Monday, November 25, 2013

20 Tips For Leaders During Turbulent Times:


Last week Iasked readers to submit their burning leadership development questions. And boy, did they ever! Over 50 responses in just two days and more coming in every day!
I’m going to do my best to get to as many as I can. Those that get picked for a post will receive a free copy of my eBook.
This question from Bridgette:
“My organization is going through yet another re-organization. We are shifting people, projects and changing roles. We don't seem to have the big picture, therefore making it difficult as a leader in the department to support senior management.
During the re-organization or transformation of the department, what are the top objectives for the key leaders? What should be our focus to ensure success?

Bridgette, I feel your pain. I once worked in an organization and went through 8 reorgs, downsizings, and new bosses in 8 years.  If anything, we got really good at leading through chaos. If I had to summarize the three most important things for a leader to focus on to ensure success in turbulent times, it would be:


1. Manage your own response to the change. Your employees will be watching you – what you say, how you say it, what you do, etc…. Do your best to set a positive example and be a role model for resiliency and dealing with the uncertainty.
2. Communicate. This is not a time to hunker down and wait until you have all of the “right” answers. Make yourself accessible, talk to people, listen, and do your best to gain clarity from your own leaders.

3. Involvement. Find ways to get people involved, in whatever way you can. Passengers don’t get carsick from the motion – it’s from the lack of control. Give them a sense of control.

Those are the big 3 themes from the list below that jump out for me. Here’s a more complete list for leading during turbulent times:
1. Make time to get out and see people. When you are with them spend most of the time listening.

2. Resist the urge to try and take control of everything.  Instead get your star performers involved and rely on them.
3. Tell your people everything that might matter to them.  If there are things you cannot tell them, tell them that.

4. Strong emotions will not disappear overnight.  Provide opportunities for people to talk.  Be patient.
5. Build trust by framing everything you do and say in a way that expresses your trust in them.

6. Find ways to involve as many people as possible as early as possible.
7. Be reliable by doing exactly what you say.  If you don’t admit it and explain.

8. Reward people for doing what needs to get done.
9. Show that you care about everyone in the organization including those that may not be directly impacted.

10.Be careful to not let sarcasm or cynicism creep into your language.
11. Provide more frequent feedback to let people know they are appreciated for doing the right things and making improvements.

12. Bolster self esteem by helping people see their strengths.
13. If you cannot tell people something explain why in sufficient detail.

14. Suggest people participate in change skills sessions.
15. Replace or adjust the measures that do not reflect the current priorities.

16. Go out of your way to reinforce the behavior and results desired.
17. Re-affirm the important project milestones and deliverables.

18. Separate what is “business as usual” from what is or soon may be different.
19. Focus on individual coaching in a way that helps people see themselves being successful.

20. Pay extra attention to your star performers. They are often the first to get insecure.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Number One Reason Employees Get Sick....Perceived Unfairness at Work


Guest post from Ken Nowack:

“Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me.”
- Anonymous

Recent studies confirm that emotional hurt and rejection, whether part of social interactions or the perception of inequitable and unjust workplace conditions can actually trigger the same neurophysiologic pathways associated with physical pain and suffering (Eisenberger, Lieberman, & Williams, 2003).
In a nifty study by Naomi Eisenberger and colleagues at UCLA, she was able to use the latest technology to peer into the inner workings of our brain called functional magnetic resonance (fMRI) while a team was involved in a social exercise designed to provoke feelings of social isolation and rejection.

She studied what part of the brain was activated while a group of subjects played a computer game with other individuals they did not know. She created two possibilities of being rejected–either actively or passively (she told them they couldn't not continue because of some technical problems). Comparison of fMRI brain activity in the active exclusion group versus inclusion conditions revealed greater activity in the part of the brain that is associated with physical pain (anterior cingulate cortex). Additionally, the subjects who were rejected also reported feeling psychological distress based on self-report measures (Eisenberger, N., Lieberman, M. and Williams, K. (2003). Does rejection hurt? An fMRI study of social exclusion. Science, 302, 290-292).
Current findings suggest that people report higher levels of self-reported pain and have diminished performance on a cognitively demanding task after reliving a past socially meaningful event than a past physically painful event (Chen, Z., Williams, K., Fitness, J. & Newton, N. (2008).  When hurt will not heal. Exploring the capacity to relive social and physical pain.  Psychological Perspectives, 19, 789-795).

