How To Make the Most of Every Word You Say In Your Next Meeting…WITHOUT Being Abrupt

Welcome to the Innovative Leadership Newsletter brought to you by the Innovative Leadership Institute, where we strive to bring you thought leaders and innovative ideas on leadership topics each week.

This week’s article is written by Jonathan Reitz, CoachNet’s FLUXIFY’s Director for Training/CEO.  It is a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled The SHORT List of Communication Skills EVERY Leader Needs that airs on June 21, 2022. 

We’ve all been in a meeting with someone who talks too much. You know the person who doesn’t believe in using 100 words when they have 10,000 to say. There’s nothing more annoying or counter-productive.

During my first career in the radio and television news, we worked hard to say a LOT in just a few words. Time constraints were part of the reason, but so was the short attention span of the listener or viewer. “Say it shorter” was our mantra.

In my coach training business, I work with many coaches and leaders who have difficulty keeping their conversational contributions to a minimum. It’s a direct result of the coaching relationship but not necessarily a direct result of the coach’s contributions. One of the cornerstones of coaching is that we show up in such a way that the client connects the dots and comes up with new ideas on their own.

To remedy this, follow this nine-step plan:

  1. Record a meeting or a conversation that’s important to you. It works best when something is at stake because you’ll be motivated to make the most of your communication.
  2. Let a little time pass. You have to be objective about what you hear on the recording. Forgetting the details of the conversation makes this easier. I know after thousands of recordings of my coaching that I have difficulty being objective if the memory is too fresh. I think everything I say is either mind-blowing or uninteresting. So I let 4-6 weeks go by before I review the conversation. You might need that long or a little less.
  3. Take a first pass at editing what you said. Now comes the hard part. Get a pad of paper and a pen. (Remember paper and pen?) You must use paper and pen for the step in the process, as your brain engages more thoroughly when using multiple physical systems while writing with a pen/pencil compared to typing on a keyboard. Writing by hand multiplies the impact of the work we’re about to do.
  4. Listen to the recording. With paper and pen in hand, review the recording of your meeting, and write down every word you say. Allow plenty of time for this, but don’t overanalyze what you’re capturing. Don’t worry about what the other people say because we’re working on your communication. The work in this step is hard, agony; you’ll probably hate it. You might curse my name a few times. But the results will take you places you’ve never expected.
  5. Once you finish transcribing your contributions to the meeting, go back and look at what you say. Read it out loud if you can. Notice the times when you say more words than necessary. After a few minutes, rewrite everything your comments in half as many words while preserving the substance of your words. This first edit begins to point out different conversational choices and where you might be able to say the same things using fewer words. The most important thing is to keep the message intact but more efficient. Painful might describe this experience. It can be downright awful. But it is worth it. And we’re just getting started!
  6. By now, you see a tremendous opportunity for different communication. But don’t stop after one edit. Go back and take a second pass. Work to make it half as long as the first time while maintaining the content of your messages.
  7. Take a moment or two at the end of this second edit to reflect on how you could structure your sentences differently in your next meeting. Begin a draft of some communication guidelines you can use as a reference.
  8. Now the difficulty ramps up again. Take the second edit and pare it down a third time. Your transcript is now 1/2 as long as the second edit while still communicating the vital information. Now your communication becomes tremendously efficient, and your meetings will change! You might even find a few more slots on your calendar because your meetings shorten.
  9. For the last step, bullet out some ways your communication needs to change. Write your list by hand on a clean sheet of paper, trusting that using those muscles combined with the tactile sensation of holding a pen and writing on paper reinforces the learning and helps you retain what you discover.

Doing this exercise once or twice changes how you choose your words. Marrying this strategy with clear agendas and measurable outcomes ensures that your people will want to follow you because you respect their time and deliver meaningful messages. Your meetings will improve, and your people with thank you!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jonathan Reitz, MCC is CoachNet FLUXIFY’s Director for Training/CEO. Jonathan holds the Master Certified Coach (MCC) credential in the International Coaching Federation.   He’s also the co-founder of the Team Coaching Global Alliance, and a top-rated speaker at the World Business and Executive Coaches Summit (WBECS).

He wrote Coaching Hacks:  Simple Strategies to Make Every Conversation More Effective.  Jonathan is a member of the faculty in the Weatherhead School of Management Coaching Program at Case Western Reserve University.  Jonathan Reitz lives in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife Joy and daughter Julia.

 

RESOURCES:

Ready to measure your leadership skills? Here is a free assessment provided by the Innovative Leadership Institute that will measure the 7 leadership skills required to succeed during disruption and innovation. Click HERE

If you completed the Leadership Mindset Assessment and want to explore additional resources to develop your leadership, we recommend you:

  1. Read the Forbes article Are You A Future-Ready Leader– free
  2. Purchase the short video course, Leading during Disruption, for $29
  3. Purchase a comprehensive online course ILI Leadership Mindset Program for $174.99
  4. Purchase a comprehensive leadership development program – see options in the Innovative Leadership Course Library

Join The 12th Annual WBECS Summit by Coaching.com today! There’s still time to register if you haven’t already done so. Make 2022 Your Year with the WBECS Summit

Are you ready to shift your career into high gear? Check out the Career Winners Circle’s epic free challenge:  Affiliate Challenge link 

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future via iTunesTuneInStitcherSpotify,  Amazon Music,  AudibleiHeartRADIO, and NPR One. Also, stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

Effective Leadership in Turbulent Times

Welcome to the Innovative Leadership Newsletter brought to you by the Innovative Leadership Institute, where we strive to bring you thought leaders and innovative ideas on leadership topics each week.

This week’s article is written by Ruchira Chaudhary, a leading executive coach and adjunct faculty at several top tier business schools  It is a companion to her interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Coaching, the Secret Code to Uncommon Leadership that airs on June 14, 2022. 

In June 1966, Robert F. Kennedy said in a speech in Cape Town, ‘Like it or not, we live in interesting times. They are times of danger and uncertainty; but they are also more open to the creative energy of men than any other time in history.’ You may be familiar with this apocryphal Chinese curse that sounds like a blessing or a warm wish but is used ironically to indicate a period of chaos or disorder. I cannot think of a better analogy to describe the uncertainty of mammoth proportions we face today, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. On the work front, virtually overnight, the economic shock gave rise to a new reality that caused much stress and anxiety, leaving everyone bewildered. The work from home (WFH) phenomenon is now becoming our new normal; we may have settled into a routine of sorts, but the underlying duress, angst and the occasional panic attack is not going away. Today, more than ever, leaders must discern, adapt to and shape this shifting terrain. It is about balancing many fronts: A leader needs to focus on employee well-being yet drive business results; he needs to provide clarity despite not knowing enough and, above all, he needs to project confidence despite knowing harsh business realities. It’s also a time for displaying resilience, bouncing back and building agility that will help weather this storm professionally and personally.

