Leading yourself

Jenny Ebermann Self-Leadership Services

… is not easy! In fact it is a major challenge and hurdle to many people. It starts by one simple thing: how many of you are able to look at yourselves in the mirror and give yourselves a virtual hug? It might seem simple but many of us did not grow up to like ourselves… there was always something missing or something not good enough.

In fact, we are our worst enemies as we continuously judge ourselves not seeing the little progresses we make but instead being stuck on all the things that could have been done better, different, more adequately….these things then keep coming back to our thoughts, moving along and influencing everything we do.

So here’s what to do:

  • First of all, start by seeing all the little positive things in your lives. Being present, moment by moment will help you.
  • Start writing down some objectives for yourself, these should be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) and could be linked to any aspect of your life (professional, private, yourself…)
  • Write action plans for every single objective, identifying all little steps towards the attainment of your goal/objective (I am happy to share a template with you would like to see one)
  • Check-in with yourself at a regular basis and write down all the things that you did well and achieved in line with your action plan. I am sure that there are many; your brain needs to see that!
  • Stop judging yourself at a continuous basis, rather begin seeing the hurdles and “failures” as opportunities to grow.
  • Try smiling at yourself and liking yourself (if you don’t already do so) every day a little bit more. You deserve all your attention! and finally, remember:
  • We are all “imperfect” and that’s what makes us human!

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful rest of the week! Jenny

Are you able to let go of your fears?

Self Leadership

I just watched an extremely powerful TEDx San Diego talk of Koelle Simpson, the horse whisperer… amazing how she describes her work with horses and draws the parallel to empathy, compassion and mindful leadership. I always heard that learning and working with horses can be a great experience but this talk really brings it to the point: by letting go of your own fears and by simply listening to your intuition and being yourself, people around you will start mirroring what you are doing and and how you are behaving because this is how we are build, neurologically speaking. You always hear “walk the talk” but this TEDx talk, powerfully shows, how true this actually is… Enjoy watching and let me know how you felt!


Leading yourself – your inner child


Did you know that whatever age you might have, there always is an inner child in you, in need of appreciation, affection, warmth and security? Every age that you have lived through is still in you: in your consciousness, unconsciousness, your cells…

It might therefore well be that suddenly you react in a certain way which might feel awkward in a given situation and which is not like the ‘you’ that you normally are when being around people.

A couple of weeks ago, I found myself in such a situation, where I suddenly felt very uncomfortable, starting with tingling in the stomach, not being able to concentrate anymore…. In order to get rid of that feeling, I thought I needed to do something, i.e. speak up and let the other people know that something was not alright. In the end, it made it worse as I was not able to voice my discomfort in a neutral and objective way (which I normally can do quite well); my counterpart reacted defensive and nobody was feeling any better.

Reflecting about this situation at a later stage, I identified that this deep discomfort was actually something that I carried around with me since quite some time, popping up at one moment or the other. I then decided to look inside and make ‘contact’ with the part of me that felt afraid and unwell asking what I could do to make it feel better. For me, meditation and self-reflection works best for becoming more self-aware and finding ways out of the ‘tunnel’; for you it might be some other technique. It could also be helpful to write down a question with your strong hand and then draw or write the answer with your other, more creative hand. You could be surprised at what comes out!

Being able to lead yourself in a way that allows for compassion, empathy and a feeling of comfort is the first step towards leading others. If you are not happy with who you are and what you are, not being able to rest within yourself and being kind, how do you want to lead others in an emotionally intelligent way?

About the power of WE: Leading with Compassion

Continuing on the path of one of my previous articles (About people skills and empathic leadership) where I wrote about people skills and that the ability to ‘think outside of the box’ and to create a climate of exchange, knowledge sharing and trust while leading is of major importance for providing direction and innovation to any company, I have to add the following: in fact leading with compassion and empathy is truly the most effective type of leadership. Why? Well let me take the time to explain this to you!

Compassion can be defined as the “deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it.”[1] In his book Search Inside Yourself, Chade-Meng Tan gives a definition of compassion that has tree components, given by Tibetan Buddhist scholar Thupten Jinpa:

1. A cognitive component: “I understand you.”

2. An affective component: “I feel for you.”

3. A motivational component: “I want to help you.”[2]

This leads directly to asking a simple question, as the excellent blog post of Louisa and George Altman put it rightly: do you work in a WE or a ME centered workplace? Or as Bill George, former Medtronic CEO puts it[3]: going from ‘I’ to ‘We’, leaving selfish behavior behind and acknowledging the effort of the whole.

Actually establishing a sense of belonging and trust, a culture of openness and care for each other thus bringing compassion to a team or a group of people as a leader, can have amazing effects as I have discovered for myself. Of course, it might take longer as you don’t just do things without explaining, acting top-down, but you communicate in a transparent way, opening up a dialogue, letting people comment and listen to their concerns/ideas. But at the end of the day, it will make your team very strong as its members will have established a strong relationship of trust with you and the others. Trust on the other hand is the foundation of effectively working teams. Finally, bringing compassion and empathy to your team will also highly motivate its members and if you would ask them to walk the extra mile to achieve an extraordinary goal, they would do so without even asking.

Now, imagine if more teams in an organization would think and act in the above described way; it would create a corporate climate where employees would feel at ease, understood and valorized. At the same time, excellent results would be achieved. The dream for every CEO: from good to great and from I/ME to WE…

Now: in what kind of an environment do you work in?

[1] The Free Dictionary, ‘compassion’: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/compassion

[2] Page 199, Edition of 2012.

[3] http://www.billgeorge.org/page/true-north