Author Archive

Mastering Soft Skills Beyond the Boardroom

Posted February 23, 2024

Another way to elevate your executive presence

By Monica HoyerTwo women talking in conference room

In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing world, being successful is more than just doing your job well. It’s also about possessing specific skills that enable effective collaboration with others. These skills, known as soft skills, become more important as you move up in your career. It can be challenging to improve and use these skills in your leadership journey, but let’s explore why they’re crucial for leaders.

Understanding the Power of Important Soft Skills

Soft skills encompass a lot of different things, including:

  • Clear communication
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Teamwork
  • Problem-solving

As you move forward in your career, these skills become increasingly important. They have the ability to significantly improve your workplace and contribute to the overall success of the company.

Mastering Clear and Strong Communication

For executives, clear and strong communication is a cornerstone soft skill. Expressing your ideas in a way that others can easily understand ensures your team is aware of what you are asking. Actively listening to diverse perspectives is crucial for many reasons:

  1. Informed Decision-Making:
    Your decisions impact the entire organization. By hearing all perspectives you will have a more comprehensive understanding of various viewpoints and potential implications. This will lead to more effective and well-rounded solutions.
  2. Inclusive Leadership:
    Taking into account perspectives from individuals with different backgrounds, experiences, and viewpoints fosters an inclusive culture. This, in turn, encourages everyone to contribute their best ideas and feel a sense of belonging within the organization.
  3. Employee Engagement and Morale:
    Recognizing and respecting all employees positively impacts employee engagement and morale. When employees are heard they feel valued and know they are in an organization that encourages innovation. As a result, employees are more motivated and committed.

And finally, speaking with confidence inspires confidence in others.

Action Step: Practice Public Speaking

Join a local Toastmasters club or a similar public speaking group to enhance your communication skills. Participate in regular meetings, deliver speeches, and receive constructive feedback. This hands-on practice will boost your confidence and refine your ability to articulate ideas effectively.

Effective communication is a two-way street. It’s not just about expressing your thoughts; it’s equally about listening to others. (Active Listening is a topic in itself. We will tackle that in the coming weeks.)

Navigating Emotional Intelligence

emotional intelligence
noun
: the ability to recognize, understand, and deal skillfully with one’s own emotions and the emotions of others (as by regulating one’s emotions or by showing empathy and good judgment in social interactions)

To improve your emotional intelligence, focus on listening attentively to others, ask for feedback on your emotional responses, and reflect on your emotions in various situations.

Empathy is a key component of emotional intelligence. It involves putting yourself in others’ shoes, understanding their perspectives, and responding with compassion. Executives who demonstrate empathy create a positive workplace culture, fostering strong connections within the team.

Action Step: Conduct 360-Degree Feedback

Seek feedback from colleagues, subordinates, and superiors to understand how your emotions impact your work. Use this feedback to identify areas for improvement and develop strategies to enhance your emotional intelligence. The Energy Leadership Index (ELI) Assessment has a 360* feedback add-on — contact your iPEC coach today to learn more.

Excelling in Team Collaboration

Working effectively in a team is crucial for leaders. Executives are required to be not only effective leaders but also supportive team members. Respecting diverse ideas, fostering a positive team environment, and actively contributing to the team’s success are all key components.

Whatever teams you are on, encourage open communication. And remember to encourage and value each team member’s contributions.

Action Step: Lead a Collaborative Project

Take the initiative to lead a cross-functional project that requires collaboration among team members from different departments. This hands-on experience will enhance your teamwork skills and showcase your leadership abilities. It will demonstrate how you foster a positive and collaborative team environment.

Embracing Change and Problem-Solving

Adapting to change and solving complex problems is one of the keys to successful leadership. Leaders need to be flexible, embracing change as an opportunity for growth rather than a hurdle. And when the organization sees leaders acting this way, it will encourage others to be flexible and curious.

Continuous learning is one strategy for adapting to change. Stay informed about industry trends and seek out opportunities to learn new skills. By staying proactive in your learning journey, you position yourself as a forward-thinking leader capable of navigating the challenges of a dynamic business landscape.

Action Step: Engage with a Coach

If you’re serious about honing your soft skills and want to receive personalized guidance tailored to your leadership role, consider hiring a coach. Coaches can help you hone these skills so they work for you. A coach will help you identify areas for improvement and work with you to outline actionable strategies to enhance your leadership skills.

Coaching is a collaborative and goal-oriented process that aims to unlock your potential and drive professional growth. A coach can help you set clear objectives, develop a roadmap for success, and navigate challenges along the way. By seeking guidance from a coach, you invest in your ongoing development as a leader.

