Executive Coaching & Leadership DevelopmentExecutive Coaching & Leadership Development http://www.ceoptions.com Executive Coaching & Leadership Development Thu, 11 Feb 2016 15:59:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Powerful and GUTSY http://www.ceoptions.com/powerful-and-gutsy/ http://www.ceoptions.com/powerful-and-gutsy/#comments Fri, 29 Jan 2016 16:15:36 +0000 http://www.ceoptions.com/?p=6470 Sisterhood-at-sunset

I have a birth to announce.

Beautiful babies come in various packages. Some in the warm skin of an infant son or daughter. Others as works of art, music, photography, dance, the written word.

Joan Scharff just gave birth to a wonderful book of poems and pictures. I met her several years ago when she was at our GUTSY Women weekend. Then a year later she completed our flagship Total Leadership Connections program.

Now she has taken two of her passions, photography and poetry and has birthed a beautiful book “Lessons I’ve Learned from a Flower.

I am so awed by what she has done I want everyone to know about this beautiful new book.

I am including one of the poems. It was sparked by what she learned when she was requested to explore her family history, her Sankofa Map, to see how it connects with her present life at work and home. It is a deep probing of the intricacies of generational connections. Here she used incredible and sensitive language to show how women, mothers, sisters, daughters, aunts give and get from each other. I have printed the entire poem here for all to enjoy:


I come from strong stock

And a long line of strong women too

Sometimes, strong women are silenced

Beaten down


Enslaved by housework and thankless tasks

Held back and hidden

Surprisingly even by

And sometimes especially by

Their own mothers

And eventually by their own doing

It is not always safe to be a strong woman

Look at history

DNA remembers

The days when strong women were exiled

Used and abused

Burned in flames

Ostracized and bloodied

With threats and lifetimes of conditioning

On how to stay alive

Even after the need to condition and control have long

Since disappeared

Still tongues are tempered and tamed

Behavior patterns en-grained

Stay small

Stay hidden

For intended survival

Fear lives long after threat is gone

Or motives are remembered

Leaves one believing I must be wrong to want more

Emphasis is put on attributes that serve

Put another’s pleasure first, wait for someone else to move

Even when the cost is steep

Keep your mouth shut

Some attributes matter little in the end

Can be stolen or replaced when tired and old

External beauty weathers

She was so nice, such a good girl

Sweet one

What happened, why is she so bitter and cold?

Bury alive our powers, connection and gifts

All the while fire in the belly smolders

Secret wishes to be more, call and whisper in her ears,

Perhaps by all the others, those before her

Generation upon generation of mothers, sisters, aunts and daughters

A call to come alive again

Buried strength and talents awakened

DNA remembers these too

Wild spirit

Hidden sparks

Passion ignited

By the bands and tribe

By the burning need leaves one thinking, I am so honored

To be alive


To be strong

To be part of strong stock


You can email Joan at joan.m.scharff@lmco.com Connect with her to thank her for her dedication to this wonderful project and the book is a marvelous gift for birthdays and Valentine’s Day to arrive soon.


http://www.ceoptions.com/powerful-and-gutsy/feed/ 0
Leadership Lessons: How to Raise Healthy Kids to Be Excellent Leaders http://www.ceoptions.com/leadership-lessons-how-to-raise-healthy-kids-to-be-excellent-leaders/ http://www.ceoptions.com/leadership-lessons-how-to-raise-healthy-kids-to-be-excellent-leaders/#comments Fri, 22 Jan 2016 19:10:09 +0000 http://www.ceoptions.com/?p=6465 kids-playdough

We know all the basics: lots of fresh air, sleep, fruits and vegetables, friendships, and loving parents.

There is one extra area that works like a charm. It is kids teaching kids.

You see, too much adult supervision and youngsters stop listening. All they hear is blah, blah, blah. And more than that, there is a deep pattern starting when the little ones are around two years old to say “NO.”

Enter the peer group.

