604.724.0353 [email protected]
The Art of Authentic Leadership

The Art of Authentic Leadership

All too often, leaders believe that the key to success is to present a manufactured corporate persona. They believe they need to portray that they have all the answers, they don’t make mistakes, and they can never let their teams see them sweat. But let’s face it – nobody is perfect, so why should we impose perfection on leaders? 

The truth is, leadership is more of an art than a science, and it involves authenticity. Exceptional, authentic leaders can inspire trust and loyalty in their team members by being true to themselves.  Authentic leaders can relate to others by finding common ground and presenting different facets of their personality to different audiences without faking it or being insincere. They know which personality traits they should reveal and when, just are like chameleons, adapting to each situation without losing their identities. They know how to unlock every employee’s potential and know leadership is not a one-size-fits-all formula. Most importantly, authentic leaders build a culture of transparency and growth; they know that mistakes are bound to happen and encourage their team to take risks and innovate to find a solution. Ultimately, authentic leaders embody the message that it is OK to be human in the workplace. 

The Integration of Emotional Intelligence in Authentic Leadership 

You may have heard of the common saying, “Can you talk the talk and walk the walk?”; this demonstrates perfectly what authentic leadership really is.  Authentic leaders stay true to their words and can execute their ambitions. The art of authentic leadership is to tap into your emotional intelligence competencies, as these skills will shape your leadership style. Some of the guiding principles of emotional intelligence are being self-aware, genuine, and transparent, all characteristics reflected in the four components of authentic leadership. 

Four Components of Authentic Leadership

The four components of authentic leadership are closely interrelated with emotional intelligence. To master the art of authentic leadership, leaders can take proactive steps to unlock their true selves by developing their emotional intelligence competencies, which will enhance their overall authentic leadership style. 

1. Self Awareness

An authentic leader shows self-awareness through reflecting on their own strengths, weaknesses and values. Self-awareness means being aware of their strengths and development opportunities and also being aware of their emotions and triggers. Authentic leaders truly know themselves and are aware of both their gifts and limitations. To develop your self-awareness, try following this 4-step exercise. 

1. Write down the strengths you possess as a leader. 

2. Write down your weaknesses.

3. Write down areas where you feel most confident.

4. Write down areas for improvement. 

After this exercise, reflect on your learning and ask yourself, what surprised me about my answers? By doing this, you will become cognizant of your strengths and weaknesses and identify your improvement areas. When leaders are self-aware of their strengths and weaknesses, this can help them further develop their leadership style and recognize areas they may need assistance in. Share these results with your team and ask for feedback to gauge opinions from your team members. This facilitates an open discussion and actively involves your team members in the process of your leadership development. 

Once leaders are aware of their strengths and weaknesses, this will also build their self-regard. Self-regard is about respecting yourself and is associated with self-confidence. Leaders who acknowledge their strengths and weaknesses will make peace with their flaws and appreciate their unique set of strengths. Developing self-awareness and self-regard will allow leaders to become confident in their abilities and actively work on their areas of improvement. 

2. Relational Transparency

When authentic leaders demonstrate relational transparency, they maintain a good balance of openly sharing their own thoughts and beliefs but do not overly display their emotions to team members. 

Emotional expression is an EQ competency all about expressing one’s feelings constructively, both verbally and non-verbally. An authentic leader needs to tap into their emotional expression to know how much emotion to show. For example, if a leader is worried about not meeting their quarterly sales goals, they need to think about the most effective way to articulate this message without having team members panicking. Instead of saying, “I do not know what to do to reach our quarterly sales goals, I do not think we will meet them,” an authentic leader will reframe their message to illustrate their concern but will simultaneously get their team on board. A statement such as, “With our current performance, I am noticing that we may not be able to meet our sales goals this quarter. Let’s brainstorm some ideas to help us reach our sales goals.” This statement shows transparency as the leader has expressed their concern but also initiates an action plan. Asking to brainstorm ideas is a proactive way to spark innovation within the team and creates a supportive team environment.  

3. Balanced Processing

Balanced processing is soliciting opinions from others as well as welcoming opposing viewpoints. Leaders who demonstrate balanced processing are curious about understanding the “why” behind each idea. By practicing balanced processing, authentic leaders welcome opinions without being quick to judge. 