In Summary

As a leader, soft skills play a pivotal role in your success. Mastering clear communication, understanding emotions, excelling in teamwork, and handling change are skills that can be honed with intentional effort. Take control of your career trajectory by focusing on these important skills and explore the transformative impact of consulting with a coach. Your success as a leader isn’t just about what you know; it’s also about how well you can work with others and lead.

“Life is a perfect adventure; a game that cannot be won or lost, only played.”

-iPEC Foundation Principal

7 Tips for Effective Goal Setting

Posted January 26, 2024

By Monica Hoyer

Setting clear and actionable goals takes time and energy and is crucial to navigating a successful career.  When done well, the investment of time and energy becomes worthwhile, serving as a guiding compass leading you toward success. Goals can help you overcome challenges and fulfill your professional and personal aspirations.

So let’s dive into some tips for setting goals.

 

Tip 1: Reflect on Your Values and Priorities

When you align your goals with your values they take on more meaning and serve as a guide to help you stick with them. This will allow you to lay the foundation for goals that resonate.

Take some time to figure out what matters to you and when you’re writing your goals, make sure they align with those things. This will give your goals a clear purpose and make them more satisfying.

 

Tip 2: Define SMART Goals

SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. When you write goals with this in mind, you will have a straightforward roadmap for success. Making your goals action-oriented allows for clear focus, accountability, and more likelihood of success.

Instead of saying, “I will read 6 books” say, “I will read 6 books on management by the end of June.” Now you have a definite understanding of the path in front of you and your success is more likely.

 

Tip 3: Break Down Big Goals

Large goals can be overwhelming, but when you break them down into smaller steps makes it easier. This will allow you to celebrate each of the milestones and can give you a sense of accomplishment. Which will boost your motivation and commitment to the larger goal.

When you look only at the large goal, you run the risk of procrastinating or burnout. When broken down into smaller steps, each step is a little victory, and celebrating those keeps you motivated.

Taking this one step further, when you focus on your most important goals first, you use your time and energy wisely and focus on what really matters. This will help you to achieve more meaningful results.

Download our worksheet on goal setting to get started today!

Tip 4: Embrace Flexibility and Adaptability

As with everything, being flexible and adaptable is key. Unforeseen challenges and opportunities may come up that force you to adjust your goals. Remember that being flexible means adjusting your plans without losing sight of the long-term vision. You can stay on track even when things don’t go as expected and maybe even learn something along the way.

Tip 5: Create a Support System

Identify people in your network who will cheer you on, give you advice, and share your commitment to growth. When you talk about your goals with others, you gain valuable insights and feedback. They will not only hold you accountable but also provide encouragement during the challenging times in your journey.

Surround yourself with supportive people who understand your goals and want to see you do well.

Tip 6: Regularly Review and Adjust Goals

You may encounter a shift in your priorities and interests while you are working toward a goal. When you revisit them regularly, you can adjust your route based on new information so you stay on track with your career. 

This also echos back to Tip 4 – staying flexible allows you to see a clearer path ahead and adjust as needed.

Tip 7: Celebrate Achievements Along the Way

Recognizing your progress reinforces your commitment to your goals. Reflecting on your accomplishments fuels the motivation to continue moving forward. When you express gratitude for the lessons learned you will be ready to tackle future challenges. 

Celebrating your success will boost your confidence and make you excited to move forward.

 

Ready to embark on a journey of self-discovery and transformation? This tool will guide you through the goal-setting process so you can easily articulate your goals, create actionable steps, and track your progress. 

 

When you are looking to move your career forward, effective goal-setting is your secret weapon for realizing your full potential. By incorporating these tips into your strategy, you can seize your goals with intention and determination.

“We either grow or die.”

-iPEC Foundation Principal

Discover Your Path to Successful Leadership

Posted January 12, 2024

By Monica Hoyer

In today’s dynamic landscape, you may find yourself at a point where leadership skills play a pivotal role in your career advancement. Understanding and adopting the right leadership style can make all the difference. In this blog post, we’ll dive into different leadership styles to empower you to become a more effective and influential leader.

Why Leadership Style Matters

Leadership style is the unique approach a person takes to guide and motivate others. It influences how decisions are made, conflicts are resolved, and goals are achieved within a team or organization.

Recognizing the impact of your energy and leadership style on team dynamics, productivity, and your team’s job satisfaction is a powerful tool in your career advancement.

There are two types of energy – anabolic and catabolic. Anabolic energy is creative and fueling whereas catabolic is destructive and stressful energy. Both can be effective when you discern your feelings.

