Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Leaders Listen Intentionally

Have you ever wanted to talk to someone but they were solely listening to the person they were talking to? 

You wait on the sideline waiting for your turn. 

You may have the desire to quickly interrupt, say your thing and then move on but the listener in the scenario has the posture and body language that says, “the person I am talking to right now is the most important person”.


They acknowledge your twitch on the sideline but touching your arm, nodding, or by keeping their presence securely fixed on that person. 


So let’s talk about this leader who is listening and understands some of their possible beliefs. 


  1. Be in the here and now. 

Good listening means stopping the inner monologue we all give and give your undivided attention to the person who is talking. 

  1. Distractions don’t stand a chance with you. 

Put your phone away, turn off the TV and put your multitasking skills aside. 

  1. Be curious. 

When listening to someone else, don’t anticipate their next statement or answer but truly listen. Ask questions like who, what, when, where, why and how to stimulate conversation. 

  1. Be interested.

Don’t try to be an interesting person, be genuinely interested in the other person/people and you will have created a raving fan(s) for life. 

  1. Be sincere and open.

Nothing ends a conversation quicker than a stern opinion or a rude tone. Make sure you are being sincere, asking questions and finding out what makes the other person light up. 

  1. Watch your body language.

Though you may not say it, if you are letting your eyes wander to others or shifting your body to acknowledge others, people may feel rejected, misunderstood and hurt that they don’t have your full attention.

  1. Truly listen. 

Even if you have a varying opinion, listening should not become a debate on your views vs their views. Fully hear what is being said and you may have some new insight as to what the opposing viewpoint looks like or come to the conclusion that you believe the same thing but perhaps express if differently. 

  1. Don’t be in a hurry. 

If you have limited time, tell them you have x minutes up front. Then give them all x minutes.

  1. Wrap up your conversations in a way that feels good to all. 

Be full of gratitude and love in your communications. Thank the other person for sharing.


If you are the person waiting, you could learn a few things about listening if you slow down and watch too. Listening truly is a remarkable art.


You might be surprised at what you hear.


Best,


Manal

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

What Areas Do You Want to Grow In?

 


In my March 23, 2021 article, I talked about leaders generally wanting constant and never ending growth in one or more of the seven main areas of life. They are: 


  1. Physical body

  2. Relationship with self

  3. Relationship with others

  4. Schedule

  5. Work, career or mission

  6. Finances

  7. Contribution


Let’s pause for a moment and not talk about everyone else, let’s focus on you. Knowing where you are and where you want to be is half the first half of any equation. 


Where you are + Action = Where You Want To Be


On a scale of 0-10 (0 being never and 10 being the best) how do you rate yourself in these areas of life? 


  • Your physical body health?

  • Your self-care routine?

  • Your quiet time? 

  • Your sleep? 

  • Your relationships with family?

  • Your relationships with a significant other?

  • Your relationships with people you work with?

  • Your relationship with your boss?

  • Time to do what you want to do?

  • TIme for growth and personal development?

  • Time for faith?

  • Fulfillment at work? 

  • Your finances? 

  • Your contribution to the world? 


When I first did this years ago, I realized how unbalanced my life was. There are generally a few areas that are glaringly obvious as far as what needs improved most. 


This is the great part, you are full in charge of picking what areas you want to grow in. 


Now go back through and decide where you want to be on each item and put that as a second number. 


Next you will decide what SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) goal/actions will get you there. 

This is called your gap. 


Now I want you to go through the areas one more time and write a date next to it when you would like to see your second number be realized. 


Your final step is to get it on your calendar. Otherwise, it may stay as wishful thinking. 


Let’s get you moving in the right direction toward what you want to achieve. 


Best, 


Manal


Wednesday, March 31, 2021

The World Has Forever Changed

One thing that is clear from the world we live in is that the world has forever changed. There are businesses who had their worst year in 2020 and there are others who had their best year. Besides industry, let’s look at what leadership traits helped those leaders have their most successful year in business. 

Businesses that thrived during the pandemic are those that have been led by leaders who prioritized their people. 


They used traits like flexibility, vulnerability, empathy and openness to lead their teams. These have always been vital leadership characteristics but 2020 required a more attentive focus to these attributes. 

Many leaders had never led a remote team before this. They had to keep abreast of the context in which their people were working, and pay close attention to their energy, efforts (and extra effort) and capacity to do a job well done. 

As we move through business during a pandemic, it is vital to know that most people just want to connect, be seen, understand and be appreciated for work that is done behind a monitor. This is especially true when all communication is done digitally. People crave connection. 


According to Simon Sinek, “The leaders who get the most out of their people are the leaders who care most about their people.” 


We won’t be in a pandemic forever. In fact, some states and parts of the world are more open to people gathering than others. The lessons of leadership during a pandemic are clear. Recognize the effort as well as outcomes so that you can build a high performing, highly engaged team. Take the time to show your team you care about them as much as you care about the outcomes they are producing for you and the business. 


This may require you to use new skill sets like curiosity, collaboration, shared learning and the use of ever-so-valuable technology. 


