“The important thing is that in 20 years, those boys know that they didn’t leave anything on the table. They played their hearts out.” Herb Brooks, coach of 1980 U. S. Olympic Hockey team that won the gold medal (as quoted in the movie, “Miracle”)
As the Olympics approach, I am excited about the stories of the people. The triumphs and defeats, the power and the celebration. The emotions and the energy.
The Olympic athletes put everything on the line for a brief few seconds or minutes of their competition. It’s a fascinating study of performance, commitment, dedication and personal strength.
One of my favorite movies is “Miracle” about the 1980 United States Men’s Hockey team that beat the Russians to win the gold. It was truly a miracle as the Russians dominated the world in the sport at that time.
Herb Brooks, the U. S. coach, reinvented the way the U. S. team played hockey. He looked at hockey in a whole new way. Then he engaged the hearts and minds of the players. He evoked their commitment to the team and the possibility that they could win gold.
A true leader reaches to the hearts of the people they lead. Herb Brooks demanded long hours of practice, new ways of thinking, performance beyond any current expectations, new ways of playing. The team wouldn’t have won, however, if he didn’t win their hearts and commitment throughout the long hours of practice and preparation.
As a leader, we may get caught up in the goals of reaching targets, being on time, meeting the budget, keeping customers happy, innovations, change and trying to have a sense of balance in our lives. We can forget that we need the hearts and commitment of our team members.
It’s good to stop and remember that your team is essential to winning. Whether you are an entrepreneur that outsources work to your team or a corporate executive overseeing a large division or company, your team pulls you through.
Win their hearts and loyalty to gain their commitment. You’ll be amazed at what they will do for you.
Last summer, I was fortunate to visit Olympia, Greece where the first Olympics were held. This is a photo of the Temple of Zeus. The ruins also have the original field for track games. Tourists have their photos made on the original start line, channeling the energy and drive of the athletes. If you ever get a chance to visit Olympia, I highly recommend it.
Several years ago I attended a workshop in Austin for a Public Speaking Workshop at The Wizard Academy, www.wizardacademy.org. At the time I’d been speaking for nearly 15 years, however, I was very excited to learn from someone who charges $25,000 (yes that’s right) per speech. Think there might be something here for people who want to speak?
For me to get the most out of the workshop, I needed to enter the classroom as though I knew nothing about speaking. I decided to have the attitude of a beginner.
If I had gone in the classroom tomorrow holding all I know about being a speaker, that would have shut out the possibility of me learning and experiencing something that could greatly improve my speaking and success.
In the past, I’ve fallen into the trap of thinking I have to have all the answers and have it perfect. If you can identify with this, think about it because you may miss opportunities by already having the “right answers.” There are times we need to have the mindset of a beginner so we don’t shut out possibilities to big breakthroughs and insights. A beginner is curious. A beginner has an empty slate. A beginner has no baggage from past history.
The beginner’s mind can absorb more than a mind filled with the best way to do this and the right answer for that. The beginner mind is pliable, moldable, open.
There are times it is advantageous as a leader to have a beginner’s mind. With problem-solving, a beginner’s mind helps eliminate the “we’ve done it before” syndrome and can lead to innovation.
A leader with a beginner’s mind can see solutions from different perspectives and involve her team in developing answers to problems.
It seems contrary to common wisdom, however, to empty your mind on a subject matter you feel you are an expert in and put yourself in the shoes of a beginner, is a powerful exercise.
For a complimentary consultation on managing your leadership style, contact me and I will connect with you to schedule a phone appointment.
Whether it is mentoring people to lead more effectively, improve their own performance or step into what is next, Kathy Garland is passionate about guiding leaders to achieve business goals and reach their highest potential.
© 2014 Kathy Garland
Have you ever met someone like Shawn? I met Shawn in leadership development program I was coaching. The group was stuck on a team-building activity that seemed impossible to get done in the time frame that would net them the most points.
