Building Trust in Your Organization

“Trust is the most precious of the golden threads that connect us with others. Without it, there can be no ‘WE.’ With trust, growth, change, and transformation are possible.”

Judith Glaser

Trust is the foundation for engaging with others. When you build trust, you can truly inspire and empower others. Leaders build trust one conversation at a time. When there is trust in relationships, everything goes smoother and faster with candid and clear communication that gets better results. 

We know this to be true in our own lives, but data backs it up. Gallup research shows that employees who trust their employers experience 74% less stress and 40% less burnout. One third of employees shared they’d stay longer with an organization if leaders kept their promises; furthermore, companies with high trust levels outperform companies with low trust levels by a resounding 186%. 

Where does trust live in an organization?

Have you ever said to a colleague or employee, “Just trust me!” and felt that was sufficient for gaining trust? Of course not. Trust in an organization lives and breathes through the individuals that make up that organization. 

We can create trust, but we have to understand first where it lives with us, as individuals. 

Harnessing conversation neurochemistry

Understanding and utilizing the neurochemistry of conversations enables us to achieve profound transformational results and revolutionizes the way we interact as human beings—whether we’re working with individuals, teams, or entire organizations. 

Humans are wired to connect; but we’re also programmed to distrust first. Distrust lives in the most primitive regions of our brains, which are hardwired to protect us.

diagram of brain neurochemistry during conversations

Heart Brain

  • Enables connection all internal systems and others
  • When we are in sync with our heart brain, we move towards each other as friends; when we don’t sync we move away and feel others are foe

Limbic Brain

  • Stores history of all emotional experiences
  • The limbic brain says, “Where do I fit in?”
  • Reads social context, looks for inclusion and exclusion
  • Move towards or away from each other

Neocortex

  • Hardwired for language, storing info, basic thinking, reasoning and cognitive skills
  • Holds our internal “scripts,” including working memory and stored memory
  • Newer researcher says right brain is change brain and left brain is steady-state brain

Gut Brain

  • Link between digestion, mood and health and the way we think
  • Stress correlated to lack of biodiversity in gut flora
  • Keep track of social cues and allows us to alter behavior accordingly 

Prefrontal Cortex – newest part of the brain

  • Higher level coordination of the whole brain
  • Envision future and create scenarios, step into shoes of others – empathy, mirror neurons, make judgments, live in trust and have integrity
  • Advanced capabilities – judging, dreaming, possibility

Awareness shapes our environment for trust

We need to be more intentional in shaping the environment for trust—this opens up the prefrontal cortex, where we can best make choices without an automatic response. 

Think about our primitive brain states as an uphill climb—everything is primed for survival and is an uphill battle for us to communicate. 

Think about our prefrontal cortex as strolling on a country lane—moving forward is possible in conversation and there is a noticeable flow. 

Awareness of what we’re saying as we’re having conversations and building trust connects us with the most advanced parts of the newest brain, which can even be thought of as the “executive brain.” 

Knowing the brain research and neuroscience principles that underlie the words and actions that build (or erode) trust is the key to increasing a leader’s self-awareness and the ability to engage and inspire others more naturally and logically. 

Trust is a pivotal element in the future of remote work

74% of professionals expect remote work to become standard. This opinion is also shared by 76% of entrepreneurs—and tech organizations specifically will be leading the charge on this new normal. 

To create meaningful work across teams in-office, you need trust; but trust in an organization is more important than ever with remote work. Flexibility in work schedules and work locations are key to retaining talent—but make communication even more important. 

Regulating and understanding TRUST

Creating trust in an organization can be as simple as TRUST

Transparency

Relationship

Understanding

Shared Success

Test Assumptions 

When we use this model as a roadmap, we can be aware of our mindset, intentions and impact. As we know, this puts us in our prefrontal cortex where we’re best suited to make the decisions and connections that move our companies forward. 

Stay tuned for the next in our Organizational Trust series, where we’ll dive deep into Transparency. 

Does your organization need a trust assessment? 

Contact us to learn more. 

 

Activating Leadership Through 10 Self-Awareness Activities

Is one of your goals this year to become a more impactful leader? Awareness is the gateway to more effective, conscious leadership. In fact it’s the first step in ORCA’s Four A’s of Conscious Leadership.

Yet many of our clients ask, “Where do I begin?”

We’ve put together a list of 10 activities to do to increase your self-awareness every day. Remember, awareness is a continual process of learning. Our team at ORCA uses these techniques to further grow and develop. 