When you can identify the type of energy you are experiencing, it becomes easier to adapt to situations depending on the outcome you would like.

Identifying Your Current Style

The first step in refining your leadership approach is to identify your current leadership style. You’ll also want to evaluate the energy you bring to situations.

Reflect on past experiences to assess how you typically make decisions. Take into consideration the feedback received from colleagues. Are you more authoritative, democratic, or transformational? Recognizing your default style is the first step toward growth.

Comparing Leadership Styles

Let’s start by exploring three different leadership styles and understanding their characteristics. The three prominent leadership styles we are exploring here are Authoritarian, Democratic, and Transformational. They each have distinct attributes, effects, benefits, and drawbacks on team dynamics.

1. Authoritarian Leadership

Authoritarian leaders are decisive and make decisions independently. They provide clear expectations and guidelines for their team members to follow. While this style can be effective in certain situations, it may stifle creativity and limit employee engagement long term.

This style is more catabolic in that it doesn’t allow for much creativity or enjoyment for the team. A leader may use this style to push through any conflict and get projects done. While it can be a good thing to get the team to move forward, there could be underlying issues that don’t get addressed. Those issues can continue to show up if not resolved.

Benefits:

  • Authoritarian leaders make decisions rapidly without waiting for consensus.
  • Team members receive clear instructions and guidelines, reducing confusion.

Drawbacks:

  • Team members may feel disempowered, leading to lower morale and job satisfaction.
  • The rigid structure may stifle innovation and creative problem-solving.

Ask yourself: Do I value control and direction, or is flexibility and collaboration more important to achieve goals?

2. Democratic Leadership

Democratic leaders encourage collaboration and seek input from team members when making decisions. This inclusive approach fosters a sense of ownership and engagement among team members. 

Democratic leadership is more anabolic in that it allows not only the leader but also the team to get creative and find solutions to problems. When decision-making involves the entire team, goal completion could take longer since you need buy-in from everyone.

Benefits:

  • Engaged team members who feel valued which leads to increased job satisfaction.
  • Decision-making benefits from a variety of perspectives, often resulting in well-rounded choices.

Drawbacks:

  • The democratic process can be time-consuming as it needs to take into account everyone’s opinion.
  • Differing opinions may lead to conflicts if not managed effectively.

Action: Reflect on your comfort with shared decision-making. Consider whether involving the team in the decision process aligns with your leadership vision.

3. Transformational Leadership

Transformational leaders inspire and motivate their teams by fostering a shared vision and encouraging personal growth. This style emphasizes innovation, creativity, and a strong commitment to organizational values. 

Transformational leaders inspire their teams which makes this style anabolic. There is very little stress in an organization when transformational leadership is at play.

Benefits:

  • Transformational leaders foster a sense of purpose and commitment – they inspire their teams.
  • The emphasis on personal growth encourages innovative thinking and problem-solving.

Drawbacks:

  • Leaders may take too many risks and don’t balance that with logic.
  • Some team members may resist the constant push for transformation.

Action: Assess your ability to inspire and motivate others, considering whether you prioritize personal development and innovation within your leadership philosophy.

Choosing Your Path

Now that you have a better understanding of three leadership styles, you can make informed decisions about the type of leader you aspire to be. While each style has its merits, a successful leader can draw on the most effective style to achieve the goal while meeting the team’s needs.

The Energy Leadership Index Assessment can give you insight into your leadership style

and help you identify areas where you want to improve.

1. Flexibility is Key

Leadership is not one-size-fits-all. Effective leaders adapt their style to the demands of the situation. When you recognize that different circumstances call for different approaches you become a more effective leader.

2. Aligning Values and Vision

Aligning your personal values and professional vision with your leadership style is crucial. Authentic leaders foster a culture of innovation and prioritize collaboration. So it’s important to choose a style that resonates with your individual beliefs.

3. Continuous Learning

Leadership is a journey of continuous learning and growth. Actively seeking opportunities for professional development, mentorship, and feedback is key to growth. A commitment to learning allows you to refine your skills and stay adaptable in an ever-evolving landscape.

Conclusion

In the quest to up your leadership game, acknowledge that self-discovery and exploration are where you need to start. By understanding leadership styles, reflecting on personal strengths and weaknesses, and embracing a flexible and values-driven approach, you can pave the way for impactful leadership. Remember, leadership is not about a title or position; it’s about inspiring and empowering others to achieve collective success.

When you’re ready to explore your leadership style and how to move your career forward, a Ressmeyer Partner coach can help.

“We either grow or we die.”

iPEC Foundation Principle

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