Four Big Questions To Help You Racalibrate

As a leader, it’s tempting (but unrealistic) to hope that everything will return to normal. Instead, seize this opportunity to recalibrate your personal, team, and company operating models.

Reflect on these questions to get started:

  • What personal qualities do you bring to the table today that you should carry into the future? Maybe you have become more focused, or communicated with your team more clearly during the disruption. If those skills helped keep your organization afloat, don’t let them fade away.
  • How, practically, should you hold yourself accountable? How will you ensure that others help hold you accountable? Setting measurable goals and tracking progress have always been part of good leadership, but they are even more essential now. Your transparency will create trust among your team.

The luxury of living in our old comfort zone has been taken away

  • Is your “to do” list holding you back? Try creating a “to be” list to lift you past everyday tasks and point you in a new direction.
  • What have you already done to adapt to your new circumstances? List the changes you’ve made in business operations and identify those that you need to retain. This exercise can also help you feel less overwhelmed by the wave of disruption.

Invite your team to reflect on these questions with you. Recalibrate your expectations of your team and communicate honestly with them.

The luxury of living in our old comfort zone has been taken away. The people you are leading have big expectations of you. They want you to be perfect and often forget that you are human. But the more human you are with them, the more trust and empathy they lend to you. And on this foundation of trust, you can build a successful future.

Sherri Miller, Founder and CEO
Center For Extraordinary Success

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Start a “To Be” List, Not a “To Do” List

Like you, many of my clients are at a major inflection point in their organizations. I keep pushing them – and myself – to use this unique opportunity to reimagine our potential, instead of allowing our organizations to return to the comfort of “the way we always did things.”

The CEO should be at the forefront of the push for change, because some work can and should be done only by the CEO.  As a result, CEOs need to be extremely intentional about how they use their time.

Use this time to reimagine your potential, instead of returning to “the way we always did things.”

McKinsey research found that CEOs who focus their scarce time on projects that only the CEO can do, and who manage their energy with the same amount of discipline with which they manage their time, deliver higher performance.

One technique is to create a “to be” list with the same rigor that you develop your “to do” list. A “to be” list can apply to your personal qualities as a leader, or the vision for your entire organization.

As you reflect on the past six months, examine how you’ve already made the impossible happen, including your decision-making processes, resource allocation, communication, and location. By applying this immense effort, you moved your team beyond what you ever imagined could be accomplished.

Decide what you want “to be.” Use you time wisely to create the right future for yourself and your organization.

Sherri Miller, Founder and CEO
Center For Extraordinary Success

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Let Others Shine

Over the last few weeks, we’ve explored how to become a graceful and grateful leader – one who eschews power grabs and brashness and instead puts others first, employs empathy, and creates an environment of forgiveness.

All of these traits, when present in a leader, create an atmosphere of trust among coworkers and colleagues. This trust is the foundation upon which improvements are made and growth occurs. A graceful leader ultimately works to serve others and allow them room to grow and succeed. The resulting successes are shared among all. A graceful leader is happiest when the whole team succeeds.

When you lead in service, you create an environment where others can shine.

Creating trust is more than simply getting buy-in. Buy-in is superficial and implies that each party is “getting” something in return for supporting an idea. True trust goes deeper and brings a team together to work toward a noble goal.

Being a servant leader means it’s not about you. When you lead in service, you create an environment where others – your colleagues, your family, or your community – can shine.

Gratitude, courage, forgiveness, and service to others add up to leading with grace.

Sherri Miller, Founder and CEO
Center For Extraordinary Success

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A Forgiving Heart Helps You Lead With Grace

I’m not perfect, and neither are you. As leaders, we all have flaws, and so does every member of our team. But when we lead with grace, we also lead with a forgiving heart.

When we lead with a forgiving heart, we recognize, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, that “Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.” A forgiving heart acknowledges and appreciates human frailty, including your own.

A forgiving heart acknowledges and appreciates human frailty, including your own.