Shawn spoke up. “This is doable,” he began. The team wasn’t convinced so he continued. “Two years ago, I only had an eighth-grade education. I’ve learned that if there is something I want, I put my mind to it and focus on on it, I can reach my goals. We can do this.”
Shawn earned his GED in 2009 and and was promoted to a supervisory level in 2011. He already had goals established for the next level he wants to achieve.
During a break, I talked to him more about his journey to overcome his difficult circumstances. He said, “There’s so much to the story, so many things I’ve overcome that I didn’t share. I’m not finished yet with what I want to do. Next I want to get my college degree.”
Shawn didn’t start out his career with the credentials, tools and education that most of us have. He does have spirit, heart, courage and focus and a passionate willingness to learn. And he also asks a lot of questions and actively engages with mentors that support him.
Shawn believes that what he wants to achieve is doable. He rallied his teammates and they accomplished their goal because he had a vision it could be done.
The next time you are faced with a challenge that doesn’t seem like it can be solved according to your parameters and what you think is possible, I encourage you to think of Shawn and remind yourself that it is doable.
Then your job is to ask yourself, “How is this doable?” – not ‘is this doable?’ Be prepared for creative solutions to emerge and forge ahead knowing that a good solution is possible.
No matter what tradition you observe during this time of year, you are likely to experience a roller-coaster effect on your emotions. Entertaining, buying the right gifts, office parties, and family get-togethers all trigger a range of emotions that are different in each of us.
I know I experience the roller coaster. My emotions can take me out if I am not paying attention. For example, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving with our daughter, son-in-law and grandson. They were also here for my birthday, which was doubly delightful. Then they had to go home, so I experienced emptiness.
On the upswing, our son and daughter-in-law are coming for Christmas, for which I am grateful and excited.
However, I am anxious about entertaining during the holidays. I always want everything to be a little ‘better’ than I can make it, and a little prettier on the decorations, whatever ‘better’ and ‘prettier’ appear to be.
Am I really this neurotic?
Somehow I expect myself to show up at parties looking the best, being witty and charming and generally being the life of the party. When I start into that emotional spin, I realize my perfectionist nature is trying to take charge.
Sometimes my expectations during the holidays drive me crazy. Am I crazy or do you experience a similar swing in emotions?
So this morning I woke up thinking about emotional intelligence and how much I’ve learned about increasing my awareness and usage of the skills over the last few years. I know I can create my holiday experiences to be more joyful and peaceful based on my choices.
3 Emotional Intelligence Strategies You Can Use
Based on that thought, I want to offer you three tips you can use if you experience emotions that limit your joy, whether it be stress, anxiety, fear, overwhelm or sadness.
- OPTIMISM – For many people sadness during the holidays is very real. To increase your feelings of optimism, which helps you work through stressful situations, remain hopeful and stay resilient, there are three things that are helpful.
– First, remember the good holiday experiences you’ve had and focus on those
– Second, take time to think through what type of experience you want to have during the holidays. How do you want to show up? Are you sharing your gifts with others?
– Third, engage your senses. Add more light, diffuse an essential oil, or listen to your favorite music are three things that will lift your mood.
Life feels good when you are optimistic.
- REALITY-TESTING/seeing things as they really are – This is simply the ability to remain objective and not overreact or make bad decisions in certain situations. This definitely is more difficult during the holidays with all the events, parties and responsibilities that we expect ourselves to manage.
Do I really need that piece of cheesecake?
For me, I know I need to use more Reality-Testing skills when I am faced with a beautiful plate of cookies, candy and desserts. Can I really eat what I want and not gain weight? That’s a fantasy of mine, and I need to be more realistic about eating during the holidays.
Another way to be more realistic during the holidays is to make lists and check them twice. Post a big calendar with your commitments on it and post where you can easily see it. This will help you manage your time and decide what you can and can’t do.
- STRESS TOLERANCE – When you are able to manage your own stress, it is good for you and everyone around you. When you let your stress run your emotions, your reactions and your actions, everyone around you feels it too.