A Time for Uncommon Leadership

Bouncing Back and Leaping Forward

First, leaders need to build higher levels of resilience in themselves and their teams by taking charge of how they think about misfortune, crisis and adversity. Defined as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties, or the ability to deal with a crisis situation or to quickly attain the pre-crisis status, resilience is perhaps the most essential ingredient in this leadership mix today. Resilient managers need to be nimble and show swiftness in taking decisions (even when they do not know the answers) and move from analysis to a plan of action (and reaction). It’s about shifting your thinking gears from what caused this crisis to how we fix it. Essentially, it is about moving from cause-oriented thinking to response-oriented thinking where the focus is strictly forward-looking.

Defining the end goal or destination first and working backwards to execute the plan will help employees envision the future and is emotionally stabilizing, suggests Punit Renjen, global chief executive officer, Deloitte. He adds, ‘Throughout the pandemic, organizations around the globe have demonstrated remarkable agility, changing business models literally overnight: setting up remote-work arrangements; offshoring entire business processes to less-affected geographies; initiating multi-company cooperation to redeploy furloughed employees across sectors. In each situation, the urgency for results prevailed over traditional bureaucratic responses. These organizations managed to do this because of the resilience of their leaders.’

Building Reservoirs of Trust

Second, leaders have to strengthen the trust equation. Trust, a seemingly abstract, ethereal concept, is critical for you to forge genuine bonds with the teams you lead. In times of crisis, as you lead through uncertainty, you need people to follow, and that can happen only if they believe in you, are inspired by you and are nurtured by trust. Research demonstrates that trust yields real results in terms of economic growth, increased shareholder value and innovation, greater community stability and better health outcomes. ‘From an employee perspective, consider that more than 60 per cent of workers say senior management–employee trust is paramount to their satisfaction. That’s because high-trust environments allow people to be their true selves, and when people can bring their whole selves to work, they are not only more creative, but more productive as well.’ Many leaders have done a phenomenal job of gaining this trust by deftly navigating the pandemic, despite the chaos, the unknown variables and the conflicting guidance at the start of the outbreak. They can continue to earn this trust by thinking of how they can rebuild a safe space for their people when they return to work (literally and metaphorically), how they stretch themselves to find the time to coach and guide in these uncertain times, and how they do their best to preserve jobs rather than cutting organization costs in the face of imminent losses. Therefore, trust is as important in a professional relationship as it is in a personal one. When leaders, despite their crazy schedules, find the time to check in on their people, they create with them a personal equation, based on trust.

Topics like grief are seldom discussed at work. In fact, more often than not, we don’t even know if we should discuss such topics. Leaders, mental health experts and coaches are now all telling us that it is okay to say you are not okay. Feelings of grief, loneliness and disconnection are real. It’s okay to respond by saying, ‘Actually, I am going completely crazy handling work, household chores, a young child and caring for the elderly.’ Perhaps the most troubling aspect of this pandemic is the open-endedness of it. If it were a temporary state, we could say aloud, ‘This too shall pass, hang in there.’ If we knew that there was light at the end of the tunnel, and we would eventually emerge from the long dark tunnel and soon there would be bright sunshine, things would have been very different. As a leader, it is a testing time for you. It is about maintaining the right balance and remaining focused on moving forward amid destabilizing uncertainty. That means helping your employees navigate complex emotions—grief, stress, loneliness—that most of us simply are not accustomed to in the workplace, at least at the scale we are experiencing now.

Extracted from Coaching: The Secret Code to Uncommon Leadership (authored by Ruchira Chaudhary) with permission from Penguin Random House India

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

An alumna of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Ruchira Chaudhary straddles the corporate and academic worlds – she is a leading executive coach, adjunct faculty at several top tier business schools and runs a boutique consulting firm focused on organizational strategy solutions.

Ruchira has a diverse and eclectic functional background in mergers and acquisitions, organization design, culture and leadership, coupled with two decades of experience in emerging markets in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. During her corporate career, Ruchira held leadership roles in Medtronic and AIG in Singapore, Qatar Telecom (now Oredoo) in Qatar and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) in India. 

Ruchira teaches and frequently coaches MBA students and senior executives as affiliate faculty at several top business schools. 

Her book Coaching: The Secret Code to Uncommon Leadership (PRH) has been critically acclaimed by so many luminaries – corporate leaders, sports captains and academics.

 

RESOURCES:

Ready to measure your leadership skills? Here is a free assessment provided by the Innovative Leadership Institute that will measure the 7 leadership skills required to succeed during disruption and innovation. Click HERE

If you completed the Leadership Mindset Assessment and want to explore additional resources to develop your leadership, we recommend you:

  1. Read the Forbes article Are You A Future-Ready Leader– free
  2. Purchase the short video course, Leading during Disruption,for $29
  3. Purchase a comprehensive online course ILI Leadership Mindset Programfor $174.99
  4. Purchase a comprehensive leadership development program – see options in the Innovative Leadership Course Library

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future via iTunesTuneInStitcherSpotify,  Amazon Music,  AudibleiHeartRADIO, and NPR One. Also, stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Fear Is A Dishonest Act

Welcome to the Innovative Leadership Newsletter brought to you by the Innovative Leadership Institute, where we strive to bring you thought leaders and innovative ideas on leadership topics each week.

This week’s article is written by Peter Kozodoy, award-winning author of Honest to Greatness. It is a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled How to Harness Honesty that aires on June 7, 2022. 

Have you ever let fear get in your way?

Let’s do a thought experiment.

For one day, you’re going to be your bravest, most I-don’t-care self.

Think about it for a moment.

How would you think?

Feel?

Act?

What would you say and do?

Chances are, you’d be… different.

Cuz everyone has fear.

And everyone usually lets that fear make up some part of themselves.

That’s the part that reminds you to be cautious.

Not stick your neck out too far.

Because, obvi, you might get your head chopped off.

But will you really?

I mean, fear is great in the wild.

It keeps you alive.

But in our plastic world? What does it really do?

Prolly nothin’ good.

In fact, I bet that if you went through one day and didn’t let fear creep in AT ALL…

You’d probably feel a lot better.

Do a lot more.

And look back on the day and say, see? That wasn’t so bad!

Or maybe you’d get your head bitten off by a lion hiding in your bushes…

I doubt it, but ya never know.

But one thing’s for sure: There’s no way to know unless you try absolute bravery.

And I bet that you’ll probably create better results than when you’re fearful.

Better, because they’ll be more honest.