1. Meditate and practice mindfulness.

One company’s study showed consistent employee meditation increased productivity by 120%. With meditation rising to the same level of popularity as yoga in the U.S. alone, it’s easy to find resources to help with this critical tool for self-awareness and success.  

  • Set a timer for 5 minutes, close your eyes and notice what comes up.
  • Headspace and Calm are great tools to use for guided meditations.
  • These mindfulness tips may seem easy enough, but in practice self-awareness is a process of constant learning. Therefore, ORCA and WithPause have put together a detailed guidebook that you can use throughout your day for self-inquiry: 7 Daily Micro-Practices to Shift Your Experience. 

2. Learn something new.

From a physiological perspective, learning something new is good for you. When you learn something new, you are exercising your brain—helping to improve cognitive functions such as concentration, attention to detail, memory recall and problem solving.

  • Find an interest that you enjoy, ideally something that brings you joy and gets you out of your comfort zone. Through trying something new, you’ll gain greater self-awareness and confidence. 

3. Use self-assessment instruments.

Understanding behavioral style and preferences to environmental factors impact how you lead and work as a team. 

  • These can include assessments such as DISC and EQ to learn more about yourself and increase your awareness. Get your free DISC Engagement Report here.
  • You can also use CliftonStrengths (formerly StrengthsFinder) to dive deeper into what are your strengths and how to capitalize on them. Contact us to learn more. 

4. Journal.

Journaling is one of the most accessible tools available to increase your self-awareness—especially as patterns in thought can appear when you journal over a span of time. All you need is a pen and paper (or blank document on your laptop). 

  • Consistency is key here. Notice what thoughts you have when you first wake up and write them down. Use the prompts below to guide your journal entries.

5. Create a personal values statement.

A personal values statement shows you what’s most important, which is incredibly effective in prioritizing your time and goals. 

  • What is important to you? What guides your actions?

6. Challenge your fixed mindset.

A growth mindset thrives on challenge, unlike a fixed mindset, which assumes we can’t change in a meaningful way. 

  • Example: Instead of “I need to control.” (a fixed quality that feels unchangeable) try “I am learning how to let go be a better listener and allow others to take the lead.” (this creates a path forward)
  • Kristin Neff’s 5-minute Self Compassion Break is a great tool to guide you forward when you feel stuck in your fixed mindset.

7. Identify the sensations in your body in connection with your emotion.

Recognizing how our mind and body react to situations and emotions—whether in tandem or separately—can illuminate areas we want to alleviate tension. 

  • Notice what situations or stimuli trigger you and cause you to have certain reactions or feelings. Example: What is happening in your body when you feel angry? 
  • Set a reminder on your phone that says “Name 3 emotions you are experiencing right now.” Set it to repeat at a specific time every day. 

8. Examine and poke holes in your own level of thinking.

As leaders, we know that making assumptions isn’t the best practice. Your own thinking is no different. 

  • Play your own devil’s advocate.
  • Be open to asking those around you what I am missing in my thinking about this problem.

9. Know your strengths and weaknesses/growth edge.

SWOT analysis may be second nature for your business, but knowing your own strengths, weaknesses, and growth edge present an opportunity for greater self-awareness and direction. 

  • In what areas would you like to improve? What things come naturally and easily to you? What is something you would like to do, but are afraid to try?

10. Pay attention to your intuition.

Paying attention to your intuition—and trusting where it leads—can bring self-recognition and information you can then act on. 

  • Where do you feel naturally inclined to go? Be curious and listen beyond what your rational mind might be telling you. 

Looking Back to Look Ahead: An End of Year Letter from CEO Paul O’Beirne

This time of year can fly by with more events than usual; it’s normal to feel the pressure to celebrate and soak in every last moment as the year comes to a close. It’s also a time for reflection and looking to the future with intentionality. It’s important to look back so we can see how we would like to move forward. As I reflect back on my Conscious Leadership journey this year, I encourage you to do the same. 

Vulnerability is an essential part of the Conscious Leadership Journey

This year, I stepped in front of the camera and shared more of myself with you. I’ll tell you, making my first video was both a weird and anxious experience. It felt like I was talking to myself. I had a thought of “are you staring at a screen or really talking to people?” It felt vulnerable and challenging, pushing me even further as a leader and I shared more of my own journey than ever before. Over time I was able to become a little more comfortable making videos. 