Increasing stress tolerance is a journey. Stress tolerance means you can effectively cope with stressful or difficult situations.
What triggers your stress?
A few years ago, we had an ice storm in our area, which prevented us from driving to my brother’s house for Christmas dinner. I cherish these occasions and really wanted our family to play with our new grandson. We decided the roads would be too icy to drive with a newborn. So I was disappointed and sad, but a good walk in the snow helped me balance my perspective and come back home cheerful and relaxed.
What can you do to increase your tolerance and patience during stressful situations? Deep breathing, getting fresh air, or a visit with a friend are a few ways to add simple joys to your holidays. The more you fill yourself with love and joyful experiences, the more you can be that for others and not let your stress drive your thoughts, actions and speech.
I wish you a joy-filled, peaceful season of light and love.
Note: Emotional Intelligence skills and definitions are from EQ-i 2.0™ of MHS Assessments. I am a certified practitioner of the MHS EQ-i 2.0.
© Kathy Garland 2015
Travel is as necessary for me as water and air. Without it I start to feel like I’m missing out and not experiencing life to the fullest.
The photo above is of me listening to our tour guide at the Coliseum on a recent trip to Italy, Greece and Turkey. It was one of my favorite trips because of the rich history and the magnificent art.
What travel does is light up my spirit – that part of me that is creative, energetic and so alive.
Other things that evoke the same feeling are having a great response from clients when they’ve made positive changes that affect their livelihood – I really feel like I’m making a difference.
Of course, being with family brings that connection to who I really am and where I can make a difference.
What fuels your spirit and your true essence?
Is it creativity?
Is it making things happen?
Is it connectivity with people?
What I’ve noticed is that so many of us have forgotten who we really are and do things we think we should do, or that other people think we should do. We have obligations to our jobs, our families, and our outside activities. There’s nothing wrong with this unless it doesn’t make you feel more alive.
So just for today, do something that makes you feel like more of you. One thing I did recently was to create a short video for my grandson and email it. It only took a few minutes and it was fun.
Make time for fun, for music, for a short walk, call a friend, spend a few minutes planning your next trip, or visit an art gallery. Just take one small step toward being more of who you love to be. If you make this a practice, you’ll be surprised at how much more you are available to your life purpose and to the people in your life.
What are your passions? Share them in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.
When I first started my business, I was anxious about finding new clients. Passion and enthusiasm about what I wanted to offer combined with the jitters of a new business owner led me to make some mistakes.
As I look back on my early days in my business, I did a couple of things, that if I could have a “Do Over” button I would do differently.
First, I started a group program with just a few people. Had I had used more persistence and impulse control*, I would have looked for more people to join. Because I was anxious to get started, I started the course with just a few people.
Secondly, in my haste to start getting clients in the door, I took on some clients that didn’t want to do anything differently and it was very frustrating. I didn’t use my reality testing* skills to evaluate and assess whether they were good fit for what I offered. My emotions were driving me to get clients at all costs.
Your sales team can fall into some of the same traps and leave money on the table. If they are bringing in clients that aren’t a good fit for your company, it is at the expense of the right clients. Furthermore clients that aren’t a good fit can generate losses in productivity and profit.
Everyone in sales wants to make their quota and ideally exceed it. As a sales manager, part of creating a winning sales team is to ensure that they have balanced usage of emotional intelligence skills.
There are three skills that are extremely useful in negotiating contracts with new clients, reality testing, impulse control and assertiveness.
- Reality Testing * One the reasons people in sales cause stress in the organization is that they can be too willing to make promises to the client in order to get the deal, without checking with the people who deliver to make sure they are making realistic promises. This can cause major stress within the organization and damage the relationship with your client.
When I was in national account sales for a marketing firm, I had to learn to consult with the people who were doing the work by checking their schedule and commitments before I made final commitments to the client. And the good news is, we didn’t lose a single client because I took the extra time to find out facts and information that would help our team deliver the best product and service to our clients.
