It is Evans’ belief that High Performing Teams require High Performing Leaders and therefore leadership development is a strong component of creating high performing teams. Leadership coaching serves as a valuable tool for enhancing a leader’s capacity to build, empower, and sustain a high performing team. Laura English and Sean Miller are two of Evans Incorporated’s certified leadership coaches. They specialize in coaching leaders at all levels from emerging, newly promoted, and experienced on a wide variety of topics across industries and organizations.
In this series, Laura and Sean are challenging each other to share their thoughts, insights and coaching experiences on topics related to High Performing Leaders using a word association exercise. They believe that new learning connections are generated when the brain is challenged (i.e., responding to a “surprise” word) and they know that there is “power is in the conversation” (i.e., each will give a response to the other’s story). We hope their stories and insights will inspire you to take charge of your leadership growth!
The word meaning brings up a more visceral response from me. In coaching sessions I am often finding my clients either ‘making meaning’ of something that is blocking them or they are looking for the big M meaning – what is it all about?, what am I doing?, why am I doing it? how can I make a difference? …the gamut of those bigger more existential topics.
Whether it is a big M or a little m, that space of discovery and eventually co-creation of a solution is where a lot of magic comes in from my lens as a coach. That is why I think I got a gut feeling from the word meaning. Of course, I am often brought to one of my favorite books Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl and the premise that as long as we have something to strive for and attach to, the more we will be able to survive, thrive and build resilience.
I am also brought to the concept of FLOW by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi around accessing those moments and circumstances that provide us the sense of being in our ‘sweet spot’ and getting into that space of losing track of time and feeling the sense of appropriate challenge to motivate us to continue.
When clients bring the “I don’t know what I want to do next” topic, it is a great time to reacquaint themselves with their ‘sweet spot’, their Why (great Ted Talk), their motivation, and what makes them feel more alive. That exploration breeds a lot of good stories and ideas to begin the journey of finding the ‘what’s next’ for them either in their current leadership role or in one they wish to attain.
As mentioned in previous posts, team members are set up for long term success when they are empowered to take individual responsibility for overcoming challenges. Just as high performing teams have high performing leaders, resilient teams are comprised of resilient individuals. Providing your team with the “space” to take action to overcome the challenges will lead to them taking responsibility rather than avoiding it. When a challenge arises, the personal power your team has will prevent them from operating out of fear or pointing fingers. They will “rise up” and continue to take personal responsibility because it’s the only way they know. I’ll offer this question to you leaders: Next time your team is at a standstill, ask them: What part of the situation do you own? And How will you respond to this situation from a position of personal responsibility and not from blame or “passing the buck?”
Are you working with building meaning and purpose with your team? Do you desire to create a cultural norm of ownership/accountability? Do you need a look at how your leadership style is impacting your team?
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