Early Reflections on 2017 and Business Changes

What a year – and it’s not over yet.

It’s like everything that could happen did, but the experience has taught me that my resilience is pretty strong and keeps getting stronger. Resilience is an essential trait to possess.

Resilience is that ineffable quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back stronger than ever. Rather than letting failure overcome them and drain their resolve, they find a way to rise from the ashes. Psychologists have identified some of the factors that make someone resilient, among them a positive attitude, optimism, the ability to regulate emotions, and the ability to see failure as a form of helpful feedback. Even after misfortune, resilient people are blessed with such an outlook that they are able to change course and soldier on.
— Psychology Today

 

Have you recently had to deal with difficult challenges as well? What have you learned that has made you more resilient? I would love to hear from you on this topic.

Early Reflections on my Year:

Amid family challenges and health crises, I’ve learned to take things a little slower and more intentionally. I’ve learned of the importance of deeper self-care, and how that doesn’t just mean “do some yoga and have a nap.” There are deeply entrenched mental models that can be something we need to break down in order to fully care for ourselves over the long term. That is what I’ve been working on.

By breaking down the root causes of why I need self-care (i.e., people-pleasing, imposter syndrome, codependency), I’ve been able to prevent them from rearing their ugly heads. This has been hard work. It means taking action. It means making hard choices about who is in your life and why. It causes you to reflect on who you work with and why. These have been some of the topics I’ve been working on personally, so I can be better able to provide the best work for my clients.

Business Changes:

This is the fourth year I’ve been in business. I have some of the best clients a consultant could ask for. I also have many other projects on the go constantly. I’ve been surprisingly successful and I’m beyond grateful for that.

After consistantly working long hours most days of the week, I made a decision to try to grow, back in March, by bringing on two new partners to help make a bigger impact. We grew Wyrd (pronounced wired) Consulting Inc. into a new brand that would wrap around businesses with supports in the areas of leadership, marketing, and business management strategies.

After several months it became clear that the timing wasn’t right, and that I needed to take heed of the new adage, “fail fast and fail forward”. With that in mind, we have each gone our own way (amicably). We’re intent on bringing our own unique work to life while remaining connected.

Shawn will build Wyrd Consulting into a digital marketing firm, and Jean-Paul will grow Moutonco into a global business management firm. I can’t wait to see what both of them do.

So, I remain focused on the great work I have with leaders in the nonprofit sector, innovative strategic planning, and solutions labs, as well as developing new social enterprises (both for profit and nonprofit). I will work under the name Moss Consulting Inc. and have a new website ready to go at www.chrismoss.ca.

Some other amazing partners I am working with are doing creative, emergent work and are having great social impact; I’m greatly looking forward to doing more with them. As co-tenants at Innovation Works, many of us have begun working together in different forms. As a collective we bring so many strengths to the table with a generous and collaborative spirit. Check out this blog and case study that was published in Public Sector Digest as an example of one of these projects.

If you’re interested in learning more about what I do, just ask. I look forward to hearing from you.

Courage to Change

For the past three years I’ve been the luckiest entrepreneur ever. I’ve met with, worked with and played with the best clients I could have asked for. From coffee roasters and philanthropic changemakers to social media disrupters. I have travelled around Ontario meeting exceptional people and supporting remarkable causes. I had no idea I could make a business run after being in the nonprofit sector for over 25 years; but, it worked!

Over the past several months I’ve been morphing my business into something much more sophisticated. It’s shifting from a solo operation to a partnership incorporated with two people who challenge me and make me better at what I do. These two people have inspired me so much that I’ve chosen to jump into a new team setting and live out my values in a bigger way.

The one thing about working alone is that you can do whatever you want. You can nap when you want, work hard when you want, choose who you want to work with. All of that is great, but I felt a bit lonely, got distracted regularly and was not my best self. With a team, my goal is to lean on my partners for strength when needed. There are certainly challenges that come with having other people working with you; however, I believe everything's better with a team.

The other realization I’ve had is that when you run a business alone, you have to be good at everything or pay someone else to help you where you’re weak. I had the pleasure of having the help of extraordinary people along the way but I have to say that I’m tired. Long days and weekends that are a blur are not a healthy way to achieve success. I am now being much more strategic and intentional about my time and will focus on what is right for me and my clients.

The next step is scary. Taking a leap when things are working is a risk. Being a single mom and taking a risk adds another element of fear but also makes me strong and determined to succeed. I’m excited about the next chapter in my business journey and can’t wait to continue supporting wonderful leaders who are changing the world.
 

Determination, energy, and courage appear spontaneously when we care deeply about something. We take risks that are unimaginable in any other context.

Margaret J. Wheatley


 

Empathy in the workplace

What is Empathy?

The main tenet of design thinking is empathy for the people you’re trying to design for. Leadership is exactly the same thing as building empathy for the people that you’re entrusted to help... If you want the people you work with to do extraordinary things, you really have to understand what they value.
— David Kelley, Co-founder of IDEO

According to the Merriam Webster’s dictionary Empathy means:  “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also :  the capacity for this.”

This means that empathy allows us to put ourselves in another person’s shoes where we can help understand why they may be feeling or acting the way they are to a certain situation.

This is very different from sympathy, which is “the feeling that you care about and are sorry about someone else's trouble, grief, misfortune, etc. : a sympathetic feeling”.  Basically, you show you feel sorry for them but you do not put yourself in the vulnerable position to try and understand their situation.

Take a moment and watch this great video, by Brene Brown, explaining the difference.

After watching that, you want now see how empathy is a powerful skill to develop and use in your life, work, and relationships, and is an important quality of great leaders.

 

So, how can one build empathy and use it to better their life?

 

You may want to start by practicing putting yourself in another person’s situation. Try to think of how you’d feel if what they are telling you was happening to you. How would you react to the new or approach the situation differently? Understanding their situation helps you understand them on a deeper level, and helps you develop empathy. In order to put yourself in their shoes, you must truly understand their context. If they are a different gender or from a different culture, how can you truly empathize? You must listen and learn by asking questions that will reveal their perspectives. In order to be in their shoes, you have to know what they shoes are and how they feel from outside of your perspective. This is very hard and most of us don’t do it well.

One fun tool that workplaces across Canada are using to help test their employees on empathy is the Empathy Toy, developed by Twenty One Toys in Toronto’s Innovated Space. This toy is a blindfolded puzzle game that can only be solved when players learn to understand each other. It’s fun, it’s challenging, but it helps your grow your team and strengthen your relationships/understand with those you work with.

