Self-Care Isn’t Selfish

Self-Care Isn’t Selfish

Burnout Leadership Leadership Effectiveness Self-Care

We often talk about the responsibilities of leadership – bringing out the best in others, managing conflict, creating and engaging others in a compelling vision, maximizing productivity and profits. Unfortunately, self-care is often left off the list.

The truth is that leadership is hard work and hard work requires energy. Not just physical energy, but emotional, mental and spiritual energy as well. It’s especially vital for you as a leader to keep up your own energy. You are regularly called upon to lend energy to your team, to keep the momentum going, and the process moving forward.

It’s helpful to remember you need to take care of yourself in order to take care of your team. Here’s a mantra for you to remember: Self-care is not selfish. Self-care is actually, ultimately, an act of service. In order to give yourself permission to engage in self-care, you have to let go of these myths:

Leaders are invincible – Leaders are not invincible or invulnerable. You will get tired, angry, hungry, fearful and discouraged. Your very human frailties are what allow you to understand and relate to your team and help them relate to you.

Self-care is too hard (or too expensive, or too time-consuming) – It really isn’t. Especially when you compare it to the cost of burnout. It’s simply about creating and consistently applying good self-care practices. Period.

Leaders should come last – Taking care of your team members and your team as a whole is a good thing. In order to do that, you have to replenish your own energy and reserves. If you consistently put yourself last, your energy may be gone before you get what you need, hurting both you and your team.

So, once you put those myths to rest, how do you actually engage in self-care?

Start with awareness and taking inventory. Learn to pay attention to the cues that tell you that you need rest, food, water or a change of pace. Once you’ve done this, invest in yourself. Take the time needed to take care of you. Nourish and hydrate your body. Rest your brain as much as your body.

Next, create connections and a self-care system. Surround yourself with people who have your back and who tell you the truth when you’re doing well or when you need to self-correct.

Make time to replenish yourself with time away from work, time in nature, and spiritual nurture. There’s an old saying: “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” While it may not be possible to consistently keep your own cup completely full, it’s important that you don’t let the level get too low before you do something to refill it.

Here’s the bottom-line: you cannot be a great leader if you’re running on empty, physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually. Self-care is an essential part of leadership responsibility.

Take care of yourself, and you’ll be able to take care of everything else and Increase Your Impact!

Dr. Sherene McHenry, Relational Leadership expert, is a widely acclaimed speaker, author and coach that demystifies how to lead, motivate and resolve conflict for optimal results. Known for being wise, witty and practical, Sherene provides instantly implementable tips and strategies for enhancing leadership effectiveness, increasing engagement and decreasing burnout, frustrations and miscommunications.

Coach, Cheerleader Or Referee?

Coach, Cheerleader Or Referee?

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Effective leadership requires effective conflict resolution skills. A team in conflict is a team that is not functioning at its best. While a great deal of conflict can be anticipated and artfully avoided, circumventing conflict isn’t always possible or even desirable. Living in the real world, you will inevitably face conflicts in your team

Not all conflicts are created equal. As an effective leader, you need a variety of strategies to address problems as they arise and to play different roles in resolving conflicts. I think successful conflict resolution requires leaders to be coach, cheerleader and referee. See if you agree.

Coach. Coaches ensure that team members reach their full potential as individuals and as a team. Coaching your team through conflict includes establishing a climate of mutual trust and respect and strong communication skills such as civility, open-mindedness and active listening.

Helping identify and craft win/win solutions is another way to coach your team through conflict. When conflict hits a stumbling block, you can suggest alternate strategies that may make the team more successful in resolving the situation. Additionally, you can lead the team in post-conflict analysis and apply the lessons learned to support improved performance and avert similar conflicts in the future.