No, I’m not talking about in the teen years when there is the fear of rebelling and going to the dark side with friends. I’m talking about when friendships are forming and behavior patterns can be developed amongst the youngsters for good habits.

Now, I’m not bragging. I’m just sharing a video that shows a ten year old who loves to be in the kitchen and wants to help her friends eat, drink and be happy.

This little girl started to experiment in the kitchen with cookie dough when she was very small and now, with some great encouragement she is showing other kids how to make simple, appealing, and good for you foods.

Hey, I learned the easy way to get the kale leaves ready for a salad from her. And she even taught me to make a killer fennel salad.

The main thing here is that children will listen to other children faster than to an adult when it comes to learning new things. There is less of a feeling of intimidation and more of a feeling of camaraderie. We know this and yet we still want to monitor and teach in old-fashioned ways.

There are a few schools that have developed recently where the adult teachers are only consultants and the children run the classrooms. The consultants are asked to help when the children get stuck. And surprisingly, the kids are more prone to stick with what they are doing and figure it out themselves and only ask for help late in the game.

We know that we must keep our young ones out of harm’s way, and yet it does seem that we have been helicopter parenting way too much.

Think of mother tigers who have a little baby tiger that falls into a ravine. The mother tiger sits patiently at the crest of the hill while the baby figures out how to climb out. Maybe more of that and more room for peer group teaching would make the next generations more confident, healthy and ready to tackle the complex issues that this hurting planet is facing right now.

And by the way, for full disclosure, that ten year old in the video is my granddaughter.


http://www.ceoptions.com/leadership-lessons-how-to-raise-healthy-kids-to-be-excellent-leaders/feed/ 0
The Power of Film and Film Stars: Thank You Jim Carrey and Leonardo di Caprio http://www.ceoptions.com/the-power-of-film-and-film-stars-thank-you-jim-carry-and-leonardo-di-caprio/ http://www.ceoptions.com/the-power-of-film-and-film-stars-thank-you-jim-carry-and-leonardo-di-caprio/#comments Mon, 11 Jan 2016 17:31:48 +0000 http://ceoptions.com/?p=6221 Jim Carey 2016 Golden Globes

I sat through the Golden Globe Awards hoping to see and hear something that would stay with me emotionally. With all the sixth grade humor about butt holes, alcohol and sexual innuendos I was able to multitask and get some work done on my new book, “Every Word Counts.”

I kept thinking “When did we lose the elegance of wanting to elevate and help people grow?”

Toward the end of this fluffy and superficial evening I was just about to give up and turn off the tube. And then Jim Carrey came on looking majestic with a super cool beard. It was clear he has done some good personal work when he talked about “being Jim Carrey who has won two Golden Globes and falling asleep thinking about becoming the Jim Carrey who will win three Golden Globes hoping will complete him.”

It was done so simply, so subtly that I wondered who got the message behind the message. It is also what we discuss with business leaders. No matter how many awards you win, no matter how well recognized you are, no matter how much money you have, you cannot fill the deeper place inside you with outer trappings.

I said a silent “thank you” to Mr. Carrey.

And then came the most powerful moment of all. When Leonardo di Caprio won the award for best actor in the film “The Revenant.”

The whole night was worth the time.

How many of you knew the meaning, or even heard the word “revenant” before this film came out? I love words and love a rich vocabulary and I had no idea what revenant meant, and even more, that anyone would name a film with such an unusual title.

Revenant: a person who has returned, supposedly from the dead.

I thought to myself that this film must be a deal breaker, away from traditional Hollywood films that just want a lot of noise and no substance. Why not just call it “return from the dead” I wondered.

Di Caprio was gracious as befits a star of his caliber. And then, while the music was gently bidding him to end his thank you list he kept going. I have copied his words here:

“Even more important, I want to share this award with all the First Nations people represented in the film and all the indigenous communities around the world. It is time that we recognize your history and that we protect your indigenous lands from corporate interests and people that are out there to exploit them. It is time that we heard your voice and protect the planet for future generations.”

