Category Archives: Leadership

Good leaders know everyone is watching.

by Mary Marshall, CEO Coach

good leaders know As a leader, you are always being watched. What you say, what you do, your reactions, your comments, your behavior, everything. Inadvertently passing someone without a “hello” or acknowledgment of their existence could be viewed as a slight by the receiver. Even though that was not remotely the intent.

When I’m working with leaders, they are often surprised when I bring this up. In their minds, people should be able to know what they meant or what they were thinking. It’s just common sense, right? It might be common sense, but we can’t be in the minds of the people we meet or work with every day. We don’t know their frame of mind, what fears or doubts they have, what happened before they arrived at work. What would be “common sense” in a neutral setting, might be anything but given the baggage, everyone shows up at the office with.

Good leaders know that it’s up to them as the leader to be aware of and modify their own behavior given the circumstances, not the other way around. Smiles, frowns, jokes, hurriedness, tone of voice, words, etc. are ALL evaluated for what they might mean to the person on the receiving end. And usually, these interpretations are wrong, but they now create a new narrative about what the leader meant or wanted done. Some leaders feel like it’s a sign of strength to “leave them guessing.” It’s not. It’s a sign of a need for control. Some leaders never clean up their messes – intentionally or unintentionally – and either way, it creates chaos in the workplace and ultimately distracts from the goals.

Continue reading on Mary Marshall’s website…

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Good Leaders Are Curious

by Mary Marshall, CEO Coach

good leadersLately, I have noticed that the seeming inability to have reasoned debate within the political climate has spilled over into the workplace. There seems to be a “my way or the highway” mentality seeping into professional environments which is not productive. People are taking sides and staking claim to their view with no room for understanding or compromise. I’m reminded that whenever one side is “right,” it automatically makes the other side “wrong” and no one likes to be wrong.

I think the first step toward better understanding of one another’s points-of-view is to stop rushing to judgment. Just stepping back a beat and pretending there might be another approach or that – gasp – you might be wrong, are worthwhile steps. Being wrong is not the end of the world, it just means you have more to learn and isn’t that true of all of us? If we listened without judgment we might actually hear what the other side is saying.

If you are ready to practice, start with questions. “What” questions are usually the best and most effective for not conveying judgment. For example:

  • What makes you say that?
  • Tell me a little about how you came to that decision, belief, position, idea, etc.?
  • What other ways have you looked at?
  • Would you be open to a different point-of-view?

Read more on Mary Marshall’s website

How can veterans excel as entrepreneurs?

In the course of serving our nation, veterans learn valuable skills and self-discipline that they can carry through to their post-military careers. One professional path that many veterans take is entrepreneurship. 

According to the most recent U.S. Census data, in 2012, the number of veteran-owned businesses was 2,521,682 (9 percent of all companies in the U.S.). Those businesses employed over 5 million people.  Continue reading

Good leaders go positive.

by Mary Marshall, CEO Coach

be-1-300x300Good leaders know that inspiring people has a lot to do with focusing on the positive vs. the negative. Unfortunately, many of us are predisposed to focus on the negative and give it more worth or value than the positive. Alison Ledgerwood, a social psychologist does a great job in this TED talk showing us how that works.

Essentially, once we focus on the negative, we are much less likely to believe anything that proves otherwise. When asked how our day was we generally start with the negative. When asked how a project is going, we typically respond with what is not working. When asked how a team is performing, we often reply with explanations of how it’s not. Who knows why we do this? Preservation perhaps?

The end result is that we are discounting that which is good and leaving opportunities for happiness out in the cold.

Read more on Mary Marshall’s website.