Your actions will be more pure — more aligned to who you really are and what you’re really trying to make happen.

Fear is the opposite. It’s a run-away-now thing when you should be on a charge-the-hill thing.

Just remember one important thing:

Fear isn’t something to conquer.

That would imply it’s something to begin with.

But it’s not. It’s nothing. It doesn’t exist unless you give it power.

So stop. It’s not helping you now.

Try bravery and fearlessness for one day, and see how it makes you feel.

After all, there’s nothing to lose but fear itself.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Peter Kozodoy is the award-winning author of Honest to Greatness, an Inc. 5000 serial entrepreneur, TEDx speaker, and business coach. His articles on leadership and entrepreneurship have appeared in Forbes, Inc., HuffPost, PR Daily, and more. He holds a BA in economics from Brandeis University and an MBA from Columbia Business School, and lives in Puerto Rico with his wife and their spoiled dog. To strike up an honest conversation, visit PeterKozodoy.com. 

 

RESOURCES:

Ready to measure your leadership skills? Here is a free assessment provided by the Innovative Leadership Institute that will measure the 7 leadership skills required to succeed during disruption and innovation. Click HERE

If you completed the Leadership Mindset Assessment and want to explore additional resources to develop your leadership, we recommend you:

  1. Read the Forbes article Are You A Future-Ready Leader? free
  2. Purchase the short video course, Leading during Disruption, for $29
  3. Purchase a comprehensive online course ILI Leadership Mindset Program for $174.99
  4. Purchase a comprehensive leadership development program – see options in the Innovative Leadership Course Library

Join The 12th Annual WBECS Summit by Coaching.com today! There’s still time to register if you haven’t already done so. Make 2022 Your Year with the WBECS Summit

Competent Boards is now accepting applications for their Fall programs. Take advantage of the Early Bird discounts, offers valid until June 15.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future via iTunesTuneInStitcherSpotify,  Amazon Music,  AudibleiHeartRADIO, and NPR One. Also, stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

Conflict Strategies for Nice People

This week’s article is provided by Liane Davey as part of the World Business and Executive Coach Summit (WBECS) interview series.  It is a companion to her interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled The Good Fight: Using Productive Conflict that aired on Tuesday, May 11th.

 

We’re not having enough conflict. When we avoid issues that we need to address, we get into what I call “conflict debt.” What is conflict debt? Essentially, each time you avoid a discussion, debate, or disagreement that you should be having, you add that issue to the list of unresolved issues. If you should be introducing novel ideas to get your organization out of a rut but you think, “that’s gonna’ ruffle some feathers,” so you stay quiet, you’re incurring debt. If you should be telling a coworker that he’s not pulling his weight, but you just can’t be bothered starting a fight, that’s conflict debt.

Like with any debt, conflict debt accrues interest that costs us dearly. As organizations, we fail to prioritize, dilute resources, and accomplish little. As teams, we work around problem people and overwhelm the capable ones. As individuals, we stifle our concerns and become increasingly disgruntled, stressed, and disengaged.

Conflict debt is too costly. We need to surface and work through conflict, but the voices inside our heads give us so many reasons why we should avoid it. Perhaps the loudest voice is the one that tells us conflict isn’t nice. But is that true?

You might think conflict has to be loud, or aggressive, or rigid. It doesn’t. You can have conflict nicely by choosing words skillfully and keeping your tone level and your body language open. There are a few techniques you can use to have conflict nicely.

Validating versus invalidating

For the most part, grown adults in the workplace understand that they can’t always get what they want. What really frustrates people is when they don’t feel that they’ve been heard. Unfortunately, the moment you get into a conflict, your attention gets laser focused on pleading your case, rather than hearing theirs. When they say, “We need to drive more traffic into the stores, I’m dropping prices,” you immediately go to, “We need to protect our margins!”

The most powerful thing you can do to have conflict nicely is to leave your colleague with the impression that you understand their point. That means you need to start by really listening to and carefully reflecting their concerns before even mentioning your own. “You’re focused on driving traffic into the stores. Tell me what our numbers look like this week.” If the first thing out of your mouth is their perspective rather than your own, you’ve set a positive tone for the whole discussion.

Ally versus adversary

Conflict is particularly unpleasant when you make the other person feel like you are working in opposite directions. Antagonistic conflict pits the two of you against each other and leaves the other person feeling isolated. Imagine standing facing one another pulling in a tug-of-war. “We NEED to drop our prices, we’re not going to get anyone in our store at these prices!” “Yeah, well we NEED to make a profit and we’re going to lose our shirts at that discount!”

Having conflict nicely requires that you pivot so that you are facing the same direction and looking at the problem together, as allies. The secret is to appeal to a higher purpose that you have in common. For example, “Look, I know you think we need to drop our prices and I’m pushing hard to keep them level. We both want to make it through the holiday season profitably. How can we think about this differently?” As soon as you can start saying “we” and stop saying “you,” the conflict will feel much nicer.

Productive versus unproductive

A sure way to be the bad guy in a conflict is to back someone into a corner. Making assertive statements, pointing a finger, and shutting the conversation down with closed questions will leave your colleague with no way out. You know exactly how people behave when they are trapped, they either fight more aggressively or they back down. Neither is going to leave them with the impression that you’re a nice person. “Do you want to be the person who destroyed our Q4 margin?”

The alternative is to create a path forward with everything you say. Rather than trapping the person so that their only option is to contradict you or disagree with you, ask open-ended questions that allow them to explain their position. “How are you thinking about the impact on our margin if we discount prices that far?” Even when you’re proposing a solution to the problem, pose it as a question to test whether it works, “Ok, what if we were to take the sale to 30% and sweeten it with a free gift with $50 or more?”

If someone raised you to believe, “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all,” you might be avoiding conflict altogether. That’s not good for anybody. Instead, focus your efforts on having conflict nicely. Make your colleague feel heard and understood, make them feel like an ally, rather than an adversary, and constantly leave room for both of you to work together toward a solution. From now on, “if you can’t say anything nice, make sure you say it nicely.”

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the Author

Liane Davey is a New York Times Bestselling author of three books, including The Good Fight: Use Productive Conflict to Get Your Team and Your Organization Back on Track. Known as the Water Cooler Psychologist, she is a regular contributor to the Harvard Business Review and frequently called on by media outlets for her experience on leadership, team effectiveness, and productivity. As the co-founder of 3COze Inc., she advises on strategy and executive team effectiveness at companies such as Amazon, Walmart, TD Bank, Google, 3M, and SONY. Liane has a Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology.