EMPATHY AS THE FOUNDATION OF INNOVATION
Designed as a toolset for organizations, the Empathy Toy generates reach discussions about the role of empathy and communication in the workplace — and unlocks insights for improved performance, smoother collaboration, and more authentic employee engagement.
— The Empathy Toy Facilitator's Guidebook

Recently I took a class to become an Empathy Toy trainer and I'm very excited to play with leaders to develop their empathy. In this case, play is not immature; it's a safe way to talk about very hard issues where the toy is the subject, not a person. The ability to talk about these issues safely helps us all grow without anyone getting hurt. Watch this video for more information:

Header Image found at: Core77DesignAwards

The Agenda for my Next 45 Years

So, today I turn 45 years old. If I plan to live to 90 that is exactly half way. With that in mind I’m feeling quite reflective today and thought I’d blog about it.

My four and a half decades of life have been joyful, privileged, challenging and hopefully fruitful to others as I’ve tried to be a super helpful and loving person. Being born in 1971, my parents both worked hard, I never needed for anything but certainly wasn’t handed everything on a silver platter. I started working at 12 years old and have worked hard ever since. Babysitting, Sticky Fingers Donut Shop, Cango Gas Station and Canadian Tire got me through my young years until starting my career taking care of seniors in nursing homes and then adults with disabilities in their own homes.

Working in the nonprofit sector as a single mom has certainly been a challenge but the personal rewards have been much more of goal for me. Working at the YMCA while raising my kids was the best ever experience. They got to enjoy swimming and camps and it infused an amazing value system in them early on. Working with youth on the street, adults with disabilities, the mental health system, women and much more, has opened my eyes to the need in our community.

Ensuring I can do everything I can to make someone’s day brighter or make someone smile is all I ever needed. Having met some of this community’s most amazing people has been nothing but awesome as many have helped carry me through the harder times when they came. I am grateful!

My kids have challenged me both with unique and interesting parenting requirements as well as showing me what is truly real. That love, hard work and perseverance pays off but that you can explore new and unusual life paths that are outside of societal norms. I love that my kids have taught me to be that kind of mom and it’s made me a better woman, human, leader, entrepreneur and community volunteer. They have made me better all while taking me through the most challenging personal growth moments of my life, moments of tears, loneliness, pain, frustration, anger and more love and respect then I could have ever expected. I am blessed!

Today, I have a life that I never could have imagined. I am my own boss, I have the most amazing clients whom I love with all my heart and I live in a community that means more to me than I can begin to explain. Being a fourth generation Londoner I care deeply for my city and the people in it. I am very saddened by things that hurt the city and its people like toxic social media feeds to news articles to general conversation. I desire full team work and loving kindness among all those who are working together to make our community even better regardless of our viewpoint, colour of skin, religious preferences, sexual orientation, age, gender or political persuasion. We all have to get along if we’re going to tackle some of the worst persistent problems we face. Problems like poverty, racism, violence, and diversity & inclusion can be solved if we work together compassionately.

That is my goal for the next four and a half decades. To help make those problems obsolete.

  • To not have to worry that my daughter will be sexually assaulted, threatened or hurt while in our community again.
  • To ensure all persons with mental health issues get the help they need without having to stay in the emergency room for 11 days before being treated.
  • To ensure my black friends are not treated as less than human but that more people know black lives matter.
  • To ensure that the women I know are not beaten or killed by their domestic partners, traded into sex work or used and abused simply because they have a vagina.
  • To ensure that children have food to eat and a safe home with caring parents who are prepared and supported to care for their children.
  • To create an education system that allows all types of learners to experience public school without having to conform, fit into a box and want to stay in school because they love it instead of having to drop out because they’re not understood.
  • To have a city without harmful drugs that are hurting our children and their parents.
  • To create a city that is safe, innovative and full of new business and enterprise for our economy.
  • To explore and engage with the arts and culture of our city in a way that is full and life changing.
  • To see (and actually have) less people living on the street and a reduction in poverty where OW and ODSP are something that lifts people out of poverty or supports them more fully rather than keep them down in the depths of need.
  • To see conservative and liberal viewpoints coming together with one voice to actually make a difference rather than create dissidence.
  • To create an environment that is healthy with trees, healthy land, healthy waste diversion, a clean river, clean air, green energy and much more.
  • To engage in reconciliation with our first nations communities where we humbly understand and learn more about what we don’t know and take their lead in learning with them.
  • To live in a community where none of my gay, lesbian and transgendered friends don’t fear for their lives or have any struggles with simply being who they are.
  • To have no reason anyone living in a wheelchair would not have a way in or out of a building and that any other disability would see nothing but accessible equality.

This past year, I’ve needed bifocals and bladder pills (my kids think that one is the funniest) and now I’m about to take a journey down the road of hearing loss. All of that in one year has shown me my age in a way that makes me see my body changing and our lives may be more fragile than I once thought. I haven’t enjoyed this one little bit, but it’s my new reality. I’m also, again, privileged because I have the means to buy the ‘aids’ I need to continue living my life. I’m thankful for the technology and the ability to get what I need and having the family who supports me with the old age jokes along the way.

To all of you on Facebook, twitter, email and sending private messages, thank you for my birthday wishes, they meant a lot.

What do I want for my birthday?? I ask each of you to join me on my journey for the next half of my life, we have a lot of work to do…it will be hard but we need everyone. It will be frustrating and take a long time, but we will have fun and I promise it won’t be dull :)  

Let’s Go! 

Who Am I?

“You are fierce” she said. 

The comment took me by surprise. I’ve been called a lot of things, but that is one I’d never heard. My instant reaction was “pfft, ya right”. 

You see, I’ve never seen myself as strong, smart, confident or good at what I do, in fact, I’m very hard on myself. When this young student looked at me and said she was intimidated to ask me a question because I was fierce it began a reflection period for me. Who am I? What do others think about me? What value do I bring my community?

This reflection period took me into a depression. Discovering new dark pieces in my mind, I chose to keep walking through the “funk”, as I call it, into a new realization that I may be fierce. What was I going to do with that? 

I work in the nonprofit sector, we’re not supposed to be fierce, we’re supposed to be compassionate and giving and caring. What started to become apparent to me was that fierce may not be a negative. Fierce may, in fact, be a positive character trait that can help me achieve new things. How do you harness ‘fierce’ so that it’s a positive force for good and not a trait that turns people away, frightens them or calls my motives into question? How can ‘fierce’ drive innovation and social change without harming anyone in the process?