Now that is what star power can do!

Jim Carey 2016 Golden Globes



http://www.ceoptions.com/the-power-of-film-and-film-stars-thank-you-jim-carry-and-leonardo-di-caprio/feed/ 0
Happy Holidays, Happy YOU http://www.ceoptions.com/happy-holidays-happy-you/ http://www.ceoptions.com/happy-holidays-happy-you/#comments Mon, 21 Dec 2015 15:42:18 +0000 http://ceoptions.com/?p=6166 Wind Surfing Santa

I just came home from shopping for the last minute gifts for my family. Was it fun? Well, some of it was and some of it was rather annoying.

I took time to observe my reactions to the good moments and the sour ones. Then I found some research that aligned with my feelings and I decided to share this now, while we are still in the throes of holiday fever. At least till after the New Year’s bells ring out at midnight on December 31.

Listen to what I learned and then pay attention to how you respond in the next week.

The research from The British Medical Journal indicates that people who celebrate at this time of year have increased oxygen flow to five parts of the brain. Celebrating whatever you call your special holiday is the good part. Just sharing with family and friends with no more of an agenda than being together is powerful.

In the research they had individuals look at yuletide images, could be Frosty the snowman, Rudolf the red nosed reindeer, chestnuts roasting on an open fire, jolly old Saint Nick, photos of candles and evergreen trees. You name it, it works to evoke feelings of joy and nostalgia.

It brought up a memory for me that always makes me laugh.

We were working with a company in the U.K. that fulfills tons of orders between Christmas and New Year. They make upscale appetizers that go to boutique hotels for parties. I bet you can guess what is next.

They even have to work overtime during the week when everyone else is partying. We were working with the leadership who had to get the line staff to be there for the long haul. In past years there were lots of employees who called in sick and the stress and anger was high.

We were asked to help the leadership find a solution.

The employees were the ones who came up with the answer, and I might add it was brilliant.

There was a contest to find the perfect graphic to put up everywhere in the company to help them stay focused and not give into the stress and frustration because they had to work during holiday time.

They were told that the winner of the graphic contest would get an extra bonus and the whole team would have extra time off in January.

Santa on a surfboard won.

That fun picture of Santa, beard flying in the wind, multi-colored bathing trunks and handling the huge wave he was riding like it was his sleigh was everywhere in this company. Just the sight of this happy Santa kept the troops at work smiling and cooperating. It kept people motivated to work together and keep a positive attitude.

When the year was over absences were at the lowest in 10 years and sales were the highest.

Just a suggestion: find some feelings of joy and even if they are in short supply, find some happy nostalgic memories. Wish everyone you meet a happy holiday. You will feel better and be healthier.

And, when you have a down moment please remember how Santa on a surf board helped a whole company kick butt with huge bonuses for all.

Wind Surfing Santa

http://www.ceoptions.com/happy-holidays-happy-you/feed/ 0
Is Holiday Stress Following You to Work? http://www.ceoptions.com/is-holiday-stress-following-you-to-work/ http://www.ceoptions.com/is-holiday-stress-following-you-to-work/#comments Tue, 08 Dec 2015 15:27:13 +0000 http://ceoptions.com/?p=6089 Stressed Out With Fire Ears700X400

How do you get year-end work done, prepare for family gatherings and stay in a happy mood when all you want to do in the morning is pull the covers over your head?

That’s a question I get asked starting the day after Halloween non-stop till New Year’s Eve becomes a dull memory in early January.

Why is there so much stress and frustration during this time of tinsel and mistletoe? Is it that way for everyone? So many say it seems impossible for the end of the year to be fun and easy. And yes, that’s just about for everyone.

Here’s a core reason. Most of us either want to remember the holiday season from childhood with rose colored glasses, or if it was a really tough time, we are determined to put those glasses on now to make better memories.

