Lessons From Pete Carroll After Loss

It’s far easier to lead when everything is coming up roses and exceptionally hard, even painful when the chips are down.

For fans of the Seahawks, their loss was a bitter pill to swallow. But those of us in leadership can learn a lot from how Pete Carroll handled his crisis.

Most of you already know I am a big Pete Carroll fan. He continues to model great lessons for workplace leaders –the most important of all is how he practices what he preaches.

I admire the way he took responsibility for the loss and continues to hold his head up in the spotlight. Many of his players have followed suit and what you don’t see is a lot of finger pointing and blame among the team.  They protect each other.

Here are a few team workplace lessons from our loss.

• Pete Carroll always talks in “we.” He remains consistently focused on a “team” mentality. In business I often see teams break apart in bad times due to pointing fingers, placing blame and politicking for personal agendas. Keep the we in team, not the I.

• Respond thoughtfully vs. react during bad times. Workplace teams like football teams can fumble. What happens after is critical. Do we fall apart? Blame? Resent? Leave? Or do we get stronger and grow from what we learn? Workplace teams should build post postmortems or debriefs following product or project wins and losses. Ask, how can we get better going forward?

• Don’t pass the buck. Take responsibility for mistakes and be accountable for your actions. This is critical to earn (and keep) trust and respect.

• Be authentic and candid with your team –they are adults, they can handle it. Pete Carroll’s practice after a loss is to gather his team together and “tell the truth.” Teams can grow from truth–they don’t grow from avoidance. Wise leaders don’t attempt to deny reality when it comes to the emotions of their staff. No one checks their feelings at the door when entering into work. Its when feelings go underground that they cause damage to us and to teams. Acknowledging and allowing people to appropriately voice their emotions is important.

• Its OK to be vulnerable. Pete Carroll admitted in an interview he “feels responsible for a lot of people right now.” This makes him human. We can feel grace for his situation by his authenticity.

• Look forward positively. Pete Carroll assures fans the Superbowl last play call isn’t going to define his championship team going forward. I hope you won’t let mistakes define your team either. Failures are part of business life. Teams that value teamwork and protection for each other will stand the test of time and keep getting stronger.

The Seahawks are a championship team with an extraordinary leader that I appreciate for modeling these lessons.

I am here to help with your growth. I continue to offer one on one executive/leadership coaching and training/workshops and facilitation for your teams and staff.  All referrals are greatly appreciated!
Maureen Moriarty
425 736 5691 (cell)

maureen@pathtochange.com

Your EQ is Key to Career Success!

Research has powerfully proven that if you are a professional, particularly one in a leadership role (or want to be promoted into one), your emotional intelligence (EQ) capacities can make or break you. What matters is how others (staff, colleagues, key stakeholders/clients and other senior leaders) perceive your EQ abilities like self-awareness, emotional reactivity, adaptability and interpersonal communication in difficult or stressful situations.

In my many years of executive coaching experience I have met few leaders who really know how others truly perceive them. Staff is often reluctant to give leaders with hire/fire authority tough feedback. Additionally, few leaders have been given a confidential 360-feedback review. Sadly, leaders with the greatest EQ challenges are frequently those who have the greatest blind spots. Some find out after it’s too late.

Your EQ is essentially hard wired into the brain in early childhood. Its what helps or hinders you in being interpersonally effective in challenging, stressful or conflict workplace scenarios. If you are a leader you simply can’t afford not to pay attention to growing your skills in this arena. If others don’t trust you or you fail to persuade with your communication style you won’t last long in a leadership role.

EQ Career tip #1. Take my EQ assessment and find out your EQ strengths and challenges. I thoroughly researched the most popular EQ tools/tests available and have great faith in the profile that I have used successfully with hundreds of clients. I am offering 10% off through Feb 29th on this popular, practical and reliable tool.

EQ Career tip #2. Ask those around you to share impact/feedback with you. Don’t make assumptions about how others perceive you.

The good news is that EQ can be improved!! EQ is my coaching sweet spot. I know the formula to help you improve what matters most to your career success. It starts with a phone call—invest in yourself and call or email me today!

Call me to discuss: 425 736 5691(cell) or 360 682 5807 (office)
or email: pinelakemo@comcast.net

Referrals are greatly appreciated!! Please pass my practical tips on to any others you think would benefit.

Tough Times Define Leaders

TOUGH TIMES often define leaders. There is a big difference between managing and leading. Leaders provide direction, the road map for change and inspiration for even the most difficult journeys. The most effective leaders are good at influencing others — often with their contagious passion. They motivate us to do our best by engaging our minds and hearts in their vision of a preferred future.

