I've worked with my team for years; one member has been with me for almost fourteen years now, another just two. Some vendors for years, some for short bouts. All of them I've learned from -- they've each grown me as a leader in their own ways. Writing this, just fresh off of our Q3 Team Meeting, I am flush with gratitude and also awe at what teaming takes. Whether you are in person (which we are not), or remote (which we very much are and always have been), there are a couple of best practices and beliefs to hold that I've found extra useful.
You're in a conversation with a colleague, maybe on a first date, maybe you're meeting someone on the plane, or you keep noticing that every time you think about this person or that situation, you get a funny feeling in your gut. The context may be personal, it may be professional. The sense may be subtle, if you're lucky it may be really strong. And either way, you might not be able to identify exactly what it is. You just know it's there. What do you do?
People often wait for a big thing to happen to start to reset their life, their goals, their health, their relationships, their whatever... "I'll start fresh after the weekend." "I'll start eating well after vacation." "I'll put more energy into showing up better after I finish this project." "I'll reset this relationship and give honest feedback laterrrr..." "I'll start writing again next month..."
I once had a mentor whose grounding principle was "How you do one thing is how you do everything." When I heard it, it kind of landed. Not fully. Truthfully, I wrote it off to "personal development speak" and put it in my back pocket. But...I started to pay attention to where this might be true. I noticed how I addressed things (straight on or "avoidantly"), how I was with my time integrity, how I followed through on things, how I engaged with conflict, and how this rippled into every other area of my life. Years later, after coaching hundreds of private clients and teaching thousands, I can see this to be absolutely true -- maybe not the exact wording of it or 100% of the time -- but the absolute ramifications of it and the gift in paying attention to it for ourselves and those we lead.
Years ago when I wrote CONTAGIOUS CULTURE (McGraw-Hill, 2015), people were surprised to find that when I talked about “creating a healthy culture,” I pointed them to first look at their own leadership health, and how they showed up, to actually create that culture. This was both confronting and liberating for many, after all, I can’t control my culture or the people around me, however, I can absolutely control ME; how I take care of myself, how I show up, the energy I bring to the table, and how I ultimately contribute to being the culture I want (or don’t want). This means I have tremendous power, this also means there may be big work to do.
My stance on culture created a lot of positive results as well as many questions for people, so I wrote my next book. In CONTAGIOUS YOU (McGraw-Hill, 2019), I dug deeper into the IEP Method® body of work and took people further into how to be their most positively and usefully contagious self (energetically, emotionally, behaviorally, and attitudinally) and how to strengthen their leadership in order to create the impact and culture they wanted. Again, confronting — however even more liberating if you did the work (at 384 pages, with an executive coaching program pretty much built into it, as one reader emailed me, "It’s not exactly a light read, Anese, but it is a game changer.").