The problem is, reality has a way of coming in and throwing some curve balls. You know like:

  • The electricity goes out right before Christmas dinner and the turkey is only half cooked.
  • You favorite sibling brings some friends to camp out at your place for “just a few days” and it’s now over a week.
  • The forecast for a few inches of snow turns into the blizzard of the century.

Keep reading.

  • You are told that the project you were working on needs more attention and you have to stay at work just when your kid is the cute elf in the school play.
  • Your mean-spirited, bully boss decides to lay off ten employees and guess who has to tell them the bad news?
  • You get to the airport for the amazing family trip to Italy and your passport is nowhere in sight.

Keep reading:

  • You can’t get the funds together for the special bike you promised your son.
  • You see your spouse spending way too much money on gifts that s/he thinks will be a surprise, except all the receipts are on the kitchen table and you are fuming.
  • You remember all the times as a kid you were promised great presents and ended up with underwear because it was the necessary gift.

Okay, you can all add more stories to the list. These are just the ones I heard yesterday at an off-site that was meant to help employees learn to “practice safe stress.”

I gave the group some mindfulness exercises and showed them how to breathe slowly and deeply to limit anxiety and quench anger. I taught them how to re-frame the disappointments into opportunities using cognitive psychology.

Here are some books and other ways to help you have less stress.

And especially take some time to ask your family members about themselves. Keep it short and simple. You will be surprised how much better you feel when you extend yourself with a caring and generous nature. Oh, and happy holidays…no stress here.

Stressed Out With Fire Ears700X400

http://www.ceoptions.com/is-holiday-stress-following-you-to-work/feed/ 0
How To Help a Toxic Boss Become a Positive Leader http://www.ceoptions.com/how-to-help-a-toxic-boss-become-a-positive-leader/ http://www.ceoptions.com/how-to-help-a-toxic-boss-become-a-positive-leader/#comments Tue, 08 Dec 2015 15:14:39 +0000 http://ceoptions.com/?p=6085 angry_boss 888fulcrum

It is a basic fact that water rolls downhill. “So what” you say.

Well, that is an obvious truth. So is the fact that toxic leaders can cause their employees to act badly. However, there is another part to this equation. While people are blaming their bosses for blaming and shaming the same is true of employees who return the blame and point to the boss.

This is a pattern of victimization and bullying that lies deeper than just the way one or two individuals behave. This is a pattern of lack of accountability and everyone then plays “The Gotcha Game.”

Where does it stop? How about with YOU.

You can say out loud to anyone in earshot “I am no longer willing to play gotcha. I am no longer willing to judge, blame and attack just because that is the way of this workplace.

Here is how change can really happen. If one or two people stand tall and say “No more!” it has a medicinal effect on those who are listening. You can set a positive standard for how to respond to each other and when someone comes to put down a co-worker or your boss, simply say “Not playing” and walk away. Don’t defend, explain or justify, just say NO.

This will help everyone see a new way. In any system if one part of the system changes, it impacts the whole system.

If the boss complains you can ask a very important question which is “What do you want me to do with this information about John, or Jean or Jerry?”

Then the key is to be silent and wait for an answer. This is how you can help your toxic boss become a positive leader.

Go ahead, take a chance and stand for what is right. This approach will serve everyone on your team, everyone in your company and make a difference for all.

angry_boss 888fulcrum

http://www.ceoptions.com/how-to-help-a-toxic-boss-become-a-positive-leader/feed/ 0
Honoring Our Veterans: Each In Our Own Way http://www.ceoptions.com/honoring-our-veterans-each-in-our-own-way/ http://www.ceoptions.com/honoring-our-veterans-each-in-our-own-way/#comments Tue, 10 Nov 2015 17:48:18 +0000 http://ceoptions.com/?p=6023 UnitedStates_VeteransDay2013_freecomputerdesktopwallpaper_2560

I sat in silence listening to the stories of battered trucks driving down dirt roads and blowing up just a hairs breath from soldiers on duty. I heard about the pain, angst and often guilt that is part of physically fighting someone into submission or fear being killed.

