Why is it so difficult to apologize for a mistake and why is it important to leadership?

Why is it so difficult to apologize for a mistake and why is it important to leadership?

  1. False pride. We like to appear competent. A part of us may think it’s a weakness to show imperfection. We hate to be wrong when our identity and work are based on being right. Apologizing risks falling from the artificial pedestal.
  2. A lack of self-awareness. Sometimes we don’t even know an apology is required because we are unaware that our actions were hurtful. What’s common to one might be harmful to another.
  3. Rationalization. A close cousin to pride, rationalization is about avoiding reality. Justifying that your actions “weren’t that bad,” means you can avoid the hard work of changing your behavior. Without a commitment to change, it’s not an apology, it’s a regret. Perhaps you have a habit of hurting people and know it, but you’re embarrassed about it. And you are afraid or unwilling to actually change.
  4. You don’t know how. We often avoid apologizing because we are not sure of the best way to approach the situation. It takes skill to make an apology and admit being wrong. Sincerity and a commitment to change are ultimately what’s required.

Apologizing is critical to leadership for four reasons:

  1. Leaders are always failing somebody. While you’ll never please everybody, if you aren’t willing to apologize, people won’t connect to your humanness and won’t trust you.
  2. False pride never inspired anyone. Being unwilling to acknowledge your mistakes keeps you in the ivory tower of your superiority. Leadership is about working with people, not above them.
  3. Leaders require self-awareness. If we don’t see our blind spots, we can’t grow. And if we aren’t learning and growing, we can’t expect those around us to feel safe enough to engage fully and bring their whole self to what they do.
  4. People feel valued and respected when you apologize to them.

Learning to connect when you’re a lone wolf

Learning to connect when you’re a lone wolf

Being somewhat of a lone wolf, I am hyper-independent when it comes to business. I started my career in private practice as a family therapist, and then, for the past three-plus decades, as a speaker, consultant, workshop facilitator, and coach, I’ve been a solo business owner.

Over the years, I’ve tried partnerships, but inevitably I’ve not been able to let go of my fierce need for independence. I must do things my way.

While I proudly list self-sufficiency amongst my better character traits, my inability and unwillingness to include others has created a barrier to my success. Like all virtues, when independence exceeds its function, it becomes a liability.

Psychologists might suggest that my hyper-independence is a coping response from chronic trauma in my upbringing. Or maybe I feel so strongly in my purpose and mission that I have not had the confidence to allow someone into my space.

But there is only so far you can go alone. I’m truly discovering that in this next chapter of my life.

The irony is that I have spent much of my career helping people build high-trust partnerships and teams. Perhaps what we are most capable of building in others is what we are most in need of developing within ourselves.

Humanity is where it is today because we learned to collaborate. We can go fast alone, but together we can go further.
Relationships not only make our goals possible, they make them meaningful. Even if we get to the top of the mountain alone, who wants to be there with no one to share the experience?

Take a moment to stop and value your relationships – both at work and in your personal life. It’s the company that makes the journey worthwhile. Opening ourselves to connecting with and valuing people in our lives inevitably leads to opportunities to exchange ideas, receive inspiration, and deepen the meaning of our existence.

And this week I am thrilled to facilitate our Authentic Leadership Academy. Integral to the success of this experience is the meaningful connections and community we will build together.

Leadership Lessons From Nature

Leadership Lessons From Nature

The late renowned Canadian artist and my good friend, Murray Phillips, used to spend a third of his time living in the woods and painting nature. He once said, “there are no straight lines in nature.”

Nature is perfect in its imperfection. It does not struggle against the whole universe by struggling against this moment. Its acceptance is total and complete.

We can learn a lot about ourselves when we take the time to commune with nature and witness the intelligence within every living thing.

When I sit silently and watch a sunset, or listen to the sound of the ocean or a stream, or hang out with the horses – when I take the time to s-l-o-w d-o-w-n to the speed of life, I recognize beauty everywhere and find myself surrounded by pure potentiality and unbounded creativity.

Murray gifted me a sketch pad and artist’s pen, and encouraged me to take time to draw something every day. Like a journal, I never show anyone my drawings. “Artists don’t necessarily produce ‘art.’ Murray used to say. Being an artist is, instead, the way you see the world. Being an artist is about having the eyes to see things more clearly. Artistic living means seeing life more slowly. It means seeing beyond the obvious.”

Leadership starts with connecting with ourselves. Appreciating our humanity and imperfection. Letting go of the expectation of straight lines, formulas and flavors of the month management fads. People want from their leaders what they want from themselves – to be real.

Depositing Into The Trust Account

Depositing Into The Trust Account

I learned years ago from my mentor, Steve Covey, about the emotional bank account.

We all know what a financial bank account is. We make deposits into it and build up a reserve from which we can make withdrawals when we need to. An Emotional Bank Account is a metaphor describing the amount of trust built up in a relationship. If we invest in a relationship, we are bound from time to time, either knowingly or unknowingly, to make withdrawals.

