Self-Awareness Workshops

Leadership Training: 10 Ways to Stop Bossing People Around

I train leaders and organizations to encourage leadership that moves beyond bossing people around. The standard model of leadership is putting someone in charge who rules above everyone and issues directives.  Our leaders tend to be people who mean well, do a lot of stuff and constantly tell people what to do.  Add to that, high levels of energy and activity which is supposed to “motivate” employees.  This leadership approach creates workplaces where employees wait for the next directive, seldom growing, rarely motivated and barely engaged.

So what can you do to promote more inspirational leadership and move beyond directing?  Here are some practical ideas to help you get started:

1. Talk with your employees, ask them what they like doing and let them do it without your “help.”

2. Create jobs that use people’s interests and talents.

3. Praise your employees regularly for their great work.

4. Allow people to set their own goals and determine how they will achieve them and by when.

5. Listen to your employees instead of talking over them.

6. Trust that your employees can do their jobs and think independently without your supervision.

7. Be available to provide support only if your employees ask you to do so.

8. Start encouraging your employees to act independently instead of bossing them around.

9. Provide opportunities for your employees to grow such as education or trying new things on the job.

10. Move away from a strict hierarchy of bosses and employees and shift to a more collegial atmosphere.

Try these key ideas for a period of time until they become second nature.  You’ll create a workplace where you don’t have to direct as much because your employees will be doing more work of their own accord.  You’ll benefit from a happier workplace, free from the pressures of constantly micromanaging and directing.  You’ll also enjoy being able to do more by bossing less and you’re employees will be grateful that you treat them like adults.  What will you do to boss less and lead more?

Take care,


Team Building Means the Spotlight Isn’t on You

I design and facilitate many team building workshops and it’s fascinating to watch how people relate to each other.  I’ll often observe everyone participating actively but deferring to the leader or looking to him (or her) for permission to participate.  The other dynamic that frequently occurs is that everyone acts very outwardly happy and bubbly but, when we probe deeper, all kinds of rifts and conflicts are exposed that reflect the kind of workplace leadership has created.

When I see these types of interactions it tells me a lot about how workplaces are run and what kind of work environments they create.  Leaders have a dramatic effect on how team building is practiced in their workplaces.  Here are two different approaches.

The Autocratic Workplace

Everything goes through the leader and everyone is required or expected to check in with the leader before anything happens.  People are tentative and dependent because they’re not encouraged to work on their own or make independent decisions.  The leader in these organizations often believes there are functioning teams but, in practice, the teams only operate based on his or her directives and limits.  Team building in this type of workplace is usually not very active because people aren’t encouraged to work together and decisions are made through one central person rather than a group.  The spotlight is firmly on the leader in this type of organization.

The Collaborative Workplace

There isn’t one central focus or source of information in this type of workplace because people are given the opportunity to share their wisdom and expertise.  Employees are encouraged to work collaboratively and share information with each other and the organization.  Leadership is available as a resource if people get stuck or actively participates as an equal partner in teams if invited.  Team building in this type of workplace is consistently positive because people are encouraged to work together.  The spotlight is on every member of the team because they all are welcome to share their insights and each person is valued as a contributor.

As a leader, you decide what kind of workplace you create.  If you value team building and help your employees collaborate you’ll enjoy the additional brainpower, idea generation, improved interpersonal relationships and morale that comes from people working together well.  If you promote an autocratic workplace you’ll create a different type of environment.  Both approaches can create productive, successful organizations but only one gives employees power and helps them feel like an important and valued member of a team.  Which will you choose?

Take care,


Keep Trying

One of the most important elements of getting to know yourself is the idea of not giving up. A lot of people embark on a self-awareness journey only to find that it’s more difficult than they anticipated. It’s hard to create change in your life because modifying your behavior requires long-term commitment and practice. It’s not a quick fix. The key to gradually building self-awareness is to keep trying even when you think it’s not making a difference.

There will be plenty of times when you feel you’re treading water but you’ll actually be making progress. Stick with it and you’ll eventually see the results.

Take care,


Leadership Training: 4 Ways to Limit Your Leadership Success

When I train leaders it’s often apparent that they have different visions of what constitutes leadership.  There are those that believe leadership is giving orders or getting things done single-handedly while others believe in teamwork and delegating.  There’s no right or wrong approach to leadership, but different actions lead to different results.  Here are four things I’ve noticed tend to limit leaders’ success.

  1. They can only do it their way.  Leaders come in with one vision or one methodology that they follow regardless of outcome.  This approach limits their ability to find new and more effective ways of doing things as well as using their employees’ input.
  2. They don’t use our employees’ talents.  People who come in with a single-minded vision often forget that they’re sitting on a potential gold mine of talent and ideas.  When leaders only use their own ideas and perspectives they limit their chances to do even more with the help of their employees.
  3. They don’t praise.  Many leaders simply give directives and then wait for things to be done to their satisfaction.  The key here is that they focus only on getting things done rather than encouraging and praising employees along the way.
  4. They don’t plan efficiently.  Leaders often go in with plenty of good intentions but spend all their time putting out fires.  This reactive approach to leadership ensures they will only focus on the latest emergency limits their ability to organize our workplace.

These practices aren’t evil but they are representative of many of our workplaces.  Leaders who address the issues we’ve talked about here not only find they increase their chances of success but they also enjoy their jobs more.  What will you do to increase your leadership success?

Take care,


Increase Your Self-Esteem

People frequently ask me how they can boost their self-esteem, especially when they’re feeling down. Building ourselves up is a lifelong and continuing process. There are no set rules on how we should feel on any given day but there are some things that can help us boost how we feel about ourselves. The great thing about self-esteem is that you can increase it at any time. All it takes is some conscious action. Here are some ideas to help you get started.

  • Do things you love doing.
  • Celebrate your successes.
  • Focus on positive things.
  • Associate with people that support you.
  • Listen to your inner voice.
  • Keep moving forward even when it seems difficult.
  • Take small steps but always keep stepping.
  • Develop goals you are working toward.
  • Do nice things for yourself that don’t cost money.
  • Look in the mirror and say positive things to yourself.

Building self esteem is a process of continuing to support and celebrate ourselves. It doesn’t come all at once or even stay constant but we can make sure it is strong by staying active and continuing to move forward. There will always be negative things that come along but if you work on increasing your self-esteem, you will find that you can weather any storm.

Take care,