I believe what we have to say is important, especially in these times when most of us are being challenged by everything. The world is shifting and we are entering a new era of work. My mission and our mission at ORCA is to help people become more conscious and take ownership of things that are going to help them be more effective in navigating change. This mission is more important than any fear I have of being in front of the camera. 

I didn’t have any expectations about what might happen, but I gained so much from the experience. New connections, deeper connections with my network and more confidence in myself. I felt really vulnerable sharing my journey publicly and ultimately had to trust that my sharing could help someone. In the end, it resonated with some, and I had people reach out to me to thank me for sharing and some even shared how it helped them in their own journey. 

The challenge of leading a company through uncertainty

In the beginning of the year, lots of projects were still on hold as clients didn’t know what to expect in the coming months. As the year progressed, things started picking up and there was more predictability around how we would move forward. Everything wasn’t completely worked out, but we had a general direction. In 2020 we really had to get comfortable moving everything to the virtual space, and this year we were able to go back to having some in-person meetings. 

The biggest challenge we faced was the uncertainty that comes with growing and sustaining a business. Figuring out how to keep generating revenue, maintaining profitability, controlling costs and overhead, and figuring out cash flow. 

Personally, I was challenged to work on my business versus in my business and really embody the role of CEO. (You might remember my balcony and the dance floor video.) It was important to look at how to scale a business beyond just me and the relationships. I needed to personally spend more time on the balcony. 

Defining what success means at ORCA

It’s important to know your “why.” It’s crucial to how you measure your success as a leader. When I think about ORCA’s success, I ask myself two key questions:

  1. Have we assisted our customers in having a transformational experience? 
  2. Have the individuals and teams with whom we work taken away something that makes them and those around them better? 

This year I really tried to prioritize sharing our wins. I adopted a habit of doing this every week in what I called “our wins and priorities.”  We are still a work in progress, but are continuing to get clear on where we can add the most value and focusing on developing our niche. Currently we are transitioning to a more holistic approach and integrating the different assets we have to bring greater value while focusing on where we have the most experience, which is working with technology organizations. 

Looking to the future

As another year comes to a close, I’m going to continue to use connection as my roadmap. My goal is to continue to establish and build long-term sustainable relationships with our clients and partners. It’s not about selling a product or a new lifestyle. It’s about raising awareness and encouraging people to continue to grow and transform and for you to do the same for your people; in this way, we propel to new levels of success. 

We are working on integrated offerings that can be customized to different clients based on their needs. The Four A’s of Conscious Leadership will continue to be a focus, and we’re excited to dive deeper into that framework with you in 2022. 

We are so grateful for our clients, our partners, and our community at large. I wish you and your loved ones a Happy Holiday and a wonderful end to 2021, and we look forward to connecting with you next year. 

If you would like to stay updated on what’s happening at ORCA, subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest news sent straight to your inbox. 



The most impactful books on my Conscious Leadership journey: 5 Book Recommendations for Conscious Leaders

I’ve always sought to learn and grow on my Conscious Leadership journey, whether it be from mentors, peers, my job, or on my own. Reading growth-oriented books is something that has helped me tremendously, and today I’m excited to share some of my favorite Conscious Leadership books with you. 

I met with Marvin during my time working at Microsoft. I really liked the work and research he did on empowering people in the workforce. He empowered people by moving responsibility to where the job is at, meaning as a leader he believed it was crucial to enable people to solve their own problems. He inspired the idea that everyone can create their own desirable future. 

This book is great for someone who is interested in organization change, or looking to feel more empowered in their workplace. 

Kevin Cashman takes a holistic approach to leadership: grow the whole person to grow the whole leader. His book offers stories, exercises, and practices to help readers develop mastery in eight areas. This is the book that started to help me think about the inner and outer game, although I didn’t call it that at the time.

This book is for anyone who wants to cultivate more awareness, and grow on their Conscious Leadership journey. 

In his book, Otto Scharmer integrates heart-centered leadership and focuses on where leadership comes from instead of how someone does leadership. This had the biggest influence on my capstone project: The Being of Leadership. 

He talks about full presence listening and how the power of listening is both being able to connect to yourself and others. He describes three presences: co-sensing, co-presenting, co-creating that coming together to create a full experience. 

I recommend this book to anyone who’s looking for something comprehensive and wants to learn about an interesting model. 