Cheerleader. Cheerleaders provide support, encouragement and praise from the sidelines, rather than participating directly in the competition. Wise leaders know there are times that interfering in a disagreement only makes matters worse. When the conflict calls for you to be a cheerleader, express your support and your confidence in your team’s ability to steer themselves through the conflict. Praise the progress made along the way to keep your team’s spirits high and focused on the desired outcome.

Referee. Referees ensure good sportsmanship and that players follow the rules of the game. So it is with leaders in conflict situations. When team members are unable to resolve conflict on their own, they may need your intervention as a neutral party. While it might be tempting to take sides, as a leader you need to protect the interests of all parties equally.

Enforcing ground rules and calling “foul” on inappropriate behaviors during the conflict process is critical. Declaring a time out when things get too heated can also be useful. Finally, as a referee, you may need to exert your authority to declare a winner if the team or individuals can’t reach a shared resolution.

While your preferred leadership style in conflict may lean more heavily to one of these roles, effective leadership means that you are capable of being a coach, cheerleader or referee depending on the needs and capabilities of your team. Knowing when to be coach, cheerleader or referee empowers you to lead your team to success and to Increase your impact!

Dr. Sherene McHenry, Relational Leadership expert, is a widely acclaimed speaker, author and coach that demystifies how to lead, motivate and resolve conflict for optimal results. Known for being wise, witty and highly practical, Sherene provides instantly implementable tips and strategies for enhancing leadership effectiveness, increasing engagement and decreasing burnout, frustrations and miscommunications.

No More Walking On Eggshells

No More Walking On Eggshells

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Do you ever walk on eggshells? Would you rather have a root canal than engage in conflict? Join the club.

You may think that avoiding conflict makes you a good leader – but the opposite is true. Conflict, handled properly, increases collaboration, trust and influence, which are all essential for successful performance in the workplace.

Walking on eggshells can be more than just uncomfortable – it can negatively affect your organization’s bottom line. According to research conducted by the authors of the New York Times bestselling book Crucial Conversations, 95% percent of the workforce struggles to speak up to their colleagues about their concerns. It is estimated that on average, each avoided crucial conversation costs a company $1,500 and an 8-hour workday.

Imagine how much better things would be if you and your team could stop walking on eggshells and master the art of managing conflict. Kind of boggles the mind, doesn’t it?

As a leader, if you teach your people to have tough conversations, hold others accountable, and argue productively, you’ll create a high functioning team and collaborative environment.

Of course, once you decide to stop walking on eggshells, you don’t want to go to the other extreme and throw gasoline on the fire. There are a few simple rules to follow that help keep conflict in the productivity zone, rather than the problem zone. Here are just two:

  • Nip Problems In The Bud. Just as weeds are easily picked when small, conflict is most easily resolved in its earliest stages. The first time a problem arises, have a conversation. That enables you to address the issue in a calmer, more collaborative manner than after it has happened multiple times.
  • Avoid Piling On. In an effort to provide protection, football teams are penalized when extra players “pile on” a ball carrier who is already down. When dealing with conflict, stick to addressing the problem at hand, not what the person has or hasn’t done in the past. Refraining from “piling on” safeguards individuals and relationships, keeps things clear and on point, and decreases defensiveness.

Want to learn more? Set up an appointment to talk with me about bringing my keynote speech or workshop No More Walking on Eggshells to your next conference or corporate event. Just click here http://www.meetme.so/ShereneMcHenry to schedule a call.

Let’s keep you and your team from walking on eggshells and Increase Your Impact!

How Talking Like A Pirate Makes You A Better Leader

How Talking Like A Pirate Makes You A Better Leader

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Do you want to be a better leader? Then let’s start by talking about conflict. I know it’s probably not your favorite topic – mine either! However, we can’t talk about leadership effectiveness without talking about conflict. Why? Because handling conflict is a critical leadership task, and failure to manage conflict appropriately is a primary reason that leaders fail. So, if needed, take a deep breath and let’s dive right in.

