Tag Archives: leadership

Personal Leadership Brand – Book Recommendations

During her training session at Path to Leadership in May, Cassie Schuh recommended several books for further research/study.

I forgot to list them in the post and wanted to make sure to get these out there!

Cassie referenced a few books that she recommended for our participants:

She also shared that a good follow up to the “Secret Thoughts” book is Untethered Soul by Michael Singer

I’ve got these added to my summer reading list and would love to hear if you read them and what your thoughts are!  I’m not suggesting a book club … but would be game if any one else is interested!

Path to Leadership: Personal Leadership Brand notes

Okay… so, yes… time got away – again!  Bookkeeping, blah blah blah, meetings, blah blah blah.  I know .. just do it!  I am – right now.  I promised you, two weeks ago, notes & uploads from the second training segment in month one of Path to Leadership, our summer personal leadership session.  It was a great session and you missed out!  My notes will only convey the skeleton of what Cassie brought our group, but, I did promise!

Cassie Schuh, of Zaptasic Professional Coaching, rounded out session one with an engaging, information filled lesson on “Personal Leadership Brand(ing).”  The file of her slides can be found here.

I won’t repeat everything she said, but will give you a few highlights; well, highlights for me!

She defined a personal brand as “knowing exactly who you are so that others can identify you.”  That was powerful for me because I’ve often told others that you have to know who you are and then BE that person.    She went on to define your personal leadership brand as “knowing exactly who you are and using your skill sets to influence others toward goals identified or for the common good.  Portray your uniqueness.”

Another point which really stood out for me was “Falsification of Type,” which she explains happens when we fall into the pattern of what we do not who we are.  It is using skills outside our natural skill set.  Some symptoms you may be suffering from Falsification of Type:

  • Fatigue
  • Hyper-vigilance
  • Impaired immune system
  • Memory impairment
  • Altered brain chemistry (not the intentionally chemically induced kind!)
  • Diminished front lobe activity
    • Lowered creativity
    • Lowered ability to brain storm
    • Lowered creativity
  • Discouragement
  • Depression
  • Self-esteem issues

In short, if you are suffering from prolonged non-event specific stress, irritability, chronic anxiety, depression and exhaustion, you are probably playing roles and living a life in which you aren’t living your true personality type.

She talked about a common mythos that leads to this syndrome:  “Fake it til you make it” and advised we replace it with “Act as if.”  The differences?

Fake it                                            Act as if

Pretending/masking                  Being authentic/owning the role

Manipulating your image          Showing your uniqueness

Focused on Image Control        Playing up your strengths and not focusing on your weaknesses

In short:  Be AUTHENTIC, but have and know your boundaries.  You are an energy creator, but make sure to “fill your own cup.”  (Put on your own oxygen mask before helping those around you.)

Some tools & skills I took away from her words:

  • Intentions:  What are you willing to do?
  • Gratitude:  Be grateful in order to receive more
  • Acknowledge risk
  • Support network:  Both have mentors and mentor others
  • At your core be who you are

Her 4 “A’s”:

  • Acknowledge
  • Accept
  • Ask
  • Act

Once you have used the above (and much more in her slides!) to identify and develop your Personal Leadership Brand, you need to embrace it and by doing so will find you removing your own “invisible heels in the sand” creating resistance for you.  You will can boost your confidence by:

  • Eliminate “silent contracts” – those unspoken requests or expectations you have placed on others (which typically disappoint only you!)
  • Creation of your boundaries send the message that what you do, think and say has value (because you value you!)
  • Know your values and act on them which will empower you to follow through on those things
  • Take risks (good ones!)
  • Acknowledge yourself by confirming your risks taken and successes – this becomes cyclical for you to create more success.

It was a great second half of our first session!  In June, Path to Leadership will tackle “Traits and the Character of Leaders” and “Types and Styles of Leadership.”  I’ll blog after the session, but if you want the best view of the topics, join us!  Register here

Path to Leadership Begins: Your Leadership Philosophy

As I mentioned yesterday, today was the first session of our summer leadership series Path to Leadership sponsored by Wisconsin Public Service.

Today’s session focused on crafting our Personal Leadership Philosophy and Personal Leadership Brand.   This blog entry is a write-up from my notes on Personal Leadership Philosophy and the next will be on Personal Leadership Brand.  Both will fall short compared to the fabulous educational & engaging presentations — all y’all should attend these sessions!!  I’m not a good note-taker because I get caught up in listening and processing what I’m hearing to take detailed notes!  *mea culpa*

Personal Leadership Philosophy – presented by Anna Steinfest, US Bank and AFF Research

Anna started us off by saying it all starts with values.  Know your values.  From those values craft your mission statement and turn that into your philosophy.  Make sure to align your leadership philosophy with your values so as to avoid conflict and frustration within your life.  Then, live it and breath it.