Additionally, interpersonal judgment and social evaluation tends to elicit strong stress reactions with cortisol levels in our system being elevated fifty percent longer when the stressor is interpersonal versus impersonal ((Dickerson, S. & Kemeny. M. (2004).  Acute stressors and cortisol responses: A theoretical integration and synthesis of laboratory research. Psychological Bulletin, 130, 355-391)).  It might take approximately an hour for our cortisol levels to respond to "normal" after dealing with an upsetting interpersonal situation.
Perceived Unfairness and Employee Health

Quite a bit of research supports the idea that when employees experience injustice (distributive or procedural), psychological contract breach (e.g., feeling exploited in our work relationship with the company) or unfairness can negatively impact an employee's health.
In a very comprehensive meta-analysis, 279 studies were reviewed to explore the association between employee perceived fairness at work and diverse health outcomes (e.g., absenteeism, job burnout, unhealthy behaviors, negative emotional states, and physical health problems (Robbins, J. (2012).  Perceived unfairness and employee health: A meta-analytic integration.  Journal of Applied Psychology, 97, 235-272).  Perceived unfairness was significantly associated with indicators of physical and mental health.

Several findings were interesting to note:
1. Although unfairness was significantly associated with poorer health, the results suggested that unfairness was more strongly associated with indicators of strain and psychological conditions, rather than, physical health outcomes.

2. Mental health problems were most pronounced for those experiencing distributive injustice (i.e., the kind of injustice related to distribution of rewards and recognition).
3. Neither age or gender had any impact on the association between unfairness and health.

4. Interactional unfairness (interpersonal interactions) was consistently one of the weaker predictors of employee health.  However, a closer look at the analyses suggested that interactional justice uniquely predict some health indicators such as job burnout and stress above and beyond distributive and procedural injustice.
 
These findings suggest that perceived unfairness is a pretty significant predictor of employee health and that the experience of interpersonal mistreatment (e.g., disrespect, bullying behavior, evaluative feedback) is highly associated with well-being.
We already know that working for a competent jerk can be a health risk (Nyberg. et al., 2008.  Managerial leadership and ischemic heart disease among employees: The Swedish WOLF study. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 66, 51-55).
It would seem safe to conclude that both perceived social inequity, unfairness and negative interpersonal interactions might be more important than just impacting disengagement--it might actually directly lead to such health outcomes as job burnout, absenteeism and psychological distress...Be well.....

Kenneth Nowack, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist (PSY13758) and President  & Chief Research Officer/Co-Founder of Envisia Learning www.envisialearning.com, is a member of the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations, and is a guest lecturer at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. Ken also serves on the editorial board of Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research. His recent book Clueless: Coaching People Who Just Don't Get It is available at http://www.envisialearning.com/clueless_book
Note from Dan - I've gotten to know Ken recently - great guy, he knows his stuff, and I loved his book!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Learning Pairs Program, an Internal Development Tool


Guest post by Great Leadership monthly contributor Beth Armknecht Miller:

Learning pairs are created to advance the learning of two employees.

When creating pairs you first need to identify what development goal you want to address for each employee as well as what the employee has to share and coach with another employee based on their experience, skills and knowledge.

For example, you may have an older sales employee who needs additional skills in social networking. This employee has great time management skills, which has helped him become successful.

Then you might have a younger, Millennial employee who is very adept in social networking yet has some challenges with time management. These two employees would make a great learning pair.

The great benefit to Learning Pairs is that the learning is inexpensive and both participants are learning during the process. So how do you start a Learning Pairs Program? Follow the steps below to implement a development program that can provide huge benefits to your workforce and organization.

