All Talk or Do you Really Live it?

Posted by on Feb 12, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

All Talk or Do you Really Live it?

Are you an Effective Leader? How do you Know? Leadership is a topic that has been studied and debated for centuries, and simply one definition of leadership would not suffice. There are distinguishing differences between a manager, leader, and an effective leader, but they are not mutually exclusive. Over time, leadership styles have changed to adapt from a stability model to change and crisis leadership; some willingly and some hesitantly. The greatest leaders are high influencers, relationship builders at all levels, and are highly adaptable to diverse situations and personalities and can be extroverted or introverted. Effective leaders exhibit an advanced level of emotional and contextual intelligence, and encompass both management and leadership competencies. To lead high-performing teams, you must first create a motivated team. Many managers do not realize that directive and authoritative leadership is not effective in the modern business world and is counter-productive. I believe that we are people, not workers, or simply a number, and in order for an organization to be profitable and competitive, it needs to be high performing. In the long-term, leading out of fear in an environment of low morale will not prevail. Employees need to be motivated to be high performing, and in order to accomplish this, the organization needs to employ effective leaders – leaders who “lead by example, who walk the talk.” Effective leaders know how to adapt to each employee and understand if intrinsic or extrinsic rewards motivate them. One employee may be motivated by an increase in salary whereas other employees may be motivated by recognition for a job well done. Once the motivating factors are determined based on dialogue with your employees, you need to create a personal development plan, which should include incremental goals. The key is to create a “great place to work” where everyone looks forward to coming to work, feeling their work has a sense of purpose and meaning. Once there is a positive work culture, even menial tasks are not looked upon as loathsome. I have been in situations where morale has been exceptionally low due to several factors such as previous poor leadership, mistrust, downsizing (“do more with less”), bureaucracy, unethical business practices, etc., and I have introduced several methods that were effective. Team building is one of the first steps to creating a motivated workforce. Depending on the team location and culture, determine an exercise that will take the employees offsite, out of their comfort zone, and engaged in interactive activities. In the case where there may be teammates who are known to have interpersonal issues between each other, I suggest pairing them together for a fun activity. It is amazing what an impact icebreakers can have on easing the tension. This allows individuals to view each other in a positive perspective that they perhaps never had up until this point. In my experience, if there are issues in the future, they will be more mindful and not as emotionally reactive; they will become better team players. In instances where teams consist of varying cultures, it is important to provide cross-cultural training. This helps reduce misunderstandings and how to effectively work with other cultures. For example, as an American working with China, I know that in a meeting, I will have to directly engage with individuals who are below...

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The Virtuous Leadership Cycle

Posted by on Jun 4, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

The Virtuous Leadership Cycle

Our experience is that virtuous leadership comes from a place deep within a leaders character, from their source of truth, where their values are hard wired.  True leadership occurs when truth connects to higher purpose.  They understand that with leadership comes power and they define power as the capacity to create positive energy in the organization.  They use their power to inspire action. A leader who understands their own higher purpose, create organizations with intentional cultures where people of similar intention love to work.   They value culture as a differentiator.  They understand it is the difference between people who punch the clock and people who work because they are passionate about what they do. These same leaders understand that the most important investment in a company is in the people, because people create high performing organizations.  They see cultural fit as more important then aptitude, because they can invest in development, but a person’s values are not easily changed.  With the right culture and the right people great companies are made. These same leaders are curious, and continuously ask what is next.  Their vision is uninhibited.  And they ask that their employees be as interested in exploring the art of the possible as they are, because curiosity did not kill the cat! And they continue to have laser focus on why the company they work for exists.  It’s raison d’etre.  Connecting the dots as to why it exists and who it serves.  Virtuous companies have virtuous leaders. Virtuous leadership (see Dragonfly Consultants Virtuous leadership qualities)...

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Generational Stereotypes –It’s Hurting Us, Not Helping

Posted by on May 22, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Generational Stereotypes –It’s Hurting Us, Not Helping

Generational stereotypes can be experienced in abundance in our everyday world.  As a marketing strategy, these stereotypes use generalizations to target and sell products.  Later these same stereotypes have been adopted by HR organizations to develop strategies around everything from company culture (how do we create workplaces that attract the millennials) to hiring practices.  Yet with 5 generations working side by side, this exclusionary approach doesn’t solve issues, it creates them. How many of us define ourselves by our generation?  Do we look across the table at someone of relative age and think because he/she is of the same generation we have the same beliefs and experiences, that we approach the world the same way?  How many of us can relate to someone of a seemingly different generation and think I actually have more in common with that person. Because we are working more closely together, because we are sharing common experiences at different ages, we are blurring the lines.  Women are having babies in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s, sharing new mom stories as if they were all one generation.  People are starting new careers multiple times in their lifetime, reinventing themselves at different ages, going to or back to school at different ages.  These create common experiences across generational lines. I personally, am tired of checking the box for my age group.  How old I think I am on any day changes and rarely do I see myself as my chronological age.  Therefore, I now declare my age lives on a continuum.  And so I navigate the generations with ease, and I employ ways to connect with people as individuals with interests and experiences I value.  And when a generational stereotype sneaks up on me, and I find myself feeling excluded or boxed in, I use that as an opportunity to open myself to learn something new.  Learning is generationally agnostic.  So I invite others to think about generations as a continuum, one not defined by chronological age, but by how we feel on any given day.  See how it changes how you view the world....