Photo by jean wimmerlin on Unsplash

 

The Benefits of Using a Great Coach in a VUCA Environment

To start or to continue receiving the weekly blogs via email, please sign-up using this link: subscribe to Innovative Leadership Institute weekly blog.

This blog is provided by David Goldsmith of 7 Paths Forward, LLC. (www.7pathsforward.com) It is a companion to his interview as a part of the WBECS (The World Business & Executive Coach Summary) Interview Series that is featured on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future. David’s interview aired on Tuesday, May 19, 2020, titled The Benefits of Great Coaching in a VUCA Environment. If you are interested in attending the WBECS pre-summit for free, register here.

 

VUCA stands for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. It’s a term that comes from the military to describe conditions during war. The current pandemic has highlighted and accelerated the disruption that leaders were already experiencing in their organizations. Now when we talk about VUCA more people have a first hand experience of what we are talking about.

The world is volatile right now. Everyday things change. We don’t know when and if things will return to how they used to be. This creates a lot of the uncertainty that we are all experiencing. Just as we think we know how things might be, we learn new things and our view changes rapidly. Sometimes we experience this change hourly! It’s a lot to keep up with.

It’s hard to imagine a time when things were more uncertain. When will children go back to school? How long will we work from home? Will there be further waves of the virus? How will we deal with those? What does “normal” look like in the future? How will this affect organizations? What kind of work will there be? What do we want to keep and preserve from the disruption?

The complexity has only increased. As a leader you had your OKRs for the year. How do you accomplish those goals with your workforce configured very differently? How do you get these done when your workforce is facing childcare challenges and experiencing a level of stress and personal disruption previously unknown?

The pandemic has also been a great example of ambiguity. We are watching governments manage a public health crisis and an economic crisis at the same time. There are no easy or right decisions. Every decision has consequences. And you never have enough information to make a decision. You have to choose and then be prepared to update your decision very quickly!

Coaches help leaders grow and develop and handle more complexity. Great coaches help their clients do this more efficiently and with deeper results. A simple example is inter-city trains. In many parts of the world you can take a train service from city a to city b that might take ten hours. Or you can take a high-speed train that makes the trip in six hours. The high-speed train is usually more comfortable and gets you there significantly faster. Both options get you to your destination.

During this pandemic we are finding that leaders are making time for their coaching sessions. However, many times these sessions are shorter. A great coach can efficiently work with the client to identify the issues, help them develop actionable insights and help them get on with their VUCA challenges.

To deal with these VUCA challenges requires a coach who has the experience, skill and insight to customize their work to provide what these leaders need now. They must be agile, insightful and armed with a large toolbox of skills and approaches. ​They must themselves be comfortable in a VUCA environment.

When you have to make a complex decision without enough information, you need a coach who can lean in to the conversation, help you understand all four of the VUCA elements and then help frame the issue so that the leader can make their best decision. And the coach is standing by ready to help that leader adjust (because they will need to).

Leaders also need great coaches who can work with a variety of narcissistic, defensive and emotional clients. All of us are dealing with a far greater level of conscious and unconscious stress. Leaders are behaving in ways that are unusual and often surprising to themselves. They need a coach who isn’t fazed by this and in fact knows how to utilize this new behavior to help the leader accelerate their growth.

Our current environment is a great example of why leaders who want to grow, develop, and thrive need to work with a great coach.

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the Author

A pioneer in the coaching industry, David Goldsmith was Chief Operating Officer of CoachInc.com and past President of CoachU. He has staged many innovative conferences on coaching and was the first to showcase coaching research almost 20 years ago. He co-founded the Foundation for Coaching which has now become the Institute of Coaching at Harvard. he has also co-founded Accelerating Coach Excellence, a program dedicated to helping coaches get to the heart of client issues in less time.  David is an active coach working with senior leaders, professionals, and entrepreneurs around the globe. He has also coached many of the leaders in the coaching profession helping to grow the impact of coaching worldwide.

 

9 Types of Silence and the Impact of Each

To start or to continue receiving the weekly blogs via email, please sign-up using this link: subscribe to Innovative Leadership Institute weekly blog.

This blog is written by Marcia Reynolds. It is a companion to her interview as a part of the WBECS (The World Business & Executive Coach Summary) Interview Series that is featured on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future. Marcia’s interview aired on Tuesday, May 12, 2020, titled Difficult Conversations That Get Positive Results. You can take part in the month-long 10th Annual World Business and Executive Coach free Pre-Summit  by signing up here.

 

When you choose how to use your silence, you have the opportunity to align with, shift, and possibly transform the thinking of the person you are with. You must consciously choose how you are holding your stillness. Some of the 9 types of silence can hurt your connection with others more than help it.

For example, choosing not to speak when your brain is full of chatter is a kind of silence that can be disruptive. You aren’t present. You are biting your tongue until you can state what is on your mind. Others feel your impatient energy. They may yield the floor to you knowing you have something you are anxious to share or they may just avoid eye contact with you to keep you silent.

When in a conversation, especially a difficult one, you want to be aware of the silence you are holding. Is your silence alert and full of curiosity? Or are you just waiting to end what you think is a dead-end discourse? Are you open to receiving what your partner is expressing so you can share what you see and hear for clarification? Or are you just waiting for the opportunity to state your opinion?

9 Types of Silence and How You Use Them

Novelist, poet, playwright, and psychotherapist Paul Goodman identified 9 kinds of silence in his classic book, Speaking and Language.¹ Here is his list with my interpretation of how the silence might impact your conversations.

  1. Dumb silence of slumber or apathy. Do you have nothing to say because you don’t care? Their words are bouncing off you like a wall.
  2. Sober silence that goes with a solemn animal face. Have you given up being a part of the conversation and just listening because you feel you have to? You may feel like a prisoner until you are released.
  3. Noisy silence of resentment. The judgment you have for the speaker is so loud in your head you don’t hear what is being said.
  4. Baffled silence of confusion. You aren’t sure of the intention of the conversation, the meaning of the words, or the direction the story is going. You are reluctant to say anything because the speaker might not take your feedback well.
  5. Musical silence that accompanies absorbed activity. Whether you are alone or with others, you are so immersed in what you are doing that it feels as if the world is silent around you.
  6. The silence of peaceful accord with other persons or communion with the cosmos. The science of awe and wonder reveals a beautiful combination of peace and curiosity when we feel a sense of oneness with what we see. We quietly accept the unknown but want to know more.
  7. Fertile silence of awareness. What is being revealed has your head spinning. Are the thoughts arising from what you are curious about now or from what you think you now know? Observations and questions arising from your curiosity can further the conversation. Sharing what you think you now know might shut it down.
  8. Alive silence of alert perception. Are you noticing everything in your visual sphere? Acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton said, “Silence is not the absence of something but the presence of everything.”
  9. The silence of listening to whole person you are with. When you are silent but focused on the other, you can catch the drift of their meaning from their words, their expressions, and the energy they radiate. This is how you cultivate non-reactive empathy. You not only understand their experience, you are then able to reflect what you hear and notice to help the other person assess their thinking. This is an alive silence but not intrusive. This is the silence most useful to effective coaching and leadership conversations, and probably parenting as well.