Preparing for Pairing Learners

It is important to set the stage for learning before two employees are matched. The Learning Pair Champion needs to schedule and deliver a brief session for all those involved with the Learning Pairs Program. In the session, the Learning Pair Champion, should address the following:

1.     The goal of the learning pairs program.

2.     Expectations of participating in the program.

3.     Outline of how to plan each meeting, which will include specific goals, learning review, and next steps.

4.     The specific feedback process, which will uncover: What can be improved in the process and are the pairings well matched?

5.     Determining the end point of pairing program. The two participants need to determine where they are in the learning process. Is it complete? If so, are there other things they can learn from each other?

6.     Making the learning sticky and sustainable. Has it become a habit?

Depending on how many participants are in the program, you may want to have an automated system that tracks participants progress and allows for the learning to be shared across the organization.

Learning Pair Process

The Learning Pair Champion needs to oversee the process, which will require check in points.  

A meeting with the Champion and the two employees in a learning pairs should take place before the first pair meeting.  In this meeting, the champion should facilitate a discussion to determine the level of commitment from both participants. Review expectations that were discussed in the earlier group session.  Expectations should include that meetings need to be regular and become part of their work calendar.  They should start weekly and move to biweekly. Each participant should prepare specific questions for an upcoming meeting. And participants should respect each others strengths and differences.

During the process, the Champion may opt to provide learning ideas to participants. As an example they may share information about the different learning styles that may impact learning or provide additional questioning techniques.

When it has been determined that learning between the pairs is complete, the process is concluded by a lessons learned session with the Champion and the two employees. During this session, determine what learning would be valuable to other employees and communicate to employees the success of the pair learning.  Have the pair develop how they would like to communicate their successemail, PowerPoint, video, let them chose and execute.
 

Beth Armknecht Miller’s is CEO of Executive Velocity, a top talent and leadership development advisory firm. Beth is a trusted executive consultant, Vistage Chair, and committed volunteer. She is a graduate of Babson College and Harvard Business School’s OPM program. She is certified in Myers Briggs, Hogan, and Business DNA. And she is a Certified Managerial Coach. Beth’s insight and expertise has made her a sought-after speaker, and she has been featured in numerous industry blogs and publications. To learn more about Beth visit BethArmknechtMiller.comor Executive-Velocity.com.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Ask a Great Leadership Development Question - Get a Free Book!

 
I'll make a deal with you.

After 6 years and almost 800 posts, it gets harder and harder to come up with new topics to write about. Every now again I get tapped out and need some inspiration. 

That's where you, Great Leadership readers and supporters come in. 

What's your burning question about: 

Leadership Development, Talent Management, Succession Planning, Executive Development, Leadership, Training, Performance Management, Management Development, Coaching, Staff Development, Public Speaking, 360 Feedback, Executive Assessment, E-Learning, Management, Human Resources, Leadership Potential, Employee Engagement, Workshop Facilitation, Employee Relations, Career Management, Culture Change, Learning Management, Instructional Design, Training Delivery, Individual Development Plans, Leadership Models, the Performance and Potential Matrix, Talent Reviews, or Action Learning? 

Send me your question, and if selected, I’ll answer it in a post, or point to a previous post or posts. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll ask an expert in my network (citing the source with links of course). I may even ask a lot of experts and use it for an upcoming Leadership Development Carnival. 

AND – and as an added bonus, if use your question, I’ll send you a free copy of The Great Leadership Development and Succession Planning eBook. Just in time for the holidays! 

If you’re game, please send your questions to dan dot mccarth at gmail dot com.  

Questions should be of potential interest to most readers, not specific personal advice. For example, you could ask: “My employees say my team meetings are more painful than a root canal. What are some ways to improve them?”  

All levels of questions are welcomed! You could be an experienced leadership smarty-pants, a brand new team leader, or an aspiring leader. 

Please indicate if you would like your name used, and if so, I’d also be happy to include a link to your blog, website, book page, or anything else you’d like to hawk. Or, maybe you’re just looking for a chance to anonymously develop leaders – both are OK. 

Now bring it on!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Are You Recognizing Your People’s Best Ideas?


