• EQ,  Executive Presence,  Leadership,  productivity

    My Learnings From Turning A Cynic Into A Collaborator

    Imagine you shared an idea with a co-worker, and they said, “That’s a terrible idea.” How would you feel? Most of us would feel discouragement and react with either active or passive anger, ultimately hindering our progress. However, what if I were to propose that there is an alternative path where handling the situation with grace can indeed lead to progress? Stay curious and engaged, and keep your larger vision in mind. It will help you to overcome such obstacles and make progress. I encountered a similar experience a few weeks ago. Even though I was the leader of the team (higher status), anyone, irrespective of their position/status, could benefit…

  • A Cat Image by Heinz Hummel from Pixabay
    Career satisfaction,  Coaching,  Executive Presence,  Happiness,  productivity,  Stress Management,  Success Strategy,  Time Management,  WorkLife balance

    Are You Sabotaged By Your Inner Hyper-Achiever?

    A tech leader, let’s call him Jason, said, “I can’t relax; I always have to do something useful. Nobody makes me do so; it’s me. This is how I am”. Jason is not alone. Many of us have such hyper achievers in us, pushing us to do more. This trait may have helped us be where we are, yet its overuse can cause more harm than good. Growing up, we all developed different traits that kept us safe, got us what we needed, and helped us succeed. Other than the hyper-achiever, there are several additional traits: pleaser, perfectionist, and victim, to name a few. My top two are hyper-achiever and…

  • Two men are talking in a business setting
    Communication,  EQ,  Executive Presence,  Leadership,  Success Strategy

    How to Approach Difficult Conversations When It’s Uncomfortable

    Are you dreading a challenging conversation, particularly in a work setting? Do you fear that it might not go as planned? You’re certainly not alone; many of us share this apprehension. Based on the experiences of my clients, here are some common reasons for avoiding difficult conversations: Consider the skill of difficult conversation as a learning process akin to learning how to play the piano. Just as a beginner can’t effortlessly play an entire song, you may not handle difficult conversations smoothly initially. However, with preparation and discipline, you can gradually navigate these conversations, even if the experience isn’t always seamless. As you continue to prepare and apply your learning…

  • EQ,  Executive Presence,  Leadership,  Personal Brand,  Success Strategy

    You were given Feedback to Improve your Executive Presence – What do you do now?

    The other day, a senior leader contacted me to hire me as his coach. His LinkedIn Profile was immaculate – multiple graduate degrees from top-notch schools and a strong track record of professional work in his relevant field. He was given feedback to improve his Executive Presence (EP). However, he didn’t know what that actually meant. After further conversation, we discovered that during meetings with senior leadership, his challenge was thinking on his feet and being clear and concise in his delivery. Here is an example from another client; let us call him Joe. Joe was doing a presentation on the next direction of their product. Towards the middle, his…

  • Career satisfaction,  EQ,  Executive Presence,  Happiness,  Leadership,  productivity,  Stress Management,  Success Strategy

    Organization Politics – How We See It Can Change the Meaning

    “I like doing my job, but I hate politics. Almost everyone says that they hate politics. If no one likes it, then who creates it in the first place”? My friend Barb uttered this with a big sigh as she and I met over coffee on a sunny spring afternoon. We commonly use the term “politics” to describe people’s actions to advance their self-interest at the cost of their coworkers’ interests. It is a win-lose game driven by the intention of gaining something for a selfish purpose. As someone who spent 20+ years inside organizations and then coaching organization leaders, I get curious about this. Barb’s comment made me ponder…

  • A Lion
    Executive Presence,  Leadership

    Be Like a Lion: Enhance Leadership Through Pauses and White Spaces

    Carol, a Vice President at a communication company, wanted to up her leadership presence. But she didn’t know how to create that learning space as she felt overwhelmed by her busy schedule. I suggested she try something on a small scale as an experiment. She decided she would try a meeting-free travel day that week.  To her surprise, Carol found that it was perfectly acceptable to reschedule some meetings that fell during her travel days. She thought she had to be constantly available, like her mentors and bosses modeled for her. After the first experiment, she found other opportunities to create meeting-free white space in her schedule. This change made…

  • Tearing elephant By ArtTower on Pixabay
    Executive Presence,  Leadership

    Strong Leaders Also Need Psychological Safety

    Psychological safety has become a prevalent concept, encompassing the feeling of safety individuals experience when sharing their thoughts and feelings without risking their status. While this is often attributed to individuals with less power, such as social minorities or those lower in the hierarchy of power or privilege, it also applies to those at the other end of the spectrum. Those in power, who are expected to be strong always, are afraid to show vulnerability, as it can feel unsafe. For example, during recent layoffs at a Fortune 100 company, Teresa, a senior VP, felt exhausted and disheartened by the situation. Despite this, she believed she needed to display her…

  • Conflict at work
    Communication,  Executive Presence,  Leadership,  Personal Brand

    Intimidating to Inspiring: How A Tech Leader Solved The Approachability Problem

    Vlad (not his real name), a seasoned tech leader, received feedback that some team members found him intimidating – hindering them from seeking his guidance. His management urged him to work on his approachability. Vlad cared deeply about product and design quality and was passionate about solving complex problems. However, he didn’t particularly enjoy attending meetings and providing feedback, which was expected of him as a senior technical person on the team. So during those meetings, he appeared reluctantly and often conveyed his feedback quite abruptly, leaving others perplexed and frustrated. Anyone with average empathy would understand that how you communicate is as important, if not more, than the actual…

  • Clock, brain, bulbs
    Coaching,  EQ,  Executive Presence,  Leadership,  productivity,  Success Strategy

    5 Misconceptions That Get In The Way Of Sustainable Success

    Over the years, through my coaching work with the tech leaders and executives, I helped them uncover some of their misconceptions and limiting behaviors. Even though they were already successful in their careers, they accelerated their success more sustainably when they recognized and overcame such patterns. I have summarised the five main ones here. Misconception 1: Starting with Others’ Expectations We often start with what is expected of us and then comply with those – giving our time and talent in exchange for money, status, and validation. This mindset works for jobs mainly requiring manual labor and physical presence at the worksite. However, as knowledge workers and leaders, we must…

  • Coaching,  Communication,  EQ,  Executive Presence,  Leadership,  Stress Management

    Direct Communication Doesn’t Have To Be Hurtful

    Stuart, a mid-level leader at a corporate, came to me as he wanted to be more approachable. “I am very direct, but people take it negatively.” I want to influence without causing animosity. Megan, a director at a non-profit, had difficulty giving corrective feedback; she worried the recipient might get hurt, so she used a long-winded way that often got lost in translation. Stuart and Megan had limiting beliefs that direct and kind can’t happen simultaneously; you have to choose one or the other. But Brene Brown taught us, “Clear is kind. Unclear is unkind”. Brene Brown The purpose of direct communication is to convey the message as clearly as…