For the past two decades I’ve been working in service roles where I have supported many people. I have bathed, fed, washed, dressed, nursed, loved, carried and given the heart of myself to hundreds of humans in need over the past 23 years. I have been in scary places and seen true brokenness and hurt from the street level to end of life care. I have loved my journey and it has created a compassionate heart with a truly altruistic need to help. 

Aside from the work that I have done, I have also needed services for myself and my children. I’ve experienced and lived through mental health crises, poverty, abuse and trauma. Being a ‘client’ in the nonprofit system also created fierceness as I began to have to advocate for my needs and the needs of my children. The lived experience gives me an additional ‘heart’ of compassion towards the injustice I see daily in our community, country and the world.

Being fierce means speaking up, speaking out and calling on others for support. When I share stories or challenge people on their thinking it is not to hurt or harm anyone; rather, it is to help us to all slow down, think and reflect together on how we can make this world a better place for all humans.

It’s surprised me to see so many people along the way who hurt each other, lead for power and unabashedly build fortresses around their organizations or causes that inadvertantly keep people out. 

On the flip side, I've seen people working hard in their field of work to solve challenging issues, who are torn down daily in different forms of media and made to feel terrible simply because they make money that is supported by taxpayer dollars. 

In a sector I love so much, I have seen so much pain and intolerance of others' opinions and actions that it tears at my heart. I, and so many others who are fierce, are growing tired. I wonder who else is willing to begin stepping out and looking at how we can bring compassion and love back into our sector and approach our work in a new way. An unapologietically fierce compassion that puts our clients at the heart of our organizations, and where we park all our egos and personal belief systems at the door and listen and learn what our next steps may be.

What I learned today...training...

Today's lesson reminded me that leadership training is essential and never over. 

I work with so many companies who hire from within, which is a great practice. Excellent front line staff who learn your business and show promise, potential and initiative should be promoted and grown into new roles. What I see, over and over, is that these promotions are not aligned with coaching and training opportunities. We grow front line leaders into positions and then do not fully equip them often citing cost as a limiting factor. I can now tell you with certainty that by not investing in training, you're leaving yourself and your company open to mistakes that could cost you even more.

I was very lucky. I worked with an organization who believed in ongoing learning and development. I started out as a front line health care aide in a nursing home, then went to community care where I quickly floated into a team leadership position. At 25 I was a new mom of two babies (2 yo and a newborn) and I had no idea how to lead people. My employer saw something in me and believed in me but also lined me up with a coach and did a lot of training with me to get me 'up to speed' on basic leadership skills.

Working with my coach changed my life. I would not be here, in my own leadership business, without that experience. Today I work with teams through a series of one-on-one coaching and workshops to build their confidence, walk with them through challenges and help them feel less alone in this new, big role they've taken on. 

The ability to give and receive feedback, coach your staff, give appropriate recognition and holding people accountable are most often topics that challenge new leaders. There are simple tools and lessons that can build their abilities and confidence in this and other areas.

Another area that is forgotten is that older leaders need refuelling and reminding. We get tired in leadership roles and we build habits that are not always the best way to do business. Also, leadership tools and techniques change and improve and new lessons are important. Finally, new generations of staff, specifically in the millennials age group, need different types of leadership. Seasoned leaders need to realize that leadership grows and evolves and be open to change or teams can get stagnant and become toxic.

Today, treat your staff with a coaching session or consider how leadership training can help your team. It's an investment that is completely worth it!

What I learned today...is conflict...

Todays lesson for me is in the ability to sit with colleagues and let conflict happen in a safe, constructive environment That sounds a bit off the wall but sometimes sitting with two people who need to let out their frustrations and deal with the elephant in their room can be something that needs to happen. Doing it with a coach is much easier than going around in circles alone but takes a lot of courage and vulnerability. 

All teams will face times of disagreements, sometimes frustration and if not dealt with, escalation may occur such as outbursts of anger, passive aggression, rage or worse.  This is definitely the hardest part of a leader's job. Conflict is uncomfortable and should never be avoided.

Are you a leader who hides when conflict pops up? When unresolved it just simply doesn't ever go away, in fact it only gets worse. When it builds up, and then finally erupts you may have a full-blown crisis on your hands.

Leaders who don't deal with conflict properly will see it show up in other ways like absenteeism, gossip, low productivity, harassment as well as many other possibilities. You will spend more time dealing with the fallout then you would by not dealing with the original conflict.

What I was reminded of in my lesson today was to listen, breathe, allow it to come out and take shape. Don't take the conflict personally; deal with the facts; and honour the other persons perceptions and opinions.  Being cautious that everyone is okay with hearing conflict is an important consideration.

In the role of leader or coach, controlling the emotions buy checking in and facilitating time for pauses and breathing as well as allowing people equal time to talk is vital. 

Allowing someone to voice their frustrations and concerns creates a trusting relationship that is built on truth. Nothing is hiding any longer and people can just be real. It is exciting to see people reach a conclusion that they never thought was possible AND, many times they feel relief and are very glad to have come to some sort of resolution. 

Becoming more comfortable with conflict, recognizing anger and frustration as a real feeling and creating a safe place for it to come out builds team, strengthens relationships and improves all performance metrics you can think of.

If you're interested, Patrick Lencioni's book "5 Dysfunctions of a Team" talks about how to have healthy conflict and is a great resource for building trust and achieving results. 

One *NEW* thing I've learned...or should admit!

As a practice of reflection and vulnerability I have a new goal...to practice blogging about one thing I've learned each day!  As a mostly disorganized, scattered, multi-tasking, overall busy person this will be a challenge, but a challenge that I believe will help me become more reflective and contemplative, while sharing with all of you about leadership and life. Here goes nothin!

I'm a curious person. As such I seek out interesting things and choose to learn more; however, our daily lives are enough to teach us something new each and every day and reflecting on your daily learning is a great way to solidify your growth and development. Who or what has taught you something new today?

Today's lesson for me is in procrastination. Yikes, yes, I'm a procrastinator and I hate saying that. It feels like I need to be in front of a room apologizing with "My name is Chris and I'm a procrastinator". Somehow that seems to be a label that makes me feel like a terrible person/coach/consultant/mom etc.

There is something innate inside me that generally says: "Oh, I still have time to get to that", and I hate it. It falsely sets me up to push everything to the last minute. I know all the tips and techniques to manage my time and yet, something still inside me pushes everything off. That said, when I do work to deadline, I can produce some pretty great stuff, but I would say that I could even be better! 