To handle conflict like a pro, you have to talk like a pirate. Before you think I’ve gone off my rocker, read on. What comes to mind when you think of how a pirate talks? If you’re like me, you think of the sound –aarr- that precedes any sentence. Once you get the sound in your head, it’s hard to get rid of and that’s exactly why I want you to talk like a pirate while honing your conflict management skills.

AARR is the sound that will help you be a better leader as you remember the four elements of good conflict management:

Anticipate – Good leaders recognize that conflict is inevitable. Even in the best-run organizations, there are disagreements from time to time. As you look ahead in day-to-day operations and for the long term, think about likely bumps in the road. Some conflicts will be focused on individuals, others on ideas. Planning ahead enables you to prepare positive responses and have them ready to go before the need arises.

Avoid – If you expect conflict and can anticipate where and why it may occur, you can also develop strategies to avoid or minimize its disruption within your team. As the leader, you chart the course and steer the ship. When possible, pilot your team away from trouble spots that will derail your efforts and destroy morale. Of course, it isn’t always possible or even desirable to totally avoid conflict, but if you have a diversion strategy in place, you may be able to reduce the negative impact when it does occur.

Recognize – With conflict, as with everything else, your responsibility as the leader is to see the big picture, scan the environment and help your team understand what is happening at any given moment. When conflict is brewing, or has been buried under the surface, good leaders recognize the clues and take steps to ensure the problem is addressed.

Recognizing conflict includes acknowledging it openly and honestly so that it can be addressed. Hidden conflict simmers under the surface and can have devastating consequences when it erupts unexpectedly. As a leader, choosing the time and the manner in which conflict is named and handled increases your likelihood of achieving a positive outcome.

Resolve – Far too often, conflict is smoothed over, rather than resolved. As a leader, you need to look beneath the surface to its underlying causes and address those issues. Without deeper attention and actual resolution, conflict recycles again and again.

Ensure your team members are truly engaged and invested in the solution so that they will be committed to moving forward. You will know a conflict is resolved when it is no longer being rehashed and revisited – and when solutions are honoring, collaborative and respectful to involved individuals and the organization.

Dr. Sherene McHenry, Leadership Effectiveness expert, is a widely acclaimed speaker, author and coach that demystifies how to lead, motivate and resolve conflict for optimal results. Known for being wise, witty and highly practical, Sherene provides instantly implementable tips and strategies for becoming a better leader, enhancing leadership effectiveness and employee engagement.

New Year New You–Increase Your Leadership Effectiveness Resolution

New Year New You–Increase Your Leadership Effectiveness Resolution

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When you think about a new year’s resolution, your first thought might not be one concerning your leadership effectiveness. This year, instead of the traditional:

  • Lose Weight
  • Join a Gym
  • Eat Healthier
  • Eliminate a Bad Habit
  • Take More Time Off

I propose you make a resolution concerning how you’re going to function as a leader, in both your work and personal life. Here is my suggestion:

As a leader, in 2017 I will focus first on relationships.

Relationships are the groundwork, the foundation, on which all of the rest of the work of leadership rests. Without positive relationships with your team, the people you serve and others who influence your success, the tasks of leadership are far more difficult.

Stephen Covey has a great metaphor for building relationships in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. He talks about relationships as “emotional bank accounts” where the positive things we do, the ways in which we feed and nurture the relationship, are like making deposits in the account. When trouble arises or when trust is violated, there is a corresponding withdrawal.

As a leader, how will you make deposits in your relational bank accounts in 2017? Here are my top five tips for doing just that:

1. Invest time. Spend time getting to know your team beyond the tasks they perform. Learn what is important to them, what motivates them and who they are when they aren’t at work. Be genuinely interested – have conversations that have nothing to do with work. Taking the time for morning greetings and remembering an upcoming special occasion go a long way to building positive relationships.

2. Communicate openly. People need to know what is expected, where things are going and their role in the process. They also need to have the opportunity to express their feelings. Open communication is as much about listening as it is about talking. Seeking the input of your team on issues that affect them creates an investment in the outcome – and in the relationship. Open communication is also important in building trust and reducing conflict.