- Impulse Control* Salespeople love to win and that makes them so valuable to an organization. Occasionally though, the desire to win creates such a strong desire to win that they act too quickly, close the deal too soon and in the process, leave money on the table. A mature salesperson is in tune with the client’s needs and her own ego, which results in the patience to negotiate the best deal for both companies. Impulse control is simply the ability to resist or delay an impulse.
We don’t want to over use impulse control though. A savvy salesperson will know when what she is offering is a match for what the client wants and close the deal then.
- Assertiveness* There is a fine line you don’t want your sales team to cross. That is the line between being assertive and being aggressive. Sales managers often want their teams to be aggressive. What they really want is for them to be assertive.
An assertive* sales consultant will ask for the deal appropriately and in the right timing, knowing when to call, when to move the deal forward. Also, he will make things happen in a way that builds relationships.
An aggressive sales consultant can alienate potential customers. Aggressive characteristics are being pushy, focusing on getting the deal before building the relationship, telling the client what they need and not listening.
A woman who is overly aggressive owns a boutique where I’ve shopped a few times. She is alienating me as a customer because she doesn’t listen to what I need and is very pushy. I don’t happen to wear black yet this person consistently shows me black clothes. When I remind her of this she says, “I’m just trying to be helpful.” She is too aggressive and she is not doing much to build a relationship with me so that I want to come back.
Reality testing, impulse control and assertiveness are three (out of 15) important emotional intelligence skills needed to be successful in sales.
If you are a sales manager and desire improved team performance and stronger client relationships, I encourage you to contact me to learn how you can coach your team in developing their emotional intelligence skills. I am certified in the MHS EQ-i 2.0 Emotional Intelligence Survey and MHS EQ-i 2.0 360 Emotional Intelligence Survey, as well as the MHS EQ-i Emotional Intelligence Leadership Assessment.
To learn more about emotional intelligence for your sales team, schedule a complimentary consultation with me.
* Impulse control, reality testing and assertiveness are three out of fifteen skills in the MHS EQ-I 2.0 emotional intelligence assessment.
There are many more skills needed, of course, for salespeople to become masterful at what they do. It’s one thing to win new business; it’s another to bring in new clients that are a great fit for your company. Clients that give your team opportunities to do their best work can maximize profit on the account. For this to work, your sales team must have a balanced use of emotional intelligence skills, only one of which is interpersonal or people skills.
Emotional Intelligence** is a set of skills that influence the way we perceive and express ourselves, develop and maintain social relationships, cope with challenges and use emotional information in an effective and meaningful way (MHS, Multi-Health Systems definition.) There are 15 skills in the MHS Emotional Intelligence system and they are key to the success of your sales team.
Three emotional intelligence skills that contribute to sales success include
– Interpersonal relationships* which is the ability to build and maintainrelationships
– Empathy* to listen and understand problems that need to be solved, and
– Social responsibility*, the willingness and ability to do the right thing and have a desire to contribute to the welfare and success of your clients.
Low usage or lack of understanding on how to use these three skills guarantees a difficult or slow sales process and lower than desired closing percentages. It can also mean your salespeople are pushing solutions on potential customers without really understanding the problem.
When I led sales for a marketing firm, we had the opportunity to pitch an international company. We were a small fish in a sea of competitors that included national firms.
As a team, we focused on building relationships with all parties involved in the process. Because of our empathetic approach of generous listening and asking strategic questions, we earned the right to continue into the next round. To win the business, we demonstrated social responsibility*, in which we presented ideas in their best interest to help them solve their problem. More importantly, we helped our potential client show social responsibility* by giving them some new insight into their target market.
During the five-month process, we continued to build interpersonal relationships with as many members on the potential client team as we could meet, which combined with our approach, won a new account that led to substantial revenue growth as well as hiring new employees.
There are twelve other emotional intelligence skills that contribute to the success of your sales team. In my next post I will discuss three emotional intelligence skills that prevent your sales team from leaving money on the table.