The vets all said, in their own way, “war is hell.”

While I know our soldiers have risked life and limb to keep us safe, I was sitting in a room and listening to the war stories that brought the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Gulf War, and Viet Nam, more deeply into my own safe and simple world.

Here is how it happened: Our retreat center in Northeast Pennsylvania is set way back in the woods and no one just shows up to walk around. Except, one sunny day a tall, muscular man was there, checking out the grounds. He heard a rumor the retreat center may be for sale and he was looking for a home for the veterans who needed to heal from the wounds of war.

The man, Mark Baylis has become a dear friend and rather than talk about selling we ended up talking about helping.

Mark, a retired sergeant major in the U.S. Army is a man with a dream, a BIG dream. He is also a forceful leader and while it is not on his resume, a brilliant salesman.

By the time my husband Herb, Mark and I had finished pizza and conversation we were knee deep in plans to start a program for vets, especially those (just about all) who have PTSD.

And Veterans Unstoppable was birthed.

The program, based on our Total Leadership Connections Program™, helps vets reclaim their lives and make a difference at home as they did abroad.

What happened in combat is put into a larger view of total life situations. They are shown how to connect the dots of the three areas that make each of us who we are; family, culture and crises. The vets are given tools to re-frame their war situations and use what happened in positive ways for the future.

Like Chet, who came into the program in a wheelchair, young (and handsome) yet he was able to face his injury and the fact that he would never play basketball again, never walk again, but continue to look for his next place of health and happiness.

Until now he had spent his time reliving the trauma of war and feeling sorry for himself. Now, as he looked at his life, his childhood, his family challenges, his dreams and wishes, he was able to see that his talent as a young high school basketball star could be repackaged as a coach.

He was able to look at the way his parents and grandparents and even great grandparents had overcome adversity and that was what gave Chet to courage to change and heal.

A quote from Winston Churchill puts the core of the program best “The further back you can look, the further forward you are likely to see”

Learning how to connect the dots of what happens in life helps individuals move forward. Traumas can be healed and we are so appreciative to be able to contribute with our program.

At this time to honor our veterans I would like to give a special shout out to Mark Baylis whose vision and determination have helped and will continue to help so many.


http://www.ceoptions.com/honoring-our-veterans-each-in-our-own-way/feed/ 0
How We All Can Lead Cultural and Interpersonal Change Throughout the World http://www.ceoptions.com/how-we-all-can-lead-cultural-and-interpersonal-change-throughout-the-world/ http://www.ceoptions.com/how-we-all-can-lead-cultural-and-interpersonal-change-throughout-the-world/#comments Fri, 16 Oct 2015 14:00:03 +0000 http://ceoptions.com/?p=5929 I have not been to China for over a decade and coming here now was a bit of a shock. Tall buildings everywhere, cars replacing the myriad of bicycles that clogged the streets of Beijing on my last trip. Young people laughing and flirting. Parents caring for their coveted only child. Children who are well behaved and curious.

I loved saying “ni hao” (pronounced “knee how”) for hello, as the little ones would stare at my blue eyes and curly blondish hair, hide behind parents and then peek out again to figure out what was the same and what was different about this stranger.

The city of Shanghai is clean and filled with restaurants, shops and the bustle of a prosperous large city. Mostly we were the only Caucasians in a sea of Asians. We were treated with courtesy and kindness. Very few spoke English and we had to make sure we had a card with our hotel in Chinese to get back to home base.

I happened to pick up a newspaper and was glancing at some of the articles of the day and a top news story in the Shanghai Daily from October 14, 2015 caught my eye.

There was a photo showing a Kunming Airlines flight attendant in her red uniform covering her face as she was crammed into the overhead compartment. Yes, crammed into the overhead compartment. The official response when the photo was circulated widely online was that the “the female flight attendants were very happy to be put into the compartments” and it is “just a way of celebrating the completion of their first flight and there is no malicious behavior of any kind.”

