Why Is It So Hard to Say No to the Boss?

Posted by on Aug 19, 2013 in AdultLeader, Executive Coaching | 4,683 comments

Because she’s the boss. If you say no, the boss might not like it. You might not get promoted. You might be fired. Your world might end. You might die. Perhaps this sounds a little irrational and extreme, but when I was willing to look closely at my own experience, I found it wasn’t so crazy after all. I am not talking about refusing to perform your job duties. I am suggesting that there may be times when you need to • say no or negotiate • express a contrary thought or idea. • manage a boundary between your personal life and work life I am talking about what adults may need to do as a matter of course to effectively manage their lives and careers. We forget that we were small versions of ourselves at one time, and depended on our parents for food, shelter, love and approval.  We depended on them for our very survival. If we said no or misbehaved, we were likely to be afraid that our survival was at risk.  Our parents were our first bosses. Our original family was the first organization we were a part of.  Our primary role in that organization was as an employee. Our parent(s) were the boss(es). Based on the specifics of our early experiences with authority, we came to certain conclusions about what we needed to be and do in order to survive and be successful. We practiced those thoughts and behaviors and they became a system. The system is made up of our beliefs, perceptions, habits, expectations and assumptions for relating to authority. I’ll use me as an example. My boss parent was angry and inconsistent. I never knew what I would encounter when I got home from school. I came to the conclusion that I needed to be very careful about what I shared and how I shared it. I needed to do whatever I could to make the boss happy. I learned that authority figures were to be feared and avoided. This became my system for relating to authority and was applied without realizing it when I engaged with a boss. I was a perfectionist and a workaholic. I was hesitant to say no or express my own thoughts and ideas if I thought they ran counter to what I thought the boss wanted. This was not a very successful or sustainable model for being a leader and a person with a life. This is where my AdultLeader came in. It is the self that realized that my system for relating to authority was not working to get me the results I wanted. I needed to develop a new system with new thoughts and behaviors in order to be a happier person and a more effective leader. 1. What is something you want to say no to, negotiate, or be or do differently with your boss or someone in authority? 2. How important on a scale of 1 to 10 is this to you? 3. What result do you think you will get if you are able to do this? Imagine what that would look and feel like for a minute 4. What will you as your AdultLeader do? My best to you. Please feel free to send your thoughts and...

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What does it feel like to be the AdultLeader and does it matter?

Posted by on Aug 19, 2013 in AdultLeader, Executive Coaching | 9,296 comments

It feels good to be the AdultLeader when we make choices in life and work that support our identity and values. It feels good to be the person we want to be for ourselves, our families and our organizations. As an executive coach, I see clients who struggle with the stress and pressure of their “always on” lives and the effect that has on their ability to integrate their life and work in a way that allows them • to feel more confident about the job they are doing and the leader they are being • to be more present and engaged when they are home with their families • to reduce stress and worry, sleep better, and exercise more There is always a better feeling associated with those outcomes. It may be relief, inner peace, satisfaction, excitement, passion and joy. We all want to be happy. That is almost always the reason behind anything we want. By paying attention to what we are feeling we can be alerted to what is working and what needs to change. Our feelings are feedback from our real self or AdultLeader. 1. It feels good to be the AdultLeader when we choose to respond in a way that supports our identity and values, or that define who we want to be and what is most important to us. As a result, we are authentically and effectively bringing our real self into the world, and are most likely getting a result we want. 2. It feels bad when we react in a way that ignores our identity and values. In this case, our idealized self or system is making choices for us while we sit uncomfortably in the back seat. We need to get into the driver’s seat and change direction if we are going to get where we want. So, if you are willing slow down a little and pay more attention to what you are feeling, you can use this as an indicator that will let you know – 1. That you are heading in the right direction because you feel good 2. Or that a different choice is beckoning to you because you feel bad. Here are some questions for you: 1. What is something you are struggling with right now? 2. If you were to imagine yourself feeling good about it, what would you be doing differently? 3. What is really important to you about this? 4. What will your AdultLeader do and by when? Thanks for reading. Please feel free to share your comments or...

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Creating a Context is a Simple and Powerful Leadership Practice.

Posted by on Aug 19, 2013 in AdultLeader, AdultLeader Practices, Executive Coaching | 3,862 comments

Engaging the AdultLeader is our route to leadership when we choose to apply our unique strengths, skills, and experiences with self-knowledge, purpose and commitment. It can help for us to have some specific practices, habits, and/or rituals that we regularly apply to consciously interrupt our thoughtless (without thought) habits and reactions. One such practice is creating a leadership context. A simple definition of context is defining the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea in terms that can be fully understood and assessed. We can do this by asking ourselves a few simple questions before we begin a conversation, meeting, presentation, email, or any other activity or form of communication that matters. With a defined context, it becomes clear how to proceed with purpose, commitment, focus and clarity. PRACTICE: Before I begin my conversation, meeting, presentation, email…..I regularly ask myself the following questions: 1. Why does this matter to me? Why is this important to me? This question connects me to my purpose and values. The answer will generate energy, passion and commitment to move forward. 2. What do I want to accomplish? This question helps me to clarify the goals or outcome I want. The answer will provide me with focus and direction. 3. Who do I want to be? This question invites my AdultLeader to consider how I want to show up as a leader. The answer will remind me that how I show up as a leader is a choice. The answers to these 3 questions become the foundation to answer the next question. 4. How will I do this? This question will help me to define my strategy and tactics. The answer will move me into action that is aligned with my AdultLeader, the self that chooses to authentically and effectively bring my real self into the world. This practice reminds you to interrupt what you are busy doing and give yourself some time for focus and reflection. It will usually take only a few moments, and may take a little while longer for a more difficult or important situation. With a defined leadership context, it becomes clear how to proceed in a manner that makes it more likely you will achieve your desired outcome. Defining a leadership context is a practice that can become a habit or ritual. Try it out: 1. What is a conversation, meeting, presentation, or email that is coming up that matters to you and that you would like to approach differently? 2. Take a few moments to ask yourself the 4 leadership context questions above. 3. Go try it out. 4. What did you do differently as a result of having asked yourself these questions? 5. How did it work out? Hope it worked out well for you. Please feel free to send your comments and...

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