Jan Byars is the founder and president of LeadSync, LLC. After years of study and research, she believes an organization leader’s internal state is critical to leadership ability and ultimately affects the organization’s success. The philosophy that Leadership is Being and then Doing drives LeadSync’s unique approach to leadership development which can be applied across all levels, organizations and industries.
Learn more here.
Yes, and is the acceptance of reality and then moving forward, shaping with your own view. I so often see the more common, No, but. This perspective is an attempt to control and negates the reality of the person to whom you are speaking. This is the trademark of a “level 3” leader. (yes, there are 5 levels, as you
remember from many leadership books.) The level 3 leader keeps the wisdom of the group, at bay, always working to prove his/her own capacity as a leader.
How do you move out of level 3?
First, know who you are, your strengths and weaknesses, accept them, and work from within them and then surround yourself with the people who possess the trengths you do not – This is Level 4 leadership. For level 5, you surrender and see from the wholeness of the group. Leadership at this level is containing and channeling the power from the whole. The leaders’ role is to maximize the power of the group. It is the ability to see and lead from wholeness. It is the embodiment of Yes, and . . . .
Play with this concept. What if you say Yes, and to your people? Accepting their reality empowers, builds momentum and alignment.
To hold an ethical environment is a critical need for a Values Based Leader. The culture creates the conditions from which you will work and prosper. It is the standard of behavior and practices of the organization. Moving your values into everyday ethics can seem like a complicated process. There are tools that help to streamline and make visible the shared behaviors that will align your group and offer clear direction moving forward.
Stepping forward toward clear ethical practices and shared behavior can maximize the strengths within your organization.
Are you ready to clarify and empower? Are you ready to look at your own ethical viewpoints and find common ground? LeadSync offers simple concrete tools and activities that bring to light individual strengths and a strong unified direction for the future.
I have recently begun a Comedy Improv class at Comedy Sportz. Last night, as I was playing and laughing with the class, I realized how the principles behind improv are very similar to Values Based Leadership. The first principle is ‘pay attention.’
How many times have we been aught unaware? In improv, if you are caught unaware you missed the moment to help your team of players, you missed the opportunity to entertain and flow with the group. Watching this is not fun, and that is the goal of improv. What happens if you missed the moment in leadership? If we are honest with ourselves we have all been there. What was the impact on your business?
Imagine if you could become a better leader AND enjoy your work. I look forward to keeping you all up to date on my adventures in Leadership Improv.
Can it be that simple?
I spent the day yesterday, learning how to use a new game which helps people expand their understanding of ethics, and gives insight into each person’s perspective, then shows how they all fit within an organization.
The idea that my ethics are right and anyone different is wrong is often the basis of most ethical conflicts. Having the understanding of all the perspective and the strength of each one really changes our ability to look at ethical issues in a practical way. It allows us to understand and see the other perspectives and see why they too are important to an organization.
It takes away all the endless loop discussions about which philosophy of ethics is correct and instead looks at how each represent an important aspect of ommunity ethics. So no one has to be wrong . . . . and then it gives us the tools to see where we can each slide into unethical behavior;
Oh the responsibility of clear ethical thinking.
When an organization has a clear values statement, and then lines up behavior to these, the power of the group is so much greater.
Acknowledging all the different viewpoints allows for ethical diversity in a respectful way.
It seems to me, in business and even non-profits it is the alignment and the momentum that can be so hard to generate. To be able to do this, in line with the values is a great opportunity.
We launch this new opportunity on May 10th in Indianapolis, IN. I will let you know how it goes.
You only hear the past . . . we only hear what we expect, based on our past experiences. We all listen for the data that matches our reality. Watch for that today, it will happen. We filling details without hearing and then make an assumption which is not true. Listening is hearing the essence. Not just the words. Be open to the fact that everyone can teach you something.
Leadership requires us to open past that viewpoint. Values Based Leadership requires each of us to listen to all voices. But how?
It’s simple really, easy, no so much.
- Begin to identify your filter
- Let it go, over and over again
- Clear your mind
- Focus on the person
- Open to the data – all the data
- Be present
Listening is a core strength to trust. Without trust there is no leadership.
Good listening requires self-awareness; Awareness of the person and the situation. It’s not about you. We all have a filter through which we see the world.
It helps us move faster, but it has limitations. Real listening does not allow for multitasking. It applies whether you are In-person or on the phone.
So what do you do with this? As always, it is about the daily choices.
- Commit to the process.
- Pick a practice, like the ones listed above.
- And then just do it. Everyday, as often as possible, and don’t judge yourself.
- Just show up and do it.
What is a practice?
It is a commitment you make to your own development. This concept is talked about often in martial arts, yoga, even in prayer. It is a choice you make every single day, with the focus on being present and executing to the best of your ability.