Balanced processing is associated with self-actualization, the drive to continuously improve. Authentic leaders are strong in self-actualization as they are constantly looking for ways to become the best leader they can be. One of the ways they do this is through soliciting and receiving valuable feedback from their team. Whether constructive or positive, all forms of feedback are welcomed, as authentic leaders see the value of opposing perspectives and want to understand why they feel like they do. For instance, let’s say a leader asks their team to provide feedback on their presentation. The first feedback they receive from a team member is that it went poorly compared to past presentations. An authentic leader will not jump to conclusions that their presentation went poorly overall; instead, they will seek to understand why the team member believed the presentation was poor. Perhaps the team member was not a fan of the content or thought the presentation could be more engaging and interactive. Authentic leaders know that there are reasons behind one’s feedback; by uncovering the motive, they will better understand the feedback they received. 

Furthermore, asking for feedback also connects with the emotional intelligence competency, reality testing. Reality testing equips leaders to remain objective by seeing things as they really are. Having different opinions on a leader’s performance allows the leader to minimize their unconscious biases and assumptions. For example, if a leader believes that they are great at public speaking, asking for feedback challenges this assumption as they seek opinions other than their own.

4. Internalized Moral Perspective

Authentic leaders also display a strong moral code that they demonstrate in their relationships and decision-making. Using an internalized moral perspective enables leaders to lead from their hearts and align with their core values. This ties in with the emotional intelligence competency, independence. Independence is the ability to be self-directed and free from emotional dependency. Combining independence and an internalized moral perspective builds an ethical foundation resistant to external forces. For example, if there is a new, rising trend in the industry, an authentic leader can stand their ground and do what is in the company’s best interest. They will not succumb to the external pressure to follow the trend just because everyone else may be, but will follow the trend if they see a benefit for their organization.  

Independent, authentic leaders allow their core values to guide their everyday actions and behaviour. Picture this – your leader states they value learning and development and wants everyone to participate in self-directed learning and development, just like themselves. However, there never seems to be time for self-directed learning and development for the company as a whole. An authentic leader would be sure to dedicate an allotted time slot for learning and development, such as an hour every Friday afternoon. If there is no time scheduled allotted to learning and development, then their value is simply a wish; it is something that the leader wants to have in the workplace, but it is not something the leader is willing to invest in and make time for.

Become an Authentic Leader

With a high self-awareness, internal drive to continuously improve, ability to openly share their thoughts yet adapt what they say to whom they are speaking with, adapt to any situation, and a strong moral compass, authentic leaders, show up to the workplace with dignity, humility, and integrity. By tuning into their emotional intelligence, they will master the four components of authentic leadership.

Interested in learning about how to become an authentic leader? Call us to book our brand new Authentic Leadership workshop to explore the key concepts, behaviours and ways to incorporate authenticity into your management repertoire.  Alternatively, you can also check out our Values-Based Leadership Workshop to discover your core values and how to apply your values in your work environment.  

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, to keep up with more of our blogs!

Bridging the Gap Using Emotional Intelligence

Everyone is facing similar challenges that 2020 has brought on, but they are all handling it differently. Each generation is in a different emotional position, and leaders need to acknowledge each individual struggle equally. However, despite the generational gap in...

4 Ways to Motivate Your Remote Team

Remote work has taken the world by storm, whether we like it or not. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it forced organizations to find alternatives for employees working in the traditional in-person office environment. Enter in remote work; many workplaces implemented...

Leading Effective Virtual Meetings

The dynamic of our workforce is continually changing. The current situation of COVID-19 has many organizations making quick, on the spot decisions. For instance, it is no longer safe for employees to work in their usual office spaces. So how are businesses adapting?...

How to Build an Agile Organization

The only constant in our lives is change. This has become apparent with the onset of COVID-19 in the past year when many companies were forced to pivot their strategies to adapt to their businesses going digital and remote. In a survey of over 10,000 companies, 94...

Leading Change in the Workplace

There are many examples from the world of business that show us how important change and innovation are to an organization’s very survival. Take Blackberry for example. A few years ago they were industry leaders in the cellphone market, with their qwerty keyboards...
The Road to Self-Actualization

The Road to Self-Actualization

If you are struggling to understand your life’s purpose, you are not alone. The road to realizing your full potential is not an easy one. But what does it mean to be self-actualized?

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs may be a familiar concept to you. This five-stage model is drawn as a pyramid – from the bottom up. Our basic needs (such as psychological and safety) must be satisfied before progressing on to our growth needs (such as our sense of belonging and self-esteem). Only as we satisfy each stage of the model will we be able to move up in the pyramid to satisfy the next level of need. Placed at the very top, which Maslow considered to be the highest form of needs fulfillment, is self-actualization.

So how easy is it to reach the top of the pyramid? Well, Psychologist Abraham Maslow added that only one in every hundred people truly reach self-actualization. This is especially accurate now considering that society rewards individuals who are high in self-esteem, rather than in self-discovery.