An essential component of being a graceful leader is understanding that true leadership is not about you. A forgiving attitude creates opportunities for people to be their best, rather than live in fear of your next outburst or cutting remark.

Those who lead with a forgiving heart know that mistakes are inevitable, and that no one is as bad as his or her worst act. When we embrace forgiveness as a constant attitude, we can believe that redemption and rehabilitation are always possible.

Above all, when you lead with grace, you become aware of the awesome and ultimately self-redeeming power you possess to forgive others.

Sherri Miller, Founder and CEO
Center For Extraordinary Success
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Does Leading With Grace Make You a Pushover?

Being a graceful and grateful leader, rather than being brash and audacious, might be viewed as weakness. Won’t people walk all over you?

Not at all. When you lead with grace, you’re not a pushover. Instead, you lead with courage and quiet determination toward your goals. You may even inspire others to act courageously.

You’ll lead with quiet determination toward your goals.

We are all feeling pressure on many fronts right now, and you may be tempted to choose an expedient solution over a difficult one. When you lead with courage and grace under pressure, you develop the fortitude to choose the right path, even if it is not easy or popular. You will develop the dignity to rise above instead of responding to insult with insult.  And you will have the strength, above all, not to blame others and to accept the responsibility that comes with leadership.

Employing grace and gratitude creates trust among your colleagues and your team. This trust forms the foundation on which you build a shared vision of success for your organization. From here, you can courageously guide your team through today’s storms, and be better prepared for the storms that lie ahead.

Sherri Miller, Founder and CEO
Center For Extraordinary Success
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Be a Grace-filled and Grateful Leader

Leading with grace in our modern world may seem counterintuitive – it rarely gets the attention that audacity and swagger may elicit. But a graceful leadership style builds trust and collaboration among your team and your colleagues. And it all begins with gratitude.

I learned many years ago that grace is about gratitude. To lead is a privilege, partially earned and partially due to all sorts of luck. Leading with grace means you are grateful for the opportunity to lead, and are thankful to those around you.

No leader can go it alone. Leading well means relying on others. Those who trust you to lead them and those on whom you depend deserve your gratitude. A 2018 Inc. article by Michael Kay entitled Why Expressing Gratitude Is Crucial In Business explains how employing gratitude can yield unexpected results.

To lead is a privilege, partially earned and partially due to all worts of luck.

Why does being a grace-filled and grateful leader matter? Executives attribute 64% of a strategic initiative’s success or failure to their employees. So, leaders must build strong connections with their teams before they can achieve successful outcomes.

Yes, it’s true – gratitude is connected to successful outcomes!  People trust leaders who are genuine and grateful.

Start today by building grace-filled and grateful practices into your leadership.  Our world needs some of this right now!

Sherri Miller, Founder and CEO
Center For Extraordinary Success
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Leading With Grace

What does it mean to “lead with grace” in today’s world?

To lead with grace is to be at the service of others. When we are gracious, we make others feel at ease and give them an opportunity to feel graceful themselves. To lead with grace is to recognize that true leadership is not about you.

Grace is defined as an intentional act of unmerited favor or an inclination to promote others’ interests and bring them joy.  Yet grace is more than just an action – it is a deeply spiritual word.

Grace can seem nostalgic and countercultural in today’s harsh and coarse world.

Grace is where style and substance meet. Grace can seem superficial, but when properly understood, it is genuinely profound. Grace is a way of moving through the physical world and a way of touching the realm of the spiritual.  It is a concept that is evocative and elusive.  Grace can also seem nostalgic and countercultural in today’s harsh and coarse world. Brashness and bravado are rewarded far more often than the gentler and subtler act—and art—of grace.

When unsure what to do or how to respond to workplace challenges, go with grace. Ask yourself what it would mean to act graciously.  By leading with grace, you create opportunities for others to be their graceful best, whether they are your children or your colleagues.