3. Express appreciation. Good, solid relationships are based in mutual respect and feeling valued. It is not enough to think good things about your team members – you need to say good things about them. Express appreciation directly and give accolades in public. When your people feel valued, they want to live up to your positive opinion over and over again.

4. Demonstrate loyalty. Loyalty is an essential ingredient in successful relationships. Support your team when things get tough and challenges arise from inside or outside the organization. When conflicts arise within the team, and they will, it’s important that all team members feel supported and valued. Your team needs to know that they can count on you in the good times and bad.

5. Deposit more than you withdraw.

Just like a monetary bank account, the stability of a relational bank account depends on positive cash flow. The cushion that will see you through rough times is ensuring you have more than the minimum balance in the account at all times. Give more to your team than you expect them to give to you and you will always have a solid relationship.

Having solid relationships is essential to your effectiveness as a leader, and developing successful relationships requires intention and attention. In 2017, resolve to focus first on relationships. I guarantee you will Increase Your Effectiveness.

Dr. Sherene McHenry, Leadership Effectiveness expert, is a widely acclaimed speaker, author and coach that demystifies how to lead, motivate and resolve conflict for optimal results. Known for being wise, witty and highly practical, Sherene provides instantly implementable tips and strategies for developing effective leadership qualities that get results.

OUT WITH THE OLD – IN WITH THE NEW

OUT WITH THE OLD – IN WITH THE NEW

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In a few short days we will be saying farewell to 2016 and greeting 2017. The phrase, “Out with the old, in with the new,” is echoing everywhere, describing the transition that is marked by the change in the calendar. What does this mean for you and for your team? Are you ready for the change that is coming?

As a leader, your role is help your team navigate the transition from old to new in the best way possible. Successful transitions require careful reflection, not just wholesale change. Here are a few suggestions for ringing in the New Year in the best way possible.

  • Recognize that it is okay to let go

There are some attitudes, behaviors, and experiences that are best left in the past. Work with your team to clearly identify what will be left behind – and why. Long-standing traditions may have outlived their usefulness. Lingering conflicts need to be resolved. Disappointments or failures should become important as lessons rather than regrets.

Honor the value of what will be released. Appreciate the effort that was expended, even when the result was not what you had hoped. Make sure that team members who invested time, energy and emotion in something that is ending are recognized for their contributions. Help your team understand that letting go frees space for something better to come along.

  • Plan the transition with intention

Reflect carefully on what will be different in the future by making an honest assessment of what worked and what didn’t in the current year. Set new goals and expectations that are realistic, but require a bit of a stretch. No one gets excited about standing still or falling backward. Make a renewed commitment to the good things that you will be retaining for the future – they are the foundation upon which your new success will rest.

Make sure to look at the changes to be made from both the big picture and the small details. Engage visionary team members in forecasting the big picture for the future and charge detail people with looking at the components of each area to be adjusted. Work together as a team to craft a complete vision of the year to come.

  • Prepare for the in-between time

Making change is not like flipping a light switch – off one minute, on the next. It takes time for people to become accustomed to a new normal, even when it is a happily-anticipated change.

As a leader, you need to recognize that not everyone on your team makes adjustments at the same pace or with the same attitude. Work closely with team members who are reluctant to let go or hesitant about what is to come.

What might ease the transition for them? Do they need more information, support or time? Is the gap between old and new too wide for them; do they need an interim or adjustment period? Model the attitude and approach to change that you want to see in your team.

  • Embrace the new with energy, excitement and enthusiasm

Your team members look to you to help shape their attitude and acceptance of what is ahead. If you cling to the past or seem reluctant to let something go, you can be certain that others will follow suit.

