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Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.

Learn From a Leader: Journaling Personal Interactions

learn from a leader May 22, 2022

Forget about it and move on. That's one way to respond when things haven't gone according to plan, but if we're talking about conversations and personal interactions there's value in pausing to reflect on what happened. Heck, even if things went well there's a benefit to evaluating how you got a favorable result so you can replicate that outcome in the future.

Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt goes one step further and actually documents interactions he has with players, coaches and front office personnel so he can learn from them. 

If you're a sports fan you've likely noticed similarities in player and their personalities. Having a game plan based on past experiences can help a coach like Clint connect quicker, respond better, generate buy-in and get an overall more favorable response. 

Coaches aren't the only ones who encounter similar personalities or face the same situations on a regular basis. Think about the conversations you have most often,...

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Learn from a Leader: Emotional Bandwidth

I don't have time to be emotional. Heck, in my line of work I can't afford to be "emotional." As a woman working in sports that's one of the quickest ways to lose respect and become the "problem" everyone has to deal with.

For years I tried to control my emotions. Nearly every sporting event and game I participated in growing up resulted in me being told to get better at controlling my emotions. 

I tried. I got a little better, but ultimately I failed because it's not about controlling emotions it's about harnessing them. There's a big difference. Mental Performance Consultant Dr. Chantale Lussier provided insight during a Learn from a Leader conversation. 

Sports is a great place to recognize the value in harnessing emotions. If you're already a sports fan you've seen players lose their cool, get into their own heads and minimize their effectiveness during games as a result of not being able to harness their emotions during games. 

The same thing happens in...

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Learn from a Leader: Finding Your Voice

Your resume is a reflection of your skill level, not your leadership ability.

Sure, there are leadership aspects that come through in the jobs you've held and the responsibilities that go along with those roles.

Your skillset is important, but credibility is built through relationships.

When Quandre Diggs arrived in Seattle via trade in 2019 he'd been in the NFL four years. He came from Detroit where he had been a starter and amassed over 200 carer careers. He was a proven talent but he couldn't walk into the Seahawks locker room and assume the role of a vocal leader. As the sideline reporter for the team, I can tell you he is definitely one of the loudest voices in the locker room and he'll explain how he earned that opportunity in the video clip.

It's a good example to follow for anyone joining a new team or trying to take on a larger leadership role. As Diggs said, "It's knowing where you fit in, but you have to have a realistic sense of where you fit in."

Be willing to do the...

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Learn from a Leader: Leading Strong Personalities

Strong personalities can be an asset for any team. Often those team members are driven, ambitious, competitive and confident in their skills. They want to forge ahead and are always looking for ways to win. 

It's not hard to see where they stand, but they can present challenges for leaders. 

There's probably a specific person who comes to mind (it might even be yourself) when you think about a "strong personality" at work, but for right now let's look at a different type of workplace environment - an NFL locker room. 

I've worked in NFL locker rooms for more than 20 years. I've worked closely with the Seattle Seahawks as their sideline reporter for 13 seasons. I know from personal experience and observation that the personalities in an NFL locker room more closely resemble your team at work than you realize. There are introverts, extroverts, easy-going guys and strong personalties. 

Effectively managing strong personalities is critical for creating buy-in. That's...

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Learn from a Leader: Dealing with Imposter Syndrome

 

Often in effective business communication less is more. 

A more concise email gets read. Shorter meetings can increase engagement. And simply making a decision without justifying everything that went into your decision can be empowering. 

When you have combined facts, expertise and experience you don't need to say anything else. You might feel like you need to convince people you're right, but the more you try to talk them into something the easier it is to talk yourself out of the confident decision you made. 

Author Katrina Adams is also a past president of the United States Tennis Association. She shares a number of experiences and leadership lesson in her book Own the Arena. You can also access the full Learn from a Leader conversation and the entire library of leaders using this link.

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Learn from a Leader: Building Self-Confidence

You are not your successes or failures. You are not your accomplishments or disappointments. 

It doesn't always feel like that but it's an important distinction for building confidence. Focusing on what we do instead of who we are makes our confidence and self worth conditional. Dr. Chantale Lussier is a mental skills consultant who works with athletes and high performing individuals. She joined the Learn from a Leader series to share this insight about developing confidence. 

Here's one way you can catch yourself in the act of conditional self-worth: "I am" vs. "I did."

I did x,y,z at work. 

I am proud of how I showed up to do the job. 

 

I did not get the new job.

I am pleased with how my interviews went.

You won't always be happy with the outcomes. You won't always feel good, but if you can force yourself to think about the difference between "I did" and "I am" you''ll have better self-awareness of what's driving your confidence. 

You can find more...

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Learn from a Leader: Relatability as a Leader

learn from a leader Feb 17, 2022

People follow people, not plans. 

Your credentials are important for getting the job, but when it comes to leading, inspiring and motivating your team forget about the resume. Heck, forget about the 5-step plan you created, and the new process everyone is going to follow. I'm sure you have great ideas and writing down organized thoughts is important, but that's not what creates buy-in.

The people around you need to relate to you. The only way to see that everyone is all in this together is to show them who you are. As Sooz Jarosch says, there has to be that, "Yeah, me too" realization. 

 

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Learn from a Leader: Believe in Yourself

I love the idea of a fresh start at the beginning of the... and then the “what if’s” set in. Am I the only one? 

Imagining the possibilities is exciting, planning big is inspiring - right up until I have to start taking action and question my own ability to execute. Fear takes over at that point.
 
I don’t think I’m the only one who feels this way. In fact,  Elaina Morris, President and CEO of Ascend Hospitality Group, says that in her experience mentoring the No. 1 thing that holds people back is fear they can’t execute. 
 
I’m curious, what do you do to move past that hurdle and reclaim your confidence? What conversations help you reset?

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Learn from a Leader: Leading with Authenticity

The end of the year is always a time of reflection. It's a time to evaluate what worked what didn't. Where you had success and where you can be even more successful next year.

Goal-setting often starts with what you've done in the past. So does authenticity. 

As former NFL GM Randy Mueller explains, doing the "crap jobs" develop character. It's part of your story and it's how you demonstrate authenticity as a leader. When people know you've failed or you've done the dirty work or overcome adversity they can better relate to you and follow your lead.

So when you evaluate 2021 don't gloss over where you've failed, overcome challenges and persevered. It's just as important as the success and the wins you've enjoyed. 

You can find more insights from Randy and other leaders on YouTube.

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Learn from a Leader: Starring Roles vs. Supporting Roles

learn from a leader Dec 05, 2021

Not every leadership role is a “starring” role. There are supporting roles, in fact, that might fit your personality and skillset more than being front and center. 

Don't downplay your leadership skills because they don't look like someone else's. There are leaders with strategic vision, who innovate, who chart the course and lead a large number of people on a grand scale. 
 
There are also leaders who find ways to make the greatest impact on their team, in their community, in their industry, with their families. It might be on a smaller scale but leadership is leadership and good leaders make an impact regardless of the number of people they're leading. 
 
Former major league soccer player Roger Levesque explained how he approached leadership during his professional career in a Learn from a Leader session. You can find more Learn from a Leader lessons on the Talk Sporty to Me YouTube channel. 

 

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