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).