If there are rough waters ahead it is particularly important for your team to feel your confidence that together, you all will find your way to smoother sailing. As a leader, when you acknowledge that change is not always easy, you give the team permission to feel the same way – and then you can cheer yourselves on as you make the change anyway!

At this time of year, when it is “out with the old, in with the new,” be a change leader for your team and Increase Your Impact!

Dr. Sherene McHenry, Leadership IQ expert, is a widely acclaimed speaker, author and coach that demystifies how to lead, motivate and resolve conflict for optimal results. Known for being witty, wise and highly practical, Sherene provides instantly implementable tips and strategies that get real world results.

Effective Leadership Qualities: Shine Your Light

Effective Leadership Qualities: Shine Your Light

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Effective leadership qualities are a lot like light. They enable you to see a clear vision of a shared and positive future, illumine the path forward and shed light into dark corners where trouble might be lurking.

Leadership is an important calling, and those who do it best possess a high degree of self-awareness and self-care. Here are five ways to ensure you shine even brighter as an effective leader:

  1. Keep your focus clear– Make sure that the vision and mission of your organization is clear to you, so that you can make it clear for others.
  1. Keep yourself nourished – Having adequate light is a function of having sufficient energy. Making sure that you are nourished – physically, emotionally and spiritually – ensures that you have energy to share with others.
  1. Keep moving forward –Your forward momentum propels others. You cannot shine a light on the path to the future if you are standing still in the present.
  1. Keep asking questions – As an effective leader, you have to be willing to look at things that other people cannot see and to anticipate the perils and pitfalls that escape the attention of others. When you ask questions – even tough questions – you empower others to see a broader picture.
  1. Keep sharing the light – The knowledge and wisdom you possess as a leader is worthless if you do not share it. When you bring others into your circle of light, you ensure that it continues beyond yourself.

Effective leaders carry the light in three ways – in the lantern that lights the way and illumines the path; in the flashlight that brightens dark corners; and in the candle that, tipped to the next in line, keeps the light shining in a continuous and ongoing circle.

May your light burn brightly as you increase your leadership effectiveness!

Dr. Sherene McHenry, Leadership Effectiveness expert, is a widely acclaimed speaker, author and coach that demystifies how to lead, motivate and resolve conflict for optimal results. Known for being witty, wise and highly practical, Sherene provides instantly implementable tips and strategies for developing effective leadership qualities that get results.

Great Leaders are Grateful People

Great Leaders are Grateful People

Leadership Motivation Uncategorized

Leadership experts (including yours truly) spend lots of time identifying the characteristics that great leaders have in common – vision, courage, charisma, energy, insight. I’ll bet you have your own list you measure yourself against, checking to see where you excel and where you still have work to do. Me, too.

Here’s something new to consider – Great Leaders are Grateful People.

Most leadership checklists don’t include this characteristic – but they should! Here’s why living in gratitude is an essential quality for effective leadership:

  • It makes you happy – Five minutes a day keeping a gratitude journal can increase your overall happiness quotient by more than 10%. That’s the same impact as doubling your income! Happiness attracts others – great leaders know this.
  • It affirms others – People like being appreciated for who they are and what they do. Great leaders make their team feel important and valued, which keeps them connected and committed to the goal.
  • It enhances resilience – Living in gratitude increases your ability to cope and adjust when things get rocky. Great leaders are able to change course without losing direction, keeping their team on an even keel, even when things feel uncertain.
  • It improves decision-making – Gratitude clears away the mental clutter and helps you focus on what’s important. Great leaders keep their eyes on the prize and help their team to do the same.
  • It expands possibilities – Living in gratitude creates a sense of optimism and an expectation of positive outcomes. When leaders believe they will succeed, their team follows suit.

Of course, gratitude is not just an inside attitude. Living in gratitude becomes an outward expression – the way we meet and interact with others in the world. Finding and naming points of gratitude in a relationship, whether business or personal, deepens and affirms the connection.