Many of us do a great job at satisfying the four previous needs on the road to self-actualization – we are proficient at feeding ourselves, making sure we have a place to safely rest our heads, nurturing relationships, and making ourselves feel good. However, some of us end our efforts there and tolerate not understanding and knowing who we truly are.

Why are we here? What are we meant to do? What is our life purpose?

Before finding the answers to the above question, you need to know yourself from within. The following section will help you identify the steps to finding a deeper understanding of who you are, and ultimately, help guide you in defining your life’s purpose. 

How to achieve Self-Actualization

1. LIVE FULLY

Immerse yourself in your everyday experiences. When we completely submerge ourselves in what we are doing, we experience “peak” experiences (experiences that would occur at the top of the pyramid). Maslow taught us that reaching these peak experiences causes us to feel pure joy, a heightened sense of curiosity and awe, and a feeling of ecstasy.

Ask yourself – What experiences have I had that have sent me over the moon? Why bother participating in activities that only give you satisfactory feelings? Why not partake in things that really give you goosebumps?

Note – Goosebumps are bumps that appear on a person’s skin when they are cold or experiencing a feeling of strong emotion. This emotion could be anything from fear to pleasure to nostalgia and even awe.

Living fully means satisfying your needs to the fullest. It means immersing yourself in everyday experiences that give you satisfaction.

2. RECOGNIZE YOUR UNIQUENESS AND STAY POSITIVE

Recognizing your unique qualities and what they can offer those around you can prove to be quite powerful. So, how can you determine what is unique about you? The answer is by accepting your imperfections and keeping a positive narrative of yourself.

Accept your flaws and imperfections. We are all human, and humans are all but perfect. The sooner you are able to grasp this, the sooner you will allow yourself to be fearless. By being fearless, you are opening yourself up for self-growth. Consequently, self-growth will lead you to new and valuable experiences, which will promote these “peak” experiences that everyone keeps raving about.

Practicing optimism and positive self-talk will remind you of the great things only you can offer to the world. Having the ability to see the bright side to life will not only keep gray clouds at bay, but it will also motivate you to attempt new things, which will lend a hand in deepening your understanding of yourself. Once you have a better grasp of who you truly are, you will be better armed when finally tackling the great question of – What is my life’s purpose?

3. MAKE HONEST CHOICES

How will making honest choices help you in defining your life’s purpose? If we examine our daily choices, are they in line with our core values and beliefs? Perhaps, we don’t quite know yet what our core values and beliefs are. Well, by choosing to make honest decisions regarding our everyday lives, we are working on recognizing what is important to us.

If you make honest choices and are mindful of your selections, you will begin to decipher and sort through what is important to you.

Nike, just like most companies, has a mission statement. The benefit of a mission statement is that whenever a company has to make a decision, big or small, they can refer to their statement to make sure every decision they make is in alignment with their mission. An organization’s mission statement will strongly reflect the company’s core values. Nike’s mission statement is, “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.” Through Nike’s products, branding, marketing, and strategic business decisions, we see their mission statement shines through.

Developing your own personal mission statement will help you make genuine and authentic choices for you to honor your purpose in life. One quick tip is to save your personal mission statement in your notes app on your phone, that way you can refer back to it whenever you have to make a tough decision.

4. LET GO OF YOUR EGO

Those who are self-actualized are able to feel self-acceptance, self-love, and self-value. The mere 1% that have been able to reach self-actualization are aware of their desires for social acceptance and societal pressures, but they hold a true understanding of themselves, instead of a distorted idea of who they should be according to exterior influences.

Your ego can play to your advantage – it can help boost your self-confidence and heighten your sense of self-worth. Having said that, letting your ego take precedence of your true self, also carries a dark side.

Your ego enhances your need to be right, your desire to win and supercharges your need to be superior. If the dark side of your ego takes charge of your everyday life, it will not only inhibit you from seeing different perspectives, it can also prevent you from opening up to new practices.

Letting go of the shadowy desires from your ego will open up your mind to new experiences that will increase your willingness, openness, and curiosity. In turn, these skills will lead you to your self-discovery and following your life’s purpose.

To learn more about emotional intelligence and how it benefits your organization, sign up for our biweekly newsletter here, where you will receive our latest updates, an inventory of resources, and much more!

If you need help on your road to self-actualization, book a call with us here; we’d love to listen and provide support in any way we can.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and Instagram to keep up with our latest blogs!

 

 

How To Identify Your Strengths

How To Identify Your Strengths

Everyone has a natural aptitude for something.  

What are your strengths?

  • Working with numbers
  • Detail-oriented
  • Drawing pictures
  • Teaching children
  • Growing plants
  • Problem-solving
  • Caring for those less fortunate than you
  • Music
  • Athletics
  • Empathy
  • Writing
  • Working with your hands.

