• Authenticity, a bird showing its colors - Image by wasi1370 from Pixabay
    Career satisfaction,  Communication,  Executive Presence,  Happiness,  Leadership,  Personal Brand,  Self-leadership

    Is “Authenticity” Backfiring On You? Here Is Why

    Theresa, a senior developer in a tech firm, said that their management encouraged them to be authentic. It prompted her to be passionately sharing some of her opinions. There was only one problem: others saw it as negativity bias, resulting in some stern feedback from his manager. Prakash, a senior Director, was frustrated with his team’s progress and didn’t hide it during the team meeting. It cost him a promotion. Jim, a business development manager, said that he felt lonely to be constantly fighting for the right thing when others were too comfortable tolerating the mediocre decisions the team was making. All three stories have one thing in common. They…

  • A Resting Dog - Image by Pitsch from Pixabay
    Career satisfaction,  productivity,  Stress Management,  Work-life integration,  WorkLife balance

    Feeling Stuck and Unmotivated? Invest in Your Emotional Vitality First

     Feeling stuck and unmotivated in your job? Not getting enough recognition or the upward mobility you deserve? Getting feedback that you are not doing enough? A software engineer in the mid-level in her career, let’s call her Veronica, came to me with this recently. She sounded pretty frustrated and depleted. As we spoke further, I realized that she had been feeling this for a few years; the pandemic only made it worse. The current job was no longer serving her; she needed to move out.  But the only reason for staying was her lack of energy to focus on a job search or interview preparation. It became a chicken and…

  • A Resting Dog - Image by Pitsch from Pixabay
    Career satisfaction,  Happiness,  productivity,  Self-leadership,  Stress Management,  Success Strategy

    Want To Be Productive? Start With Doing Nothing (Guest post)

    “I am busy all day, trying to complete my to-do list before calling it a day. Yet, some things always remain undone, and, worse still, new things pop up. I go to bed tired, with the dissatisfaction that I couldn’t do what I set out to during the day.” These were Sami’s words as I listened to him in a quiet coffee shop. I am sure it rings a bell with many of you, especially those working at large corporates and juggling family and work. Charlie Chaplin’s 1936 movie “Modern Times” is all about Sami. And perhaps you, too. In this movie, the protagonist was working hard at an ever-accelerating…

  • Career satisfaction,  EQ,  Happiness,  Leadership,  Success Strategy

    Reactivity To Thoughtfulness – A Corporate Leader’s Journey

    “He doesn’t work well with others.” “He has issues dealing with bad news.” “He is a star performer, but he is lacking executive presence.”  These are some of the typical “pain points” in organizations. Leaders often spend a lot of time, energy, and money on these symptoms, throw expensive training with minimal sustainable impact. My experience says these are mostly symptoms; a coach approach can help uncover and address the underlying issues to create a long-lasting positive change. Here is the story of a mid-level manager at a large tech organization. Let’s call him Peter. Peter’s issue was poor conflict management. He had a hard time letting go. Hearing the story…

  • Career satisfaction,  Leadership,  Personal Brand

    Managing up/Self-promotion : What To Do About It

    In my recent survey, an amazing 79% of people said that Managing-up/Self-promotion is the most challenging aspect of their work. I didn’t expect it at all! I then started thinking about it more and realized it is the tip of the iceberg. Based on my experience, the real issue underneath is our reactive mode.  A more effective approach is to be purposeful in our engagement and align it with our bigger vision and core values. Deviations are fine as long as they are exceptions rather than the rule- as it doesn’t sustain for very long. Interpretation of the Data A good majority of people think Managing-up/Self Promotion is their biggest challenge. As a manager or a…

  • Image by alan9187 from Pixabay
    Career satisfaction,  Happiness,  Personal Brand,  Self-leadership

    Know your Strengths, Capitalize on Them

    Too often, we send employees to training to fix the areas of weaknesses. We expect people to be well-rounded to be successful. The fact is, excellent performers, are rarely “well rounded”; they are sharp. The difference between an excellent performer and an average performer is that the former is aware of their strengths and regularly cultivates them. In contrast, the latter one spends time and energy in a scattered way. What I Mean by Strength 1. An activity is your strength when you can do it consistently, repeatedly, happily, and successfully. 2. You don’t have to have strength in every aspect of your role to excel. 3. You will excel by…

  • Tearing elephant By ArtTower on Pixabay
    Career satisfaction,  EQ,  Executive Presence,  productivity,  Success Strategy

    Use Emotions As Your Ally

    Do anxiety, outrage, frustration, or sadness often grip you? Do they get in the way in high stake situations? Do you wonder why you are not getting what you want? The solution could be lying under your unrecognized emotions. We are emotional beings. Emotions are signals that inform us that something important is at stake. When we notice and acknowledge them and take the time to process them, we can make better decisions and improve our relationships. But when we plow through them with premature action or hide them under a mask, we do more harm to us and those around us. Emotional Intelligence or EQ is a well-known term these…

  • Career satisfaction,  EQ,  Happiness,  Leadership,  Success Strategy

    What A Car Can Teach Us About A Successful Career

    I was talking to Andrea, a leader in a big corporate here in the Seattle area. Brilliant and hardworking she was; her resume spoke for itself. As a senior director role in this new job, she was facing some challenges. The main feedback was, others didn’t know what value she was bringing to the organization; they were not aware of her contribution. The solution in her mind was simple – only if she had the skill of being vocal in meetings and prolific enough to blow her own horn. Deep inside, though, she was not feeling confident about her contribution either. All her time was spent getting the team settled…

  • A Woman -Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash
    Career satisfaction,  Success Strategy

    Job Searching for a Career Path Change? Act Like a Farmer

    A job change is usually a daunting task. It becomes even more challenging when it involves a discipline, industry, or a role change. People often see it as continuously submitting resumes through the job boards, like throwing spaghetti on the wall and seeing what sticks. For those wanting a career-path change, this rarely gives a positive outcome and becomes very frustrating. A leader in the non-profit, let’s call her Tricia, wanted to move to the for-profit sector. She had been applying through the job boards but didn’t get much traction. On top of her super busy schedule, this was causing her more stress and disappointment. I asked how she preferred…

  • Image courtesy Pixabay.com
    Career satisfaction,  EQ,  Executive Presence,  Leadership,  Success Strategy

    Having A Hard Time Getting Your Voice Heard In Meetings?

    Tim is an engineering leader at a hi-tech company in Seattle. He is very good at his trade, has a profound understanding of the technology stack, and has decent ideas about the current industry trends. He has been very successful, got promoted relatively quickly up to this level, and now his next move is stalled. The concern? He doesn’t talk in meetings. Tim brought it up in a recent coaching session. His reason for not speaking in meetings? He doesn’t want to share a half-baked idea and look stupid. He thinks it is more respectful to stay quiet when he doesn’t know everything. Fair point. Flashback 15 years, I was…