• 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 sighed as she and I were catching up over coffee on a beautiful 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 even more.…

  • Will Smith hits Chris Rock on Oscar Stage
    EQ,  Executive Presence,  Leadership,  Self-leadership

    What Can We Learn From Will Smith’s Oscar Debacle

    Since Sunday, my newsfeed has been flooding with the news and commentary about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock on stage when he made a rather insensitive joke about Will’s wife, Jada. Smith later apologized to Rock. “I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness… I am a work in progress.” While this is a piece of celebrity news, we can relate to such incidents in our lives. Maybe not every one of us gets out of control like Will, but…

  • Chess board - Strategic thinking
    Executive Presence,  Leadership

    You Were Asked To Be More Strategic, Now What?

    Engineering and STEM Leaders often receive this feedback, “you need to be more strategic,” when they are passed up for a promotion. Yet, they have minimal idea of what that would look like for their context. I shed some light on what it means to be strategic and improve our strategic thinking while staying true to our authentic selves. What Does Strategy Mean  This article, Strategy versus tactics: the difference is execution, defined it as A strategy is your overarching plan for achieving your goals, but it doesn’t get bogged down in specifics. You can think of this as your compass, guiding your organization toward your objective. On the other…

  • 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 high-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 achieve success. Other than the hyper-achiever, there are several other traits; pleaser, perfectionist, victim, are to name a few. My top two are hyper-achiever…

  • 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 as his coach. His LinkedIn Profile was immaculate – multiple graduate degrees from top-notch schools, 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 entitles. After further conversation, we found out that in 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 VP came…

  • 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…

  • Executive Presence,  Leadership,  Self-leadership,  Stress Management,  Success Strategy

    A Zen Approach to Conflict Resolution

    Conflict is a common issue my clients face in their workplace. I found this talk, A Zen Approach to Conflict Resolution by Diane Musho Hamilton, insightful to manage such situations.  Here are my takeaways from it. Our primitive brain sees conflict as a threat. When the stake is high, we get stressed, the Amygdala hijacks the higher brain, our body gets ready for a fight, flight, or becomes frozen. Some of the usual body signals are elevated heartbeat, stiff neck, tight jaw, etc.  In such a situation, pause the thinking brain (usually negative spiral of thoughts) and spend some time noticing the body sensation and be with it.  Some mindful breathing,…

  • Brainstorming Photo by MING Labs on Unsplash
    Communication,  EQ,  Executive Presence,  productivity

    Brainstorming? Focus On 10% Right

    As engineers and tech professionals, we are rewarded for our analytical skills in finding code defects and design issues early on. Often we keep on applying this same trait with the people we work with. When we hear an idea, we find the possible shortcomings and “defects” and point those out. With all good intentions, we assume that it will be efficient if we say it sooner, as it will save time for everyone. The downside of this approach is we are dealing with people who have emotions and egos. By shooting down someone’s idea, we hurt their feelings – they feel discouraged and unappreciated. Eventually, we lose their engagement…

  • 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…

  • 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…