Monday, April 17, 2017

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Become a More Effective Leader

It’s easier to be a friendly leader
than to be a friend and a leader.
---Anthony Silard

Sarah Wright of the University of Canterbury in New Zealand and I discovered in a recent empirical study that the higher the position an individual occupies, the less they experience genuine friendships within the organization.

Let’s face it: employees just don’t want to hang out with the person who controls their livelihood on a Saturday night.

While professional distance can be frustrating for leaders as it reduces the connection they have with followers, it is often necessary in the leadership role. Unfortunately, this learned leadership behavior can lead to anxiety and loneliness.

Concerned about their words being used against them, many senior executives are unable to express their emotions and invariably keep themselves sheltered from self-disclosure.

In addition, many leaders face deep insecurities—including fears of being wrongfully judged, or being found a fraud—despite their impressive skills, qualifications, and operational success.

As a result, leaders often wear a mask at work that camouflages their more authentic self.

This mask can often manifest itself in the leader’s personal life, with many successful executives having trouble experiencing genuine intimacy or friendship anywhere in their lives.

One solution is for leaders to join groups of peers—i.e., other leaders—with whom they can share their war stories from the front line and connect without fear of reprisal.

This week, take some time to think about how you can develop or join a network of people whom you can support and vice-versa during your challenging leadership moments.
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Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday every other week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).

Monday, April 3, 2017

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Build Meaningful Relationships

Friends are as friends do.
---Anthony Silard

When we insist that a friend act a certain way or maintain a certain level of closeness with us when they need space, we push them away.

Instead, we can see our social life as a stage where each of our friends enters and exits as they please.

Our role in a friendship is not to demand a certain social distance; instead, it is merely to welcome with love and compassion and warmth and acceptance those who step onto our stage.

There are some friends who need to leave our stage for a while or even forever. We can choose to appreciate the time during which they were in our lives.

We can make the decision to let go of our psychological models or schemas that dictate how a friend should act.

We can recognize that these habitual ways of thinking about friendship have been influenced by the preordained social distance from ourselves we have allocated to a particular friend.

We desperately hold onto this preconceived level of closeness in the relationship to keep our loneliness at bay.

This week, each time you interact with a good friend, acknowledge the level of closeness they seem to desire in your friendship. Then become aware of how close to them you wish to be.

Based on the social distance both they and you desire, determine how you will act toward them.
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Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday every other week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).

Monday, March 20, 2017

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Balance Work and Life

What someone is, 
begins to be revealed when his talent abates,
when he stops showing us what he can do.
---Nietzsche

Your busy-ness can be like a shield that prevents you from connecting with others and what you truly value.

Whether at home or the office, or spending time with your family or friends, you may constantly say, “I don’t have the time to just sit and do nothing.” The truth is you don’t have the time not to just sit and do nothing.

If you don’t spend time just being, you will never accomplish much with the time you spend doing.

You may do all the time and try to convince yourself of your importance through your busy-ness. Meanwhile, you may be eliminating any possible time to just be.

An ironic choice to make, considering that you are a human being, not a ‘human doing’.

You may fear you’ll no longer have your ‘pulse’ on your work projects if you don’t work around the clock. You may be afraid you’ll lose ground that will be avariciously gained by others.

The truth is that time off stage improves your performance when you’re back on. Numerous studies on work-life balance have revealed that most ideas do not come to people while at the office.

Many everyday moments are available right in front of you to reconnect with what you deeply value if you only slow down enough to experience them.

This week, ask yourself how you can integrate more time into your schedule to just be. Make yourself a priority just as you so easily schedule time for others.
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Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday every other week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).

Monday, March 6, 2017

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Live the Life You Have Imagined

If there are ten steps between you and a major goal, 
you won’t know how to take steps two through ten 
until you take step one.
---Anthony Silard

Imagine you have to go through ten interviews with senior managers at a major company to land your dream job. Each manager asks you different questions and shares their perceptions of the company.

If you fare well, they ask you to return in a few days to meet the next manager—all the way up to the CEO.

How would you approach this series of interviews? Would you act the same in all ten interviews, or would your behavior in each interview depend on what you had learned about the company in your prior interviews?

I have asked you a rhetorical question with an obvious answer. Most likely, you are willing to accept that if there are ten steps between you and a major goal, the only way to know how to take the tenth step is to take the first nine steps and then use your best judgment.

