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Professional Intimacy: The Secret of Sustainable Leaders

3 Keys to Becoming a Leader Who Will Last for the Long Haul

cbl christinas quote

My first opportunity to consciously stand up for my professional and philosophical beliefs about Professional Intimacy occurred in 1994. In the last year of my Master’s program, my thesis involved research on the process of creating a successful business partnership.

Using Appreciative Inquiry, our process resulted in a model of a synergistic triangle consisting of three equally key ingredients, where 1 + 1 = 3 (I was never good at math, but this makes sense … read on):

  • An Understanding and appreciation of self, as in intra-personal or emotional intelligence;
  • An Understanding and appreciation of other, as in interpersonal or social intelligence;
  • The resulting relationship system then gets created and continually loops around, offering each person the opportunity to develop as individuals and therefore re-contribute, thus co-create, a dynamic, complex system that becomes the unique, dynamic business partnership.

Leave your feelings at the door

In the early 1990′s the unspoken, unwritten rule in the business world was “Don’t Talk About Relationships, feelings or any of the soft, fluffy stuff humans were made of when delivering leadership or management training or when speaking to  businesses, managers or executive leaders about improving productivity or performance. I was directed to leave that stuff at the door and talk about “real” skills.  Don’t feel … just get to work!

I followed this advice for a while and felt my hands (and credibility) were tied behind my back.

Then I ignoring that advice.  After 12 years in business, our design resulted in not only building our own successful business and partnership, but also served as a model for our clients to build sustainable partnerships.

Through the process of developing Professional Intimacy as defined in my thesis in 1994 and even to  this day, I continued to learn and grow both intra-personally and inter-personally as a result.

The truth is this:  We learn and grow in relationship, not in isolation. Following the old rule and disregarding the complex and dynamic relationship systems we create through all of our relationships, however brief, is ridiculous.

Here’s the point: My thesis was nominated for publication in the college journal … an honor, for sure.  However, the committee stated it would only be considered for publication only if I changed the title.

Professional Intimacy was born

They objected to the phrase I used to symbolize our design for a successful business partnership: Professional Intimacy.

Because sexual harassment in the workplace was such a touchy (pun intended) topic in the early 90′s, the committee frowned upon my use of the phrase in the title. I stood my ground on principle because even though the rule was “Don’t talk about RELATIONSHIPS and WORK in the same sentence.”  I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) in good conscience back down. Besides, I have a strong oppositional reflex.

I ran across the dusty, bound thesis years later and wondered …

“Did I do the right thing in standing up for my values?”

“Would my career path have changed had I decided to belly up?”

“Would I have been able to help more people sooner?”

I suppose I’ll never know… What would you have done?

PS.  Check out  Chapter 19: “Professional Intimacy:  The key to being a Sustainable Leader” in the book “The Character Based Leader: Instigating a leadership revolution one person at a time” on Amazon or your favorite bookseller.

 

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5 Biggest Challenges for Leaders (the 5th will surprise you!)

The 5 Biggest Challenges for Leaders Today are:

1. Communicating the vision

2. Doing more with less

3. Achieving Work/Life balance

4. Resolving team conflict

5. Willingness to understand myself, my beliefs and values and
knowing how to elicit that information from my team so they, too,
can be inspired by the organization’s purpose to achieve our
collective goals.

The first four are “standard” … you’ve seen them before … no
surprises, right?  The last one, #5 or Inter-personal and
Intra-personal (or Emotional) Intelligence is one of the most significant competencies
in a successful leader or manager and is key to becoming a sustainable
leader, one who is built to last, harnesses the potential of themselves and others and with that drives positive change.

Where can leaders and leaders-to-be get stronger in this area?
(Hint:  You won’t find it in any MBA curriculum).  Let an
experienced professional assist you to get the psychological edge
in your career.

Contact me today to arrange your confidential, no-obligation
coaching session to set yourself apart and to become a
Sustainable Leader who adds exponential value to your organization.

***Go to http://www.sustainable-leaders.com/Coaching_Packages.html
for Significant Savings on Coaching Packages for
Individuals/Professionals and Managers through 8/31***

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Being a leader has several inherent benefits as well as challenges.  One challenge is “power stress” which results from the demand for influencing others and the increased responsibility of the position (McClelland, 1985).

Power stress is considered to be part of the experience resulting from exercising this influence and the subsequent sense of responsibility felt by those in leadership positions.

Richard Boyatzis (2006), Professor in the Departments of Organizational Behavior, Psychology, and Cognitive Science at Case Western Reserve University, who has written over 100 articles and authored six books in the subject,  several with Daniel Goleman (Emotional Intelligence) and published numerous studies in the field of leadership, emotional intelligence and neuroscience, proposes that leaders who are able to develop others through adopting a coaching engagement, are able to significantly lower this stress at a neurological level, which in turn has a positive ripple effect for the coachee, the coach, the coachee’s peers, customers and the organization as a whole.

Get free resources to find out how you can lower your stress level with tools to easily engage in a conversation focused on developing others at Sustainable Leadership, Inc.