Guest post from David Burkus:

In the early 1900s, Navy officer William S Sims had uncovered a better way for sailors to fire mounted guns at targets at sea. The system, originally developed by a British officer and shared with Sims, required reworking some machinery around the weapon and retraining sailors on how to fire the weapon. After the rework was done, however, Sims saw the accuracy of his sailors during target practice increased dramatically. Sims did what any loyal member of an organization would do, he reported it up to his superiors….and then watched it die.
 
Undaunted, Sims continued to send reports upward toward his superiors claiming the merits of his newly developed system. Each time the response was rejection. His superiors first ignored his claims and eventually tried to prove Sims’ claims as false. Finally, on his thirteenth attempt to get his ideas implemented, Sims petitioned the President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt read Sims report and immediately called him to Washington, where Sims was promoted inspector of target practice for the entire Navy – likely to the dismay of the superior officers who rejected his ideas.
 
Sims’ experience is unfortunately not unique. History is filled with tales of people developing great ideas, only to be rejected by their superiors. Kodak invented the digital camera and never marketed it because executives saw it as a lower quality competitor to film. Xerox invented the personal computer but handed it off to Apple and Microsoft because the senior leaders didn’t understand how it fit into a business model built around making photocopies. Great ideas get rejected all the time.
 
There’s some psychological evidence behind why this happens. For any idea to be truly great, a breakthrough innovation, it usually has to be both novel and useful. It has to be something untried before, and something practical. The problem arises because our brains use the status quo and our knowledge of old ideas, to judge the practicality of the new idea. Sometimes we can do this but most of the time, and especially in uncertain environments like business, we have a hard time separating the two and so we default to favoring the practical. In an organization, a hierarchy with levels of people who each suffer from the same bias against creative ideas, the effect can be devastating. For a great idea like Sims’ to be implemented, it has to move up the entire hierarchy. If a biased executive at any level says no, the whole idea dies. At the same time, however, organizations are withering because they can’t implement new innovative ideas fast enough.

The most common strategy is to encourage people to develop more ideas. We train people on creative thinking techniques or bring in consultants to develop the ideas for us. However, unless we resolve our inherent bias against creative ideas, no amount of additional creativity will help us. It doesn’t matter how many ideas are floating around an organization if leaders can find and implement them. Innovation isn’t a problem of generating new ideas; it’s a problem of recognizing the ones you already have. 

How are you planning to find great ideas? How can you overcome your bias?

 About the author:
David is the author of The Myths of Creativity: The Truth About How Innovative Companies and People Generate Great Ideas. He is also founder of LDRLB and assistant professor of management at Oral Roberts University. Find out more about David at www.davidburkus.com.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

How to Make Team Meetings Less Painful Than a Root Canal


If you manage 2 or more employees, it’s a good idea to have regular team meetings. Team meetings encourage collaboration, a sense of belonging and identity, help coordinate interdependent work, and from the employee’s perspective, are a good opportunity to get fed and break up the routine of the day.
However, with poor strategy and planning, team meetings can also be a horrible waste of time and the subject of angst and ridicule from your team members. They can be as painful as a two-hour root canal!

One way to reap the benefits of a good team meeting and avoid the scorn of your team is to be thoughtful about how you use them.
Here are 5 good reasons to have a team meeting:

1. To solve problems, make decisions, or develop a plan.
This is the #1 reason to get any group together! Teeing up a meaty topic for everyone to get involved with harnesses the collective wisdom of your team, creates a culture of collaboration and teamwork, and can be energizing. For this to be effective, ALL members of the team need to be able to contribute. The problem, decision, or plan has to be something that affects the entire team and that everybody has some expertise to contribute. If not, take it “off-line” with a sub-set of your team.
Allow enough time – at least an hour. 1-2 of these is usually enough for any routine team meeting, given the amount of energy required to work through meaty issues.

2. To make important, timely announcements.
Timing is important here. You don’t want to withhold critical information just because it’s not time for your scheduled team meeting. You want to disseminate that stuff ASAP. Sometimes, however, organizations need to control when information is released – they want everybody to get it at the same time. Doing this at a team meeting allows the opportunity for everyone to hear it (not just read it), ask questions, and discuss implications.