Are you a procrastinator? 

Here are some tips to stopping from one of my favourite websites: Mind Tools:

  1. Recognize that you are procrastinating!
    • take the "Are you a Procrastinator" test
    • symptoms: filling your day with low priority items, reading emails several times without working on them, sitting down to start something and immediately going to grab a coffee, leaving items on your to-do list for a really long time, saying 'yes' to unimportant tasks that others ask you, waiting for the right mood to start your work.
  2. Work out WHY you're procrastinating.
    • are you avoiding it because it's unpleasant?
    • are you disorganized?
    • are you overwhelmed by the task?
    • are you a perfectionist?
    • do you have underdeveloped decision-making skills?
  3. Adopt Anti-Procrastination Strategies
    • treat yourself with rewards when you finish or meet certain milestones
    • ask someone to check up on you or hold you accountable
    • identify the unpleasant consequences of not doing the task
    • work out the cost of your time to your employer and shame yourself into it
    • aim to eat an elephant beetle first thing, every day which means conquering your hardest, least desirable task first thing in the morning so you don’t have to carry the load in your mind around with you all day
    • keep a to-do list
    • use Eisenhower's Urgent/Important Principle
    • become a master scheduler and project planner
    • set time-bound goals
    • focus on one task at a time.
    • create an action plan
    • start with quick wins, finish the small or easy parts first
    • break the feeling that it is unpleasant by trying it, it may not be as bad as you think
    • hold the unpleasant consequences of not doing the work at the front of your mind

So, now, I'm off go to begin working on what I should have been doing last week, but I'm focused, have my coffee and have proposed a reward of a nice glass of wine later when I'm done. Here goes nothin!

Leading Millennials: How to lead and engage student interns.

The following is my keynote address for the Annual Community Partner Appreciation Lunch for the Community Engaged Learning Team of Western's Student Success Centre.

Hi everyone and thank you for having me here today to share some stories and inspiration regarding my experience with student interns as well as some challenges for leaders to consider. Thank you for being here and demonstrating your commitment to the next generation of leaders through community learning programs like this one.

I’ve been working in the nonprofit sector since I was 18 years old. I started by handing out keys and towels in the locker room of the downtown YMCA. Smiling, washing and folding hundreds of towels and saying “Hi” to everyone each day was my introduction into what it means to serve people. I loved this job. The atmosphere and work environment at the Y has always been one of high values and family fun. This part time job, twenty five years ago, taught me to love the nonprofit sector and showed me examples of community leadership.

When I was in university, we didn’t have student internships, it was simply about lectures, readings and passing the tests they gave. I had never experienced what school is like when the classroom expands into the community. 

Although high school field trips to Pond Mills or Circle R Ranch were fun learning experiences, they lacked the ability for us as students gain work experience, learn to network and test out the job market while doing good. 

What I see through students today is that they experience a wide variety of projects, break through the Western bubble to see what happens in the workplaces each of you represent here today. They report being surprised by how things are done and love the people they meet and the experiences they gain. They go on to tell me that they’re so glad they participated and then they enthusiastically begin to engage their friends into what London has to offer. Many have become connected to volunteer opportunities, run for election with the London Youth Advisory Committee, join Emerging Leaders and become thirsty for what they can participate in that will take their learning even further.

Today there are community learning programs at universities such as this one with Western’s Student Success Centre. Since my days at the Y, I have worked in several leadership roles in nonprofits in our community and have been very lucky to have mentored dozens of students. Even now, while running my own business, I meet with a couple students per week for coffee to empower them, motivate them and connect them to other leaders in our City that may help them in their journey to finding or creating a career. I do this because they inspire me and teach me to stay young minded and innovative.

This new generation of students are unique and I find the generational differences quite interesting. My parents are baby boomers. They got a job, worked hard in the same company for forty years, saved for retirement and then retired. They had a very high work ethic, good benefit plans and still live in the same house I grew up in. As a Generation X’er I was raised with their ‘way’ as being the ‘right way’ to do things. Many of our workplaces hold these values firmly today, and this can lead to some struggles between the ages regarding tradition vs. innovation. Many leadership books are currently being written about how to lead this new generation because they are really shaking things up. Today’s youth are doing things quite differently and we have a lot we can learn from them.

I am very lucky to have found my way in London’s nonprofit sector. In school, I wasn’t taught about social justice, sustainable environments or how to have an impact in my community. We were taught how to be nice, respect our elders and be responsible. Nothing is wrong with that; however, it is a very different world than the one students live in today.

Today, students are raised learning to work in teams, be creative and solve the world’s problems through school projects. I find that they have a natural internal drive to improve the world we live in. They stand up for what they believe in and are much more vocal than we were able to be, in large part due to social media. This generation of students wants to make a difference and are brilliant and creative about how they want to do that. 

This is where we come in. As community leaders we have an obligation to pass on our learning and experiences to this younger generation. Seeing all of you here today shows me that you’re interested in doing just that. In fact, I bet any one of you here today could be up here sharing similar stories and advice. I’m preaching to the choir and for that I thank you. Your inspiration and role modelling is humbling.

Students want to make an impact in their world and you have the opportunity to let them do that. I know that over the years it has been challenging to mentor students. You may have had a bad experience or find that it takes too much of your time (or your staff’s time) to have a student in your organization. Trust me, I understand; however, I have seen a difference in the past few years. There is something new about them, something interesting and something I want to capture in the work that I do.

Students can be valuable to you, your employees and the people you serve. Thinking bigger than you have in the past about what role you give them in your company is something I’d love you to consider. Allowing them to do a task or take on a project that has higher stakes or challenges them a bit more than usual is a great way for them to learn. This; however, is risky for us as leaders. You have to guide them, instruct them and then be ok with how things turn out. 

Let me give you an example of someone who impressed me more than I could have imagined. I met Melanie after an event at Ivey Business School. She was just finishing her HBA and was eager to change the world. Melanie wanted to volunteer with me as she loved the concept of social enterprise and sustainability and wanted to learn from the work I was engaged in at the time. 

She was just about to start a new career at TD Canada Trust but wanted to exercise her philanthropic side. I told her I was going to be running an all day strategy workshop on a Saturday with a local start up nonprofit and if she wanted to help me prepare a few things and then come watch how I work she was welcome. 

