Monday, September 30, 2013

Inquiring about yourself? Some reflections of the notion of self…

As a leader a large part of your time is expended on others, and the time you have with ‘your self’ can be quite brief. I invite you into some ‘me’ time…grab a coffee and take 10 minutes to consider:

  • ‘Who am I?...Who am I …really?”
  • ‘What should I do with my life?”
  • ‘Who or what do I want to become?”
  • ‘What is the right thing to do?”

Ok so these are fundamental existential questions, they are about your identify and sense of direction and purpose in life. The offer to consider these in 10 minutes could be unrealistic because as humans we ask ourselves these questions on and off throughout our life. Central to each of us is the concern for living a meaningful and fulfilling life. If you are about to take a lunch break I invite you to grab your lunch and consider:

  • Does your sense of self work for you?
  • If you are a self, then how did you get to be the self you think you are?
  • It is possible for you to be a different self? 
  • How would your life be different if you were a different self?
Some head spinning questions here that can throw you into a space of nothingness. However if you do not engage in an inquiry about ‘self’ you may take ‘self’ for granted. You may be blind to your own blindness about what you think of your self. If you are not willing to consider the possibility that you are blind in this area of your life you may well put limitations of your self and those you lead.

You may downplay your positive traits which can mean you give off a negative spin to something that is objectively good. This notion of your self is created in your language. According to Truett Anderson

‘By self I mean the person that you construct with words and with the help of people around you. The human being is always changing, has no clear boundaries and cannot be described fully. The self craves stability, has a strong sense of boundaries and maintains its existence through a continuous act of descriptions. Your self takes over your consciousness so that you come to equate it with the human being that you are. You describe yourself by using language to identify with various things- your nationality, your profession, your place in the family”.

Sieler argues that the fundamental concept of the self can be seen as a story that you use to make sense of your ‘beingness’ as a human. However consider…the self is not a phenomenon which exists as an independent and absolute reality, your self is not fixed, permanent and unchanging, the self as a process of continual change reinvention and becoming and some time we have no self or egolessness.

Maybe take the weekend to consider “How well do the stories you hold of your self serve you as a leader?”

Monday, September 23, 2013

Developing a relationship with your intuition: A valuable resource for a Leader

When you think about your intuition what is it that emerges for you? Is it a ‘knowing feeling’? Is it a hunch or a gut feeling? Where is your intuition located? Is it located in one part of your body or maybe you have never really considered where is ‘resides’ in your body. One of the distinguishing characteristics of intuition is a lack of rational and logical thinking. An approach to you developing and utilising your intuition has been established by Sieler. He suggests the approach is based on the following eight premises, which include:
  1. The nervous system does not know the difference between illusion and reality – whatever is experienced is real for the nervous system;
  2. Humans are systems of internal conversations that are layered and sometime complex;
  3. Your intuition consists of conversations that comprise your unique storehouses of wisdom, accumulated from a myriad of learnings that have occurred from the multitude of experiences throughout your life history;
  4. In traditional approaches to education and training you may not have been encouraged to recognise the potential power of your intuition and how to access this storehouse of wisdom;
  5. Humans possess the power of language and imagination as the essence of creatively identifying a Way of Being that will best serve us for what we want to create in the future;
  6. Through language you can speak as though an aspect of your being is a separate entity from yourself;
  7. You can imagine your intuition is one or more languaging living systems that exist with you as a living languaging conversational system’ and
  8. Through language you can intentionally access you intuition by having conversations with 'it','him', 'her'  as a living and languaging entity.
The invitation is for you to identify your intuition as one or more living entities that resides in you. This starts with you describing the physical appearance, stature/posture, voice and how it moves. Then consider, is your intuition feminine or masculine or do you have both genders that you can utilise? What is the setting in which your intuition(s) exist? What is the environment like? Once you have created your intuition as a ‘physical form’, you can then start to have conversations. Through developing relationships with your intuition you can ask for support and advice on a range of things. Consider your intuition as your internal coach. Through developing this unique relationship you will be able to tap into your inner knowing to help guide and enlighten you on a range of things including how to best take care of yourself.

If you are interested in learning more about how to utilize your intuition, see Mona Lisa Schulz  

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Using Conversational Technology to Become a Conversational Expert

Last week I was a key note speaker at the Institute of Hospital Engineers Australia, Annual Conference. The theme of the conference was ‘Technology in Health Today’. You may wonder what I might have to offer by way of ‘Technology’.

The subject of my presentation was about ‘Conversational Technology’ and the premise that much of what you do as a leader is to talk and have conversations. I advocated that how effectively you coordinate your actions with others, is at the heart of organisational performance and productivity. As a knowledge worker you perform your work talking, either to yourself or to others. Your performance, therefore, not only depends on your knowledge, but also, and in a not less important way, on your conversational competences. So conversations are a Core Business Process. 

The quality of your communication is a key variable in organisational performance and it has a direct relationship on your work enjoyment. Your work enjoyment has a direct relationship to business outcomes. The same equation applies to those you work with and for. I invite you to consider the following:
  • An organisation can be viewed as a network of conversations and relationships.
  • The quality of conversations and relationships determines what is done, and how well things are done.
  • Having constructive conversations and building productive relationships is a fundamental competence for all organisational personnel.

