Monthly Archives: June 2013

How to Be A Not-PO’d-Leader

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Leaders have egos and therefore have some awesome emotions. Sometimes these emotions are positive but sometimes they can be negative. As you can imagine, leaders need to keep these emotions in check.

Daniel Goleman recently wrote an article about how to do this. I recommend giving this a read:

Emotional hijacks – this priming, this mechanism, which is usually so positive in evolution – can take us over. During these hijacks we can become very angry. When the dust settles we often think, “Oh, why did I say that?”

I spoke with Paul Ekman for my Wired to Connect CD Knowing our Emotions, Improving Our World, about how to identify emotional triggers. One of his recommendations: simply keep a record of your hijacked moments. Here’s what he had to say.

You know I have ambivalent feelings about the term hijack because in some sense it absolves us of responsibility. If someone hijacks us, “Well, it’s not my fault.” Okay, but it is. It is our responsibility to learn to become emotionally intelligent. These are skills, they’re not easy, nature didn’t give them to us – we have to learn them.

I recommend in my book Emotions Revealed that people keep a log of regrettable angry episodes. Write down just what it was about, how it happened, what set you off, and what did you do that you think you shouldn’t have done.

After you’ve got 30 or 40 of them, try to see the commonality in the triggers and responses. You’ll usually find a particular script that underlies what’s causing you to have a particular perception on certain situations, to cast people into roles that they really aren’t in, and to try to replay a plot that doesn’t really fit.”

How do you recognize and manage triggers? Share your advice in the comments below.

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The Dangers of a Growth Mindset

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Carol Dweck is a psychologist who championed the idea where people have either a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. A fixed mindset pertains to a person who believes their talents and abilities are fixed and cannot grow or advance beyond a certain point. A growth mindset pertains to a person that believes their abilities and talents can grow with hard work, persistence, and through rising to a challenge. People with a growth mindset often are leaders and show-runners with incredible amounts of tenacity and fervor.

In other words a growth mindset is good – really good for someone who wants to become a very influential leader. However, I have recently pondered: is there a drawback to having a growth mindset? Is it possible to have such a starving growth mindset that one is almost greedy for more progress and growth – to a fault? Is it possible to ever be satisfied in a growth mindset?

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5 Questions with Matt Wheat

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Every week, we ask 5 questions to a different person. The questions remain the same but the people change. Some people are leaders, some are followers, but all have valuable input. This week we meet Matt Wheat.

Name: Matt Wheat

Position: Retail Store Manager

Place: Oxnard, CA

1. Think back to when you were extremely motivated by a boss, leader, or teammate. What did they say or do that motivated you so much and why did it work?

The leaders who have most influenced me have done so by building on a foundation of personal investment.  Whether it was a challenge, recognition, coaching, or feedback, they engaged me on a personal level. Their emotional intelligence allowed them to select the right tonality and language that most resonated with me.

2. When have you been very unmotivated by a boss, leader, or teammate? Why did it create a feeling of un-motivation to do your job better?

I find micro-management intolerable.  It is the absence of empowerment and trust.

3. What is one characteristic you look for in an effective leader?

The ability to connect with a diverse population while remaining transparently true to themselves.

4. When have you motivated another person to better themselves or to be more productive in their job?

It is my intention to motivate by creating an environment where the innate skills and strengths of an individual are allowed/encouraged to flourish on a daily basis.

5. What is one piece of advice you’d give towards aspiring leaders?

Bob Dylan said you gotta serve somebody. I would challenge any leader to keep asking who they are serving.

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