1. Why We Shouldn’t Be Giving Advice

    June 20, 2016 by Elaine Suess

    The ability to communicate well impacts everything we do at work. Expertise in what I call Conversational Leadership extends even beyond work.

    “The art of communication is the language of leadership.” James Humes

    A critical element of Conversational Leadership is whether you’re most often asking questions or giving advice.

    Advice As Pain

    While I don’t have the research reference to share with you, a friend who studies the brain recently shared with me that giving advice lights up the same area of the brain that pain does. Ouch!

    advice (more…)

  2. Making the Leap Toward Top Performance

    May 22, 2015 by Elaine Suess

    When it comes to leadership lessons, stories using frogs continue to “hop up.” There’s no doubt that making these frog lessons part of your everyday practice will lead to improved performance.

    Three Frogs
    I believe it was Harvey McKay who told a story of three frogs, two of which decided to jump from their lily pads into the water. The question is asked – how many frogs remained on the pads?

    The answer is three, because even though the frogs decided to jump doesn’t mean they took action.

    Two Frogs
    I’ve previously shared my derivation of a derivation on frogs — Begin each day “eating a green frog” or two first thing in the morning. Your green frog is what you’ve been putting off that is draining your energy or negatively impacting your focus. If you “eat” the frog in the morning, you’ll accomplish an important task or goal and free up energy for the rest of the day. (This is especially helpful for those who have an MBTI preference for “Perceiving.”)

    Leadership Lexicon
    These “frog habits” lead to two words to include in your leadership lexicon: “intentional” and “deliberate.”

    WHATBeing IntentionalIf you need to jump off the lily pad, prepare for your best jump.
    Congratulations! You are setting intentions to be the “best possible you” at work.  Now, what do you need to be intentional about? A few questions you might consider answering:

    • What are you doing well, and how can you do more of it?
    • What barriers are keeping you from working at your best, and how will you remove or overcome them?
    • What specifically do you need to apply energy to in order to improve your performance?
    • What is one thing you can do to help an employee move forward in a meaningful way?

    First the WHAT, then the HOW

    HOWTaking Deliberate Action – Make the jump! Eat that frog!
    Now that you’ve set the intention to make positive changes in specific areas, what do you need to do to put that intention into action? Research shows the more specific you are, the more likely you will be to succeed.

    Below is a sampling of “hows” that come up regularly with my clients at every level. Simple, but not always easy:  

    • Start with a plan for each day or week
    • Create a daily frog habit – be diligent about eating the frog
    • Don’t check email before making your plan for the day
    • Schedule meetings with yourself on your calendar, and keep the meeting as if it’s with someone else
    • Set boundaries and expectations to remove distractions that keep you from accomplishing your goals

    Without a doubt, these “frogs” can help you improve your performance. Now, jump to it!


  3. Are Your Players Hitting Home Runs?

    June 28, 2014 by Elaine Suess

    Devin Mesoraco is a baseball player for the Cincinnati Reds. He spends his time behind the plate catching a leather-covered piece of rubber. Sometimes it comes at him moving just a tad more than 100 mph.  I have some insight into catching a ball hurling through space. I was on both sides of the pitcher/catcher equation in fast pitch softball in college. I can assure you, I neither caught nor threw at that velocity!

    As a catcher, and at that speed, you have to be ready for anything.

    Even though the catcher gives the signals and expects the pitch to match the signal, that doesn’t always happen.  So, you have to align your expectations and understand what’s possible outside of them.

    Batter Up!

    The unexpected also peaks its head in when Devin steps up to the batter’s box. (more…)

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