I am grateful for my connection to you. Whether I have spoken on your stage, trained in your boardroom or taught in your classroom – I am thankful for you. If we met as friends or colleagues, at a conference, in the community or online, I am appreciative our paths have crossed. If you found my blog on the web, I am grateful to be found.

Be a better leader– Live in gratitude and Increase Your Impact!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Dr. Sherene McHenry, Leadership IQ expert, is a widely acclaimed speaker, author and coach that demystifies how to lead, motivate and resolve conflict for optimal results. Known for being witty, wise and highly practical, Sherene provides instantly implementable tips and strategies that get real world results.

Repair Relational Fender Benders

Repair Relational Fender Benders

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Mistakes are inevitable, but these three strategies can help restore damaged relationships.

Think back to when you bought your car. Did you relish its glossy, gleaming perfection? Protect and baby it? Avoid dings by parking it as far away from other cars as possible? And, despite your best efforts, has every car you’ve ever owned still accumulated scratches and dents, or been in a collision?

The only way a new car stays pristine is if it remains parked in a garage and is never driven; or it is well cared for and regularly received maintenance and body work.

Relationships are a lot like cars. They start off gleaming and shiny but over time, dirt, dings and accidents accumulate. Like vehicles, relationships need attention and restoration work if they are to stay beautiful and working properly.

I’m confident you strive to be respectful, kind and considerate, especially to your employees. Unfortunately, by virtue of being human, you will consistently dirty up, ding up and create fender benders. So will your employees.
Sometimes all that’s needed to repair a relationship is a simple, heartfelt apology. Regrettably, many people don’t know how to apologize, or worse yet they either lack empathy or have been taught that whoever apologizes loses. While that may be the case in destructive relationships, nothing could be further from the truth.

A key indicator of a healthy, productive relationship is that both parties care and desire to nurture and protect their association. Such relationships increase creativity, productivity and profitability.
Here are my hard-earned, practiced-far-more-often-than-I-would-prefer guidelines for delivering an apology:

• Speak sincerely and from the heart. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a forced, insincere apology, you know how something that sounds cold, contrived or flippant creates even more damage. On the flip side, a heartfelt “I’m sorry,” “I regret” or “I was wrong” goes a long way toward repairing relational dings and fender benders.

• Acknowledge responsibility. “I’m sorry I offended you” is very different and far more healing than “I’m sorry if you were offended.” One builds a bridge, the other widens the rift.

I’m not advocating you sell your soul by lying if you don’t feel you did anything wrong. That’s not good for any relationship. At the same time, if the person is offended, hurt or angered by what they perceive you did or didn’t do, you’ll never go wrong with, “I’m sorry I offended you. That wasn’t my intent.”

• Commit to doing better in the future. “I promise to do better,” or, “You can count on me in the future,” provide a much-needed safety net for future interactions.

Here’s the bottom line: While you can’t control if someone accepts your apology, you always have control over when and how you offer it. Sooner is always better than later.

The good news is when you offer an apology containing all three components — heartfelt words, an acknowledgment of responsibility and a promise to improve — your apology will almost always be accepted.

Unfortunately, if you’ve been involved in multiple fender benders or a head-on collisions, an apology alone probably won’t take care of the problem. You’re going to need a good mechanic/body worker such as a highly skilled consultant, coach or relationship professional to help you repair the damage and learn new skills to prevent the problem from reoccurring.

As you become skilled at the art of appropriately apologizing, I look forward to seeing you in a shiny, red, dent-free convertible.

Dr. Sherene McHenry, Leadership IQ Expert, empowers organizations and individuals boost their leadership IQ so they can maximize their potential, enhance relationships, and avoid and overcome burnout. The author of Pick: Choose to Create A Life You Love, Sherene is passionate about creating happier lives, healthier relationships and better bottom lines. www.sherenemchenry.com.

Originally published in Garden Center Magazine, March 2015, http://www.gardencentermag.com/article/garden0315-repair-damaged-relationships-tips/