Monday, February 2, 2015

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Become a More Effective Leader


If you suspect a man, 
don’t employ him,
and if you employ him,
don’t suspect him.
--- Chinese proverb

I have spent over twenty years helping leaders let go of the controlling instincts that yield micro-management and waning employee morale. I’ve observed the devastating effects of our controlling natures on our personal lives: our need for everything to be just the way we like it is the mold with which the keys to our prison cells—in which there is hardly a moment where we are not either working or thinking of work—are cast.

The transformational dialogue that will result in your employees effectively doing the work you want them to do (the primary goal of managing people) is not about handling them, but inspiring their hearts and challenging their minds. In other words, it’s less about being a ‘manager’ and more about being a partner and mentor.

One of the most effective ways to make the shift from transactional to transformational interactions is to add the word “feel” to any question. The next time you are about to ask, “Did you finish the report you were working on?” instead try asking, “How did you feel about the report you were working on?”

Why does this work? Because feelings enable us to make a heart connection—the precursor of transformation.

This week, design at least one strategy to loosen the reins of control, tear down the walls of your self-created prison, and reclaim your life.

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Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday each week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).

Monday, January 26, 2015

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Become Your Greatest Fan


I’d rather have one thousand people against me 
than me against my own soul.
-- St. Augustine

I would be a hypocrite to tell you I don’t enjoy it when others approve of what I do. It’s OK to enjoy approval in the same way you enjoy an ice cream cone. But if you need to eat ice cream to feel happy, you’ll stop enjoying it the moment you become conscious of your dependence.

Attending to a cone of raspberry vanilla will become a functional task you need to carry out to feel whole—like brushing your teeth or reporting for work. Just like ice cream, approval only becomes a problem when you transform it from a want into a need.

Other people can give you money, fishing poles, iguanas, old roller skates, and new shoes—but they can’t give you inner contentedness.

If you can’t get your approval from inside, neither will you get it from outside. And the more energy you futilely expend trying to sway the opinions of others, the less will remain to define your own.

Concentrate your mind on a situation where you may incur some disapproval over the next few weeks, such as drawing attention to a dysfunctional process at the office, or defending an unpopular friend, or taking up a new hobby. Then ask yourself, “Am I avoiding this situation because I’m afraid of my views not being accepted or of losing popularity?”

Take stock of the sources of disapproval in your life and make a vow to no longer allow them to distract you from your most important life goals.

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Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday each week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).

Monday, January 19, 2015

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Live the Life You Have Imagined


Our sweetest songs are those
that tell of saddest thought.
--- Percy Bysshe Shelley

Do you sweep your saddest thoughts under the carpet and hope they’ll go away, or do you try to understand what they’ve shown up to tell you? If you are pursuing a life vision you deeply identify with, there is meaning in your suffering just as there is meaning in your happiness. Both are merely the travel companions on your journey.

The problem with fighting or ignoring the pain within you is that it’s within you. The enemy is not “out there,” but is looking back at you in the mirror.

Fortunately, you are more intelligent with your physical pain. If you cut yourself, you clean the wound. You know if you ignore it, it won’t heal. Why don’t you apply the same self-nurturing to your emotional wounds? Swabbing the cut on your leg while glossing over your deeper emotional scars is like painting the outside of your house for all to see while leaving the inside in utter disarray.

When you embrace the suffering you’ve experienced in your life—whether it’s a callous parent who was unavailable and left you feeling unloved, or an illness, or the rejection you felt when an intimate partner removed themselves from your life—you cease to be the victim. Instead, you begin to learn from what you’ve experienced and develop the inner resolve to move your life in a better direction.

This week, allow the adversity you’ve experienced in your life to become the precursor to change.

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Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday each week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).

Monday, January 12, 2015

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Become a More Effective Leader


True development occurs 
when the development worker leaves
and the people say “We did this ourselves.”
--- Julius Nyerere

These words from the first president of Tanzania—known to entertain everyday wananchi (“citizens” in Swahili) on his front porch and respectfully referred to as mwalimu (“teacher”) until the end of his life—have guided me for the past twenty-five years.

The old-school definition of leadership, created by Peter Drucker, is that a leader is someone who has followers. Today, a leader is less someone who has followers and more someone who empowers other leaders.

Sure, a “genius with a thousand helpers” can be considered a leader by Drucker’s definition. Yet a more effective leader is surrounded not by followers, but by other leaders.

A true leader doesn’t need others to be small in order to be large. In fact, it’s the opposite: they encourage and support others in their efforts to reach their potential. This form of leadership is not solely driven by a desire to be a good person (although that’s part of it). In actuality, it’s the only form of leadership that engenders the loyalty leaders need over the long-term to survive.

Think about it: who are you going to be dedicated to years from now? The person who took the time to recognize and then provide you with the right challenges to further develop your strengths. This is as true for parenting—the rawest form of leadership—as it is for organizational leadership.

This week, reflect on the type of leader you want to become. Take one step to transform this mental image into your reality.

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Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday each week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).

Monday, January 5, 2015

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Become Your Greatest Fan


Cowards die many times before their deaths. 
The valiant never taste of death but once.
--- Shakespeare

Going for what you really want, while a good principle to live by, in practice is scary as hell.
One simple thought returns to your mind over and over again: “But what if I risk and fail?”

The truth is you never fail. You learn. You grow. If that’s failure, I’ll take it any day over its alternative: stagnation.

Yet many of us avoid taking risks because we don’t feel up to it. We feel unworthy, and certain that taking a risk equates to yet another rejection in life. This is why low self-esteem diminishes our capacity to take risks: we’re unable to handle failure.

When you’re already down, it’s hard to accept that you might take another fall. When you’re unwilling to risk, your self-image reflects your awareness that you’re living in a place of fear, weakness, and anxiety.

The best way to extricate yourself from this downward cycle where low self-esteem reinforces risk-aversion and vice-versa is to forget about the concept of risk for a moment and just take a small step in the direction of the greater vision you have for your life.

This week, pick one concrete goal and do something—no matter how small—to move toward it. Achieve a small win and build up from there.

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Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday each week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).