Leading on difficult days

It’s one of those days . . .

Your kids are throwing up. Your spouse just had surgery and the dog took off.

You have to go in to work and help everyone else be aligned and motivated to get the work done.

How do you do it?

Tap your informal leaders. Who are your best people and how do you empower them to carry the load so you can make it through the challenges life brings?

We often underestimate the capacity of the people that are immediately available to us. If you’ve been listening and paying attention, you know that Sam is dying to step up. Julie has been looking for an opportunity to show her skills. Today is their day. You can use your incapacity to develop thier ability. The feeling of being valued and appreciated generates enthusiasm, which can make up for a lack of experience and may bring surprising results.

There are often pockets of untapped resources that build because we are so used to doing things in a certain way. Let difficult circumstances create new pathways and the work keeps going.

Mistakes may happen with others stepping up, but these errors are forgivable and you exhibit  respect and trust of your people, which is very motivating for the whole organization.

Learning how to use weaknesses to develop strengths is part of the art of leadership. Developing your people is an ongoing process, which you have hopefully being doing since the day you started. You’re developing these strengths so on those challenging days that capacity and flexibility are there.

Ethical Maturity and Ethical Agility

I had the privilege recently to facilitate a conversation on Ethics with the American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellows.  (For those of you who don’t know, AAAS is the #1 Science organization in the world.)

In my presentation, I shared a great model for ethical decision making created by Catharyn Baird:  #EthicsGame.

Ethics being core to Values-Based Leadership, Ethical Maturity is the ability to expand our awareness of self.  We all have blind spots and areas we would rather not see.  This is where unethical behavior can slip in, even when we are committed to being ethical.  The capacity to see ourselves clearly is a psychological strength.

Ethical Agility is the demonstration of our ethical maturity.  Once we become more clear of our strengths and weaknesses, we are able to expand our viewpoint and be more alert and responsive to the subtleties of a situation.  This capacity significantly increases our ability to handle complex ethical decision making.

What is your level of Ethical Maturity and Ethical Agility?  Are you committed to leading an ethical culture?

– Jan

Attention and Focus are key

Leadership is learning how to withdraw our attention from all the small fires so it can be focused & magnetized at the most critical points of leverage. This requires great psychological strength.

We forget that our attention is ‘the currency of leadership.’ We often just let it leak away. We forget we create our organizations, the culture, with our repetitive thoughts & actions. Instead we feel like prisoners of our own habits & say it can’t be changed!

Leadership is first Being. Who you are is who your organization is. What is your organization reflecting to you?


Holding the Culture

Strategy determines the work being done, the goals and the tasks. A business culture is the environment in which these are achieved. We know goals are Holding the Cultureimportant. But culture tends to get lost in our task mentality. We need both clear strategy and the conditions to achieve it.

Culture can make or break our ability to achieve our vision. We know if the conditions are right flowers bloom like crazy, without them, not so much. Consciously choosing and creating the best conditions in you organization is a huge task of leadership. It allows the self-motivation and momentum from within your people to build.

How do we that?

Align our behavior daily on vision and values. Then, pay attention to how often we get off track. How often we take our people off track. Nothing strips momentum and self-motivation faster than constantly changing the game. Expect constant self-correction throughout the day. Like driving a car, minor adjustments keep us on the road.

Engagement changes the game in organizations. Shaping the culture daily is a strategy that pays off big. It is in the remembering, the clear relationship between daily behavior and vision in which a culture is shaped. Holding the Environment is the #1 task of leadership.

You can have a clear vision and a strong strategy to bring it into being, but the culture all too often determines the outcome.

What are you doing to shape your culture today? Are you creating the very best environment for the work you want to see?

  • Jan


Internal Shifts Leverage External Results

There is a growing movement toward consciousness in our organizations. There is a new industry coming into being, Conscious heart modelCompany magazine, Conscious Business Institute, there are even Wikipedia definitions for ‘conscious business’ and ‘conscious capitalism.’

Consciousness includes many things, our self-awareness, our intelligence, our capacity to think clearly and problem solve, our ability to side-step our own weaknesses and work from our strengths. From a business perspective it is the consciousness of the leaders that ultimately creates the structure of the organization. All decisions are made from our conscious state, our vision, our goals, and the strategy which enacts them.

Our conscious state is embedded within every action. It is from this state we evaluate the outcomes as ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ Our consciousness is the power behind all of our words and actions.

It is our consciousness that is the critical point of leverage for our capacity as leaders. It is the first point of analysis for an organization’s success.

– Jan

Heart in Action

In a world where many of us are afraid of what will happen next, it is easy to point a finger and say s/he is doing it wrong. It’s much more difficult to look at ourselves and see if we can shift; to be more aligned with who we choose to be, what we choose to see in the world.

New Year’s is a great time to make this commitment. So, let’s take on this challenge and show up, lead our families, our organizations and our communities. Let’s commit to be the change the world needs, right here, right now.