Can You WAIT?

There is an acronym used in training for many years, WAIT – Why Am I Talking? Whether you are speaking out loud or you are allowing your brain to fill your head with words, ask yourself if silence would be more useful and what type of silence you want to hold.

Kahlil Gibran wrote in his 1923 classic The Prophet, “There are those among you who seek the talkative through fear of being alone.” You can help people feel connected with your silence. They will come to feel safe with you, willing to reveal what is on their minds that they do not understand.  Your curiosity and care can help them come to a new understanding filled with possibility. Gibran called this way of being with people, “rhythmic silence.” I believe this silence is what we hold when we are practicing Coaching Presence.

Alive, focused silence is a skill we can all develop. Find a moment to practice today.

 

Want to hear more from Marcia and other great coaching speakers? You can take part in the month-long 10th Annual World Business and Executive Coach free Pre-Summit  by signing up here.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the Author

Dr. Marcia Reynolds, president of Covisioning LLC, is endlessly curious about how humans learn and grow. She found coaching to be the best technology we have for accelerating the process of change. She has coached and trained leaders and coaches in 41 countries and has presented at the Harvard Kennedy School, Cornell University, and The National Research University in Moscow. Dr. Reynolds is a pioneer in the coaching profession. She is a founding member and 5th global president of the International Coach Federation. She returned to the board for two years in 2016 where she focused on credentialing requirements and strengthening relationships with coach training schools. She is the Training Director for the Healthcare Coaching Institute and on faculty for the International Coach Academy in Russia and Create China Coaching in China. Global Gurus recognizes her as one of the top 5 coaches in the world. Dr. Reynolds has published 5 books.

 

¹ Paul Goodman, Speaking and Language: Defence of Poetry. Random House, 1972. Out of print but you might find it in your local public or university library.

 

Leveraging Technology To Improve Leadership Development

To start or to continue receiving the weekly blogs via email, please sign-up using this link: subscribe to Innovative Leadership Institute weekly blog.

In the current Corona virus crisis, this interview may be useful to those looking to use online platforms in place of in-person instruction. The following blog is a republish of an article appearing in Forbes written by Maureen Metcalf. It is a companion to the interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future on titled Leveraging Online Kajabi Platform To Build Thriving Brands.

 

As a university adjunct faculty member, consultant and coach, I have been using the tagline of “Innovative Leadership” for many years. This sets the bar for how I commit to my work as well as the services I deliver. I recently started to explore how I could refresh my use of technology to teach leadership in conjunction with coaching and workshops. I am looking for options to accelerate the leader’s learning process and offer a broad range of tools for different learning styles. I want to share my experience of how I am leveraging this technology to support leaders in their development.

I researched the many robust online delivery options and selected a tool that was a solid fit for my work: Kajabi. I selected it because of the strong technology platform, strong start-up support, cost-effectiveness, integrated payment and affiliate tracking modules and the ability to communicate with participants by product.

With the support of the online platform, I am rethinking what is possible. Right now, I am using the online training for the following three applications initially and I will expand these as we use the platform.

  1. We recently launched a 10-month IT leadership development program. This program was designed to build skills in the IT community in order to build the talent pipeline for senior roles. It will be delivered through monthly in-person sessions in conjunction with our local CIO forum. The online platform allows us to deliver training that integrates structured exercises, case studies and audio interviews with local CIOs and executives. One of the key objectives of the in-person sessions is to learn content and build a network. We expect the online element to significantly accelerate the building of leadership skills for mid- to senior-level IT professionals.

The online platform allows us to track payment and engagement with the materials. As the facilitator, this lets me manage the finances easily and also identify who is highly engaged so we can offer additional resources to enrich their experience. It also tells me who is less engaged so I can reach out and troubleshoot.

  1. We often augment our leadership coaching programs with a series of exercises designed to help participants build self-awareness, knowledge and skills. Especially for emerging leaders, we deliver a hybrid of training and coaching to prepare them to step into larger roles. For this group, we created a standard curriculum with exercises, case studies, audio interviews and videos. I can monitor client progress through the platform, and in this case, they share their progress prior to coaching sessions and discuss how their learning can improve their leadership work.

The online platform offers the option to package the leadership development curriculum by leadership level. I can sell packaged offerings of coaching and online training. It also gives the option to support affiliates so the other coaches and consultants in our organization work from a single platform with consistent processes and offerings.

  1. We offer online development programs as standalone offerings for individuals and companies to provide effective (and cost-effective) training for their emerging and current leaders. These programs can be combined with other programs the companies are conducting. Because this program is comprehensive and participants work through it over time, it provides the opportunity to internalize the learning, not just attend and depart.

The online platform allows us to customize materials for specific groups and tweak other courses where appropriate to reinforce and build on the in-person development investments they are making.

Another element we will be building into the platform that we are very excited about is an assessment that will be used by those taking courses, and it is also offered as a standalone service. Because an online platform can support a range of services, we are able to create a clean and user-friendly purchasing experience.

I have struggled for years to present a simple path for clients. Our company website is highly complex and positions us as a thought leadership and executive advisory firm. While that works for some audiences, it is inappropriate for others. Using Kajabi as our online platform and linking it to our main site and our book website, we can tailor the user experience to the target audience in a manner that is cost-effective for us and easy for the user.

I talk about the most effective leaders acting like scientists. This endeavor is one of my experiments. I did my homework and selected this platform. We are implementing several modules and we will continue to test and refine our experiment as we go along. For other coaches and consultants looking to extend your offering, I encourage you to explore the broad range of options for technology to enable and even extend the strong impact you are already having on clients.

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the Author

Maureen Metcalf, CEO of the Innovative Leadership Institute, is a renowned executive advisor, coach, consultant, author and speaker.

Should IT Executives Show Their “Soft Side”?

This is a guest post by Patt Hardie, Leadership and Talent Management Expert.  It is the companion to the July 17, 2018 Voice America interview with David White, CIO of Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, Ohio, aired on VoiceAmerica “Innovative Leaders Driving Thriving Organizations”: Should IT Executives Share their ‘Soft Side’?