Not only was she thrilled for the opportunity but she excelled at preparing for the session by sending me an outline that blew me away. We used all the content she created and in the moment when we were there, I even let her facilitate. With huge eyes of fear, she took a deep breath and jumped up to lead part of the session and was stellar. 

The group loved her and they even had her come back to work with them more to deeply develop their strategy work. From this experience she went on to teach two sessions on sustainability for students in the Western Continuing Education’s Nonprofit Certificate and continued volunteering and impacting others with Pillar Nonprofit Network. Today, after a few years of volunteering, she has left her work at TD and is leaving for Nicaragua to impact global health with the Global Brigade movement. 

The experience I had with Melanie taught me not to underestimate students. They are smart, resilient and very eager to jump in. Melanie saw things and experienced things she wouldn’t have learned if Western wasn't open to connecting with the community. She may have only seen her future in the corporate sector, which would have been successful but we would have missed out on her.

My experience has shown me that students come to you with high expectations. Because they literally want to change the world, sometimes the small role we can give them doesn’t affect them the way they were hoping when they started. This can be disappointing for them. 

If I can give you advice, start your relationship with them by asking a few questions and then listening to them. What are their goals? What are they hoping to achieve? What impact do they want to have? Why did they choose your organization? How can you help them? 

Once you establish this together you can identify their strengths, how they fit into your organization and what role is the best fit for them. Each person is unique and just like your employees, understanding what makes them tick will help you lead them to the best of your ability. Having some flexibility in the role you pre-defined for them or simply waiting to co-create it with them could make all the difference in their perception of success and in the productivity you receive.

Another important thing to consider is how you can help harness the learning they do acquire from your internship opportunity? Often the time they spend with you just feels like a beginning or the start of something great. It was a taste of something that moved them. It made them see something in themselves they didn’t know was there. What do we do with that? How do we keep watering the seed we planted whether within your organization or within the broader community?

Can a mentorship or volunteer opportunity be solidified with them before they leave? Can you involve them in drafting a succession plan or exit strategy for their role that can be implemented when they’re done with you? Perhaps you could connect them with other leaders who operate in areas where your student is passionate? How can you leave them with lasting memories that they will take with them through their life?

In today’s job market, 80% of the jobs that are available are not posted online. It is rare that anyone even gets an interview by simply emailing a resume to a job posting. Helping your new intern network is a great skill for them to gain. Can you have them shadow you to committee meetings? Can you give them assignments where they need to meet with other community partners and learn about what they do? Can you have them interview your staff team to learn about everyone’s career path? These are just some ways you can go above and beyond simply providing skills in an internship role; but rather, deeply and positively affect someone’s life. 

I remember a time I worked with Hannah at Pillar Nonprofit Network and as a student, she was assigned to partner with me during the night of the Community Innovation Awards. My goal was to teach her how to network, introduce her to great leaders and help her navigate the evening. She was very excited to get the in’s and out’s of networking and when we debriefed afterwards she felt much more comfortable and was excited to re-connect over time with some of the people she’d met. Teaching them the power of LinkedIn, handshakes and business cards allows them to feel strong enough to tackle job hunting from a networking perspective. This small task on my part will hopefully allow Hanna to find the hidden career she’s looking for.

A big change in mentoring Millenials is that they communicate much differently. Having been raised with social media, texting and instant messaging they may need to be taught telephone etiquette. I don’t mean that they need you to teach them to make a call; however, they might need some motivation and confidence building as it is not part of their culture as it was ours. 

Consider ways in which you can harness their use of technology brilliance with social media or preference for texting. Also consider how you may influence them to use alternate methods of communication such as hand writing letters or making a number of phone calls to thank your donors. This will help them grow and also allow you to manage potential abuse of their techy communication tools when you don’t want them in high use.

This age range gets blamed for having an overinflated sense of entitlement, increased distractedness or commitment level or even that they have a lower work ethic than previous generations. I often hear people say things like “our world is in so much trouble with today’s youth” or “i’m managing staff who have such a low work ethic and they don’t even know the value of a dollar”. I struggle when I hear these types of comments because it is simply a leadership issue. In my opinion, our leadership needs to adapt and change in order to welcome in this new generation to our workforce. I fully believe we will not be disappointed.

How can you engage this age group in a way that is meaningful to them with valuable work that teaches them important things you’ve learned along your career journey? Who says that past view of work ethics are the right views? Seeing new teams trying new things has shown me that maybe we need to reevaluate how we do business in order to accommodate the changing belief systems of our younger workers and student interns. Seeing local examples of Voices.com and Ellipsis Digital and global examples like Google and others who take this new younger culture at face value and lead them in creative ways is inspiring. They are great examples for the rest of us.

Research tells us that “While baby boomers and generation x employees are known to check their email at 11pm, millennial savvy tech skills and desire for work-life balance allows them to unplug after hours. They are able to do more with less time and may not be available around the clock the way that older workers are. This kind of willingness has become outdated as many workplaces switch to shorter workdays or summer friday schedules.” 

Seeing how fast Kelly, a young intern of mine, could create templates and an entire marketing plan for the community initiative I was working on, all while balancing her exams, some minor health concerns, and being part of her student council, was astounding. 

They’re brains work faster, they’re knowledge and use of technology is light speed ahead of ours and I’ve been surprised by this each and every time. It’s time we learned from them.

As leaders, I believe our role is to allow student interns to teach us. Let them astound you. Instead of wanting to give lessons and role model in one direction like a supervisor in a hierarchy, let them influence you in your role as leader. 

When I take an moment to learn from the students I’ve met, I realize that I’ve grown from each relationships as well. This shifts my perspective. I choose to learn from my staff, my volunteers and my students. I purposefully surround myself with smarter people and many of them are younger than I. I support them and lead them they way they need me to. They have given me real life examples of strong leadership values that I use in my daily work. 

Price Waterhouse Cooper did a Global CEO survey that asked questions about Millenials in the workforce. One of the most important pieces of information I found in their report has to do with communication. 

We know how important good communication is as leaders. With the average age of these student interns being 17-21 they, as millennials, are emerging as leaders “who are turned off by information silos and uncomfortable with rigid corporate structures. What they expect is rapid progression, a varied and interesting career and constant feedback.” So, my takeaway from their report is that we should consider how to speed up our sometimes less-than-speedy-sector, create opportunities for them to try new things and be constantly open and transparent, ensuring ongoing, real time feedback as opposed to our tradition of the annual performance appraisal model where we only tell people how we feel once a year. That said, will we be leaders that are ready for this kind of change or will we make them fit into our current reality?

