In our society, compassion and connection are sometimes seen as signs of weakness. In the work world, this view is even more prevalent. It is felt that you cannot be powerful without subduing your emotions and empathy for others. As a result, workplaces can sometimes be brutal and people can be crushed by them.
Increasingly, with the introduction of concepts such as emotional intelligence, this is changing. Astute leaders are realizing that offering respect and dignity to everyone they lead makes for a more productive workplace and does not hurt results at all. Perhaps it is time to welcome people’s hearts into the workplace. In doing so, mind and heart can be in balance and a new type of power can be born.
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You may have heard the statement “you are enough”. There is a lot in it. Being enough means self-acceptance, letting go of guilt and setting your own path. Do you believe you are enough? If the answer is yes, good for you. If the answer is no, what is the reason? Perhaps you want to stretch and always go for more. Perhaps you feel inadequate in some way.
Whatever your answer, let yourself be enough for today and every present moment. When you are enough, you are in a place of power. From that place, you can take yourself anywhere you want to go with inner strength and confidence.
Do you often seek the approval of others? Do you also seek your own approval? Approval is the opinion that something is considered to be good or acceptable.
Approval can be a double-edged sword, either helping or harming you. Seeking the approval of others is not in itself a bad thing. Others may have the power to make something happen. You may respect those you seek approval from and value their opinions. The flip side of this is when you seek the approval of others because you are not confident in your own thoughts or actions. This can lead to making decisions or taking actions that do not serve your interests, giving your power away or coming under the control of another.
The first approval to seek is your own. When you take or contemplate taking an action, thoroughly vet your plans with yourself and make sure you want to go forward. You can ask others for input as you do so; that is not the same as asking for approval. In some cases, another’s approval may be necessary for you to proceed. In that case, first and foremost, have confidence in yourself and your decisions. From there, you can deal with the approval or disapproval of others.
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Do you ever get yourself to a place where you think you have no choice in a situation? That is a falsity. You always have choice. Saying you have no choice is giving away your power.
Thing is, you may have a hard choice in front of you that you would rather not face. Better to face that hard choice. It never serves you to abdicate your power of choice.
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I find the decision to walk away difficult at times. The crux lies in whether the situation is harmful or helpful. A decision to walk away can be a refusal to see something I need to address in order to grow. In that case, it will inevitably return and might as well be dealt with now. Or, a decision to walk away can be an empowering one, through which I can gain strength and wisdom.
When was the last time you walked away from something? How did it work out? Were you empowered or stagnated by your decision? How do you decide whether to stay or walk away?
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In our world today, force is often equated with power. I’m not so sure they are the same. Force is defined as coercion or compulsion. Power is defined as the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events. In managing, there is merit in distinguishing between the two and in going for power rather than force.
You can see the difference, I’m sure. If you look at your style as a manager or professional, do you lean more toward force or power? Force involves pushing. Power involves directing or influencing. The experiences and responses of those on the receiving ends of force and power are markedly different. Cultivate your power as a manager or professional. It will far out-distance the use of force.
How about your workplace? Do you see more use of power or force?
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Judgment comes naturally. It is an important ability when it comes to your own actions. Judgment of others, however, is a different thing. The judgments you make of others inform the actions you take and the strategies you develop. They had better be accurate.
Limited information, ignited emotions and internal biases can easily skew your judgments of other people and situations. Judgments must be seen for what they are; they are not facts, but your perception. Exercising caution and diligence in your judgment of others can serve you well.
Keep your judgments of others as objective as you can. Get the facts that are available, make them from a centered place and do not confuse them with truth. Judgments have their own power and are best arrived at carefully.
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Fear can show its face at work and often does. It finds its way within uncertainty, dysfunctional cultures, self doubt, power plays, edges of comfort zones, unexpected outcomes and aggression.
The best way to deal with fear is to go right through it. Pushing it down, pretending it is not there or convincing yourself it doesn’t matter, only increases fear’s hold on you.
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Many times people abdicate their freedom of choice. The ability to choose can never be taken from you. It is only yours to give away. You may let others pressure you into choices. You may not have the time to make all the choices in front of you; so you neglect or hurry through them. It behooves you to consider your choices very carefully and make the choice that is best for you.
As a manager, your choices create the direction for your team. You choose goals, direction, process, pacing, focus areas and more. How do you make a choice? Do you have a process? Here are some suggestions for your choice and decision-making.
• When you encounter a significant choice, create some time to make it
• Lay out your options and the impacts of each
• Identify the risks and likely outcomes of each option
• If it is helpful, get some feedback from others
• Own your choice, once you make it
The power of choice is yours. Make good ones and never give this power away. Exercising your freedom of choice is essential to good managing.
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How often does the term self-discipline cross your radar? Self-discipline involves focus, control and movement. Sometimes negative attitudes can develop around the concept of self – discipline, such as it means making myself do what I don’t want to do or it is never fun or even, it takes my freedom away. None of these things have to be true if you use self – discipline in a positive manner. It is a powerful tool for managers.
How do you make self – discipline a positive tool in your life? You can start out by exercising self – discipline to get something done that you really care about or that will result in a high benefit for you. Creating the prospect of a positive result will serve as a motivating factor. Then, put your self – discipline to work. Construct a plan for getting whatever task you have chosen done. Determine the method you will use, the time that is needed and whatever else you must do for a successful completion of the task. Then, stick to it! That is the key to self – discipline: holding yourself accountable to you.
Once you experience a few successes by staying disciplined, you will build some positive energy to employ self – discipline in more of your work and life. You may also find that self – discipline has many other benefits including: building your ability to focus, using your time well, letting go of things that do not serve you and moving you forward.
Let the positive power of self – discipline work for you.
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