If you are a sales manager and desire improved team performance and stronger client relationships, I encourage you to call me for a complimentary consultationto learn how you can coach your team in developing their emotional intelligence skills. I am certified in the MHS EQ-i 2.0 Emotional Intelligence Survey and MHS EQ-i 2.0 360 Emotional Intelligence Survey, as well as the MHS EQ-i Emotional Intelligence Leadership Assessment.
To learn more about emotional intelligence for your sales team, schedule a complimentary consultation with me.
* Interpersonal relationships, empathy and social responsibility are three skills in the MHS EQ-I 2.0 emotional intelligence assessment.
As a business owner, executive or sales executive in a business, you need to be remarkable to be heard and influence people.
Vocabulary.com explains remarkable as an adjective that means worthy of notice. Something remarkable is unusual, exceptional, interesting, or excellent. Remarkable things get your attention.
I love the last line – “Remarkable things get your attention.” The same goes for people and companies.
Remarkable people and companies get your attention.
Now that statement begs the question, “How do I become remarkable?” The origin of remarkable begins in the 1600’s from the French remarquer ‘take note of.’ (From oxforddictionaries.com.) When we are or do something remarkable, we want people to take note of these actions and achievements. This builds our personal and professional brand.
There are five cornerstones I believe are important for you, your team and your company to become remarkable. I’ve also identified several qualities under each cornerstone.
Five Cornerstones of Being Remarkable
- Creativity and Innovation
– Be known as a problem-solver and the ability to solve customers’ problems quickly
– Ability to concept and launch new products and services
– Do the right thing
– Deliver on your promises
- High Use of Emotional Intelligence
– Solve conflicts while protecting relationships
– Fearlessly build business and relationships
– Handle stress without impacting productivity
- Excellent products and services
– Make the lives of your clients better and more successful
– Deliver what you do consistently and reliably
- Sense of Humor
– Break tension and reconnect people to task at hand, which increases effectiveness
– Help people stay engaged when work is challenging
– Provide a sense of optimism when mistakes are made.
To find out how you or your company can increase your ability to be remarkable, schedule a complimentary consultation call with me. You’ll discover where you are remarkable and where you can improve.
© Copyright, Kathy Garland, 2015. All rights reserved.
Influencing others is one of the most important leadership skills you can possess. When you lead people without authority, using these influence qualities will make your job easier. In order to influence people, of course communication is required. Our interactions with others can escalate into conflict, avoidance or misunderstanding. If you attempt to influence without using and demonstrating these qualities, it can feel manipulative or even worse, like coercion to the people with whom you are talking.
In general, we are more influential when we have good relationships with people. Those relationships, and therefore your ability to influence, will improve when you practice and develop these qualities:
- Likeability. People work with those they know and trust. That’s not a surprise. One way to be more likeable is to smile more often. Another is to concentrate on making eye contact. Alan Turing, who led the team that unlocked the Nazi code in WWII, was influenced by a team member who told him he needed to do something to let the team know he cared and acknowledged their hard work. Once he worked on being more likeable, they worked together more collaboratively. The result? They broke the code and saved an estimated 14 million lives and two years of war.
- Reciprocity. No one is an island and totally self-sufficient. We accomplish more through the support of others and giving back is essential to reciprocity. Returning a favor, taking someone to lunch, pitching in when a colleague needs help are all ways you can use reciprocity to increase your influence. In addition, if you are new to a team, make sure you reach out to others first. You will be seen as a person who values relationships and can be turned to as a resource. Give and take is important in any relationship, work or personal. Not reciprocating can start to create a divide and lack of trust.
- Credibility. This is a matter of integrity. Do what you say you are going to do. Be trustworthy. Consistency builds credibility and builds trust with your team. Consistency across your team says to the organization that your team is high performing. This increases your credibility, which improves your influence ability.