Where young leaders are forced to fit into tradition we’re seeing them make change on their own. The PwC survey also stated that “this is the first generation to enter the workplace with a better grasp of key business tools than more senior workers.” In a time where the charitable sector is financially uncertain and funding models are changing these young, innovative thinkers are contributing largely to the world of social entrepreneurship. Going out on their own and creating world changing concepts outside of our traditional structures.

Forbes top 30 under 30 list are all made up of founders who mention social justice in their bio. If we can expose our students actively in the most challenging issues in our community I bet we’d be surprised at what they’d achieve. I for one would love to see more of this.

When I met Chris, a student at Ivey who was going to work with me on a project with the Coupons for Hunger team, I had no idea that his brilliance would turn into what we know today as Textbooks for Change. London’s first B Corporation that sells tens of thousands of used local textbooks on Amazon to help students in Africa. Chris is literally changing the world.

With all that being said, our wisdom as leaders needs to be passed down. Students are hungry to learn from us. With the hundreds I’ve met for coffee with in the last four years not one of them showed up late for our meeting. Every one of them dressed professionally and brought a notepad to take notes. I was honoured to meet each and every one of them. 

My favourite of all recently was Eva, a young lady in first year university who met me through a panel discussion I was part of at Western’s Student Success Centre. When I sat down for our coffee she was notably nervous. I asked if she was ok and she boldly said “I’ve never met a professional before”. This made me giggle, feel proud and humbled me at the same time. I still think of myself as the girl handing out keys in the locker room at the Y and I’m so blessed that I get to meet so many amazing students as often as I do. 

Thank you so much for listening to my opinions and stories today.  Before you go, I want give you permission to expect great things, not that you need to hear that from me, but I tell you this on behalf of Melanie, Hanna, Kelly, Chris, Eva and all the others who have flourished and grown because they too have experienced our sector. Push them harder, dream bigger and expect more. This next generation of employees and future leaders are ready. They are different, but they are ready and so blessed to have each of you ready beside them.

Thank you.

 

Authentic Leadership Development: The journey of growth & development.

Clients I work with have been asking for more and more Authentic Leadership coaching so I decided to take my own learning a little deeper. After a mini-literature review I have discovered some interesting topics that I will write about in my next several blogs. 

The first one I wanted to share with you is rooted in a research study that was done about leadership development and the levels at which we progress from adolescence to maturity. 

In “Authentic Development: Leadership Development Level and Executive Effectiveness” by Keith Eigel & Karl Kuhnert they studied the levels of maturity that shape the mental and moral capacities of a leader. 

I found it fascinating.

Learning to be a great leader takes a lifetime. It is an ongoing journey for many of us who seek it and we always seem to feel like we have a lot more to learn. We learn from the people we lead, from our clients, our partners, our collaborators, our competitors and our own families. The environment around us and the experiences we have been challenged by are all part of what forms and moulds us into the leader we’re meant to be.

Eigel & Kuhnert’s theory of leadership development starts at level two because level one, in their opinion, is equivalent to childhood development and is studied in early childhood education models. 

As you read the lists of characteristics in each level, try to decipher where you may be? Where do you spend most of your time? What situations pull you back and forth between the different levels? What sparks you as something you may need work on?

Leadership Development Level 2

Leaders in level two see the world similar to that of an adolescent. These leaders tend to:

  • oversimplify
  • have concrete viewpoints
  • see things in black and white 
  • only see win-lose options
  • see other’s views as oppositional
  • be self-centred
  • be simplistic
  • be unbending 
  • be rule oriented leaders 
  • associate breaking the rules with negative consequences

Leadership Development Level 3

These leaders can: 

  • consider the perspectives of others
  • understand their own weaknesses and limitations from level two 
  • understand that they are more than their own personal agenda 
  • see more than black and white
  • disobey rules they don’t agree 
  • see that they do not always have to win
  • internalize
  • empathize
  • adopt other’s perspectives
  • acknowledge, synthesize and fairly represent the viewpoints of others

In this level; however, leaders struggle to:

  • create action independently
  • deal well with conflict 
  • use their own creativity and authentic expression
  • make decisions without support
  • feel ‘ok’ about themselves without relationships to support them

Leadership Development Level 4

Leaders in level four:

  • are independent
  • are less reliant on outside sources of information 
  • have an understanding that comes from within and from others
  • understand that all opinions can be evaluated objectively but do not define their decision-making
  • are able to separate their feelings from the facts 
  • can author their own point of view
  • have started learning how to lead from a place of their own authenticity 
  • are truly able to be effective leaders
  • are more successful at generating willing followers
  • know the world doesn’t revolve around them
  • are not beholden to their own circumstances for their well-being 
  • have needs and an agenda but know that they alone cannot create an effective team or organizational value
  • have their own techniques for doing what they do 
  • are distinguishable, identifiable and unique

Leadership Development Level 5

The final level is level five. here, leaders:

  • are highly aware of their environment 
  • can respond in an situation they find themselves in
  • are only 5 to 8% of 40 to 60 year olds in leadership roles
  • have the ability to step away from, take perspective on and evaluate their leadership objectively
  • are open to the influence of others
  • can be their own critics
  • can see into the situation, themselves and others at the same time
  • are open to reports on their own performance
  • understand their likes and dislikes 
  • are aware of their impact on others as well as their changing needs
  • are grounded in their values
  • are open to experiences and opinions of those they represent
  • display openness and vulnerability to others
  • are in constant transformation
  • have a strong ability to reflect 
  • create their vision and brilliantly articulate it 
  • illustrate their value system through their actions
  • influence followers to action, growth and effectiveness
  • have a strong sense of self-awareness, self-esteem and authenticity

As you journey through these four levels you are transitioning from a self-centred, ‘in the moment’ style of leadership to one of complexity, inclusivity and stability. You begin to know more about yourself, others and the world and that knowledge shifts from something that defines you to something you define from within.

Movement between levels happens when your team/organization/self becomes unbalanced. A shake up or challenge occurs and your old way of dealing with things no longer works. At this point, you can choose to gain a new understanding or you can shut down and oversimplify what is around you and stay at a lower level.

As you can see, most of the differences between levels have to do with self. There is nothing above that mentions how you need to fix your team or your colleagues. Leadership growth and development is internal and is hard work. Are you ready?

Why "The 5 Love Languages®" Matter in the Workplace

For managers, telling your staff "thank you" so they hear you is more of a challenge than you think.

