• Read What We Can Learn From Elizabeth

    Leadership

    What We Can Learn From Elizabeth

    It was a hot summer day in London, the day of my naturalization.  I trekked down to the registrar office in Wimbledon with a few friends, including the two that had sponsored me for citizenship.  It didn’t take long for the formalities, considering I’d paid the extra fee for the private ceremony.  I was the only one to be sworn in. “Do you swear allegiance to the Queen, all her heirs and all her successors?” the officiant asked. “I do.” And it was done.  I was officially a dual citizen. Then the officiant pressed a button, and the music to “God Save the Queen” boomed through the office.  My guests all stood up abruptly at attention as if on cue.   We sang loudly and somewhat awkwardly to a large cardboard cutout of Queen Elizabeth that stood in the office.  I have to admit I thought that was a bit weird.  But over time I’ve noticed the amazing quality that Elizabeth had to inspire reverence, even in the most unlikely of subjects. Americans have often had a strange fascination with the British monarchy.  We may view the concept as outdated and irrelevant, but then flock to the gossip that surrounds sagas like Charles and Diana, Harry and Megan and the antics of Prince Andrew. And yet, in the background, beyond the chaos and the drama, silently running for seventy years, was Queen Elizabeth.  There are many now that will write about her life as a way of honoring her, I don’t profess to know much about her. But I am intimately acquainted with her legacy.  And that’s the interesting thing about great leaders.  They leave one. great leaders know who they are These are questions I often ask when I’m facilitating a leadership development course.  Simple questions on the surface, but usually the most difficult to answer.  We’re often so caught up in the minutiae of the day, we don’t take the time to reflect: Who am I? What kind of leader do I want to be? What are my values? What is my mission and purpose in life? How do I want others to experience me? What legacy will I leave? I think Queen Elizabeth knew the answer to these questions.  And as a result, she showed up, year after year, with a stoic calmness, a beauty, a grace, a clear sense of duty, that was invaluable to her subjects in times of trouble. and more importantly, they know who they’re not A great leader brings people together in times of hardship, in times of stress, in times of confusion and conflict.  They’re able to do this not because they have some sort of magic formula that will make everything all right.  There is no such thing no matter how many leadership books you read or Ted Talks you watch that process to have the perfect pill.  Great leaders can do it because they’re grounded in their own sense of self-worth.  They know who they are and more importantly in the […]

    September 11, 2022

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    3.8 min read

  • Read Feeling resentful about something? Think about this.

    Difficult conversations

    Feeling resentful about something? Think about this.

    Giving feedback is never an easy task.  I’ve recently mused about this topic quite a bit, and written a blog recently on the art of straight talk, which highlighted the three elements that are critical to doing this well. And then there’s real life.  It’s one thing when it’s a colleague.  It’s another thing when that colleague is also a very close friend.  My friend Jenny and I have known each other for years, and we’ve also collaborated on a number of projects.  She’s one of my favorite people, she’s funny, insightful, hardworking, caring and full of entrepreneurial spirit.  She’s commonly the ideas person in our dynamic duo, and I work behind the scenes to help execute her ideas. Lately I’ve been experiencing some frustration relative to what I’m calling the whiplash effect.  She has a grand idea, I rush behind the scenes to make it happen, and then it gets shelved. we create resentment when we don’t speak up And so, a couple of glasses of sparkling rose into a business lunch we were having the other day, out it came.  I shared with her my frustration, and the grief this had been causing me.  It wasn’t a perfect delivery as far as feedback is concerned.  I didn’t follow each of the straight talk steps in perfect unison, but then again perfect is the enemy of good.  I was still scared, even though she’s my friend.  I was scared especially because she’s my friend and this relationship really matters to me. I fully expected her to listen, and she did.  I fully expected her to acknowledge the frustration and the mixed messages she’d been sending, and she did. What surprised me was the text she sent me later on.  “I’m going to do better.”  And she expressed sincere concern for hurting my feelings and sending mixed messages. I had to ask myself why I was so surprised.  And then I had a realization.  I’m not used to people owning things.  I’m not used to reciprocity in relationships.  And this isn’t because I think other people are inherently selfish, or I was picking horrible people to surround myself with (although in some instances I could have done a better job on that front).  In the past I often took the path of please and appease rather than assert myself and share my concerns.  I took that path because I was desperate for people to like me, to have a ton of friends in my network.  Unconsciously, this was a hidden measure of success.  Interestingly it didn’t matter whether I liked them. I got used to giving more than my fair share.  I got used to not sharing my voice or truth on things, then feeling resentful, and rather than expressing it, shoving it down and shaming myself instead.  Then I’d have to find ways to numb the pain.  Or it would spill out in other passive aggressive ways and ultimately pollute the relationship. when we know our worth, we can […]

    September 2, 2022

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    4.1 min read