If you work back from there, you will realize that you won’t know how to take the ninth step until you take the first eight steps, and so on.

This metaphor has startling implications. It illustrates why sitting around and pondering how to reach a goal—whether it’s to find a new job, or earn another degree, or meet the right person—is an attempt to make a decision with incomplete information.

The more practical and effective way to achieve your goal is to get off your rear cushion and take your first step. There’s no other way to get the information you need to proceed to step two.

What have you dreamed your whole life about accomplishing? This week, take step one.
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Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday every other week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).

Monday, February 20, 2017

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Become a More Effective Leader

What chance gathers she easily scatters.
A great person attracts great people
and knows how to hold them together.
---Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Reflect on the high points in your career. They are most likely the times when you felt you were a part of a strong, effective team.

Your employees, board members, and even your significant investors or sponsors feel the same way: they seek community, a sense of belonging, the opportunity to be a part of a maverick group that’s making a difference in the world.

Strong core values are the glue that creates this group cohesion.

Shared values unique to your team are what generate feelings of “We’ve got to stick together,” and “I’m willing to put so much of my time and effort into this organization because nobody else is doing what we’re doing!”

Consider the words of former CEO George Weissman: “Other than my marriage, [working at Phillip Morris] was the passionate love affair of my life. I don’t think many people would understand what I’m talking about, but I suspect my colleagues would.”

Weissman and many of his executive colleagues continued to come in regularly, mostly because they enjoyed spending time together.

This level of group cohesion is unimaginable for most of us working in today’s highly mobile workplace where the average tenure is under two years. Yet it is possible.

Reflect on the steps you can take to create a cohesive team of people who, someday, will look back and consider their time together to be one of their most meaningful experiences in providing the sense of connection and belonging they so value in life.
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Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday every other week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).

Monday, February 6, 2017

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Build Meaningful Relationships

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. 
Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow.
Just walk beside me and be my friend.
---Albert Camus

Do you sometimes feel frustrated or disappointed that someone you thought was a good friend doesn’t take the time to call you back, or no longer seems to make you a priority in their life?

Sometimes we develop an idea in our mind of someone who is supposed to be our “best” friend or one of our closest friends. Then a period begins where they don’t return our calls or make much effort to see us. We wonder why they are avoiding us. We feel sad, rejected, and lonely.  

Yet it is the nature of friendships to ebb and flow. Sometimes a friend needs space to grow, to distance, to become more independent without us around.

Perhaps you have a caring partner and they don’t. Perhaps you have children and they don’t. Perhaps your children are well-adjusted and theirs aren’t. Perhaps you have a job you love and they are stuck in a dead-end job that is slowly and methodically killing their spirit.

Friends are always making social comparisons with each other. There are 101 reasons why friends sometimes need space and sometimes need proximity. For this reason, the social distance between you and a friend is a constantly shifting parameter.

This week, take stock of the people in your life who are making an active effort to develop a friendship with you. Reflect on each person and calibrate the effort you would also like to make to develop the friendship. Select a few social actions and make them happen.
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Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday every other week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).

Monday, January 23, 2017

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Live the Life You Have Imagined

There are two key steps to success: 
First, figure out what you love to do.
Second, find someone to pay you to do it.
---Anthony Silard

My definition of a genius is a person who is able to get paid for what they would be willing to do for free. If you can pull that off consistently, you will exponentially increase your happiness and enjoyment of this thing called life.

Here’s the problem that prevents most of us from feeling successful: We skip the first step and instead focus our energies on the second. When you set making money as your goal, you become like a cat chasing its tail: you go in circles.

When you take the alternative approach of just doing what feels true and right to you, money again becomes like a tail. The difference is that, like the tail of a cat resolutely moving along its path, it follows you wherever you go.

When you do what you love, the money follows. When you pursue money, on the other hand, love is unlikely to follow. Rather, the opposite occurs: People see right through your motivations and are reluctant to trust and believe in you.

The reason: the pursuit of the mighty dollar, euro, or pound is a relatively selfish exercise. Other people may be attracted to your ambition because you can help them with your financial resources; however, they may also attribute your energy to a self-serving motivation. This perception does not tend to generate love and respect from others.

This week, take some time to reflect on what you love. Then think about how you can better integrate it into your career.
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Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday every other week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).