I've noticed I've talked to clients a lot lately about the Five Love Languages. If you've never heard about it I'd love to tell you more.

The original book was written by Gary Chapman in 2009 for married couples to help them show each other how much they love them. He claimed: "By learning the five love languages, you and your spouse will discover your unique love languages and learn practical steps in truly loving each other."

I remember reading the book back then and it actually was very interesting and helped me in my close relationships with my kids and extended family. 

Take the same theory and apply it to the workplace and it gets very interesting. Chapman realized this and released The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace: Empowering Organizations by Encouraging People in 2012 and I use it's tools with many of my clients.

The theory is that we all have unique ways we feel appreciated. Chapman says there are 5 ways we can show someone we appreciate the work they do.

  1. Words of Affirmation - When we tell our teams and individuals they are doing a great job. Using our words to affirm their performance.

  2. Acts of Service - When actions speak louder than words. Doing something to make your team see you serve them in some way.

  3. Gifts - For some people receiving a small (or large) gift can make them feel wonderful. A coffee or card can brighten their day.

  4. Quality Time - Some people require your undivided attention in order to feel recognized for what they do. Making regular time to sit with them is important.

  5. Physical Touch - To these people they need appropriate touch. (i.e.: pats on the back, a hand shake, sometimes a hug depending on the environment and comfort levels)

For many of us as leaders we simply say "good job" or buy them lunch occasionally. We read about recognition games and icebreakers we can play at meetings; however, we may be missing the mark. I hear, time after time, that staff do not feel appreciated for what they do. I also hear managers say "I don't know what else to try, I tell them all the time that I appreciate them". Why are the wires crossing?

Well, often we give what we want ourselves. If you are someone who likes gifts you may always provide gifts to your teams. Surprise cupcakes at team meetings, birthday gatherings etc...these are all things that only people who like Gifts as an act of recognition would appreciate. The rest of the team may think "wow, this is a waste of money and my time, I have too much to do and don't care about cupcakes". If I'm someone who needs a hug from time to time cupcakes will leave me feeling empty and worthless in my role.

We have to stop thinking that people want what we would like and get to know each of their individual tastes and preferences.

Taking the time to find out what your team members and colleagues appreciate will increase positive culture in your organization. There are fun activities you can play and assessments you can do to find out who has what preference.

For more information you can contact me for an incredibly fun team meeting on the topic or you can seek more information on your own here:  http://www.appreciationatwork.com

Have fun and make sure you acknowledge someone for what they've done at work today!

An Ode to my South African Friend

Just when you think you’re comfortable with your leadership and your career path someone steps into your life and challenges everything. This happened to me. It wasn’t that this person challenged my values but at the core of who I am he made me think deeply about how important my values are and how to live my life in alignment with them, authentically.

I was blessed to have had someone jump into my life…not quietly…who pushed me to a new and a somewhat more brilliant level than I ever imagined. Someone who questions most things you say and do and yet positively influences you along the way. Someone I have disagreed with, debated with, laughed hysterically with and cried with.

Jean Paul Mouton did this to me. A self disclosed globe trotter who makes waves just standing still. When you sit beside him you can feel immense energy coming off of him. His passion for social justice and making a difference in this world blew me away. 

JP has an innate ability to discover problems with the world and instantly view solutions as opportunities.

This man has no idea the impact he has. His life sits in a challenging place that I identify as ‘shit disturber’ space. A type of person who sees that things aren’t right and stirs things up so that the problem is identified. The difficulty is that these types of people are often not understood, can feel lonely and rarely feel welcomed.

It is hard for many of us who live in the same community for our entire lives to see our status quo as anything but normal. We don’t want to change it, we’ve worked hard to get it this way. We don’t understand people like him and we don’t always like them. It’s hard to see yourself as part of a problem that exists in your community or organization but JP makes it clear where the problems are and does not leave your side if you choose to improve them. You can’t help but become a better person for having known him.

JP parachutes into any situation and can see what isn’t working with more intense precision than I’ve even experienced. I’ve learned a tonne. I’ve gained confidence. I’ve changed.

This is someone who will simply make a difference everywhere he goes, he doesn’t know any other way. He profoundly impacts the life of anyone he comes into contact with. I’m unable to put into words how deeply my life has been changed by him.

So today I toast my morning coffee to a wonderful guy who is moving on across the ocean to embark on yet another journey that will no doubt change other people’s lives. To those he will meet, hold on tight, put on your seat belt, it will be a fabulous ride!

To JP and D….you’re great, amazing and life changing. I will forever be my new me, thanks to the both of you!

 

An Authentic Profile

I was recently blessed by the amazing Alyssa Agnew.

Alyssa is a student at Western University who decided to write about me for her Public Relations course. This is the project she handed in that got her a mark of 95%. Thank you to Alyssa for considering me to write about :)

 

Authentic is defined as not false or copied; genuine, or real. This is exactly how you would define Chris Moss.

The word authenticity is something Moss lives by and even recently tattooed on her ankle to always remember it. “As I was having it done, I reflected on how painful my journey has been. The challenges, the struggles and the many, many hours of self-improvement I’ve put into this journey…the pain of the tattoo was nothing!” says Moss.

Chris Moss is a one-of-a-kind human being with a lively personality and a realistic but positive outlook on life. With the struggles of life not getting in her way she has managed to pursue her dream of being a leadership consultant by helping others grow and become leaders within their organizations.

Moss was born and raised in London, Ont., and attended Sir Fredrick Banting Secondary School later attending McMaster University, where she received her bachelor of arts in social science. She continued her long journey of education at Fanshawe College for a health-care aide certificate, then Westervelt for a web design certificate and finished off by receiving her master of arts in leadership at Trinity Western University.

With her previous work as social enterprise program manager at Pillar Nonprofit Network, Moss was able to gain the experience she needed to pursue her dream of opening a business in leadership consulting. “I see so many ambitious MBA students coming out of Ivey and they dream of their first career as a consultant. But…the best thing I ever did was live the life of a leader in the trenches and teach/consult now from a place of understanding and shared experience,” say Moss. “I have managed in a union, I have been yelled at and had things thrown at me…without those experiences I could not ever begin to assume I can consult on anything of value.” 

Moss has been a leader within the non-profit sector for approximately 16 years and loves every minute of it. She believes being a leader is a perfect fit for her as leaders are life-long learners because they are always evolving. No matter what organization she works with she believes there are four core leadership qualities that must exist – authenticity, transparency, vulnerability and persistence. They must also believe in the mission of the organization and their staff because without this, “they will not succeed.” 