This is the essence of Conscious Leadership it is the basis for having a conscious business. It is a step beyond a Benefit Corporation or a Certified B-Corp. It’s making yourself the agent of change from the inside out.

Let’s commit in 2017 to put our Heart in Action.

Join me on my Facebook page, Dr Jan Byars at LeadSync and keep me posted on your conscious business journey.


Interconnection and interdependence are a reality – in physics and leadership

When Einstein discovered everything was energy, the reality of interconnection dawned – changing our world. Energy allows an interconnection that is evidenced every day with our Internet surfing, gadgets and toys. It flows around the globe at the speed of light.

Like the Internet, the concepts of interconnection and leadership are not a fad. It changes the way we do business. The end result is not the only thing that counts – the means to achieve that result has become equally as important.

The whole point of values-based leadership is to move the entire group forward together – to the benefit of the individuals as well as the organization. With effective leadership, everyone grows and the organization strengthens and prospers.

Values Based Leadership works from that premise and leaders overtly and purposefully interact with the group – the whole is interconnected and interdependent. Therefore, profit becomes only one of many aspects of

That is the reality of interconnection and leadership.

Change begins where you are





I have learned to begin where I am,

not where I should be,

not where I wish I was,

not where I need to be . . . but right where I am.

As I update my Conscious Leadership webinar series, I am reminded of what I sometimes forget. I can only begin a transformational change from right where I am.

In fact, not really seeing where we are is a big reason why transformational change fails. We want so badly to be further down the road than we are, we make a plan from where we wish we were. We called this reality testing and it is the beginning of being more conscious.  It’s also one of the top 5 emotional intelligence skills required for great leadership.

Are you ready to be a more conscious leader?  Join me for my upcoming webinar series. Sign up right here on my site. 

– Jan

Step Out of the Weeds & Serve the World

Calm in the Crazy

To be a conscious leader we need to be more aware. Self-awareness has been a key component of values based leadership since in the 1970s.

The servant views any problems in the world as in here, inside oneself, not out there.”                                   Robert Greenleaf

With conscious leadership, it is even more important. To serve the world, to step out of the weeds and hold clear and calm requires each of us to be aware of and minimize the impact of our limitations.

No, this is not about perfection. It is about awareness, acceptance and releasing old habits and patterns that limit us and our organizations. This level of development is not new. It has been talked about for decades and has a number of different names – Level 5 leadership, Integral leadership. Maslow first identified this level of functioning as Self-Actualization.

This way-of-being is 2 levels higher than the average adult. So it takes a bit of effort to see and be in the world from this place. But then, serving the world does take a bit more effort. It takes a bit more commitment.

What does this exactly mean? How do we step up? How do we step out and serve? By building our own capacity and strength.

This has 3 parts:

1.     Psychological integration is the process of coming to see our own limitations, our shadow side, our blind spots. The areas we like to hide and even deny exist. But, they do exist and those we work with can see them, clearly. Leaning to own them, to be authentic and transparent is not an easy road, but it is necessary to lead a conscious organization.

2.     Cognitive development is the ability to think through complex problems. It is not IQ. It is critical thinking. It can be applied as much to art as math. To see a vision and bring it into reality is tough work. It will take a disciplined capacity to problem solve.

3.     Witness/Observer – When we stop judging ourselves for every limitation, when we stop pretending we are perfect, we have the ability to move into a state of observing who we are. We get to witness what is occurring in the organization and use our clearer, stronger decision making for the greater good.

I will be sharing more about building these critical key of conscious leadership over the next few months and doing a FREE webinar called Resiliency: Step out of the Weeds and Serve, on October 4, 2016, 4pm EDT.

– Jan

Clarity Precedes Focus


Have you ever had that day when you did it all right?

You time-blocked your calendar… You muted your phone…

You let everyone know not to bother you… so you could focus.

Then, you sat there in frustration  just staring at the screen of your computer because the ideas don’t come. The solutions eluded you.

That is focus without clarity.

Don’t get me wrong, both clarity and focus are essential. But, without clarity, focus isn’t very helpful.

Focus is directing your attention.  Clarity is the capacity for creativity and critical thinking.

Focus is relatively easy.  Clarity can be too.

The state of clarity is connected to the physio-emotional state you are working in.  Clarity can be created  . . . shifted into a state of higher functioning. Most of us aren’t aware of the emotions we stew in all day long.  You could be bogged down without realizing it.  Or worse, you believe that’s just the way it is.

Learning to be aware of your current state and knowing how to shift to a productive state is an important aspect of Conscious Leadership.  You can’t control what happens out there.  So it is critical that you’re able to bring your best self to the table.

The fix for this is not a one sentence solution.  It is a different practice of leadership.

I will be launching a webinar series on Conscious Leadership in about six weeks. Be sure to sign up for the newsletter at to get all the most current information.

–  Jan