistible; they are inspiring others with vision and hope.What do you value and how do your values influence your leadership? I love hearing your thoughts.With great value and 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.