My first copy of this book was given to me in 1983. I re-read it in 1985 when I lost my dad and my job. This book is all about believing in yourself and not getting in your own way. I remember when I had no job, and I said I have no doubts and that I am going to be successful and won’t worry about money. A leader from Microsoft was supposed to meet with seven of us. No one else could make it, so I met with him one on one. After that meeting, he offered me a job, and I moved to the U.S. 

I’ve learned that when you get out of your own way, really ridiculous and crazy things can happen for you. If you’re wondering what the three magic words are, you’ll just have to read the book to find out. 

I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for something really impactful. This is a book that I often buy copies of to gift to people.

In this book, Ron Heifetz gives a structure and framework for dealing with complexity and understanding the whole organizational system and your relationship with that system. This is where “the balcony and the dance floor” came from. 

“Knowing how the environment is pulling your strings and playing you is critical to making responsive rather than reactive moves.” – Ron Heifetz

He talks about observation, interpretation, and intervention. How do you do these things in that system? You have more control of the complexity itself when you understand that it’s the relationship to the complexity that matters rather than the complexity itself. 

“Your silence creates a vacuum for others to fill. The key is to stay present and keep listening. The silence of holding steady is different from the silence of holding back.” – Ron Heifetz 

It can be difficult when change requires you to challenge people’s familiar reality. Many will feel threatened as you push through major changes, but as a leader you will have to find a way to make it work. 

I would recommend this book to someone who is going through a transition, or who is looking to make big changes in their life. This book will have a huge impact on how you see and understand your environment. 

There are so many other great resources out there, but these are the top books that have had the greatest impact on me and my journey. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions, or want to share what you’ve learned from these books. You can get in touch by going to ORCA’s Contact page or reaching out to me on LinkedIn

Learn more about Conscious Leadership here. If you’re ready for help on your Conscious Leadership journey, you can learn more about working with us here

Diving Into Conscious Leadership

What you need to know as a leader, and how you can accelerate your growth.

We are passionate about supporting leaders at ORCA. It is our mission to raise the consciousness of the leaders we work with in order to create more productive and effective organizations. We measure our success by the impact we have on the leaders we work with. The following videos discuss my own journey to conscious leadership after leaving Microsoft, the trends we are seeing for the future of leadership, and the struggles that leaders go through in their careers.

Paul's Journey to Conscious Leadership

Before we dive into the work we do, I want to share with you some of my leadership story. My journey started when I left Microsoft. I felt I was no longer giving or getting my best and decided it was time to figure out what was next. 

It was challenging to leave. When you work at an organization for a long time, you have structure. After I left, I felt lost. I was expecting people to reach out, to feel needed, and that’s not what happened. I had to go through a grieving process during this time.

What I learned is that you can’t have new beginnings until you have an ending. It’s important to celebrate this ending, and it’s okay to grieve. It’s okay to feel lost. Remember that you are not alone in this journey. If you can accept that the way you’re feeling is normal, you give yourself space to grow.

That’s why I developed our 4 A’s of Conscious Leadership Framework, to help you navigate through transitions and shift your mindset. This is more important than ever as the future of leadership continues to shift. 

The Future of Leadership

As a leader, it’s important to understand what’s going on in the workforce.

Employee’s expectations of their leaders are shifting, and the changes we saw during COVID only accelerated this shift. Younger workers are moving around to opportunities that are the best fit for them and want to find organizations that care about them and their growth. With the increase of remote work, people are now having to bring their whole selves to the workplace. We are in our houses and juggling it all. Employees want their managers and leaders to understand this.

As a leader, it’s important to think about these changes, and how you are leading. At ORCA we talk about a leader’s inner game and outer game. The inner game is composed of the thoughts and feelings you’re having, the stories you tell yourself that impact the way you lead. Your outer game is how this all manifests in the workplace and how you are executing on your leadership competencies. We’ve developed a holistic approach to Conscious Leadership, because we understand that it’s important for leaders to know about their inner game and outer game.

Leadership is a Journey

We love to help leaders scale to the next level but to do so we must understand and acknowledge that all leaders struggle. Presidents, CEO’s, COO’s, and Senior leaders at large organizations, like Microsoft, all go through difficult periods where they need support.

It’s the leaders who are most aware and who are willing to ask for help who get through the struggles more quickly.

Leadership is a journey. Asking for help is a great way to accelerate your own leadership journey, and is an important part of the process. Coaching is a great way to scale up your leadership and have support along the way.

We’d love to support you on your leadership journey.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch or subscribe to our monthly newsletter to get all the latest updates and Conscious Leadership tips sent straight to your inbox.