Moss has two teenage daughters who are 18 and 16 along with two cats and a dog, “It’s a crazy house,” she says. 

As part of her job, she regularly speaks at conferences which is one of her favourite aspects. Her favourite topic to speak about? Authenticity of course! “I want more people to be brave enough to speak their mind, be real when it is hard, be transparent and open and share their own personal vulnerability with those they lead. Only then can we all be on the same playing field and really make a difference, together!”

Moss continues to evolve leaders within the non-profit sector, as she believes this is the biggest issue they face. Her plans for the future? “To inspire hope, change and vibrancy in amazing people so they can create change and impact in our community.”

A Breath of Fresh Air

I was talking to someone today about what it’s like working in the nonprofit sector. We discussed the challenges of funding and the tireless advocacy and struggle to make ends meet. The capacity issues and staff workload concerns are higher than ever and turnover and burnout are everywhere.

A client I’ve been working with told me I was like a “breath of fresh air” in their organization. I’ve been reflecting on that because it really wasn’t about me. It was meant as a compliment; however, when I simply look at the reason they said it I notice that they were tired. Tired of the same old same old, tired of the constraint driven system of lack of money, lack of time, lack of leadership and I thought to myself ‘there must be a better way’. 

One book I read while doing my Masters of Leadership was called Change the Way you See Everything by Dr. Kathryn D. Cramer  This book taught me the difference between Asset-based thinking (ABT) and Deficit-based thinking (DBT). She explains that “ABT is not just positive thinking, but rather a systematic observation of ‘what works’”. 

I realized that I’m an asset-based thinker. Sometime, this drives people crazy. I only see new opportunity. I don’t see constraints. I don’t often know the ‘how-to’ details that will make implementation of my ideas seamless and painless. And….because of all that I can inspire people who have been stuck (inadvertently) in deficit-based atmospheres. 

The people I drive crazy are the ones who can’t connect how to do new things without money or without seeing all the steps to get there. Sometimes that leap of faith and jumping without a parachute can actually bring about inspired change and success. I challenge more people to try jumping. It’s like in the Indiana Jones movie when Harrison Ford’s character was about to walk out over a cavern and the bridge suddenly appeared. The bridge just may appear as you begin walking.

Living in a world where nothing is possible because of money, time or people is discouraging. We need more ABT’s in this world to break down those walls and help us see what is possible. New innovative ways to do business is needed in our DBT nonprofit world. Let’s work together to see what CAN be and stop looking at what CAN’T.

Mental Health and Good Leadership

This is a hard topic to broach, and an area where leaders can become defensive; however, it is an important one to discuss. 

I believe that there are elephants in the closets of our nonprofits that few people are taking the time to bring them to light.

This is not to say that problems exist in ALL nonprofits, I know many many amazingly successful leaders and staff who produce profound impact in our community. That said, the more and more I work with nonprofit organizations the more I see a need for help…and want to help. 

For some reason there are many hurting people working throughout our nonprofit community that have been struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Staff and leaders, of all levels, who pour their heart into their jobs simply to receive burn out, frustration and lack of direction. This affects them personally, emotionally and psychologically as they struggle with keeping jobs, receive poor performance reviews and even display mental health symptoms. 

I know this because I’ve hugged them amidst their tears, and I’ve been a shoulder over coffee.

Mental health in the workplace is a very important new discussion that is, in some cases, a symptom to a larger problem…there must be a root to the problem somewhere?

Leaders and board members struggle to recognize or fail to see what is right in front of them. Why is this? So many, well intentioned serving people lead nonprofit organizations as paid staff or volunteer board members who do not understand what it means to be good leaders or even how nonprofits should operate. This is a bold statement but sadly we’re not all cut out for it or we overstay our welcome and forget to make room for fresh new leaders.

Often senior leaders have worked their way up the ranks from front line positions, I know I did. As they raise through the ranks and do not balance it with proper education, good mentors or outside experience they can become blinded by the status quo within their singular organizational culture.

Many times board members are well intentioned business people looking to 'give back'. Their hearts are all in the right place but they haven’t taken any governance training they don’t understand how to run a proper meeting or how to interact with their Executive Director. When problems arise, they are not sure what to do or where to go for help.

For the past seven years I have worked inside organizations and consulted with organizations who want someone to help 'fix' the problem but they don't know what the problem is. They want team building to make things more fun but the real root of the problem is never addressed. 

There is poor governance, uneducated leaders, fraud, abuse, harassment, bullying and many more problems discussed daily in all levels of leadership across our city. 

The Mental Health Commission says: "The workplace can be a strong contributor to mental wellbeing, giving people the opportunity to feel productive and achieve their potential. Yet it can also be a stressful environment that contributes to the rise of mental health problems and illnesses such as depression and anxiety."

So, what do we do?

Well, we need to talk about it. We cannot be ashamed, take blame or be afraid to speak out. Sometimes as leaders we think that if we admit there is a problem that we may lose our jobs, gain a bad reputation or have to deal with a big mess if you open that can of worms…but, by not dealing with problems we are contributing problems to the basic health and well being of the people in our ‘care’…those who work for us.

Let’s open the closets and kill the elephants, together, you're not alone.

What is the root of the issue?

It will be different in every organization. Leaders need to listen to what is not being said. The typical complaints will show the symptoms (ie: tired, burned out, bullying etc.) but some root problems can be insufficient resources, poor leadership, poor communication, inability to change and be flexible in the new nonprofit environments, or stuck in the status quo…just to name a few. It takes a skilled listener and systems thinker to see the big picture and help you spot the problems.

In the work of Marcus Buckingham in “First Break all the Rules” we learned that “the responsibility of the local supervisor or manager to his or her organization can be daunting. The profound impact of this person on the working life of others and performance possibilities is critical to an organization’s success. Practical and effective leadership skills are the lifeblood of the organization.” He clearly states that “people leave leaders, not organizations”.

It is time we help each other, as leaders, to grow and evolve and put the care and concern of our employees first. To put our worry about our role, and the ego that comes with that, on the back burner. We should encourage education of all leaders and board members so that everyone knows how to do their jobs properly. Stop allowing people to lead who do not understand this and stop being afraid of doing the right thing.

This can be done positively and with graceful encouragement. There are fabulous ways to position you with success. If you feel you need help, reach out. We have amazing leaders in our community and consultants you can work with. Ensure you find the right fit for you. Let’s work together to make healthier community and healthier workplaces.