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Older gets Older as you get Older

Posted by on May 27, 2014 in Blog | Comments Off on Older gets Older as you get Older

Older gets Older as you get Older

I used to think “Older gets older as you get older” was just a saying and maybe a way to justify the aging process.  Now that I am in my 50’s I realize it is not just a justification.  I have begun to notice the women around me.  Not the under 40’s.  I see them everyday, the world is designed for under 40.  They are more than visible, but the ever increasing and invisible beauty of the other half of life.  It started in my Pilates class where I could almost declare myself as youthful (at almost 54).  Daughters of the 1970’s fitness revolution, some now in their 80’s (Thank you Jane Fonda and Cher), surrounded me. Class sounds like this, instructor:  “I am going to show you several ways to do this exercise, if you have osteoporosis …if you need more of a challenge…” I haven’t enjoyed a class more.  We laugh, we smile at each other, and we connect across the room.  There is something magical in being with these women who keep it going and show me there continues to be so much more… So older does get older.  There is always a woman I look forward to being like 10 years senior to me.  I noticed them at Pilates, and I now see them everywhere.  Look and they become visible.  They radiate beauty, wisdom and emotional strength that only come’s after living an experienced life. Suddenly I find it difficult to define the middle in middle age, when so many women are choosing to defy it.  Many are reinventing themselves.  Choosing and changing careers, finding their calling and trading in their retirement for purposeful work. Jane Pauley, recently cited in the Huffington Post has traded in her journalism career for a public speaking career specifically helping women over 50 reinvent themselves. Pauley;  “Women… are leaning in after 50. They give me hope that as we get older, that my generation may finally redeem our youthful promise and inspire every generation to see themselves and their future in power and positive new ways.” I realized many of the women I admire most, went through some kind of transformation or reinvention of their careers later in life.  Including my mother.  In her late 40’s she completed her MSW, became a well-respected and celebrated social worker and author, and continued her career well into her late 70’s.  Hilary Clinton, whose post law career has included 1st lady, senator, secretary of state and possibly President has not hit the pause button. It seems women’s midlife crises has something to do with kick-starting change that often includes taking career risks, following their passion and making a difference.  Not to say they didn’t before the age of 50, but many make a trade in their careers, moving away from something and moving toward something else, recognizing that they desire and need something different out of their lives.  I believe recognizing we are on the downslope makes life precious, yet at the same time we are not ready to slow down.   We become comfortable trusting our experience and wisdom to guide us down the right path.  Our choices are about how we want to live and what we want to accomplish inclusive of career, quality of life, family and overall happiness.  ...

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Who says it has to be a man’s world?

Posted by on Sep 20, 2013 in Blog | Comments Off on Who says it has to be a man’s world?

Who says it has to be a man’s world?

“If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.” —John F. Kennedy I spent this summer in France and had many conversations with friends around our business idea. While explaining what we were trying to achieve, I was very keen to mention that our mission was not to fight for women’s rights but to take an approach where we help recognize that men and women are different. It is common knowledge that “men do not listen and women cannot read maps” . Our brains just do not function in the same way. And as long as scientists have not found a way for men to carry children, I would say our bodies work pretty differently too. There are of course always exceptions, but when a male friend is actually a good listener, I often hear you say he has a “strong female side”! So why, when we all know that we think, function, live and love differently, are we expected to work the same way? Women can multi-task, listen, support each other and according to a UK survey tend to have more warmth, sensitivity and apprehension then men. As per the same survey, men have more emotional stability, dominance, rule-consciousness and vigilance. There are currently a lot of discussions around how to support women’s access to leadership positions. The common assumption is that women are the victim of gender discrimination which I have experienced myself throughout my career. But how much of that discrimination comes from lack of understanding and comprehension versus a conscious intend to put women down? Sheryl Sandberg in her book “Lean in”, mentions how successful female leaders are usually disliked in the corporate world. They usually demonstrate male attributes which are not expected from a woman. The question I have is why do women need to have male attributes to succeed in their career? Is the business world so dominated by men that there is only way to climb the ladder, and that is to behave like a man? I realize that everyone is different and that some women have more male qualities which help them succeed in today’s business environment. I also believe there is a way for women who are less dominant, vocal or outwardly confident to succeed because of other leadership qualities we have long forgotten to recognize in our current male dominated world. I believe we can change business cultures so male and female leaders can learn to recognize those attributes and reward them as they are equally important to the success of a team, a division or the entire organization. A woman who might come across as being shy or more reserved than a man, but who has the ability to generate trust, connect people together and be a role model when it comes to work ethics will be able to lead a team very effectively. She will be able to inspire others and generate cohesion within her team. A woman with less of an ego will have the ability to recognize talents, develop them and help them rise without feeling threatened. There is also a high probability if that same woman is recognized and her qualities acknowledged, that she will become more confident and therefore more vocal. A woman who...