Adaptation: The fourth step in Conscious Leadership

Our environment is constantly changing, so we need to continually adapt​

As humans, we naturally resist change. It’s part of our instincts. If we are naturally built to resist change, how can we possibly learn to thrive in a world that is constantly changing? This is where adaptation comes in

What is Adaptation? ​

The definition of adaptation is “a change or the process of change by which an organism or species becomes better suited to its environment.” Our environment is always changing, so we need to learn how to continually adapt. This is a continuous process. As we become more aware, acknowledge where we’re at and take action, it is critical that we monitor our progress and make adjustments. Adaptation is noticing our progress and the environment around us and then reacting accordingly. 

This is important if we are to move from Conscious Competence (I know something, but I have to think about it as I do it)  to Unconscious Competence (I know something so well I don’t have to think about it.)

In our last article, we discussed needing to continuously seek feedback and monitor the outcome of our actions. This can be a complex process, which requires us to become more attentive to our verbal, behavioral and effective cues while we are relating to others, ourselves and our environment. This process can be seen as a series of experiments of learning and growth. 
Stylish,Workspace,With,Desktop,Computer,,Office,Supplies,,Houseplant,And,Books

Case Study: Self-reflection and increased awareness is the key to adapting​

Liz was a coaching client who was working on a plan to be more aware of her triggered reactions when she felt people were not moving at the right pace. She was doing well until her boss asked her to take on some new projects. 

She wanted to take on the extra work, but also felt her stress level increase with the added pressure to deliver more. 

Instead of jumping directly into action, it was important for her to take some time for self-reflection and to diagnose her new situation. 
 
I encouraged her to become aware of what might be going on with this new change and to spend some time observing what was happening as a result. 

She worked through some of the exercises to help her reduce stress, such as taking time to exercise, setting boundaries around work and getting enough rest. She also reflected on how she could shift her perspective and see the situation differently.

Liz asked herself how she could shift some of the responsibilities of her team to get everything done instead of how she is personally going to take on new responsibilities.

She was able to think more clearly because of her increased awareness, reduced stress and with this new perspective she felt ready to take on the new responsibilities. Liz was adapting to the changes in her environment.

Adaptive leadership is about the change that enables the capacity for us to thrive.​

Ron Heifetz’s Adaptive Leadership model is all about experimenting, discovering new knowledge, and making numerous adjustments throughout.” Adaptive problems require individuals throughout an organization to continually make adjustments to their environments. Adaptive leaders are open minded, willing to self correct and examine challenges from new perspectives.

Our Conscious Leadership framework can support you in this process. This is not a linear journey and requires continual adaptation to the evolving environment and to recognize that our relationship to this environment is constantly changing. The process of moving from Awareness to Adaptation is not a straight line, but rather a spiral where we are continuously adapting to the world around us at each stage.

New environments and new dreams demand new strategies and abilities, and they require the leadership to mobilize them. My friend and colleague, Sesil Pir, said in her book Human Centered Leadership, “ A leader changes shape, color and quality day by day until, one day, they find people are drawn to them without any further effort. Here are 5 steps that can help guide you through this process. 

5 steps of effective adaptation

  1. Try different approaches and see what the impact is. Adaptation takes place through repeated awareness, acknowledgment and action through experimentation. 
  2. Take time to observe yourself. Be curious about what you feel and how you react  as the situation around you changes.
  3. Slow down. Remember that it takes repetition, trial and error to learn something new.
  4. Recognize that leadership is a continuously adaptive process. In order to become skilled, it requires continual learning and the knowing that the environment around you and your relationship with it will continuously change. This struggle is part of the leadership journey.
  5. Use the system you’re in to support your growth by developing an accountability circle of trusted advisors who can give you feedback. Ask the feedforward question, “what is one thing I can do that will make me more effective in working with you.” 
Woman,Hand,Flipping,Wooden,Cubes,With,New,Normal,Word.,Adapting

By taking time to observe yourself and experiment with different approaches, you will start to better understand your relationship with your environment. Remind yourself that adaptation is a continuous process and that situations and environments are constantly changing. As you go through our Conscious Leadership Framework, you will not only gain insights, but you will also strengthen your ability to adapt to any situation or environment and become a more effective leader.

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Read more articles in our Conscious Leadership Series here.

Acknowledgement: The second step in Conscious Leadership

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Are you ready to take the leap and shift your mindset into one of a continual learner? 

Are you ready to accept thoughts and beliefs that are holding you back?