Soft skills have many definitions, one key being emotional intelligence. Research has provided clear evidence that emotionally intelligent leaders are more successful. Many of these studies yield bottom-line results. Yet, many leaders miss the mark. Why? Maybe they believe that strong leadership equates to being tough, they lack confidence, or don’t want to appear vulnerable in their role. Or some may believe it seems too ‘touchy-feely’ or soft. The ‘Soft Side’ of leadership spans beyond technical leaders to all leaders, and really isn’t about being soft (or any of those other things) at all. What it IS about is being confident and secure enough to be yourself with others; its about being humble, approachable and personable; and treating people with dignity, concern and appreciation. It’s also knowing your people, about having compassion and restraint; listening with purpose and responding with care; and caring about the impact of decisions on people. Finally, it’s about sincerity, self-awareness and learning. The ‘Soft Side’ of leading doesn’t eliminate the important responsibilities of managing performance and holding people accountable. It is a ‘both/and’ combination of strengths that leaders need to have to be successful.

As an IT Leader and someone who works in technology, David talks about why the soft side of leading is a significant contributor to success. As technology leaders, we need a diverse set of skills including a heavy dose of soft skills to be a highly successful business leaders beyond our technical skills. These skills range from awareness and management of our mood, an ability to be present and focused to skills in establishing and managing a positive culture where a broad range of perspectives can be explored and synthesized.

David has a strong understanding about the ‘Soft Side’ of leading and demonstrates it effectively.

The soft side of leading is a hot topic today for many articles and books under titles such as Authentic or Gracious Leadership, or the Genuine or Compassionate Leader because it couldn’t be more important than in today’s environment, in our culture, our communities, and in our organizations and its impact to bottom-line business results. The beauty of it all is that when leaders are willing to be their authentic self in business relationships with key stakeholders: teams, peers, customers, etc., great outcomes emerge:  trust builds, morale and engagement increases, teamwork and collaboration multiplies within and between groups, and empowerment and accountability grows. Better decisions are made, ‘conflict’ becomes ‘problem solving’, and over time, if practiced by enough leaders, authenticity becomes part of the culture. The old saying that the leader sets the tone couldn’t be truer. All of these lead to higher performance and business results.

Maya Angelou, the American civil rights activist and poet once said, ‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’ Janet Smith Meeks, business leader says in her book Gracious Leadership: Lead Like You’ve Never Led Before ‘Gracious leadership represents the intersection of ultimate respect ad optimal outcomes.’ These inspirational quotes represent what the soft side of leading are ultimately about: Sharing the best version of yourself in service of others. Yet, how do you do that well? It’s often the little things surprisingly, it’s consistency over time. Here are a few tips with examples:

  • Be personable, humble, authentic:
    • Make eye contact, initiating conversation with those you encounter on the elevator, in hallways, in the cafeteria, in meetings (even if you’re introverted)
    • Get to know your people, team members, key stakeholders; remember names, important information; let them get to know you
    • Acknowledge mistakes, ask forgiveness; show gratitude; be sincere
    • Ask for coaching, mentoring, training, support when needed
    • Drop by offices or invite staff to your office to chat
    • Have your meetings in the cafeteria or other casual spaces at the office
    • Have lunch with team or 1-1 with team members/others

Author personal example: When I have meetings in cities where team members are located, I always make time to meet and have lunch with them to discuss current issues and learn more about them personally.

  • Treat people with dignity, concern and appreciation:
    • Show compassion with a personal note of condolence, get well card; work from home in special circumstance if you can, etc.
    • Say thank you, send notes of appreciation
    • Celebrate accomplishments/milestones individually/team
    • Never be too busy to reach out to become aware of what’s going on with other’s needs
    • Manage performance issues with dignity
    • Do more listening than speaking so that others feel heard
    • Give people undivided attention when they come into your office to talk; put everything down, don’t answer your phone

Author personal example: I recall a time when my team was working on a lengthy project and we were closing in on our deadline. We were working long hours, so over the weekend, I put handwritten motivational notes on small post-it’s on everyone’s desktop monitors… simple sayings like ‘Stay awesome… we’re almost there!!!’ and ‘Hang in there, you’re doing GREAT!!!’ I was amazed at the impact that small gesture had the following week on the entire team!

  • Self-awareness and learning:
    • Seek feedback for yourself from others regularly
    • Know what you know, know where your gaps are; fill your gaps with learning and supplement some with smart people and utilize them well
    • Be clear about your personal leadership philosophy; your own development plan; your organization’s mission/vision/values and share it all with your team and have them hold you accountable

Author personal example: In all my regular 1-1 meetings with team members, I always ask what else they need from me to help them in their role…

Leadership is about building the next generation of leaders. People want to know how their work contributes to the achievement of results and are eager to provide their discretionary effort. People want to feel fully appreciated for the work they do, they want to matter. Step up to the leadership they deserve and deliver them the best version of yourself that you can. You won’t disappoint, and neither will they… I promise!

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the Author

Patt Hardie, Principal and Founder of The Hardie Group LLC, has 30 years of business experience across healthcare, chemical, utility, contract research and retail industries as an expert leadership consultant, coach, and advisor. Patt delivers impactful, practical solutions that support her clients’ leadership / team development and organizational challenges. She is recognized as a collaborative partner and progressive thought-leader who has the ability to connect with the business and synthesize needs into successful strategies for sustainable results.

Proven Path to Leadership Maturity and Effectiveness

This post is a companion to the Voice America interview featuring Mike Morrow-Fox talking about leadership maturity and vertical development to build the leadership qualities required to lead large complex organizations and those that aspire to make the greatest impact.

The following article was first published by Forbes Coaches Council in August 2016.

Future trends indicate complexity, accelerated change, and near-constant uncertainty in the coming years. These conditions will require significantly different leadership skills.

With these new demands for evolving leadership, is there a predictable path to develop leadership? If so, what does that path look like?

Leaders develop both “horizontally,” increasing their ability at their current level of operation, and “vertically,” increasing their level of complexity, emotional maturity, and opening to new awareness. Many researchers are now saying that “vertical development” is required to navigate the complexities leaders and their organizations face.

To answer what the vertical evolutionary path looks like, I reference the research of Dr. Cook-Greuter, who developed a Leadership Maturity Framework (LMF) and measurement of adult development as part of her doctoral dissertation at Harvard University. Dr. Cook-Greuter is now the Co-Founder with Beena Sharma of The Center for Leadership Maturity, a firm that facilitates vertical development in individuals, teams and organizations. The LMF is the basis of my work with vertical leadership development because it provides a model that is both grounded in research and practical to use in coaching and leadership development.