3. To share information that would be of interest to all team members.
This one’s a tricky balance. What’s interesting and important to 3 team members might be boring and irrelevant to 3 others. Sometimes as a leader you feel like you can’t win! Your team will tell you they want to know what’s going on in the rest of the team, but their reaction and body language tells a different story. The key is to put some time limits and boundaries around team member info sharing. For example, you might ask each team member to come prepared to give a brief (1-2 minutes each) update of the top 2-3 things they are working one. Or, ask everyone to share one “win”, one thing they learned, one customer problem they solved and how, a new piece of technology, etc….

After a while, switch it up so it stays interesting.
4. Team (or maybe individual) recognition.

Team meetings are a great way to celebrate big and little accomplishments! This is where food comes into play. Ice cream sundaes, a platter of cookies, whatever…make it fun, do it often, and mix it up.
As for individual recognition – again, this one’s hit and miss. Some like it and some hate it. You might want to ask each team member how they prefer to be recognized.

5. Learning.
Most people are social learners. Bring in a guestspeaker, show a short video, demonstrate a new app or piece of technology/equipment, etc… Get team members involved, build better interdepartmental relationships, and learn as a team!

 
On the other hand, here are 5 things NOT to do at a team meeting:
 
1. Manage individual performance.

My all-time numero uno team meeting pet peeve. This is when the manager asks each team member to bring status reports or goal updates to the meeting. The manager then grills each team member, provides suggestions, solves problems, makes decisions, etc… while the rest of the team fiddles with their smart phones and waits for their turn on the hot seat. This is lazy management! Team meetings are no substitute for regular one-on-one meetings with each team member. While this may seem like an efficient use of your time as a manager, it’s a waste of time for your team.
2. Share information that could otherwise be shared with an email.

This stuff is typically “agenda filler” – the manager scheduled a 90 minute meeting and had 30 minutes to kill.
3. Be late.

I’m talking about a manager, due to their very important busy schedule, breezes into their own team meeting 5-10 minutes late! It’s a slap in the face of your team members. Unfortunately, it happens all the time.
4. Have the meeting without anything from the 1-5 list above just because the meeting it’s on the calendar. 

If this is the case, cancel it! However, shame on you if you can’t think of anything from that list above. That usually means you didn’t start thinking about the meeting until the day before (or 10 minutes before).
5. Try to cram too many items (even if they are in the list of 5 things above) into too little time.

While this one’s not as bad as meeting filler and fluff, rushing through important agenda items or not getting to important stuff leaves the team feeling frustrated. Think about the agenda – try to visualize what a great, engaging meeting would look like – and design agendas as if you’re planning an important event. It is important, right?
Following these guidelines won’t guarantee that your team will look forward to every team meeting like they look forward to quitting time on Friday, but at least they will rank them more favorable than root canals and performance reviews.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Power of Expressing Vulnerability as a Leader


Guest post from Eduard Ezeanu:

Expressing vulnerability is an interesting experience; especially for a leader. When you express vulnerability, you expose your weaknesses as a person and as professional, making yourself more open to any potential external attack.

When I coach people in management and leadership positions, more often than not I discover that they dread expressing vulnerability because of this. They don't want to reveal the chinks in their armor in any way. Rather, they try to convey an image of perfection and impenetrability. They often think this is how a leader should be anyway.

The problem is that they're not perfect, and they don't have to be either. This common tendency in leaders to avoid expressing vulnerability comes from a flawed mindset and it works against them. So I'd like to address and correct this mindset here.

Nobody Is Out To Get You
 
The very foundation of the fear of expressing vulnerability is fragile: the idea (which is often subconscious) that in the work environment others are out to get you, so you should hide any weakness you have instead of letting it show.

This is a highly exaggerated idea. While it is true that competition and some degree of backstabbing are realities of the business world, for the most part people in the business world are well intentioned and they respect others. They seek to see the good in others, and they don't have a hidden agenda to sabotage anyone they can. I believe that leaders tend to be a bit paranoid in their perspective here, which is a tendency that great power can generate.

