Real leaders don’t cry(?)

tearsRecently in a workshop a leader was moved to tears while narrating her story.  She apologised and received a very positive response from the group.

Immediately the leaders wanted to talk about how to handle vulnerability.  One leader said sometimes he’s so passionate about what he’s saying that he tears up.  He questioned if this was appropriate.

Recently, Michael Clarke, Australia’s cricket captain, broke down on national TV discussing the tragic passing of teammate Phil Hughes.  Many a blogger commented on how powerful the moment was as a positive influence on young boys. This comment captured the sentiment: “Not so long ago it wouldn’t have done at all for the captain of the Aussie cricket team to cry for a mate, and say how much he loved him, publicly. Glad our boys can see this.”

Our culture deeply conditions us to be brave and hide our feelings, particularly at work.  For women leaders this is compounded by fear of being seen as weak or emotional if we tear up.

Tears at work are awkward.  If you tear up (it can happen), how would you recover? If someone else at work tears up, try offering a hug or a pat on the back, or try some humour to break the tension.

Tears are a sign of vulnerability, not weakness.  Brene Brown the world’s foremost expert on vulnerability, says staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take to experience deep connections.

Real leaders cry – and real leaders also recover with grace.

Please comment, I love hearing from you.

From resolution to reality: Make 2015 your year to shine

imagesNew Years come loaded with promise: the promise of fresh starts and new beginnings.  I personally love new beginnings: sunrises, that first cup of coffee – you get the drift.  New Years however can be epic new starts, often pre-loaded with both optimism and cynicism.  After all, research indicates a mere 8% of people achieve their resolutions!

So how can we make 2015 different? Here are some novel ways of making 2015 rock.

Define the year with a theme: If you were to have a theme word for 2015 what would it be?  My mentor, Robi Mack, has Bold as her professional theme and Forgive as her personal theme.  Thinking in terms of a theme word for the year sets your intent and actions for the year without strait-jacketing you into rigid goal-setting.

On another note this is what entrepreneur James Clear suggests.  He says focus on systems that help you succeed.  So if you want to write a book, set up a system that makes you write every day, for example.  Sometimes just focusing on the goals can be overwhelming.  Would a systems approach work for you?

Finally, make it fun!  If there’s anything we learnt from the mega-successful ice bucket challenge last year it was public accountability and fun deliver results in bucket loads (excuse the pun!).

Here’s wishing you a mega successful year.