As you write your leadership mission statement know your uniqueness then highlight those traits.  Your own personal ethics are a huge contributing factor to this equation.  Take the time to define those for yourself.

Your mission and philosophy should be 15 words long. Simplify what you stand for – this is not meant to be complex.  If you can’t recite it, you can’t live it.  (an aside … that reminded me of an old story, click here to read it!)

Ask your customers why they do business with you; ask your friends what they think of when they think of you. If those answers are surprising or at odds with what you want or believe them to be perceive you as – stop. Reassess.  Go back to your values and get yourself and your life in line with them. However, if they tell you something that you didn’t realize and you like it – incorporate it!

As a business/company leader, make sure when you hire people that your values are part of the interviewing process.  Write the questions to elicit information to tell you if the potential staffer will fit the culture your philosophy engenders. If you hire someone based on skills but who doesn’t align with your values you can end up with a values deficit in your organization.  A values deficit will lead very quickly to frustration and distrust within the company.  By the same token, if your current staff doesn’t align with those values, philosophy and mission statement – coach them up or out.

For an organization to have a value-based culture and ethic, the values must be consistent then lived & breathed by leadership.

From the other side of the equation, when you are working for a company, know for yourself what values you absolutely have to possess and exemplify from your employer  and which are “would be nice to have.”

Anna reminded us that generational diversity is important yet can cause conflict.  Typically millennials (aka Gen Y) don’t have the same corporate loyalty as Baby Boomers, so it very important for the business’s values to incorporate what the values of the millennials.   The Pew Research Center study on the Millennials is linked here. All attendees agree it will be interesting to see how those loyalty trends/patterns change as the M’s change the workforce even as we acknowledged that there are many other factors than just being part of a generation which impact individuals.

The bottom line for your leadership philosophy:  base it on your values, write it out and then live it and breathe it.

Next post will be based on Cassie Schuh’s presentation on Your Leadership Brand.  Check back soon!

Womens Health & Leadership

This week is National Women’s Health Week.  It started on Sunday and is celebrated through May 18th.

National Women’s Health Week is a weeklong health observance coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health. It brings together communities, businesses, government, health organizations, and other groups in an effort to promote women’s health and its importance. It also empowers women to make their health a priority and encourages them to take the following steps to improve their physical and mental health and lower their risks of certain diseases:

  • Visit a health care professional to receive regular checkups and preventive screenings.
  • Get active.
  • Eat healthy.
  • Pay attention to mental health, including getting enough sleep and managing stress.
  • Avoid unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, not wearing a seatbelt or bicycle helmet, and texting while driving.

Monday (the 13th) was “National Check Up Day,”  a nationwide effort, coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health, to:

  • Encourage women to call and visit health care professionals to schedule and receive checkups; and
  • Promote regular checkups as vital to the early detection of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, mental health illnesses, sexually transmitted infections, and other conditions.

Yes, it was yesterday, but if you are a woman and haven’t either already had, scheduled or getting your head around getting scheduled for your annual check-up, do so today.  If you are a man, encourage the women in your life to do so.  Women often serve as caregivers for their families, putting the needs of their spouses, partners, children, and parents before their own. As a result, women’s health and well-being becomes secondary. As a community, we have a responsibility to support the important women we know and do everything we can to help them take steps for longer, healthier, happier lives.  This isn’t about martyrdom ladies, it is about being in a position of good health in order to take care of those who depend on you.  This is the rationale behind being on your oxygen mask before you help those around you put theirs on.  You can’t help anyone if you are unconscious, ill or dead.

This is also about leading.  Women are often the leaders in their families.  (sorry guys … just true)  They are usually their heart and nerve center of their families. I remember hearing the phrase, “if Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy,” and not understanding it.  But it is so true!  In this case, if the caregiver isn’t well, she can’t provide care to anyone.  Taking care of our own health is the first step in leadership.

This week also kicks off our Path to Leadership, our summer personal leadership development series.  Tomorrow morning at Rennes Health & Rehab Anna Steinfest from U.S. Bank and AFF Research and Cassie Schuh from Zaptastic Professional Coaching will kick-off the series with sessions on Personal Leadership Philosophy and Personal Leadership Brand.    This series is designed to help improve and grow the participants personal leadership and I’m very excited!   Every group I’m in, both personally and professionally, often focus on leadership; but most people aren’t trained in leadership or in growing their own leadership skill-set and ability.  When I typed “personal leadership” into my Google search, it returned 776,000,000 results!  I’d say it is an important topic!  I have multiple books in my office, in my home, on my Nook, on my computer and on my Kindle app about leadership.  Two of the final classes I took last year to (finally) finish my Bachelors Degree had the majority of the classes dedicated to leadership:  definitions, lessons in good & bad leadership and how to improve as leaders.