 


Moving from Awareness to Acknowledgement in the Conscious Leadership Framework is not a linear process.

The Four A’s of Conscious Leadership work together to deepen our understanding of how our experiences impact our perceptions and show up in the world. 

Awareness  is the shift from “I don’t know that I don’t know something” to “I know that I don’t know something,” thus creating an opportunity for choice to ACKNOWLEDGE.

 In Noel Burch’s the four stages of competence this is moving to conscious incompetence (click on the graphic to see more). This step may seem insignificant, but it is a crucial and often the most difficult part of the process. 

It requires  deep vulnerability as well as an acceptance of discomfort.

The key to success in Acknowledgment is shifting from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.

The first step in Acknowledgement is admitting that you don’t know everything, and you desire to learn more. 

We call this a growth mindset. 

A growth mindset embraces the challenge of learning and change. 

People who have a growth mindset know they don’t have all the answers and acknowledge they never will. 

They hold themselves with humility and know there’s always more to learn or what is called a beginner’s mind.

When we learn new skills and new ways of coping the stress and challenges of life, new possibilities arise.

We are able to see life from new angles and approach problems with more humility, experience and innovation. 

In his research with Richard Boyatzis, Daniel Goleman established the primary role of leadership as emotional in nature. He used the term “attunement” to intentionally establish the non-linear nature of applied emotional intelligence. 

Attunement aims to maintain the quality of relational health among members of a team or group. It is important for the leader to acknowledge and take ownership of how his/her mindset, expectations and emotional state is going to have an impact on the interactions even if there was nothing said. 

It is important for a leader to acknowledge this and take ownership of this. 

This pursuit of deeper understanding of the group requires the leader to understand how their mindset might impact their perspective of how the team functions.

A case study: a senior leader acknowledges and take ownership of his "internal operating system"

In the previous article written on Awareness, I spoke about my experience coaching a senior leader who learned to become aware of how his direct communication style was hindering his team’s productivity. 

The Leadership Circle Assessment was used to show him how his mindset or “internal operating system” was driving his leadership actions. After the assessment, it became clear that he needed to acknowledge and take ownership of his impact on the overall effectiveness of the team. 

Time and time again, I see many leaders wanting to dive straight into action, without truly accepting themselves and their actions. 

Therefore, I asked him to slow down, take a step back and reflect. Through this reflection period, he became more curious about his communication style, what situations triggered him and why he believed he had to be the go-to person to solve problems. 

He was then able to take ownership of his beliefs and acknowledge how he might be hindering his team’s productivity.

How to introduce Acknowledgement into your day through reflection and exploration

Moving from Awareness to Acknowledgement is not linear, but iterative in nature. 

We acknowledge through exploration, inquiry and ownership which then helps to increase our awareness. 

There are a few key ways I’ve learned to bring more Acknowledgment into my life.

Acknowledgment Tip #1

Acknowledge your strengths AND your weaknesses. It’s important to celebrate who we are holistically, the things we are proud of and the things we want to improve upon. Looking at one, and not the other, provides a skewed sense of self. Download our 7 Mindfulness Practices to bring more awareness and acknowledgement into your daily life.

Acknowledgment Tip #2

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Know that becoming aware and acknowledging your behaviors and characteristics can be difficult. What allows people to get more comfortable with being uncomfortable is the acknowledgment that the only thing we can guarantee is that change is inevitable.  By changing our relationship to the unknown and getting curious around any underlying story that may accompany the discomfort helps us become more comfortable.

Acknowledgment Tip #3

Practice self-compassion. Self compassion is the act of being kind toward ourselves when we suffer, fail, or feel inadequate, rather than ignoring our pain or punishing ourselves with self-criticism. The 5 minute Self Compassion Break by Kristin Neff is a great tool to implement self-compassion daily. 

Acknowledgment Tip #4

Engage a coach or mentor to support you on your growth journey. Coaches are committed to your development personally and professionally and function as a mirror to reflect back your own perceptions, stories, strengths and weaknesses. They can support you in maximizing your  personal and professional potential. 

Discomfort is part of growth. Know that you are not alone in this journey.

Are you ready to Acknowledge and take ownership in pursuit of more effective leadership?

Our assessments can help you better understand how your mindset and behaviors are impacting your leadership.

Stay tuned for the next part of our Conscious Leadership series which covers the third step of the 4 A’s of Conscious Leadership: Action. ‘

If you want to keep up to date, join our newsletter for a monthly dose of conscious leadership.