It is a humbling act, as you will soon see how much difference is in each day’s performance. The trick is to not to judge yourself, simply to perform each day what
you have committed to do. It’s a great way to start a year and the best way to create lasting change, personally or within an organization.
It is the opposite of pushing through or multitasking, so it is not very popular in traditional business. But it is huge as a way to lead and integrate change.
What practice would you pick?
I don’t have to worry whether it is politically correct to wish someone Happy Thanksgiving. I can just enjoy and focus on gratitude. I have had two really great opportunities recently that have really helped me to remember – to experience a deep sense of gratitude.
First was a 5 day spiritual retreat. It was very rustic, all of our normal comforts where taken away, bunk beds, community bathrooms, chores. But during the whole time we stopped every 15 minutes and remembered, breathed in and out and stated our phrase for the day. It was amazingly calming, even as I was irritated that there was no iced tea, or how badly my bed smelled. It was not restful; we were up at 6 and active until 10. But we spent each day centered in our heart, mind and body.
The second was the International Leadership Association’s conference in Denver. I was lucky to arrive a bit calmer and therefore more present as I met old friends and listened to new engaging ideas. It was amazing how different it was being more aware and present.
These events helped me break out of my old patterns of rushing through. In this presence, I found gratitude, a deep sense of connection to so many people, a deep sense of contribution, an optimism lost and forgotten in all the stress.
Having felt gratitude, really felt it, over a period of days, I was transformed. Gratitude actually changes physiology, It allowed me to see clearer, to think bigger, and to step out of all my old patterns and habits. Being in a deep sense of gratitude put me back in to center. Most of us don’t even remember what that
is. Some of you may question whether it exists.
It is that place where multi-tasking and pushing through does not even make sense. If you can resist the urge to run forward, there is a place of deep peace, and that place is filled with gratitude. It is a place where you can see the patterns that lie beneath the whole, the connections and the way through an ‘insurmountable’ problem. It is from this place that we can lead our world to a different outcome, both economically and ecologically.
So if you have lost that sense of center, if you don’t remember what real gratitude feels like anymore, take these next 4-5 days and stop. I mean really stop, interrupt the thoughts that tell you, you have to keep running faster. Stopping will take practice. You will need a plan to stop the head trash and remember. Every 15 min or so, stop for 90 seconds and breathe. Pick a short simple phase that has meaning to you and breathe it in. Or just breathe
in something you are deeply grateful for.
Stop, Breathe, And Remember.
It will be a challenge, but as you keep persisting, you will move into greater balance and the world will begin to look different as you broaden your vision. Let’s do this together and see what happens!
I was a guest speaker at a graduate course in neurophysiology (brain physiology) and leadership last night at University of
Indianapolis. I think it is so cool that they now have classes like this in leadership programs. The research is so
clear; you really can’t afford to ignore the physical aspect of leadership anymore.
The problem is that a class on neurophysiology perpetuates the focus on the brain as all important.
We have so many habitual patterns, blind spots and thinking errors enmeshed into our thinking (yes, all of us) that if we don’t open up to a wider view we stay in the same spin. This is where the feeling we are beating our head against the wall comes from.
For me it is really about heart focus. By this I don’t mean some woo, woo, soft, happy place. I am actually referring to a field called neurocardiology, where the functioning of the heart is as important to performance as the brain. The heart creates more body chemistry, more brain chemistry than the brain does. Shifting our focus to include the heart, offers us a great way to reset our physiological state so we can see the bigger picture. I look forward to the day when we have entire graduate courses on the heart and leadership. And yes, I would also recommend some of that woo, woo, emotional stuff in there too.
If you are interested in cool heart research go to HeartMath.org.
We live in a world that constantly arouses our lizard.
We each have our own version of a lizard brain, it’s called the amygdala. We are in our lizard brain when we are stressed, angry, or when our thoughts are spinning around in our head. All of these mental hijinks take us away from our creative problem solving. We spend a great deal of time being a lizard, darting around but not being very effective.
Leadership definitely includes creative problem solving; it requires listening and being present. Paying attention to what the environment is showing us and what our people are communicating. We can’t be a lizard and a leader at the same time. Really, if our amygdala is activated by fear (stress) our bodies automatically shut down the higher brain. It does this so we don’t stand in a burning building and create a list of pros and cons on if we should get out.
The problem is that the intensity of our lives often feels like a burning building to our lizard brain. The constant push and pull makes our brain think we are in danger. We have to choose to be calm and clear, much like our first responders and service men and women are trained to do. We need to train ourselves not respond to every stressor. We have to learn to be steady so we stay connected to our higher brain, our clearest, most creative thinking. It is from this state we can listen and collaborate.
What state are you in right now? Do you know how to tell?
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