Difficult times tend to distinguish great leaders from the mediocre ones. When the going gets tough, the best leaders rely on clear, deliberate and inspiring communication rather than a “command and control” management style. They know that bullying and punishment rarely result in sustainable performance improvement and more frequently result in good people simply leaving. The most effective leaders instill confidence with their solid judgment, integrity and setting clear direction and expectations. During trauma, drama and chaos, they discern priorities and rally the troops with best strategies for solution.

Guidelines for leaders during difficult times:

  • Challenge your perspective and assumptions. If you aren’t confident that you know what is going on in the layers below you, find out — directly and personally. This is not the time for tunnel vision or relying solely on those who keep telling you everything is fine. This could be as simple as managing by walking around. Get input from everyone — especially the front line. Employees will be more motivated to do their best when they identify their leader’s willingness to be in the trenches with them. Getting out there can provide valuable insight into current challenges and opportunities for improvement. Consider bringing employees together to identify what their outlook is and their challenges and potential solutions. And don’t forget the customers — ask them how your organization is doing.
  • Revisit the company’s vision and strategies and revise them if necessary to meet conditions. The only constant is change; being adaptive and communicating change effectively within the organization remains a key management skill. Communicate authentically and frequently. Be straightforward and transparent. Avoid hidden agendas and sugarcoated messages — adults can handle reality.
  • Use the current condition to challenge “business as usual.” Tough times present excellent opportunity for change. Address traditional and outdated policies and procedures, including “minor” challenges that employees and customers have been requesting you fix. Get rid of the minutiae that get in your people’s way of success. Challenge the organization to find ways to make life easier for everyone. Seemingly small improvements frequently result in big payoffs.
  • Proactively identify and support those who demonstrate both the ability and willingness to take creative initiative and lead in tough times. Managers and employees who challenge the status quo while demonstrating they can inspire others while doing so are solid-gold keepers. Support, promote and enhance the skills and capability of these critical resources. These are the people whom senior leaders should be making an extra effort to acknowledge, retain and protect.
  • Identify what — or who — is part of the problem and what is part of the solution. Act accordingly.
  • Demonstrate appreciation for even small efforts and contributions. Most employees will respond by giving you their best if they know you are noticing and appreciating their hard work.

·  Like it or not, it’s often during really tough times that difficult decisions (finally) get made. Leaders who bury their heads in the sand or hide out in their offices frequently find themselves with greater problems and in the end can fail everyone.

Best Leaders Bring Out Best in Others

Do you have what it takes to be a leader?

Trying to define the success criteria for effective leadership is challenging. It is virtually impossible to identify a singular trait to adequately capture the successful leadership experience or define its complexities. There are entire sections in bookstores devoted to this subject.

People are often promoted into leadership roles due to their “technical” expertise or because they have performed well in other roles (that may or may not have required leadership ability). Yet technical expertise doesn’t necessarily equate to successful leadership capability. Before automatically saying yes to that new promotion that will thrust you into the role of “leader,” consider doing an honest and accurate assessment on your leadership potential.

Here are a few questions and core competencies to help you gauge if you “have the right stuff.”

  • Initiative. Do you readily seize opportunities to develop and contribute? Do you eagerly volunteer for additional responsibility? The most successful leaders share a common attitude — they do whatever it takes. The best leaders do not shy away from challenge or accountability. They are conscientious, dedicated and take pride in delivering results.
  • Interpersonal skills. Do you enjoy working with people (really)? Do others enjoy working with you? Relating well with others is essential, as well as being able to adapt to many different types of people and personalities. Bullies, control freaks and manipulators (people who don’t play well with others) usually fail at leadership because most people won’t follow them.
  • Inspiring others. Can you inspire and motivate? The best leaders create an environment where people want to contribute and do their best. This is the “heart” of leadership. Successful leaders inspire others to get on board with their ideas and vision. This requires an ability to communicate clearly and with passion.
  • Emotional intelligence. Are you moody and reactive when stressed? Can you have empathy for others when in conflict or disagreement? Emotional intelligence is dealing effectively with your emotions and the emotions of others. Understanding your primary reaction tendency (and modifying it when required) is important to leading effectively under stressful conditions.
  • Self-awareness. Are you aware of your strengths and challenges? Do you know how your actions (or inactions) affect others? Do you admit your mistakes and learn from them? Do you seek feedback to improve yourself? Self-awareness is looking in the mirror. It’s understanding how our behaviors (and their consequences) hinder or help us meet our leadership goals.
  • Decisiveness. Can you confidently make difficult decisions? Leaders need to make good decisions even under duress in a timely manner. Good decision-making is often a blend of understanding success criteria, analysis, consultation, wisdom, experience and judgment.
  • Adaptability. Are you resistant to change? Today’s fast-paced and dynamic marketplace requires the ability to refocus, change direction and adapt to changing conditions. Leaders today can’t survive with a rigid attitude. Equally important for today’s leaders — being able to manage change effectively.
  • Personal integrity. Are you trustworthy? Can you handle difficult situations with integrity? Are you a role model for what you ask from others — in other words, can you lead by example? The best leaders are transparent, straightforward and earn the trust and respect of their people.