ADP Research Institute did a global study of engagement in 2018 that reported that people who trust their leader will be 12 times more engaged. Trust as a leader is built when you show you genuinely care about the person working with and for you. 


Go make it happen and show your people that you care!


Best, 


Manal


Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Constant and Never Ending Growth

 


When I think of the leaders I work with they all have one thing in common, they all seek constant and never ending growth. This may look different for each leader depending on their current dreams and goals. 


One thing I have learned over the years is that when you are specific about what you want and you have a made up mind, you will certainly be able to move closer to achieving it.


I have also observed another interesting thing, people often are not specific, clear and haven’t set SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) goals. I know because I have done it. We get excited and we either rush into action or we simply try to take on too much. 


There are seven main areas that people set goals in. They are: 


  1. Physical body

  2. Relationship with self

  3. Relationship with others

  4. Schedule

  5. Work, career or mission

  6. Finances

  7. Contribution


I’ll write more about each of these areas but since the physical body is almost always first on people’s lists, here are some facts from the Center of Disease Control you will want to know. 


Obesity is a common, serious, and costly disease

  • The prevalence of obesity was 42.4% in 2017~2018. 

  • From 1999–2000 through 2017–2018, the prevalence of obesity increased from 30.5% to 42.4%, and the prevalence of severe obesity increased from 4.7% to 9.2%.

  • Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer that are some of the leading causes of preventable, premature death. 

  • The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the United States was $147 billion in 2008 US dollars; the medical cost for people who have obesity was $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.

When setting goals for any of these areas you want to make sure you can measure them over a period of time to see if what you are doing is taking you closer to your goal. Say you want to exercise and you leave it at that, most likely that might not get you motivated to get you even dressed to work out. However, if you say I am going to work out 4 times a week at 9 am for the next 90 days. With this one you can measure and assess if this is helping get you to your goal of making working out a routine. 

This can be done in every area of your life. Set a goal/ intention, a timeline and have a measurement system. Pick one area and set one SMART goal. Master that and then you can look at another area to add on. 

Best, 

Manal



Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Gravitas - What Is It?

I just ran into someone the other day that hadn’t ever heard the word gravitas. 

So I wanted to take a moment to ask you if you have heard of it and if you know what it is? 















5 Ways You Can Improve Your Gravitas

Wikipedia says “Gravitas was one of the ancient Roman virtues that denoted "seriousness". It is also translated variously as weight, dignity, and importance and connotes restraint and moral rigor. It also conveys a sense of responsibility and commitment to the task.”

First, let’s think about the positive outcome of having gravitas. After all, if you are going to work on it, it’s worth thinking about why having gravitas is beneficial. Let’s look at it without using the word gravitas and rather the benefits of it.

Which of these positives would benefit you?

  1. Increasing your personal confidence – something we all need in our professional lives.

  2. You’ll get people’s attention quicker and keep it.

  3. You’re more likely to get the answer you want from your audience, whether that be a group or an individual.

  4. You’ll feel happier in your work life as you spend time working on what you do and why (what you enjoy about it).

  5. You’ll be more memorable and be the ‘go to’ person when someone needs an expert in your field.

We now know why you would want more gravitas but how do you get it? 

  1. Listen and respond to others. When talking, if something comes up you are unsure about, be honest. 

  2. Use your choice of words and tonality to win the attention of others.

  3. Use body language to alternate between authority and approachability. 

  4. Remember to pause. Not everything requires an immediate response and thinking about something before you speak is good.

  5. Be willing to ask questions of others and listen intently to what they have to say. 

Start watching the gravitas of others and you’ll begin to see it in yourself as well.

Best,

Manal

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Professional Presence in 2021

What does having a professional presence look like in a world full of zoom calls, masks and working at home? 



Let’s start with presence. Presence is letting the most powerful version of yourself shine through. I like to cite the renowned leadership expert Sylvia Ann Hewlett, who defines “presence” as a combination of gravitas, communication, and appearance. Together, these elements form an impression of trustworthiness, competence, and authenticity.

Now let’s look at professionalism. Many people tie this to how one dresses. But it is more than that. It is confidence, communication and how you dress. 


Confidence. If you want to learn how to be more confident, you must be willing to change your state. Your state is essentially your mood at any given time of day. Your mood is influenced by how you feel about yourself at that point in time. The great news is you are in full control of your choice. Confidence is a matter of choice. You can let go of the stories you hold at any moment and create a new experience within yourself that will directly affect your state of mind and thus, your confidence.


Communicate. To communicate effectively, it’s important to regulate your reactions, recognize emotions in others, and manage your responses. Let other people speak first. Ask questions and make them feel understood. Remember to smile, make eye contact, and lean forward. By staying in the moment and maintaining focus on the conversation, you can ask the right questions and lay the foundation for trust and openness to your influence. 


Dress your part. There should be a strong connection between who you are, who you want to be, and how you look. If you want to be successful in the financial sector, for instance, you need to look like someone who understands and can be trusted with money. Identify the people who are successful where you work, and study how they put themselves together. Focusing on your appearance can also go a long way toward boosting your internal confidence. 


Best,


Manal