Vertical development does not mean that more developed people are “better” people, but rather, in many cases, are likely to be more effective in key leadership roles within large complex organizations. The following is a brief summary of the LMF describing the predictable developmental trajectory people navigate as they grow:

The Group-Centric Level

This level is about conforming and belonging. People at this level follow rules, norms and observe hierarchy. They conform to social expectations, work to group standards, seek membership and approval, and appreciate outward signs of status as a sign of approval. They attend to the welfare of their own group; those who are not like them are the “other,” and therefore outside their circle of concern. They avoid conflict, think in simple terms, and often speak in generalities. Feedback is taken as disapproval since their driving value is to gain approval and be included.

Example: This is the employee who looks to what the group is doing to determine his actions. He looks to meet the “expectations” set by the organization, fit into the culture, and do what everyone does. Belonging is his key to success; standing out or having a different opinion feels risky

The Skill-Centric Level

This focuses on comparing self to others and perfecting skills. Individuals at this level focus on being competent in their own area of interest and improving techniques and efficiency. They aspire to quality standards and are often heavily invested in their way as the only way of doing things. Decisions are made based on incontrovertible “facts.” Given their focus on problem-solving and detail, they can get caught in the weeds and not see the big picture necessary to effectively prioritize among competing demands. All consuming attention on being right can lead them to be critical of and competitive with others. They hear feedback about their work as criticism of them as a whole person.

Example: This is the employee who points out when others make mistakes and tries to correct them so they can meet the standards. Her development efforts focus on building expertise. She usually has a “better” opinion unless she is in the presence of a subject-matter expert.

The Self-Determining Level

This focuses on analyzing and achieving to effectively deliver results. Leaders at this level look toward longer-term goals and initiate rather than follow expectations. They value objectivity and scientific knowledge, seeking rational, proactive ways around problems. They often seek consensus — “agree to disagree” — and value mutuality and equality in relationships. They accept feedback to promote learning and success.

Example: This employee continually drives to meet organizational goals. He works both efficiently and effectively and is continually competing with himself and others to drive the best results. He has a five-year plan, is open to new learning, and is beginning to be more reflective.

The Self-Questioning Level

This level focuses on self in relationship and contextualizing his/her experience. Leaders at this level are concerned with the difference between reality and appearance and have an increased understanding of complexity and unintended effects of actions. They begin to question their own assumptions and views and realize the subjectivity of beliefs; and talk of interpretations rather than facts. They can play different roles in different contexts and begin to seek out and value feedback.

Example: This employee is continually inquiring, challenging assumptions, and aware of the limitations of conventional thinking. She focuses on creating an environment where everyone feels valued. She is committed to appreciating value in different perspectives.

The Self-Actualizing Level

This level is about integrating and transforming self and systems, and recognizing higher principles, complexity and interrelationships. People at this level are aware of the social construction of reality — not just rules and customs. They are problem finding, not just doing creative problem solving. They are aware of paradox and contradiction in self and systems and learn to have a deep appreciation of others. They demonstrate a sensitivity to systemic change and create “positive-sum” games.

Example: This person is continually evaluating the organization’s strategy against long-term industry trends as well as global economic conditions while embodying her values and using herself as an instrument of transformation. She is self-aware and firmly anchored in principles while having the ability to adapt based on context.

As we look to the changes leaders are facing in the near and long term, it is helpful to have a robust model for development that allows them to focus their development energy effectively. This framework, along with it, measurement instrument — the maturity assessment for professionals (MAP) — is the most robust I have seen, and I find it highly effective in supporting leaders.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the author Maureen Metcalf, CEO and Founder of Innovative Leadership Institute, is a renowned executive advisor, author, speaker, and coach whose 30 years of business experience provides high-impact, practical solutions that support her clients’ leadership development and organizational transformations. Maureen is recognized as an innovative, principled thought leader who combines intellectual rigor and discipline with an ability to translate theory into practice. Her operational skills are coupled with a strategic ability to analyze, develop, and implement successful strategies for profitability, growth, and sustainability.

Leveraging Personality Type to Improve Leadership Effectiveness

Leader Type

This guest blog was written as a companion to the VoiceAmerica Interview with Belinda Gore on April 24, Building Leadership Self-Awareness Using Personality Type. In the interview and the blog, Belinda explores how she uses the Enneagram to help leaders build the self-awareness that enables them to perform effectively.

This post contains some excepts from the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook written by Maureen Metcalf with contributing author Belinda Gore.

Let’s start with the example of Ken, an experienced leader, who was making a job change. He realized he was navigating in uncharted territory and that he would no longer be working with the team he knew well and trusted. He would be working with new people who didn’t know who he was or how he worked. Because starting a new job is stressful, he also needed to be aware of his patterns and signs of stress. To help him manage this transition, he revisited his personality assessment to refresh his memory on how to navigate his personal stress and to better understand his new team. He found this tool very useful in the past and expected it would be equally valuable as he stepped into a high-visibility role.

When the 65 members of the Advisory Council for the Stanford Graduate School of Business were polled several years ago on the topic of what is most important to include in the school’s curriculum, there was an overwhelming agreement that the most important thing business school graduates needed to learn was self-awareness and the resulting ability to reduce denial in their perceptions of themselves and their actions.  Pretty impressive.  All the tools of the MBA trade—forecasting, strategic planning, financial analysis, among many, many others—were determined to be LESS important than learning skills of self-awareness and the ability to reduce denial. This speaks to the emerging recognition that we highlight in Innovative Leadership:  Leaders, through their own personality quirks and biases, can derail the most progressive initiatives toward an organization’s sustainable success.

The name “Enneagram” derives from the Greek for nine (ennea) and for a figure (grama), hence, the Enneagram symbol of a circle with nine equidistant points around the circumference.  The symbol itself is ancient. Using the symbol as a map we can describe patterns of personality as well as highly effective pathways for personal change.  In my experience using the Enneagram system as a psychologist and leadership coach over the past twenty-three years, I find it to be more robust than any other system I have encountered. Many organizations are familiar with DISC, MBTI, Strengths Finder, and other systems, and training in these models has given employees at every level of organizations a foundation in models for self-awareness. I have found leaders at every level able to readily learn the more rich and versatile information the Enneagram offers.

The following section describes the enneagram types.

Type 1—Reformer: The Rational, Idealistic Type

I am a principled, idealistic type. I am conscientious and ethical with a strong sense of right and wrong behavior. I can be a teacher, crusader, and advocate for change, always striving to improve things, but sometimes afraid of making mistakes. Well-organized, orderly, and fastidious, I try to maintain high standards, but can slip into being critical and perfectionistic. I typically have problems with resentment and impatience.

At My Best: I am wise, discerning, realistic, and noble. I can be morally heroic.

