As a regular contributor to Forbes Coaches Council, an invitation-only community for leading business and career coaches, Andrew Deutscher knows a thing or two overcoming challenges as a leader. Throughout his career collaborating with executive teams across industries, Andrew has compiled his most effective strategies on developing vision, productivity, resilience, and company culture.
Whether you are just starting out on your journey or a seasoned executive encountering new challenges with your team or business, these tips reveal applicable insight on communication, energy-awareness and strategies for growth.
When launching your next big thing:
At the heart of branding is positioning. How do you want to be positioned? What uniquely differentiates you from others in your space? From there, you can develop a concentrated strategy to target that messaging in the right channel where your audience lives.
Get total clarity on why refining your pitch will solve a consistent problem or open up new opportunities. What problem are you trying to solve? Are you trying to strike a short-term deal or establish a sustainable covenant? Why does the pitch need refining? What are you not getting from your current pitch? Is this the best use of your time to solve this particular problem? These are all of the questions I would have them consider to get the most from this opportunity.
Of the three big methods of rhetorical persuasion—ethos (credibility), pathos (emotions) and logos (logic)—it’s definitely all about pathos when it comes to public speaking. How to speak with authentic passion about your topic, truly gearing it to the audience’s needs, hidden challenges and assumptions, is simply not taught in professional career development programs.
When addressing change with your team:
There is a great quote that says all mammals need attention, yet all human beings need acknowledgement. The problem is that many leaders are cautious to call out real challenges that impact people, even when they know it’s their reality. So, acknowledge them first. Only then can you move them to higher ground and offer a more compelling future.
Change begins internally. One important way leaders can self-evaluate is to ask about their impact on specific behaviors. So, rather than assuming your behavior has an impact, it’s best to ask those in your charge about the actual behavior and how it impacted them. So, the skill is to signal you regularly want feedback as a leader so that you have an ongoing mechanism for self-regulation and discovery.
Another approach for building trust with your team is assessing valid concerns about personal and financial risk. Examining a team’s prevailing attitude about why this matters and how this is unique from previous experiences can begin to shift their mindset. Poor follow-through is typically a product of fear associated with maintaining control at each phase. The knowledge that businesses succeed by letting go and iterating can help alleviate that fear.
When change happens, start by asking “How are you are feeling.” Go deeper with them. Understand their energy level. You do that by asking for a stated feeling. Then, you are able to determine if they are in a performance, survival, burnout or recovery state. To motivate, you need to care. You do that by meeting them where they are and ensuring their readiness level if you’re going to move them to higher ground
When you and your team are experiencing burnout:
Leaders can drive home the concept that they value their team’s energy and productivity, not hours spent. Encourage recovery as a necessary part of sustainable high performance. When team members see boundaries and recovery valued within the culture, they can hold themselves and others accountable for good work and recovery, rather than worrying about others’ perception of their efforts.
I continue to see concern around burnout levels and overwhelmed workers. Longer hours, uncertainty around business goals and macro recession concerns are weighing heavily on CEOs’ minds. If leaders can approach the issue from a new paradigm around managing energy instead of time, they can support employees with new practices to sustain their performance and improve focus while minimizing burnout.
When stress and overwork are consuming your personal leadership:
We are more adaptable when we build the skill of cognitive reappraisal. Our emotions are not the real story. It’s our appraisal of events in our lives that lead to our emotional experience. Adaptability is the skill of being able to flexibly, positively and realistically shape our emotions to be consistent with greater choice and curiosity.
The old version of resilience (to bounce back quickly) is no longer sufficient to manage the demands placed on leadership today. Leaders need to cultivate a higher stress threshold so that they can effectively deal with a lot more. To do this, leaders need to seek out “challenge stress” and do something that pushes them into discomfort every day—from having a tough conversation to doing vigorous exercise.
Instead of viewing tasks in a binary way, as either “working” or “not working,” look at downtime as a different type of work. Restoring yourself increases your capacity so that you can handle work responsibilities more competently. Start with small optimizations: Put your phone away for 15 minutes or add a 10-minute, no-tech walking break. Take note of how you feel as you make these changes, then continue to shift.
If these tips are hitting home with you or your team – you’re not alone. Explore more resources on burnout and energy awareness when you connect with Andrew on LinkedIn, Forbes Council, and Regenerate.