3 Courageous Steps to Reducing Your Negative Voice

I’ve been reminded in the last few weeks how much I really don’t know.  I’ve been reminded how important it is not to make assumptions or indeed let my ‘negative voice’ dictate my behaviour.  I truly do not know what someone is going to say or how they are going to react.  I mean it makes sense, how could I?  I who I am and they are who they are – I cannot read other’s minds.

I have had many conversations over the past 6-8 weeks about courses I’m teaching and about coaching.  Many conversations, not about what I’m offering per se but about individuals lives, roles and what they are wanting to change or develop in their leadership.  I’m grateful as I sit typing this that these are the conversations I get to have most of the time – transforming, empowering conversations that sometimes in themselves have many insights for me and others.

I realised after three conversations this week (where I was extremely doubtful of getting the outcome I wanted) how massively important it is not to listen to my ‘negative voice’.  I was fearful enough that I seriously considered not even asking the question that I really wanted to ask.  This was because of course my negative voice’s commentary had already started:  ‘They won’t be interested’, ‘They will say no or not now, ‘They will say I can’t afford it or I can’t do the dates’…and I will be left disappointed, de-motivated and resigned to the fact I have to do more to engage more people.

Well what I actually did was I decided that I can connect, listen, ask the questions I want to ask and see what happens.  And then my friends I was shocked!  All 3 people just said yes!  And now I am thrilled – for them, for me and for the difference this will make to leadership in the world.

So my question to you is…where do you hold back, avoid asking the question you really want to ask?

Have a go at these 3 Courageous Steps:

  • Listen In – to your negative voice…what assumptions are you making about what may or may not happen? About how someone may respond?
  • Check-In – with those assumptions…how do you really know what that person will say or what the future holds? When in the past has someone said something you didn’t expect?
  • Be Curious – and courageous, take a deep breath and ask that question! You never know…none of us do…trust, be open…see what happens.  And if you get a response you don’t want… is it likely you will handle it?

Learn how to increase your willingness to be courageous, get past your ‘negative voice’ and put yourself forward.  Step In, Step Up in your Leadership.  And learn the tools to keep this going for yourself, for the rest of your life.

Come and join me in a warm and empowering environment, in my online taster session for The Power of Self Esteem course.

Taster sessions are on Wednesday’s 28th September or 5th or 12th October 6-7:30pm.

I’d love to see you there…

FREE tickets here: Book FREE Online Taster for Power of Self Esteem

Nicci Statham is an executive coach who specialises in changing behaviour, she is passionate about empowering clients to transform their results through changing their attitude and behaviour.  Follow her on Twitter @awareleadership.

 

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3 Ways to a Bigger Purpose

dont play small

I’ve been working on a project for the last few months and a lot has happened in that time – especially the last few weeks.  I have been learning a massive amount for myself in my own leadership and what it takes to create energy, motivation and ultimately results.

I had somewhat of an epiphany yesterday about my own purpose with this project.  This was HUGE to for me!!  I’d been noticing that there was a ‘stuckness’ of some kind in me, there was something about this project that I was missing, that I didn’t feel connected to.  I realised after some coaching that I didn’t have a bigger purpose for myself – and this may be affecting my and my team’s engagement.  How could create more engagement in my team if they didn’t know what they were getting on board with?

So I started to ask myself questions…what was I really going for in leading this project?  Yes I had clarity about the ‘result’ but what was the bigger purpose for me in WHY I chosen to lead it.  This mattered because I was playing small – I’d been ‘going along’ with what others wanted, I’d been filling in gaps rather than stepping up to lead as ME with my vision and leading from the front.  And so my team were doing the same, ticking boxes rather than stepping up and going for what they wanted for themselves – and going for the bigger benefits that the project would deliver.

This made me realise too that I do have a clear bigger purpose with my business, the work I choose to do and how I choose to be when doing it.

So I thought I’d share with you my bigger purpose ‘hot off the press!’ as it were…for myself I am learning and developing my visibility, boldness and my authenticity – to enable me to live the life I want to live and be ALIVE and free while I am living it!!

For the business leaders and owners that I work with: I want them to be empowered, more authentic, open, honest, collaborative and more ‘we are in this together’ with their stakeholders, peers, teams.

And I want this for leaders because I want to see leadership in our world which is less separating…more open, transparent, creative, empowered, authentic.  Because this creates, high performing organisations where individuals and teams are empowered to learn, grow and bring the best of themselves to their organisations.  AND all this matters and contributes to how we experience our lives, how we grow our economy, how we connect in our world every day.

So, step back and take time to consider and reflect on your bigger purpose:

  • What’s Your Purpose – for you in your leadership, your team(s) and your organisation?
  • Communicate – how can you communicate your vision and purpose so others can be alongside you and get on board?
  • Living It – how can you live your purpose? How can you BE and what can you put in place to be living and working towards the projects that are going to create your purpose?   What are you going to commit to?