The key is to be sure that you always have something in the account to withdraw from. Always be sure your deposits are more than your withdrawals.

Here’s some example of deposits:

  • Courtesy and Kindness
  • Honoring your agreements
  • Showing appreciation and recognition (in ways that are meaningful to the recipient)
  • Apologizing
  • Humility, being open to learn from others
  • Truly listening, with empathy, for their concerns, their desires, and what matters to them
  • Taking responsibility for your actions
  • Taking people for coffee

Here’s some examples of making withdrawals:

  • Discourtesy and disrespect
  • Ignoring the people in your life and the mistakes you make in your relationships
  • A lack of openness to listen or to get feedback
  • Arrogance, being closed to learning
  • Being blind to the impact your actions are having on others or the mistakes you make
  • Abuse of power
  • Blaming, complaining, and gossiping
  • Taking people for granted

I’d love to hear about how you make deposits or withdrawals into the trust account in the relationships in your life.

5 signs that you are not showing up as your authentic self.

5 signs that you are not showing up as your authentic self.

My purpose is to help people connect with their true nature and express it consciously in their life and work. It is my belief that we are naturally creative, compassionate, calm, committed, and capable. If you don’t experience these qualities, there’s nothing wrong with you; you are simply disconnected from your true nature.

Indicators that you’re not showing up as your authentic self:

  1. Overaccommodation. (Pleasing, permissive or indulgent.) While generosity is an obvious strength, when you’re nice all the time, you can bury a lot of feelings. Resentments, depression, irritation, impatience, irritability, insecurity, and psychosomatic illnesses can result from suppressed emotions.
  2. Disengagement. (Blaming, complaining, resisting, shutting down, passive resistance, gossiping, quit and stay.) This occurs when lacking the courage to bring yourself whole-heartedly to your work or relationships.
  3. Transaction tyranny. (Allowing the urgent demands of others to crowd out what matters most.) A close relative to overaccommodation, transaction tyranny means saying yes to everyone and everything, losing yourself in the demands of your inbox, and forgetting to attend to your most important contribution. No one wants written on their headstone, “They got all their emails returned.”
  4. Dishonesty. (Unwilling to face the truth about their life.) Unhappy with their life and hating their job, they unload their misery on people around them. Dishonesty isn’t just about stealing, lying, or fraud. It’s also about being dishonest with yourself.
  5. “Bad” Tired. (Inauthentic exhaustion.) There are two kinds of tired: “good” tired, and “bad” tired. Good tired comes from working hard and getting fulfillment from your contribution. “Bad” tired means you are depleted from taking care of the needs of others at the expense of your true self. You never fully recover from “bad” tired until you live in closer alignment with your true nature – a place that fills you rather than depletes you.

For those interested in discovering your authentic leadership, we still have a few seats available at our academy. I hope you will join us. Check us out at: https://lnkd.in/gMi2euzp

Kids, Smart Phones, and Mental Health

Kids, Smart Phones, and Mental Health

If you are a parent or caregiver of a child, you will, in one way or another, deal with issues of devices, technology, and the internet. For years I have been concerned about the impact of technology on mental health, particularly on young people and it’s time for me to speak up.

To hear what researchers now know about the dangers of giving a smartphone to a child before they’re ready, I recommend Cal Newport’s podcast https://lnkd.in/gVx2SdpD

Cal is an MIT-trained computer science professor at Georgetown University who writes about the intersections of technology, work, and the quest to find depth in an increasingly distracted world. This podcast provides a thorough history of the research on technology and kids, including how it started, evolved, adjusted to criticism, and, over the last few years, ultimately coalesced around a rough consensus.

A few interesting observations that Cal uncovered:

  • 2012 was a tipping point for technology and mental health. Since then, we have seen a significant rise in depression and anxiety among young people. 2012 was exactly the moment when the proportion of Americans who owned a smartphone surpassed 50 percent.
  • Researchers, after wrestling with the issue now for more than ten years, generally agree it is not safe to give a child unsupervised access to the internet until they are at least 16.
  • Forget about technology monitoring your child’s internet use. Kids are smart enough to find a way around security apps.
  • If you want your child to use a phone to communicate with you, give them a phone with no access to the internet.

Like Cal, I’m convinced that our culture and subsequent legislation will eventually adapt to the now undisputed research.

We don’t allow children to gamble or buy cigarettes or alcohol. Why do we allow them to have unsupervised access to the internet? Ten years from now, there won’t be much debate about what’s appropriate when it comes to kids and these technologies. Until then, however, we’re navigating this territory on our own, so the more we know, the better off we’ll be.

If you want to learn more about my approach to child raising, I hope you’ll join me in this month’s Complimentary Webinar on raising accountable kids. Everyone who attends the webinar will receive a complimentary pdf of “Raising Accountable Children .”https://lnkd.in/d37Prt4a