Identifying your greatest strengths and building your life based on them is essential for your overall happiness and success. Without knowing how to discover your strengths and maximize them, you may waste a lot of time doing the wrong things.

Can you imagine spending years of hard work only to realize at the end that you have poured your time and energy (not to mention money) into the wrong things?

Many people are not even aware of their strengths.  So, the question is: How do you discover your natural talents?

Here are three easy steps to help you determine your natural aptitude

Step 1: Tasks that are easy
  • Write down a list of those things that you do that seem easy for you.
  • These are the things that you can do that seem almost effortless.
  • Often, the tasks that are easy for us are those where we have a special aptitude.
Step 2: “Where did the time go?” tasks
  • Make a list of those things you do where time just seems to fly by.
  • When you are doing these activities, you may look up and realize that several hours have passed without you even realizing it.
  • This is a good clue to activities where you have natural talent.
Step 3: Tasks that make you happy
  • Finally, write all the activities that make you happy.
  • These are things that make you smile.
  • These are the tasks you would do just for yourself, with no promise of gain, just because they’re fun, interesting and fulfilling.

After writing out all three lists, find the common activities.

These are likely to be the areas of your natural aptitude and talent.  These are the areas of greatest potential for you.

Imagine if you could spend most of your time developing and playing at something that makes you happy, where time flies and where it’s easy for you.  Wow!

So, now that you know what your natural talent is, try to find or carve out a role that draws on these strengths every day. Organizing your life around your strengths will make your life more productive and fulfilled.

Not sure where your strengths and weaknesses lie in terms of your emotional intelligence? Try our free 15-question quiz to measure your level of emotional intelligence.

To learn more about emotional intelligence and how it benefits your organization, sign up for our biweekly newsletter here, where you will receive our latest updates, an inventory of resources, and much more!

If you need help leading your organization to success, book a call with us here; we’d love to listen and provide support in any way we can.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and Instagram to keep up with our latest blogs!

3 Ways Mentors Can Change Your Life

3 Ways Mentors Can Change Your Life

Have you ever considered taking action in pursuing something totally different from where you are now, but were unsure if it would be the right move? Have you ever thought of how to make that move, but were unsure of how to do it? If your answer is yes to either of these questions, then you may want to think of finding yourself a mentor.

Whether the life changes you are debating to make are large in scale, for example, jump-starting a career change or beginning a new business venture, or if they are as simple as purchasing new furniture or deciding new hobbies to take on, having someone there for you can clarify your decisions and enhance your experience.

The value of mentorship in your personal and professional life

1. Pulls You Out Of Your Comfort Zone

If you ever observe young children, you would see the keenness in their eyes when they see someone that shares their interests or acts in a way that they desire to act. For instance, their fascination with magicians.

When they first see magicians, children become in awe. They are amazed at what magicians can make disappear and appear out of hats, and magicians’ ability to cut people in half. For a while, after the children leave the magic show, they try and emulate magicians, putting on magic shows at home for their family and friends. Too often, though, those same kids can’t seem to master magic, lose interest, and move on to the next thing. Why is that? Well, when magicians perform their shows for children, they do not get the chance after the show to teach these children their magic tricks. So, for these impressionable children, they do not get to develop their magic skills from someone that shares their interests and has skills in an area they want to grow in.

Adults are no different. Do you want to grow an interest into more than a hobby? If someone has something you want, you need to learn how he or she got it. “If you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room.” How we perceive ourselves and who we are can be defined by whom we surround ourselves with. We all too often become comfortable with where we are sitting and never really leave our comfort zones and venture out.

Mentors normally have something you want – whether that is knowledge, a different way of thinking, or connections in the industry. For instance, a company mentorship program can help extend your horizons, build, and strengthen your relationships with other people who have more experience in an area you don’t. When we finally get out of our comfort zones, then we are able to see where we are falling short, and realize where we can improve, and that is where the magic happens.

2. The Nudge – A Different Perspective

Mentors have been doing what you want to be doing, sometimes, for many years. They have previously experienced things that you are now just beginning to face, and have already put in countless hours of blood, sweat, and tears. They have the wisdom you need; you can learn from their mistakes. This is why, if the right mentor has been chosen, they can give you the nudge to start on your pursuit of happiness and self-fulfillment.

We are all social beings. We are attracted to people that have similar values, beliefs, and life experiences, which help build a strong foundation of trust. Finding a mentor that understands where you are coming from – your strengths and development opportunities and where your goals and aspirations lie – will make it easier for you to push through the challenging times that may lie ahead.

