Posts Tagged ‘mindfulness’

A new leadership tool – a sugar packet

I’m having a great time recently coaching a high performing leadership team in the Philadelphia area.  As part of their coaching process they are utilizing 360° feedback (staff members giving confidential feedback about their leaders).

One leader receives feedback that he comes across as agitated and abrupt.  By the way, the brain scientists have now proven, and can show us with FMRi (functional magnetic resonance imaging) samples how abrupt language and emotion shuts down the creative part of people’s brains.

So critical part of our process is identifying new deliberate practices.  For this leader the deliberate practice is to be able to deliver difficult messages but from a positive mood and emotion.

Thirty days later when we return to review the game film this particular leader has added an interesting twist to their deliberate practice.  As he is being accountable to the coach,  he tells me that he is now carrying around a sugar packet in his leather portfolio.  The sugar packet is a visual reminder to him that he needs to put a little sugar on the message.  The sugar packet is working! Every time he has a meeting in which he has to deliver some difficult news he sees the sugar packet, gets in the right mindset, and delivers the message with the right mood.  People are noticing and commenting on his improved disposition.  The bottom line is people are receiving his message with an open mind and less defensive.

See full size imageIn coaching the sugar packet is what we call a “structure”.  It’s some sort of physical thing that helps us achieve our results.  Some companies put vision statements on the wall, some salespeople put small mirror their desk to remind them to smile, and now one leader carries a sugar packet with him.

Whatever it takes to keep you mindful, allow you to show up with the best most mature version of you that enables you to be the most effective leader you can be.

Eventually after enough deliberate practice, I’m guessing this leader will have this new behavior ingrained and can toss the sugar packet!