Don’t play small…open up your platform to play a bigger game…

Come and explore how to define, communicate and live your purpose in your organisation in a FREE 1:1 45 minute discovery session with me.  What are you waiting for?

I can’t wait to hear from you…

FREE 1:1 coaching discovery session…book here: Book FREE 1:1 Coaching Discovery Session

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The Blame Game

https://youtu.be/YsyT2EIdtVc

 

 

Come to a taster session to transform how you can get off your blaming position, resolve conflicts and create powerful connecting solutions.

I’d love to see you there!

Here’s the link to book in for FREE taster. Friday 20th November in Hertfordshire https://conflicttasternov15.eventbrite.co.uk

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Are you a Fighter or a Flighter?

fight-or-flight

How often do we as leaders, as soon as we don’t achieve the results we want, look for someone or something to blame?

Blame is all about expressing your ‘No’ to how reality actual is.  Finding the “Who or what did it?” question removes us from the problem, the reality of actually handling it and sometimes even learning from it.

We need only turn on the television to see how blame functions in today’s culture. Each week, millions of viewers tune in to watch many reality TV programmes whose whole premise is to provide a platform for various forms of blame to play out.

In a work context, a culture of blame can put teams in a continuous state of fight-or-flight mode.  In this environment, some might say the Darwinian survival of the fittest takes on new meaning.  The culture is to avoid the being a target rather than focusing of what is possible.  All that precious time that is spent on dodging blame is time that could have been spent really learning something that could transform the end results.

Once we are in the blame game the purpose can become to survive at all costs and sadly this eclipses other possibilities from a leader’s outlook.  They can become so intent on being right or justifying their behaviour that the result they actually wanted in the first place is significantly less likely to be created.  In this scenario they may employ some survival tactics or personas such as:

  • Protection of one’s ‘position’– this could include documenting every conversation, copying oneself on every email, and keeping large files as evidence of one’s actions. Also tactically engaging in communication only if it supports said ‘position’
  • Avoiding reality – not engaging in the actual problem itself.  The reality of what’s not working takes a significant back seat to identifying who is at fault. As a result, chronic problems persist even after “the guilty” have been ‘punished’
  • Fight! – similar to defending one’s ‘position’, this could include engaging sabotage, rumour-spreading, and various other political tactics, all aimed at self-preservation rather than the results the company was actually going for
  • Be in the ‘background’– insulating from blame by withdrawing, and withholding contribution. When something goes wrong, they cover their tracks, and find the nearest foxhole
  • Withholding creativity – not being open to taking the risks necessary to achieve outstanding performance, playing it safe, putting forth minimal effort as not to lose (or be blamed)

The sad news is that these tactics require huge amounts of time, energy, and resources.  The tragic news is these tactics significantly reduce innovation, creativity and motivation.

The fantastic news is that as leaders we can dramatically shift this dynamic by focusing on reality and improvement rather than fault-finding.

The first step to achieving this is simply to change the questions that are employed when things do not go as planned:

A blaming leader/approach might ask…

Who’s in charge of that?

What happened, who missed it?

How can I prove it was not anything to do with me?

How do I shield my department?

How can I avoid embarrassment or not be a target?

 

A learning leader might ask…  

What is the data?

What’s working and what isn’t?

What can we learn to improve/reduce the risk of this reoccurring?

What is the bigger picture here?

What can I take responsibility for?

How would any adjustments fit with our purpose?

 

Leaders who choose to ask the second set of questions create high performing companies in which teams learn from experience, put themselves forward and take personal courage in their contribution.

Those questions empower teams to be accountable in the truest sense of the word – taking responsibility for their part and being part of creating the next steps, giving the best of themselves in the process.

Stepping out of blame does not mean tolerating poor performance, turning one’s back to hard challenges, or avoiding difficult conversations — just the opposite.  It means fearlessly confronting disappointing results and handling the challenges head-on with openness, calm and curiosity.

So the next time you are tempted to go on a fault-finding expedition, take a moment to ask yourself this question:

What behaviours am I role modelling to my team?

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Leadership – a higher purpose

new paths...walt disney

I’ve noticed this week that some of my clients have had a particularly challenging week in terms of partnerships.

So….there is an end goal in mind and for some of my leadership clients it’s no small feat. Changing the lives of young people no less.

The dilemma this week was in the context of being presented with a conundrum. They were being asked to make a significant concession in one of their partnerships. What to do!  Yes the concession may have a big impact on the end goal, however is the end goal worth a potentially high cost concession?

What is the higher purpose here – is there a way to bring about the same result without conceding?

As leaders we can easily get into this either/or mindset. It’s that option or nothing. There are no other options or ways of achieving what we want.