Media reports said the practice has been in place for years and new female flight attendants had no choice but to accept it. When some of the women reported this in the past it was dismissed and had no effect. Some said this was part of corporate culture.

In my work with leadership development I have a passion to research the universal desire to grow and learn. In my book “GUTSY: How Women Leaders Make Change” I have focused on the power of the family history to either make women speak out or stay passive.

I do believe it is basic to all of us in the human family to learn and grow. Deep down we all want to challenge the status quo and overcome limitations. Male and female we are deeply embedded with the desire to make the world a better place.

It is only when we are caught in the loyalty of outdated beliefs that we become stagnant.

Once we begin to speak out, (and in this day of social media) we have a powerful new way to be heard, and change can happen more effectively.

Let’s stop blindly accepting the status quo.

Putting the women in overhead compartments is……mildly speaking, pretty ridiculous. What is more astounding is how many years it took for women to speak out. The good news is that at least women are gathering the courage to say “STOP!”

A friend in Shanghai said he thought that just the fact this was in the news and all over social media was another hard kick for old patterns that no longer work in a world demanding equality.

It’s what the world needs now.



http://www.ceoptions.com/how-we-all-can-lead-cultural-and-interpersonal-change-throughout-the-world/feed/ 0
Gender Equality Isn’t About Women Winning and Men Losing http://www.ceoptions.com/gender-equality-isnt-about-women-winning-and-men-losing/ http://www.ceoptions.com/gender-equality-isnt-about-women-winning-and-men-losing/#comments Wed, 14 Oct 2015 17:32:22 +0000 http://ceoptions.com/?p=5920 Consider for a moment that women and men have never been equal at any time in history – not ever. This is a staggering thought, and it makes it clear that we are sailing in uncharted waters. It’s why there is no ‘best practice’ in place and no magic wand. What we are involved in is a process of experimentation and socialization that should be moving humanity forwards, to the benefit of all.

Equality is sometimes confused with ‘sameness’, which misses the point – unless we’re talking of equal rights and opportunities. There are two genders for a reason. Both have enormous strengths and both are needed to create a balanced and functioning society. Now women are becoming GUTSY and daring while men are responding by becoming more caring. This is a much better equation.

Would women make the situation any better?

According to current research, they would. All studies show that women are ‘greener’ than men, and would generally not place profitability higher than damaging the environment. Also, it has been found in almost every country world-wide that a woman’s income relieves poverty and women will spend their last cent on educating their children and giving them the best start possible.

When women thrive economically, the entire country does better. Interestingly, those companies that have even one woman on their board of directors versus all-male boards are consistently more profitable too. Just because women conduct business differently, doesn’t mean it’s less lucrative.

How do we achieve a better balance between male and female?

This is not an easy process, as we need to look at every aspect of society to examine whether it has been set-up with a male bias. The business world is an excellent example. Here the military style of ‘command and control’ leadership was adopted and masculine behavior became the norm. Until recently, women who were successful in business did so largely because they assumed this performance standard and became ‘one of the boys’.

This is changing fast in the 21st Century. In a multi-national, multi-cultural working world, it’s becoming clear that command and control is outdated and that the more feminine qualities of consultation, inclusion and relationship-building are needed. This is the beauty of equality – taking the best of men and the best of women and merging these into a new pattern that benefits all.

Whenever there is a social change underway there will always be resistance. When women first started the suffragette movement in the late 19th Century the opposition from men was overwhelming. Even in the late 20th Century the Equal Rights Amendment that sought to give both male and female US citizens equal rights was opposed and defeated in 1982. Not that long ago!