Mentors have a way of igniting the passion for their mentees by giving them a different perspective. Those that may have thought little about their abilities and how far their skills could take them might think otherwise if only they had a mentor behind them to push them to strive for greater things. The importance of mentorship lies in its ability to shed light on how you could do things differently, which could accelerate you in the right direction.

3. Expedite Your Journey

When we look at mentorship from the lens of a writer, we can see that writers are well versed in articulating their ideas and stories; however, it is their editor who gets their work from good to great. Mentors, much like editors, can help you go through your work with a fine-tooth comb – they can help you navigate your way.

Mentors are not people that tell you what to do. Mentors are people who help in guiding you in the right direction. For individuals trying to progress higher and leap forward, it may take years and years for them to get to their destination. However, having a mentor can shorten the learning curve required to get up there.

Mentors help us avoid mistakes that can be costly and time-consuming to our personal and professional progressions. They help in making sure that we don’t reach a point where we have to say, “If I had only known back then, what I know now.” It is important to take seriously what your mentors have to say. After all, they have been walking in your shoes for much longer than you have.

To learn more about emotional intelligence and how it benefits your organization, sign up for our biweekly newsletter here, where you will receive our latest updates, an inventory of resources, and much more!

If you’re looking to build employee mentorship programs within your company, book a call with us here; we’d love to listen and provide support in any way we can.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and Instagram to keep up with our latest blogs!

Improve Your Well-Being with Self Management and Emotional Intelligence

Improve Your Well-Being with Self Management and Emotional Intelligence

Regardless if you are the CEO of a company or a super successful entrepreneur, there is always room for personal and professional development. Oftentimes we get so caught up in our job, friends, and family that we forget to take care of ourselves.

When is the last time you took time for yourself?

This is an important question for two reasons. One, it allows you to reflect on how you treat yourself, both mentally and physically; and secondly, it shows how much you have invested in self-management for both your personal and professional life.

You could be very successful in your business life, but if you are not looking after yourself as an individual, it will soon catch up to everything you do.

Improve your well-being with self-management and emotional intelligence or else…

  • There will be a decrease in your mental and physical health
  • You have the potential to lose valuable relationships
  • Your work ethic will decrease
  • Your motivation decrease

Emotional Intelligence gives people the ability to manage their emotional and social awareness well-being and build up their emotional muscles.

Now, I know life gets in the way; we get stuck in routines that it almost becomes impossible to spend time to improve our well-being. Emotional Intelligence has 15 competencies of which 4 of them are the key to self-management and self-care.

1. Emotional Self-Awareness

Understanding your emotional cues is vital to self-management, but can only begin by paying attention to your emotions. What makes you angry, sad, happy, excited? Discover your feelings at the moment. When a situation arises, stop and analyze:

How did you react when first presented with the situation?

What are you feeling?

What outcome do I want?

How can I approach this?

 2. Stress Tolerance

Stress is something everyone experiences in their daily life. Having high stress levels dramatically decreases your mental and physical health. When you are presented with situations that increase your stress, stop what you are doing and breathe to remain calm- you will be surprised how helpful taking 5 deep breaths will be. We are all busy people, but it is important to take a little time and de-stress. Some things you can do are:

  • Read a book
  • Listen to music
  • Talk it through with your mentor
  • Mediate
  • Exercise
3. Impulse Control

Impulses, everyone has been a victim of acting on an impulse. Maybe it was that chocolate bar that was right by the checkout or that new gadget that you need to buy right now!

Although not every impulse ends in a negative outcome, they contribute to the decrease in your overall well-being. It is important to control your impulses and rationally think about what you are about to do.

4. Interpersonal Relationships

Even if you are a workaholic and your job takes up 90% of your time, it is important to create and maintain friendships outside your work life. If you are surrounded by business 24/7, it will start to weigh on your mental health. When you leave work, leave everything work-related, including your work-related thoughts, behind. It is great to make work-friends, but just remember when you meet outside of work, don’t talk about it. Surround yourself with people that are going to lift your spirits; who understand your beliefs, opinions, and will support you through all aspects of your life.

Self-management is a never-ending process. Remember that taking care of yourself first doesn’t mean you are not looking out for others; rather, it demonstrates your passion for your self-worth, which is an important value to have!

Take our EQ Assessments to learn more about yourself and your well-being.

To learn more about emotional intelligence and how it benefits your organization, sign up for our biweekly newsletter here, where you will receive our latest updates, an inventory of resources, and much more!

If you’re looking to improve well-being, self-management, and emotional skills, book a call with us here; we’d love to listen and provide support in any way we can.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and Instagram to keep up with our latest blogs!