Awareness: The First Step in Conscious Leadership

Learning about ourselves and how we relate to others

Imagine being able to share your thoughts regardless of who you’re speaking with or your expertise in a field. Imagine being able to empower your team to do the same. Is it possible for a workplace to openly communicate regardless of title or hierarchy? How do you get to the root of how your team is feeling and empower them to share openly and honestly with you? This is where Conscious Leadership comes in.

A Conscious Leader embraces their whole self with total awareness of their leadership impact.

They are able to listen and understand how they relate to others in a way which allows them to continue to grow, adapt and lead their team more effectively.  In order to become a more Conscious Leader, one must make a shift into a more conscious mindset. Effective leadership begins with Awareness and is the first step in the Four A’s of Conscious Leadership.

What is awareness and why is it important?

Awareness is defined as the “quality or state of being aware.” You might be wondering “what does this truly mean” or “how does this relate to leadership?” 

 

Daniel Goleman, who popularized Emotional Intelligence, considers self-awareness to be the most crucial competency associated with workplace emotional intelligence. His studies suggest that people who are aware of their emotions are more effective in their jobs. They recognize and understand their moods, emotions and needs and are able to perceive and anticipate how their actions affect other people. 

 

They are also open to feedback from others on how to continuously improve and make sound decisions despite uncertainties and pressures. As a result, they are more trusted leaders and create more productive workplaces.

When we learn to tune-in to ourselves, we create choices of how we move forward and engage.

Self-awareness is about being “in-tune” with yourself in relation to others. It plays a critical role in:

  1. How we understand ourselves
  2. How we relate to others 
  3. How we connect to the world around us

When we tune-in, we can learn about our inner resources, abilities and limits. We begin to understand our strengths and weaknesses and become open to receiving candid feedback. This allows us to see new perspectives and continue down our path of learning and self-development. 

What are the blind spots?

“I don’t know that I don’t know something.”

The challenge in self-awareness is we all have blind spots. 

 

Blind spots: (noun) Things we may not be aware of about ourselves or in relation to others. 

Blind spots are created due to either a  lack of a skill or competency or the inability to see  how our stories, beliefs, mindset, feelings or past experiences impact our behaviors. This is called unconscious incompetence, simply put

I don’t know that I don’t know something. Below are the steps that people go through learning new skills as outlined in a model that was developed by Noel Burch in 1970, called the four stages of competence. The model highlights two factors that affect our thinking as we learn a new skill: consciousness (awareness) and skill level (competence). 

Our blind spots have control over us and our actions. Yet, when we understand the underlying unconscious mechanism that drives our thinking and actions, we have the ability to choose our next steps.

We can use awareness to move to the next step on the ladder, from unconscious incompetence to conscious incompetence. This is the act of moving from “I don’t know that I don’t know something” to “I know that I don’t know something.” Once we are aware of what we don’t know, we have choices available to us. 

A case study: building awareness in a senior leader

In my work with senior leaders, increasing awareness is one of the first areas I work on. One of my favorite examples is a client who was completely unaware of the impact his communication style had on others. As a senior leader he was a strong problem solver and was driven to achieve results in a very timely manner. However, his approach was not getting the best out of the people around him. This was his unconscious incompetence.  


After completing Leadership Circle 360 Assessment, he received feedback on how others perceived him. They saw him as driven, but his direct style was perceived as not collaborative. As a result people did not feel motivated to work with him. At meetings, he dominated conversations and didn’t give space for others. In reviewing his results, he went from unconscious incompetence to conscious incompetence. This information gave him the choice
to then  acknowledge his behavior and move into action, the next steps in the conscious leadership framework. 

Increase our awareness through feedback from others

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One of the best ways to become more self-aware is through asking for feedback from others. 

Self-Awareness Tip #1: I often suggest that leaders find people who they trust to tell them one thing they can do going forward to be a more effective leader. This is what Marshall Goldsmith refers to as Feedforward as a way to focus on the future and not the past. 

 

Self-Awareness Tip #2: I also advise that leaders listen to feedback with curiosity and without attaching to the feelings that come up. There are also more formal instruments available to seek feedback from others such as the 360 assessment or 360 interviews. Both are valuable methods to increase awareness through feedback from others. 

Increase our awareness through self-inquiry

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Equally important, is becoming more aware through self-inquiry. This means questioning, exploring, examining and investigating anything regarding oneself.