Why we should keep striving for equality

Equality has never been about gender supremacy – it has been about creating a complementary balance between both genders to benefit everyone. The achievement of equality is essential to human progress and the transformation of society. Inequality retards not only the advancement of women but the progress of civilization itself. It’s for this reason that women and men need to work together shoulder to shoulder to build a new social order based on justice and prosperity.

My equation is Daring (women) + Caring (men) = Sharing (all of us) and the world will benefit from this new balance of power.

Win Lose Draw

http://www.ceoptions.com/gender-equality-isnt-about-women-winning-and-men-losing/feed/ 0
How to Turn Vulnerability Into a Win at Work http://www.ceoptions.com/how-to-turn-vulnerability-into-a-win-at-work/ http://www.ceoptions.com/how-to-turn-vulnerability-into-a-win-at-work/#comments Mon, 05 Oct 2015 16:37:49 +0000 http://ceoptions.com/?p=5912 Dave and I were walking into the off-site meeting room together. He is a big, strong man who is used to leading teams. Now he leads at work and in the past he led in war.

Dave has an amazing record from his time in Iraq when he was in Special Forces. He does not talk about it often. All I know is that he saved lives and helped many get out of harm’s way before the damage was too awful.

This sets the stage for me to tell you about the team off-site with his senior leadership team.

As we walked into a traditional hotel meeting room in the pastoral suburbs of a sleepy Midwestern town, he turned to me and said quietly “You know I was in Iraq, Sylvia” to which I nodded. And his next sentence made me worry about facilitating the two day meeting about to occur. “I would rather be there right now, it feels safer.”

I took a big swig of air and while I felt off-balance I responded “Don’t worry, Dave, it will work out really fine.

The meeting started out on the wrong foot.

Dave, (in order to stay strong and in charge) made a tactical mistake within the first five minutes. He told the team he was willing to listen to their concerns. And then to hide his vulnerability he said “I just want you to remember that I am your boss and in the end, what I say goes!”

The air in the room turned stale and the rest of the day the meeting stayed flat and superficial.

No one spoke about the elephant in the room. No one dared to talk about anything. And try as I might I could not get the meeting to a better place.

Dave sat behind his shield and so did the 9 people on the senior leadership team.

Vulnerability is complex in the workplace.

When there is no safety we hide. We hide behind our positions and our degrees. We hide behind pleasantries and vapid conversation. We hide behind illness, a sudden cold or stomach ache that makes us leave.

And then something unexpected often happens.

Since I was facilitating the meeting I made a decision to call off the team dinner. It would have been like forcing people to eat glass and stone. Everyone did what they needed to do to find some peace and comfort.

Dave and I went to dinner to sort out what had happened and see if there was any way to turn around the mess of the wasted day.

At dinner there were five people, loud folks I might add, at the table next to us. They were bitching and complaining about their boss who was always saying “I’m the boss and you will do what I say.”

Dave turned to me and with a quizzical smile said “Hey, Sylvia are they actors you planted there for my benefit?”

I told Dave I wish I were that smart, and no, they were just your ordinary garden variety of employee.

He got the message. He got it loud and clear.

The next day Dave asked me if he could start the meeting. I was wary. However, he assured me he had learned his lesson. “No pain, no gain” I said to myself as I turned the meeting over to Dave.

He showed his vulnerability in the perfect dose of explanation and emotion. “Yesterday I was not ready to show my concern and fear. I hid behind my position. I had my shield up so I could not be hurt. Last night at dinner I heard some folks from another company talking about their boss. It could have been me. They said he didn’t listen, he was a bully who always thought he knew best. What they said had my name on it.”

The room was quiet, contemplative.

Dave continued. “I am sorry. I was wrong. It was easier to lead troops into battle than to listen to all of you and have to take in what I am doing that is not creating a team culture. I don’t want to be like the boss I heard about last night. I am ready to listen and find new ways to work together.”

With that Dave sat down and the real team meeting began.

Elephant in the Room

http://www.ceoptions.com/how-to-turn-vulnerability-into-a-win-at-work/feed/ 0