Creativity Takes Courage

We tend to be happy to leave creativity to the artists, musicians and entertainers of the world but in fact it is vital for each of us. Creativity has been clearly linked to one’s health and happiness but did you also know it has been identified as a key component to leadership success in business? Creativity is not limited to artistic and musical expression—it is also essential for science, math, and even social and emotional intelligence. Creative people are more flexible and better problem solvers, which makes one more able to adapt to technological advances and deal with change—as well as see there multiple solutions to every problem. It is a key to success in nearly everything we do. But creativity is a core skill that some of us non-artist types (like me) need to practice. Here are three things that help me to keep the creative juices flowing. 1. Clear your head Don't think so much. Take a couple minutes each morning to grab some paper and just write-anything- just freehand write, uninhibited, without thinking about it or stopping for five minutes. Then tear it up and throw it away. After a little while I was amazed how much this cleared my mind and ideas just … [Read more...]

Conquer the Fear of Fear: Anne Perschel

Today’s Fearless Female Forum spotlight shines on Dr. Anne Perschel, president and founder of Germane Consulting. Anne is an organizational psychologist and leadership coach with a sub-specialty in women's leadership. Executives who lead company-wide diversity initiatives work with Anne to address cultural issues and unconscious gender bias. She also coaches women (and men) to realize, and enjoy, their greatest potential. Beyond Anne’s educational credentials and the amazing business results she gets with high tech and other corporate clients, she's mastered what being a "Fearless Female" is really about:  conquering the fear of fear. Fearless Females Forum: 5Cs with Dr. Anne Perschel “Fear is your friend, but she cannot lead the way. Get in front." 1. What’s the most courageous decision you've made? Exiting the field of education and entering high tech  Getting married Having a child/becoming a parent Going to graduate school when our son was 2 None of these decisions seemed courageous at the time. Had I really thought them through carefully, weighed the pros and cons, I may not have leaped. Passion for what’s on the other side instigates the leap. … [Read more...]

A Little Magic Can Take Leaders A Long Way

Last week I heard myself give a textbook answer to the question, “What’s the difference between leaders and managers?” I won’t bore you by sharing what I responded because even if you don’t read as many articles and books on leadership as I do, you’d intuitively sense that there must be more to truly great leaders. After my acceptable answer popped toad-like from my lips, I almost immediately started reflecting upon what my authentic, deeper answer is, the answer that I didn’t have the courage or quick-thinking capacity to state at the time: Truly great leaders give us permission to believe—and the constant support to act upon the belief—that the impossible is possible, that magic can happen.” I suspect that we’ve all experienced stage magician-type leaders, leaders skilled at misdirection and charismatic manipulation. Those leaders may give us the temporary high that mystery brings. But from my study of truly great leaders, while all are flawed human beings, they seem to tap into a piece of us that believes in magic. As Roald Dahl, author of James and the Giant Peach wrote, “A little magic can take you a long way.” How about bringing some magic into your … [Read more...]

Lead With Kindness: You’ll Get Better Results

What happens when we put kindness at the center of our leadership? There's plenty of hard evidence that kind leaders get better results. Emma Seppala, Ph.D, a Research Scientist at Stanford University and the Associate Director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University, details several studies in Being a Kind Boss Pays Off: A kind leader may actually be good for "followers" hearts. In fact, a study out of the Karolinska Institute conducted on over 3,000 employees found that a leader’s qualities were associated with incidence of heart disease in their employees. Employees feel greater trust with someone who is kind. Harvard Business School’s Amy Cuddy and her research partners have also shown that leaders who project warmth—even before establishing their competence—are more effective than those who lead with their toughness and skill. Why? One reason is trust. Employees are inspired by kindness. Jonathan Haidt at New York University Stern School of Business shows in his research that when leaders are self-sacrificing, their employees experience being moved and inspired. As a consequence, the employees feel more loyal and … [Read more...]

7 Ways to Lead Like An Ass(umer)

Assumptions. We all make them, all the time. Or at least I assume you do because I do. "When you assume you make an ass out of you and me." You've heard that expression a thousand times. The ever-practical Ellen DeGeneres explains the expression: “You should never assume. You know what happens when you assume. You make an ass out of you and me because that's how it's spelled.” Got it, Ellen, funny. How often do you lead like an ass(umer)? Assumptions can be dangerous. If you don't realize how dangerous assumptions can be, look no further than Lemony Snicket's guidance: Assumptions are dangerous things to make, and like all dangerous things to make -- bombs, for instance, or strawberry shortcake -- if you make even the tiniest mistake you can find yourself in terrible trouble.” -Lemony Snicket, The Austere Academy Think about the last assumption you made. Was it the strawberry shortcake variety of assumption where you landed in a sticky little, lopsided mess? Or, did you make a whopper assumption, the bomb kind where something really threatening happened? Leaders may assume employees know exactly what they want. Family members may believe that others in the family … [Read more...]

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