Leading with grace will always help you find the best possible outcome.  Embrace your grace, cultivate it, and share it with colleagues and the world, which desperately needs it.

Lead with grace.

Sherri Miller, Founder and CEO
Center For Extraordinary Success
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We Are All Leaders During a Crisis

We often think of “leadership” as a specific role within a company. But in reality, we are all leaders – especially in times of crisis. Whether your organization has one employee or thousands, each is a potential leader who can step up during challenging times no matter what their role is.

How do you tap into this leadership potential? Here are some ideas:

Brainstorm

What a great time to practice finding solutions together! Gather your team virtually to discuss top priorities right now. Create a list of solutions to address the situation, including those that may be unthinkable.  Engage employees from all levels of your staff – they experience uncertain times through a different lens and may offer insights that differ from your own. Once a solution is agreed upon, determine the who, what, when, and how of implementation. Have a daily or weekly call for updates, changes, and progress.

Engage employees from all levels of your staff – they experience uncertain times through a different lens and may offer insights that differ from your own. 

Engage

Employees thrive when they are empowered with as much direction, certainty, and involvement as possible. By listening to your team members’ unique perspectives and knowledge, you show that you value and respect them. Communicate clearly and often during times of crisis and invite feedback from your team. Many leaders believe this approach may diminish their authority – not true. This strategy will strengthen a leader’s executive presence and earn the respect of their employees.

Don’t Go It Alone

In the end, you cannot do leadership alone. It’s all about building trust through the way you treat people, and how you show compassion for their concerns.  When you have the trust of your staff, you can make smarter decisions and anticipate the needs of your employees more clearly.

Contact me if you need help empowering your employees to be leaders.

Sherri Miller, Founder and CEO
Center For Extraordinary Success

How Leaders Can Build Trust During Uncertain Times

When faced with uncertainty, people want strong, confident, and decisive leaders who are also transparent and vulnerable enough to express genuine care and concern. Here are five things you can do to ensure that you never lose the trust, loyalty, and support you desire from others.

Listen To Your Team

Leading through uncertainty is a critical experience for you, but it can have greater significance for your employees. This is not a time to “wait and see.” Your employees are deeply concerned about their families, health, and careers. Ask yourself, “What can I do today to listen to my team?” and respond to their concerns in a timely manner. Reach out to large or small teams through Facebook groups, teleconferences, video calls, or other channels.

Nothing reveals your true leadership style like guiding your team through uncertainty.

Show Respect

Respecting others could be the most important tool we can employ now.  Whether you agree or disagree with orders to self-quarantine, social distancing or limiting travel, we must respect the experts who are leading us through this devastating time.  Respect the concerns of your employees, too, no matter how trivial they may seem to you. Create a plan that respects their needs and share that plan with your team.

Be Transparent

Leaders often feel compelled to have ALL the answers.  During times of uncertainty, no one has all the answers, so be transparent and admit it. Go ahead and say “We are in this together and will figure things out together” or “I am working on this issue and expect to have a plan by [date] and will debrief you by [date],” then follow through on that promise. Being transparent is key to building trust.

Be Honest and Consistent

When someone asks you a question, give them an honest answer. Don’t dance around the issues. Even if you must share bad news, your staff would rather know than not know. If you aren’t authorized to discuss a particular topic with the entire staff, be honest about it. As you develop plans, ensure that your leadership team knows what’s confidential and what can be shared. Leaked information can undermine your leadership ability, tarnish your reputation, and erode loyalty.

Reveal Your Executive Presence

Nothing uncovers your true leadership style like guiding your team through uncertainty. The way you compose yourself, your reactions to negative dialogue, and how you handle office politics will expose your ability to lead in a crisis.  Always be present and compassionate, yet decisive. And after the crisis is over, you will have gained valuable insight to carry you through the next one.

Strong leaders always seek to improve. Contact me to learn how you can grow as a leader.

Sherri Miller, Founder and CEO
Center For Extraordinary Success