To be creative, to see beyond the current possibilities takes something more. What if there’s a range of conditions attached to our result?

These may even be conditions of one’s mindset and creativity may indeed lie on the other side of seeing these, with the option of releasing them.

Until we know what our unspoken conditions or expectations are, how can we possibly know whether we want to keep them or not?

And then there’s that higher purpose, the end goal. Are we really going to compromise on that?

The journey to reach our end goal may look very different to the one we expected…

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Leadership – what’s your reflection?

What We Reflect

Mmmmm interesting week, I noticed lots of complaining from clients – and I could hear myself doing the same at various intervals about my own partnerships.

Easy to complain isn’t it? I am huge fan of a good rant. Better out than in…absolutely!!

I wondered this week though, through hearing my own ranting and complaining, if there’s a huge benefit to acknowledging our part in our complaints?

I realised for me I was guilty of the very thing I was complaining about in someone else.  Of course this meant then fessing up and being honest with myself about this. AND then looking at a way forward that was not me ‘getting’ the other to change but looking at and being willing to change myself.

Looking in the mirror like this – being willing to be honest with ourselves – may create a wonderful opportunity to see this reflection.

If we are willing, this in turn can create partnership in resolution rather than a ‘position’ that we are defending at all costs.

The beauty of this of course is that we then get to understand and be compassionate both with ourselves and the other.

We can pluck up the courage and practice mastering our own challenges whilst simultaneously supporting the other to the same…

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Leadership give and take

Don't Assume, Ask

Wow, an extremely eventful week for me this week.  The theme I’ve been reflecting on, delivering leadership training on and living – is partnership.

Have we ever really thought about what we want in any given partnership? Think about some key partnerships you have in leadership – do you give more than you take or take more than you give?

For me I generally like a healthy balance, in some contexts the partnership may be one of service – hence an imbalance may be perfectly appropriate or indeed working as is.

I wonder though do we ever really stop to think about what we want and need before we engage in a partnership. Every relationship is a partnership right? Sometimes the tendency can be to assume we and the other knows what our expectation is. How would they though if we haven’t even thought about it, let alone expressed it?

Something to ponder then. What’s your purpose for your partnerships?

How’s that working for you?

 

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Leadership give and take

Don't Assume, Ask

Wow, an extremely eventful week for me this week.  The theme I’ve been reflecting on, delivering leadership training on and living – is partnership.

Have we ever really thought about what we want in any given partnership? Think about some key partnerships you have in leadership – do you give more than you take or take more than you give?

For me I generally like a healthy balance, in some contexts the partnership may be one of service – hence an imbalance may be perfectly appropriate or indeed working as is.

I wonder though do we ever really stop to think about what we want and need before we engage in a partnership.

Every relationship is a partnership right? Sometimes the tendency can be to assume we and the other knows what our expectation is. How would they though if we haven’t even thought about it, let alone expressed it?

Something to ponder then.  What’s your purpose for your partnerships?

How’s that working for you?

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Leadership boundaries…

Leaders Owning Creation

I’ve had some fascinating conversations this week about boundaries that have really resonated with me.

I’ve had sessions with numerous leaders, some who are believing that because they are not good enough – they therefore need to prove their capability and thus find saying no (or indeed putting work/life boundaries in place) a massive challenge.

Of course this plays out with them working 24/7, always questioning what they are doing and believing they are responsible for solving whatever is incomplete.

Thing is, where’s the room for others to step in? If there’s no limit to the responsibility we keep taking and taking for the whole challenge, where’s the room or indeed boundary in that for others?

Boundaries are fundamental to create a frame for collaboration, mutual respect and most importantly encourage creativity and commitment…

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Leadership – are you open to the miracle of you?

The miracle of you!

I’ve had a very surprising, interesting, sad, exciting, frustrating week – but hey this is life and leadership isn’t it? In a week, in a day or even sometimes in an hour our experience and reactions to events can be varied and even sometimes extreme.

I’ve heard a lot from clients this week suggesting they shouldn’t be how they are – they should react, behave, be or do something differently.

I think sometimes we have it that there’s something to always be ‘fixed’ in us, in our leadership – not just at work but our leadership in life.

I wonder whether this idea of fixing something, getting to the bottom of what and why we are how we are can become addictive.  If we are wanting to fix ourselves in some way – aren’t we in danger of this becoming another way of labelling ourselves as ‘not enough’?

This year, the biggest thing I’m learning is that I am who I am, as a human being and as a leader. My leadership and ability to be on purpose is much more powerful, real and engaging when I accept and honour the reality of me.

For me the truth is:  there’s nothing to fix, nothing to solve. The gift, the miracle is me being willing to be seen authentically as I am – and allowing others to be alongside me in my journey.

 

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