Type 2Helper: The Caring, Interpersonal Type

I am a caring, interpersonal type. I am empathetic, sincere, and warm-hearted. I am friendly, generous, and self-sacrificing, but can also be sentimental, flattering, and people pleasing. I am well-meaning and driven to be close to others, but can slip into doing things for others in order to be needed. I typically have problems with possessiveness and with acknowledging my own needs.

At My Best: I am unselfish and altruistic, and have unconditional love for others.

Type 3—Achiever: The Success-Oriented, Pragmatic Type

I am an adaptable, success-oriented type. I am self-assured, attractive, and charming. Ambitious, competent, and energetic, I can also be status-conscious and highly-driven for advancement. I am diplomatic and poised, but can also be overly concerned with my image and what others think of me. I typically have problems with over focus on work and competitiveness.

At My Best: I am self-accepting, authentic, and a role model who inspires others.

Type 4—Individualist: The Sensitive, Withdrawn Type

I am an introspective, romantic type. I am self-aware, sensitive, and reserved. I am emotionally honest, creative, and personal, but can also be moody and self-conscious. Withholding myself from others due to feeling vulnerable, I can also feel scornful and exempt from ordinary ways of living. I typically have problems with melancholy, self-indulgence, and self-pity.

At My Best: I am inspired and highly creative and am able to renew myself and transform my experiences.

Type 5—Investigator: The Intense, Cerebral Type

I am a perceptive, cerebral type. I am alert, insightful, and curious. I am able to concentrate and focus on developing complex ideas and skills. Independent, innovative, and inventive, I can also become preoccupied with my thoughts and imaginary constructs. I can be detached, yet high-strung and intense. I typically have problems with eccentricity, nihilism, and isolation.

At My Best: I am a visionary pioneer, often ahead of my time, and able to see the world in an entirely new way.

Type 6—Loyalist: The Committed, Security-Oriented Type

I am reliable, hardworking, responsible, security oriented, and trustworthy. I am an excellent troubleshooter, and can foresee problems and foster cooperation, but can also become defensive, evasive, and anxious: running on stress while complaining about it. I can be cautious and indecisive, but also reactive, defiant, and rebellious. I typically have problems with self-doubt and suspicion.

At My Best: I am internally stable and self-reliant, courageously championing myself and others.

Type Seven—Enthusiast: The Busy, Fun-Loving Type

I am a busy, outgoing, productive type. I am extroverted, optimistic, versatile, and spontaneous. Playful, high-spirited and practical, I can also misapply many talents, becoming over-extended, scattered, and undisciplined. I constantly seek new and exciting experiences, but can become distracted and exhausted by staying on the go. I typically have problems with impatience and impulsiveness.

At My Best: I focus my talents on worthwhile goals, becoming appreciative, joyous, and satisfied.

Type Eight—Challenger: The Powerful, Dominating Type

I am a powerful, aggressive, self-confident, strong, and assertive. Protective, resourceful, straight talking, and decisive, I can also be egocentric and domineering. I feel I must control my environment, especially people, sometimes becoming confrontational and intimidating. I typically have problems with my temper and with allowing myself to be vulnerable.

At My Best: I am self-mastering and I use my strength to improve others’ lives, becoming heroic, magnanimous, and inspiring.

Type Nine—Peacemaker: The Easygoing, Self-effacing Type

I am accepting, trusting, easy going, and stable. I am usually grounded, supportive, and often creative, but can also be too willing to go along with others to keep the peace. I want everything to go smoothly and be without conflict, but I can also tend to be complacent and emotionally distant, simplifying problems, and ignoring anything upsetting. I typically have problems with inertia and stubbornness.

At My Best: I am indomitable and all-embracing, and able to bring people together to heal conflicts.

One advantage of the Enneagram is that it is organic. The nine personality styles are formed through characteristic ways of balancing the three primary centers of intelligence in the human body. While we typically think of the brain as the center of intelligence, advances in neuroanatomy have demonstrated that there is also a complex system of nerves in the solar plexus region that forms the center of body intelligence and a third complex system of nerves in the center of the chest, known as the heart center of intelligence.  These three centers are aligned with the three major parts of the brain:  the belly center is aligned with the reptilian brain stem, responsible for instinctual behavior and home of the autonomic nervous system that controls arousal and relaxation;  the heart center is aligned with the mid-brain where we encounter the mechanism for fundamental emotion as well as mirror neurons and limbic resonance that account for our capacity for empathy; and the head center is aligned with the cerebral cortex, which includes the analytical and logical left lobe as well as the holistic and intuitive right lobe.

The key to identifying a person’s core Enneagram type is to look beyond behavior to the factors motivating that behavior. Through awareness of motivation we can predict the ways in which leaders and organizations sabotage their best efforts as well as find the line of least resistance toward getting back on track.

By harnessing the capacity to see your leader type and conditioning in an objective, nonjudgmental way, you can foster better insight to your own experience without the strained effort that can stem from self-bias. You discover that the unique patterns that shape each type are genuine, natural and generally do not change much over time. In the most basic way, they simply reflect who you are most innately.  The goal with leader type is to build self-awareness and leverage strengths, not try to change who you are. Understanding the natural conditioning that comes from leader type is a crucial stage in developing leadership effectiveness, and comprehensive innovation within the entire organization.

A recommended resource for identifying your own Enneagram personality type is to take an online questionnaire.  For $12 you can complete the assessment and receive the scored results immediately along with material to describe your top choices. To accurately determine your type and how to use the information we suggest that you contact an Enneagram coach at either Metcalf & Associates, or a teacher or coach at the Deep Coaching Institute.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the Authors

Belinda Gore, PhD focuses on designing, developing and delivering leadership, assessments, workshops, and coaching. She is a key thought leader in the development of the Innovative Leadership framework.

 

She is a psychologist, executive coach, and experienced seminar leader who is skilled in supporting her clients in high-level learning. With 30 years’ experience in leadership development and interpersonal skills training, she is known for helping teams discover strength in their diversity to achieve their mutual goals, and works with individual leaders to access their natural talents to maximize effectiveness and personal satisfaction. Her clients have included senior leadership in global companies, senior and middle management in both corporate and nonprofit organizations, and entrepreneurs. She will be leading our new service line focused on helping leaders and their organizations build resilience along with offering leadership team development, board development, coaching, and Enneagram assessment.

Maureen Metcalf, CEO and Founder of Innovative Leadership Institute, is a renowned executive advisor, author, speaker, and coach whose 30 years of business experience provides high-impact, practical solutions that support her clients’ leadership development and organizational transformations. Maureen is recognized as an innovative, principled thought leader who combines intellectual rigor and discipline with an ability to translate theory into practice. Her operational skills are coupled with a strategic ability to analyze, develop, and implement successful strategies for profitability, growth, and sustainability.