On top of this, it's key to realize that even if as a leader you manage to portray an image of perfection, other people don't really buy into it. Because they still know you're only human, and therefore imperfect. So they know you have your flaws; you're just doing a really good job at hiding them. Which, coincidentally, does a good job of making them distrust you.

This brings me to my next point. If expressing vulnerability doesn't have its presumed downsides, what does it do? I believe that it creates one major benefit.

Expressing Vulnerability Builds Massive Trust

In my view, expressing vulnerability is a very powerful leadership tool for building trust. Whenever you express vulnerability, you show that you're not afraid to be genuine and human, and you accept yourself as you are. This is a truly meaningful and rare message to convey as a leader, and it instantly makes others trust you more. Because they know you're not putting on an act and you're not about appearances.

In addition, people connect well with each other by getting to know and understand their vulnerabilities. Vulnerability is inclined to generate a sense of empathy and rapport more than just about anything else you could reveal. After all, we all have our own vulnerabilities and it's easy for us to see ourselves in the vulnerabilities of others. This is why it makes sense to take leadership conversation beyond strengths and formal talk, and expose vulnerabilities as well.

So not only that expressing vulnerability as a leader isn't a bad thing, it's actually a good thing. I see it as a leadership skill that every leader or potential leader needs to master.

How to Express Vulnerability

As a coach, I've helped many individuals in management and leadership positions learn how to express vulnerability in the workspace.

The first important thing to understand is that it's a gradual process. You gradually get out of your shell more and show your weak spots. You notice the effects, which will most likely be positive, and this encourages you to come out even more. Thus, step by step, you express more vulnerability and you become more comfortable with it.

How do you actually express vulnerability? By talking about your flaws, fears and failures. These are the things we usually try to hide, when in fact it's a good idea to expose them.

Talk about the mistakes you made and what you learned from them. This makes for great inspirational stories. When you realize you lack the competence to handle something, say so and ask for help. When something worries you, express your worry instead of keeping it to yourself. Others probably know you worry anyway, but they also want you to say it.

Last but not least, it's useful to understand that expressing vulnerability is contextual. You don't just start talking about your failures all of a sudden in a meeting. But if for instance, there is a discussion about a certain project where you believe you made a bad decision, say so instead of hiding this, blaming others or pretending you were right.

Expressing vulnerability may seem easy enough, but it's actually a complex skill, which you develop with practice and by becoming comfortable with your imperfections as a leader.

I often say that the only person who is asking of you to be perfect is yourself. So perhaps it's time to let go of your perfectionism and allows yourself to be a leader with a human face. The results will astonish you.

About the author:
Eduard Ezeanu coaches leaders to help them talk to others in a clear, confident and genuine manner, thus maximizing their impact in the organization. You can read more articles on building confidence and communication skills on his People Skills Decoded blog.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Focus on the Now


Live each day as if it is the last day, for one day, it will be.”
- Anonymous
 

Here’s a couple sobering coaching exercises from Kenneth Nowack, author of Clueless, Coaching People That Just Don’t Get It:

1. Multiply your age times 365 days (your age in number of days):
 

2. Subtract that number from 27,421 days (average life span in the U.S., both sexes, 77.9 years, according to the Center for Disease Control):
 

I have about _____________ days left.
 

Do it Now!
 
"Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow."

- Mark Twain

Have you been thinking about improving some aspect of your life? Running a half marathon? Starting a business? Learning a new language? Saving for retirement? Losing weight and getting in shape? Or becoming a better leader?
List five things you have been procrastinating about doing and plan to take some action on at least one of them this week:

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

"If something's hard to do, then what's the point?!"
- Homer Simpson
 

Monday, November 4, 2013

The November Leadership Development Carnival: Employee Engagement Edition



The November 4th Leadership Development Carnival is up!

This month's Carnival is hosted by Tom Walter - you can find it right here.

Tom asked this month's contributors to respond to the following question:

Employee engagement is the emotional commitment an employee has to the organization and its goals, resulting in the use of discretionary effort. How then, can an employer raise the level of discretionary effort?