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Heroism. Integrity, a Disney Princess and a Cause

Posted by on Sep 2, 2013 in Blog | Comments Off on Heroism. Integrity, a Disney Princess and a Cause

Heroism. Integrity, a Disney Princess and a Cause

Heroism is defined by the dictionary in terms of bravery, fearlessness, courage, valor, audacity…but what strikes me about all those words is to have it one must begin by having a deep, heartfelt belief in something. And the expression of that belief is the manifestation of integrity. I recently watched Snow White and the Huntsman, a fresh and more adult version of the classic Disney icon Snow White. The transformation of a princess included a complete makeover, which on the surface included a change in style and image from beautiful, maternal, sweet, innocent, caretaker to beautiful, tough, gritty, fearless, courageous, warrior. But even more important was the change in her character. In both stories the Queen is all powerful, and seeking to maintain control at any cost, with minions who do her bidding or die if they fail. In “old” Disney, our princess is lost and finds purpose in the caretaking of the dwarfs, and is rescued by true love’s kiss, living happily ever after. In the modern version, she escapes prison, takes on a cause, inspires faith in the cause, and becomes the cause, it lives and breathes as one with her…true love’s kiss is not the answer, but a reminder of her virtues, why we all love her…she lives with integrity, and the kingdom lives happily ever after…that was a mouthful. Arguably, both princesses have integrity, live their truth, but only the modern princess combines it with heroism. Making bold moves, using her integrity to move through her fears and find her confidence. Maybe we can take a page from this version of the fairytale and apply it to women who are looking to change the conversation about living a complete life without fear, or guilt. We have been living shackled inside our own Evil Queens tower. Time to break free, and speak from the heart. We know today, that it is difficult to live with integrity when our employers ask us to compromise on our values, expecting us to sacrifice family/community to work. Or vice versa, our families/communities demands have us sacrifice careers that we have worked hard to aspire to and feel proud of. Many of us believe this does not have to be win/lose. But we are afraid to make a bold step, we are afraid we won’t be taken seriously. But I advocate that if you have integrity, and you are want to live your truth, even if you stumble it’s worth taking that step. Disney’s makeover of its fictional princesses to be bold, fearless virtuous leaders is a sign of the times. If we want to teach our daughters to become virtuous leaders, then it’s time those role models are not fictional. -by...

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Sanctuary

Posted by on Sep 2, 2013 in Blog | Comments Off on Sanctuary

Sanctuary

Have you taken time for your Sanctuary today? Or a better question to ask is, how often do you carve out time for your sanctuary on a regular basis? Your sanctuary could be a walk, run, hike, bike ride, reading a book, gardening, day at the spa, or simply time by yourself doing anything that comes to mind. Whatever it is, when we get busy, we tend to cut this out of our lives, and that is when we need it the most.  So… when you find yourself saying “I just don’t have the time to take that walk…”  consciously make the time, even if for only 30 minutes, and reflect on how you feel....

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The Fork in the Road

Posted by on Sep 2, 2013 in Blog | Comments Off on The Fork in the Road

The Fork in the Road

“The Road Not Taken” Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler …Robert Frost I recently had a conversation with a woman who told me about the time she stood at the fork in the road. In her case she and her husband both worked in the same industry and career but because they decided to have a family, he took the path toward promotion and growth, and she stepped away, choosing a more limited career path that included more flexibility to manage her “other” commitments. She sacrificed her career. The guilt, the compromise, the rationalization that led to her decision to scale back a blossoming career to care for the needs of family, in this case children (but could be an aging parent or something else) is not a decision that she made lightly. However, for this woman and for many, it is not a choice, it is duty. She does not question her decision. What she does question is why it must be a sacrifice. Why can’t she have it all. She discovered that working within a limited schedule, she produced more, wasted less, and understood what counted for value vs. non-value added work. In all aspects of her life, she does what matters, she juggles a much greater load than her husband and she does it with a quality assurance and efficiency that is masterful. She does what counts, and she does what she cares about. If we put what we care about first, we don’t call it work, we call it life. We live it at an entirely different energy level. Women understand this. Our job description is not a list of tasks, but something like: Read More Requires commitment, passion, and unconditional love, Have an action orientation, be able to multi-task, make mistakes and learn quickly Provide support, care and leadership Be involved, make a difference Do more with less resources, be creative and imaginative It became clear as we talked that the sacrifice was both hers and her husbands. He may have built a career but ultimately he sacrificed more. He is missing out on important life events, the little joys, and happy moments, that she is available to experience because she has greater flexibility. Imagine if we could design work that honors our whole selves and engages us in ways that matter. Maybe we wouldn’t have to sacrifice careers or home life, maybe instead we could create stronger communities where our careers and our lives compliment and enhance each other. Imagine the paths merging, and not having to regret the path the not...

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