From my viewpoint, anyone taking on the role of leader needs to be focused on self-awareness and self-development. I remind clients and students that leadership skill training can’t replace who you are and what you stand for. At best, leadership training is a supplement to your core gifts, experience, wisdom, values and judgment.

Working on you isn’t easy. For many, it will be the most difficult challenge of their professional career. It requires openness, vulnerability, risk-taking and courage. It takes accurate assessment, workplace challenges, experience and support to grow your leadership skills. Think of leadership as a lifelong journey versus a final destination.

As an executive coach, I help with leadership development.  I Skype with clients all over the world and meet you where your challenges/opportunities lie.  I will teach you methods, techniques and tools to help you take your leadership to the next level.  Isn’t it time to invest in your future?  Call me:  360 682 5807 or email: mmoriarty@pathtochange.com

 

Baby Boom Leadership Gap

Identifying and cultivating key talent, employees with high potential or “rising stars” as tomorrow’s leaders will be important to fill the management void created by retiring baby boomers. Successful companies offer development opportunities, career goal planning and resources (training, compensation, coaching, recognition, etc.) to these employees.

It’s smart business to invest in top performers and rising stars. They are typically responsible for generating a significant percentage of a company’s innovation, improvement and bottom-line results. Bill Gates once said, “Take our twenty best people away from us, and I can tell you that Microsoft would be an unimportant company.”

Today’s managers require special skills and competencies to be effective. In a recent survey by the Center for Creative Leadership, more than 97 percent of senior leaders identified the ability to collaborate as essential to future leadership success. Yet many managers lack this key skill. Only 30 percent of respondents in the same survey believed leaders in their organization are skilled in collaboration.

Why the gap? The times have changed. Employees are under pressure to do more with less and working in environments of continual change.

Effective leadership today requires more than technical skills, expertise and solid work ethics. Collaboration (versus the old-school style of authoritative management) is essential for effective management of today’s cross-functional operating groups and teams.

Top performers and employees with high potential have high expectations: They want to be heard, have influence, receive constructive feedback and be engaged in meaningful work. They are generally intolerant of what they believe to be unreasonable or ineffective company policies, processes and leadership.

Stars expect companies to support and provide opportunities for their growth and development.

“If you don’t make an effort to provide an environment in which this generation can do their best, they’re going to find one where they can,” said Dan Black, Ernst & Young’s director of campus recruitment.

Companies concerned about creating that environment need a talent management program to identify, support and develop their current and rising stars. Most talent management programs include the following steps:

  • Defining the core business and/or position competencies that are required to meet current and future business objectives. These typically include (but are not limited to):

Emotional intelligence. People who can handle stress and conflict well, understand their impact (self-awareness), manage their emotional reactivity and have strong interpersonal and communication skills.

Leadership/team skills. The ability to collaborate, motivate and inspire others to achieve their potential while setting clear direction.

The “right stuff” or drive for excellence. Those who do their best every day. It’s about attitude — and, by the way, you can’t train a good attitude or initiative.

Adaptability. Being open to new ideas and change.

Vision. Being able to “see beyond the edge of the desk.” People with vision can effectively challenge and inspire others with “what could be” rather than accepting that “it’s always been done this way.”

Results-focused and innovative. These employees don’t get stuck in the muck of problems. They can find their way around obstacles and have excellent problem-solving skills and sound judgment.

  • Identifying employees who have both competencies and potential for future leadership positions.

Assessments and software programs are available to help evaluate employees’ suitability and skills for particular positions. Internal programs also can identify consistent or exceptional performers, and performance reviews can effectively measure core competencies.

  • Designing and executing programs to address career and employee development plans. Elements often include advanced education, skill and technical trainin, mentoring, and leadership development training and coaching.

Most senior managers recognize that new skills are required for leadership success in today’s workplaces. Investing in high potential and talented employees has never been more important. The best programs offer new job challenges and opportunities and actively involve employees in the creation of their own career plan.

The wisest business investment you can make is in yourself and your people’s leadership development.  I can help you identify, grow and develop your leaders. Call me:  360 682 5807 or email: mmoriarty@pathtochange.com