There are some great answers, so be sure to take a look.

Friday, November 1, 2013

What Would Your Headline Be?


Guest post from Steven Mundahl, with contributing writer Sharon Massoth:

Not a day goes by that we don’t see a headline where some public leader is “outed.” Rising stars in sports, business, religion, entertainment or government all fill the headlines. A fallen leader may cause us to scan our own lives for similar issues. Perhaps we have small secrets that are not headline material but we would rather not have them revealed: We are a perfectionist.  We have impulsive anger that can get triggered in certain rare situations.   Other times, the secrets are bigger:  We are an alcoholic. We have serial affairs and consider it one of the perks of our position.  We secretly carry a compulsive sexual addiction from a childhood abuse imprinting. We have a shopping or gambling addiction leading us to siphon off extra “perks” from the company.    
Authentic Living: It’s Easier!
It’s easier, simpler and certainly more peaceful to live an authentic life free from dishonest deeds. We are aware of the past domino effect of one bad decision leading to another. We know the importance of healing our self-worth, changing our stressful lifestyles and making stronger spiritual connections. Once we are aware that we need to change a behavior we amazingly find that help is all around us. 

Here are some questions to help you assess:
·        What would your headline be?

·        What is your greatest reward in continuing this behavior?

·        What is your greatest fear in giving up this behavior?

·        How would my spouse, my children, my Board, my staff react to this headline?”
The Path to Healing: The Shifting Sands Reveal All
Imagine yourself standing on the sands of a desert.  You know there is gold down below. You have to dig for it.  Where do you start? With your x-ray vision you can see 4 basic layers:
The Genetic first layer: We have genetics which predispose us to psychological tendencies or addictions.  Every family has biologically-based tendencies: OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) ADHD, alcoholism or depression to name a few. Whatever biological hand we have been dealt, we need to take our so-called “lemon” genetics and turn them into lemonade.
The “Fault-Line” Layer:  None of us escaped getting some family dysfunction along with the good stuff. This resulted in hidden yet volatile fractures below the surface. Our stressful lives are like living in an earthquake prone area. Our book is about the personal journey of leadership with review of all areas of your life. You need to know where the fault lines are (negative triggers and beliefs) and ways to heal them. An example is the negative belief that reveals itself with road rage: “I am not respected. I don’t count.” 
The Crust Layer: We have a brain which tries to hold it all together. It is like having our own inner APP whose purpose is to protect us, reward us for new territories/inventions and arouse us toward attractive sex partners to ensure survival of the species.  To keep the fault-lines from shifting beneath your crust, you need a good stress reduction routine (sleep, exercise, nutrition, self-regulation etc.)  Without one, your brain is subject to an “amygdala hijack” (Daniel Goleman, Ph.D.) or impulsive, ill-thought out decisions.
The Gold layer:  This is the authentic harmonious self you attain through becoming a master of your own life. Rachel Naomi Remen, MD  states “Healing may not be so much about getting better, as about letting go of everything that isn’t you—all of the expectations, all of the beliefs—and becoming who you are.” 
As leaders, we need feedback on our strengths and weaknesses.  More important, we need to see that transforming our weaknesses is the journey to become an authentic leader. Rumi said it best: “The wound is the place where the light enters you.”

Author Bios:
Steven Mundahl is a leadership scholar and professor, and president and CEO of Goodwill Industries in Western Massachusetts.  
Sharon Massoth, LCSW, contributing author, is a psychotherapist, business coach and a gifted intuitive. She consults nationally in areas of stress management and intuition for success.
Their new book is The Alchemy of Authentic Leadership (2013). Journey with the author through his own challenges and triumphs in becoming an authentic leader and building a strong leadership platform. Learn how to heal into wholeness using evidence-based therapies as well as holistic and intuitive tools.  Transform negative corporate cultures using innovative ideas, and finally, learn the author's alchemical principles, called the Seven Tenets of Leadership.  Learn more at www.alchemyofauthenticleadership.com.