Be a leader in your life.  You can join us to learn in our very hands on sessions of the next 3 months, you can read some great books or attend the myriad of leadership courses available online and in person.  Hand-in-hand with that education, however, is making sure you are fit to lead (thanks Prevea and Western Racquet!).  And you have to be healthy to do so.

So .. focus on leadership.  Focus on learning.  Focus on taking care of yourself.  You can’t lead anyone anywhere worth going if you don’t!


In a nod to tomorrow’s De Pere at Dawn topic of “Leadership Traits,” I offer this guest article from Barbara Jordan, Ad:

Proud but Promising: Coaching Success

Have you ever had a leader in your organization who, due to his excellent performance and technical expertise, is being considered for promotion, yet significantly lacks people skills?

I work with many clients whose excellent academic record and on-the-job performance indicate that they are bright. The numbers are there. They certainly produce. Energetic and ambitious, they seem to have a good work ethic. They report working long hours, but prefer to work less by working smarter.

Well, one particular client, (we’ll call him Jonathon) was such a high achiever. Often taking on too much, he sometimes found it difficult to prioritize and say “no”. Having a high need for recognition, it is important for Jonathon to uphold a stellar reputation in his industry. But, he also has a high need for novelty. So, he gets bored easily when involved with routine, mundane activities and status quo. This meant that he sometimes lacked focus and follow-through.

Jonathon seemed to give credit to others when it’s due. Some colleagues even reported that he got along with others. However, others claimed that he hurt working relationships with his behavior. Jonathon admitted that he is “a bit direct” and abrasive. In fact, he was downright blunt at times, and he often stressed out his subordinates and co-workers unnecessarily. This frequently alienated people which, in turn,  led to their leaving the organization. Sometimes condescending with those he sees as below his organizational level, Jonathon came across as pompous. Although his co-workers reported that his interpersonal skills have improved significantly, they added that he still needed considerable work.

Some of Jonathon’s co-workers viewed him as egocentric. They said he tends to do what is best for him vs. what is best for others or the organization as a whole. Additionally, I learned that he needed to develop empathy and deal with frustration and anger more calmly. Although his technical expertise and knowledge of the industry was excellent, his leadership skills needed honing.

An “idea-preneur” at heart, Jonathon was a visionary with a very strong interest in the future. He reported that he has a “vision” regarding the future of his organization and its industry. But, some co-workers expressed concern regarding Jonathon’s lack of financial restraint. They concurred that he needed to focus more on the “bottom line”. However, dealing with the “bottom line” didn’t seem to interest him. I found that he needed to maintain tighter control of budgets, staff, and projects to ensure profitability.

Jonathon demonstrated excellent sales and presentation skills. He indicated that he enjoys these activities as well as coaching and developing others. However, Jonathon admitted that he was more “results” than “relationship” oriented in his management style. One co-worker reported that he used threats with employees too readily and viewed staff as assets to “use up” vs. humans with real concerns/needs. Furthermore, his staff claimed that he needed to develop his conflict resolution skills.

On a 360 assessment, this client’s overall self-rating was substantially higher than the overall rating given to him by his co-workers. His highest ratings from others indicated strengths such as enthusiasm, running meetings; self-confidence; motivation; new projects; conducting presentations; and, keeping up with current developments.

His lowest rating by co-workers on the assessment revealed the following areas needing improvement: being respected by others; putting what’s best for the company before what’s best for him; considering staff workload before delegating additional work; clearly explaining expectations; and, showing appropriate concern for others. Here is what we included in Jonathon’s development plan:

  • Spend more time on day-to-day operational issues and less time on “visionary” topics as evidenced by keeping then analyzing a time log.
  • Develop financial/accounting, administrative, and control competencies via seminars, coaching/mentoring, and on-the-job training.
  • Develop greater focus on the “bottom line” and manage/control profitable projects as indicated by using attribute data control charts, variable data control charts, Gannt charts, S.W.O.T. analysis, etc.
  • Develop a greater focus on what’s best for the organizations vs. what interests you personally.
  • Reduce bluntness and abrasiveness as evidenced by greater tact, empathic listening, and genuine concern for the well-being of others.
  • Improve delegation skills by participating in appropriate training. Communicate and monitor work delegated to subordinates’ via monthly reports.
  • Improve conflict resolution skills by participating in appropriate training.

After five months of coaching, Jonathon clearly improved his leadership skills. He improved in the areas of time management, project management, and other control functions. Increasing performance in these areas and enhancing his motivation toward meeting organizational goals helped the organization grow. Lastly, developing his listening, conflict resolution, delegation, and feedback skills made Jonathon a much better candidate for promotion. How’s that for a happy ending?