As a leader, the types of conversations you have, include conversations for:

  • Connection and intimacy - in relationship with others, these are the conversations for connection e.g. “How was your weekend?”
  •  Shared Understanding - trying to be understood and understand in order to make plans and decisions e.g.  “Oh so you mean X …Ok let’s call them”
  • Coordinating Action - getting things done through making agreements about who will do what by when e.g. “Ok so I will call Ken and arrange a time to collect A…”

As leaders it is essential that you develop your conversational skills so that you can achieve organisational objectives. In summary, effective conversations in the workplace enables you to accomplish:
  • clarity and shared understanding,
  • possibility (including new ideas and new ways of thinking),
  • agreement and commitment,
  • strategic direction,
  • cooperation, coordination and collaboration,
  • improved relationships, and
  • desired outcomes
To effectively lead and manage you must
  • Take hold of the conversational systems and practices of the organisation
  • Become an expert at knowing what type of conversation to have to achieve the result you want
  • Become a ‘conversational expert’

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Better Relationship With Those You Lead

About The Book
If you’re a leader or manager, on a daily basis you make important decisions that set the strategic direction and determine how your organisation will build your competitive advantage. You need to be able to thrive in a dynamic, changing global economy where you are a creator, contributor and solution provider. Therefore your skills, knowledge and experience are critical to your organisation’s success.  

Evidence suggests that many of the work/life problems faced by leaders are due to poor communication and poor relationships between people. In dealing with these problems is has been shown that leaders learn more effectively when they use their day-to-day work/life problems as the content of their learning. 

This book draws on these two key points and offers an approach that enables you to use your work/life problems to develop your capacity to create high-quality conversational skills and develop high-quality relationships. Both of which are central to being an effective leader.  In this book I present two key levers that you can use to shift your thinking patterns in order to manage yourself and lead others. 

Who Is This Book For?
This book is for you if you are working in your own business, leading a company, or working in the public service or the not for profit sector.  You may be a board member, a staff member, a volunteer or a contractor. You may be managing one person or 50. You may be the CEO, a member of the executive, a manager, a first time coordinator or a staff member. You may be managing volunteers or a call centre or you may be managing yourself.

What’s in the Book?
This book provides a practical guide for leaders and managers to help develop a range of skills and practices to improve business performance. The focus of the book is on human interactions, constructive workplace conversations and developing productive working relationships. 

It includes Nine Reflective Activities and Ten Tools to facilitate learning, problem solving, self management (so you don’t get in your own way!) and how to work effectively with others (even when they may be interpreted as ‘Difficult’). 

It also presents five real workplace case studies to show how to put these tools into practice in a range of common workplace situations. The case studies include: managing underperforming staff, workplace bullying, managing your boss, developing workplace trust and managing the workplace.

Buy the E-Book Version
  • Title: Better Relationships With Those You Lead
  • Authors: Dr Nicky Howe
  • Publication date: September 2013
  • ISBN- 13: 978-1-4566-1983-1
If you read e-books on your iPad, Android tablet, phone or other reader, you can get the e-book version from eBookIt!, an e-book distribution network. It’s available in a number of different formats – including PDF, Kindle and EPUB (an industry-standard format, which includes reading on iPads, Android phones and other tablets). The e-book is US$9.99. 

Thank you for your interest in this book. Sales proceeds will be donated two charitable causes  Soroptimists International South Perth and Emergen Inc.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Getting to know “Mr or Ms Anxiety” so you can be more effective

Each of us at different times of our lives experience Anxiety, the following 2 minute YouTube can help you to see Anxiety in the human form
So now you have met an interpretation of Anxiety, let me offer you an approach that might support you to manage your Mr or Ms Anxiety when it tries to take over your 'Way of Being'.

The main thing to understand about Anxiety is that it is created by you in your language. It first starts with your private conversation in your head when you are ‘uncertain’ about something. Uncertainty is what you assess you cannot predict or control in the future. You  ‘oppose’ what is going on. For example in organisational life there may be cuts to your funding contract, a change of leadership, a new boss or an increase in your workload. All these things can create uncertainty which you don’t accept. The second thing about Anxiety is how is can manifest in your behaviour, some examples include:   
  • Making excuses to avoid doing something;
  • Rushing out of places or situations when feeling anxious;
  • Going to the toilet to escape from things;
  • Not saying anything when with other people;
  • Talking all the time to avoid feeling uncomfortable;
  • Ready to attack and ready to defend;
  • Being continually alert for threats.
The third thing about Anxiety is how the mood is held or reflected in your body/posture, some examples include:

  • Diminished posture, not wanting to be prominent and become a target;
  • Tightness across the chest, which might be subtly concave in a ‘already protective body’;
  • Shallow breathing, neck and eyes forward;
  • Eyes and ears scanning for threats.

The first step in managing your anxiety is to observe the three domains that make up your Way of Being (your language, moods/emotions and body). Start noticing what you are saying to yourself, how you are behaving and how you are holding your body.

This can start with you asking yourself:
  • why am I not accepting the uncertainty of the situation?
  • what are the effects of me not accepting uncertainty on my effectiveness?
  • what is the first thing I could do? 
For a detailed exploration of anxiety see Sieler's book Coaching to the Human Soul Vol II.