- Composure. How poised and calm do you appear in the midst of conflict and when deadlines are tight? How composed are you when a colleague does something that surprises you or doesn’t feel supportive? You will be able to influence people more easily if you are the one who can remain calm and composed through the storm. Your team will feel safe to approach you even when things aren’t going well. Having good composure includes a willingness to be open and to hear the hard things when it is difficult to communicate them.
- Commitment. Leaders who openly share their commitments with their team will more easily influence others to support their vision. Leaders who aren’t clear on their commitments create confusion and people don’t know when to say yes or when to say no. They don’t know what impact their answer will have on you. Leaders who demonstrate commitment by doing what they say they are going to do and supporting their teams are influential in getting things done in the organization.
Luckily, learning influence skills is a matter of practicing each of these five qualities. If you or your team could benefit from improving your influence skills, I offer leadership coaching programs and a workshop on influence. Please contact me through LinkedIn or my website for more information.
Kathy Garland works with leaders to improve results through strengthening their influence, emotional intelligence and relationship-building strategies. She is an executive coach, mentor and speaker and specializes in working with women leaders and their teams in technical and analytical careers. She is certified in the MHS EQi Emotional Intelligence Survey as well as 360 Management Skills Surveys. For a complimentary copy of my ebook “30 Questions for the Effective Leader” please fill out this Download Form.
Additional resources on #creative leadership:
Mastering Our Communication by Robb Braun
The Creative Entrepreneur by Sharon Jenkins
Value Recognition by Cheri Valentine Kierstead
Mini-Boot Camp to Strengthen Your Emotional Energy
As a leader, you know how much better you perform when you feel energized and you also know what it’s like to push through when you are exhausted.
As a full-time working mom, there were days when I had to lean on the grocery cart to get through shopping I was so exhausted. Part of the reason I was exhausted was overwhelm and inability to understand and manage my workload and the emotions associated with the stress.
I don’t want you to have to suffer from the type of exhaustion and overwhelm I did. I let the pressure of performance and demands of life really zap my energy. However, I’ve learned strategies since then which improved my emotional energy along with improving my emotional intelligence. When you take steps to strengthen your emotional energy, you will have more overall energy, and be more present, decisive, and creative.
First let’s look at the mistakes I made and then I will offer a solution to develop your emotional strength. Do you see yourself in any of these?
Mistake #1: Not taking a break away from your desk. The stress piles up from long hours and even eating at your desk zaps your energy and creativity. This continued stress and exhaustion often leads to illness.
Solution: Take a five-minute walk down the hall, around the block or to another building once or twice a day. Even standing up, stretching and taking deep breaths several times a day will help.
Mistake #2: Overthinking your mistakes. Agonizing over lost business, a failed project or a lost job creates more exhaustion and overwhelm.
Solution: Conduct an analysis of what happened as though you are a reporter so you can minimize your emotions. List the facts, your decisions and the outcome. Own up to your mistake and tell yourself you will do better next time. I’ve always grown stronger with each mistake. It’s how you handle your feelings about mistakes that can cause overwhelm and exhaustion.
Mistake #3: Blaming someone else. It’s easier to look outside yourself for the problem and it’s definitely softer on the ego. It is a toxic behavior that that has switched on autopilot for many people. It’s just how they roll.
Solution: Even though this may be one of the hardest things you do, you will benefit when you look at what you contribute to your problems. When you do, what you discover can lead to tremendous personal growth. To accept responsibility and accountability results in a dramatic, personal transformation that can free you of drama and unproductive behaviors.
That’s today’s Mini-Boot Camp to Strengthen Your Emotional Energy. © Kathy Garland, 2015.
About the author:
Kathy Garland is a coach and mentor to executives going through organizational change by helping them improve their leadership, influence and emotional intelligence skills. She has inspired and motivated audiences as a speaker for nearly 20 years. She is certified in the MHS EQi Emotional Intelligence Survey as well as 360 Management Skills Surveys. Connect with Kathy on LinkedIn and Twitter.