 Self-Awareness Tip #3: Psychometric instruments such as DISC and EQ provides a lens to better examine our individual attributes. These assessments help us better understand ourselves and the impact we have on others. 

 

Self-Awareness Tip #4: Self-inquiry also requires reflection about what emotional stimuli or events have impacted you. It is important to maintain daily practices to assist in this journey. Remember, you are not your thoughts and feelings. You are merely observing your responses and reactions in order to better understand who you are and how you impact those around you.

These self-awareness tips may seem easy enough, but in practice self-awareness is a process of constant learning. Therefore, ORCA and WithPause have put together a detailed guidebook that you can use throughout your day for self-inquiry: 7 Daily Micro-Practices to Shift Your Experience.

Awareness is the first step to Conscious Leadership...

Awareness is about our ability to be fully present in the moment and to choose our next steps in an informed and conscious way. Once we are able to increase our awareness, we can move forward to the next phases of acknowledgment, action and adaptation. 

 

Do you need advice or support in your journey to increase awareness for you or your team? Download our resource 7 Daily Micro-Practices to Shift Your Experience.

 

Stay tuned for the next part of our Conscious Leadership series which covers the second step of the 4 A’s of Conscious Leadership: Acknowledgement. If you want to keep up to date, join our newsletter for a monthly dose of conscious leadership.

 

The Rise of Employee Burnout and How ORCA’s New Engagement Report Can Help

In the new year, many of us have a renewed sense of hope and purpose, even though we still face challenges. 

As we talk to more and more leaders in the technology space, such as CHROs and Chief People Officers, their primary concern is the rise in employee burnout. 

What many of these leaders don’t know is that the risk of employee burnout is not just about working long hours. 

According to Gallup, when employees are inspired, motivated, and supported, they do more work with less stress. 

The question then becomes how do we keep employees inspired, motivated, and supported?

What is the cause of employee burnout? 

I’m sure each of us could name a laundry list of reasons, especially in a post-COVID world. We aren’t taking time off to get a needed reboot; there are home, work and social stressors; and communication can be more difficult in a remote environment. 

However, according to a recent study1, there are six main stressors that lead to burnout:

  • Overwhelming external shocks, compounded by workload. 
  • Feelings of isolation and lack of psychological safety. 
  • Unsupportive workplace culture. 
  • Existential crises and a lack of purpose.
  • Over-invested identity.
  • Gender-, racial- and age-based discrimination.

The cost of burnout for organizations represent significant loss in revenue, increased rate of talent attrition and loss of team and workplace culture. 

What can leaders do?

Communication and engagement are positively correlated, and can help create a stress-free environment. As a leader within your organization, you have the power to better engage your employees (and yourself) at work. Yet, just as the stressors that cause burnout are different for each employee, the way we engage employees is based on their unique style and personality. Therefore, how we inspire, motivate and support are different for each person, making blanket solutions difficult. 

TTI Engagement ReportWhat is the Engagement Report? 

This is where TTI Success Insights new Engagement Report can help. The assessment is meant to understand how to engage and reboard your employees and leaders, increasing employee wellness. The report combines DISC and the 12 Driving Forces to reveal the “how” and “why” of human behavior.  

The most exciting feature in TTI’s new Engagement Report is its easy-to-understand and shareable nature. The report now has updated statements, new words for each behavior in DISC, and new descriptors to increase understanding. My favorite page of the full 8-page report is the Communication Do’s and Don’ts which can be shared with your colleagues, teams, managers and leaders so they know how to best connect with you.  

(In order to provide important resources to leaders, we are providing a shortened 4-page engagement report to all those who are interested! Try it out here.) 

What are the benefits?

As an HR leader, the assessment can help to:

  1. Increase self-awareness in employees 
  2. Open the channel of communication and feedback between employees and managers 
  3. Give you the opportunity to reboard (and reboot) your staff 
  4. Better understand what engagement initiatives would work best in your organization  

The Engagement Report is just the beginning. Once you understand how your employees, teams and leaders need to be motivated, supported, and inspired, it’s time to get to work through leadership programs and initiatives. 

Take the first step and try out a shortened version of TTI’s new Engagement Report, as a complimentary resource from ORCA HR. 

If you’re interested in learning more about the Engagement Report, check out this blog from TTI Success Insights.

Need help finding customized solutions for your leadership needs? Contact us today for a free consultation. 

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 1Study by Jonny Miller (Curious Humans) & Jan Chipchase (Studio D)