Executive Presence for Next Generation Leaders is live

It's brilliant having the Executive Presence for Next Generation Executives program underway with the Monash Business School.

At the heart of this program is building self-leadership and congruence. By this I mean how you think, act, speak and look are aligned and signal self-assurance. This internal alignment is more important than ever as leaders usher their organisations through this season of massive upheaval.

A highlight for me on this program is the diverse and generous group of professionals we have with us on this learning journey. They span many sectors including aviation, renewable energy, tertiary education, the financial sector and food. 

We are two weeks into the 6-week program and we have so rich content still to explore including commanding the room, energy management and presenting with power. Every session features practical tools and techniques that can be immediately put into action by these busy professionals. 

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The Crossover: Catching your team's exhaustion

Is your team's exhaustion contagious?

A recent study confirms that the more empathic you are as a leader the more susceptible you are to 'catching' your team's emotional exhaustion. 

This is called the crossover, according to the paper What About the Leader: Crossover of Emotional Exhaustion and Work Engagement From Followers to Leaders?

"Leaders’ who consider themselves to be particularly competent in the emotional area pay more attention to emotional expressions of their staff, are more likely to detect negative emotions, and are, in turn, more likely to experience negative emotions themselves. "*

These findings remind us of the complex emotional and psychological feedback loops that exist within our teams. We know that leaders influence the wellness and engagement of their teams and, in turn, team members can affect a leaders' wellbeing at work.

This report builds the case for strengthening your people's coping skills and emotional fortitude, as...

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Leader's Haiku 02

Exhausted by imagined threats

One aspect of the brain's negativity bias is that we tend to overestimate threats and over-learn from difficult experiences. Left unchecked, this default habit of mind can be highly corrosive and depleting. It also results in us regularly misperceiving reality, which is far from ideal. 

Rebalancing your brain

We explore this fascinating topic in our Expert Insight podcast with respected Neuro-psychologist Dr Rick Hanson. In this episode on Hardwiring Resilience, we decode why the brain is tilted to the negative and we explore simple yet very powerful strategies to rebalance the brain. We are huge fans of Rick's work (and his many books) and we encourage you to listen to his wisdom and insights.  

We should mention that you need to subscribe to Leadium to access our library of podcasts. It's well worth it! 

Tune in now

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The science of gut feelings

Many seasoned leaders rely on their 'gut feeling' when making high-risk, high stakes decisions. Contemporary science now understands that there is a 'hidden sense' behind this intuition. Leadium's Sharon Longridge interviewed Dr Kelly Mahler on how the 'embodied mind' impacts many facets of leadership, including decision making. 

The modern world is impressively uncertain and complex. While we might have "prediction addiction" as Margaret Heffernan says in her latest book Unchartered: How to Map the Future Together we can't rely on exhaustive data analysis, AI or machine learning to accurately forecast the future1. The reality is that history doesn't always repeat itself so decision-making can't rely solely on logic, analysis, modelling or past events. 

Fortunately, we are equipped with an ever-present, yet little discussed sensory tool to help us navigate life's complexity. Research, author and Occupational Therapist Dr Kelly Mahler says...

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Self-compassion: A salve during tough times

This Covid-19 lockdown is tough. 

Have you had moments recently where it seems your best self is hiding in a cupboard? With the blurred boundary between your personal and professional life, are you finding it difficult to know when you've done enough work? Perhaps finding time to do any focused work is frustratingly elusive. There has been a mix of all of the above at my place, writes Sharon Longridge. 

While many of us can recognise some of the upsides of the lockdown - slowing down, meeting more neighbours and for the lucky people, exercising more - let's not gloss over the layered and widespread costs and hardships of this constrained reality.

How are you really coping?

The Covid-19 lockdown has triggered the 'trinity of stressors' for countless people around the world. That is a disconcerting mix of uncertainty and loss of control plus novelty (we've not done this before). Therefore it's understandable if you, your family or your team members...

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Masterclass in Authentic Leadership with Jacinda Ardern

Great leaders are exceptional communicator as evidenced by New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Over the last few years, I've been showcasing Jacinda Ardern as an exemplary leader in my various executive presence programs, including at the Monash Business School. 

Time and again, Ardern articulates a clear message with just the right mix of authority, humanity and believability. This is a critical skill that eludes so many politicians the world over.

I was so impressed when she recently did a 'check-in' video call to her nation. From the confines of her home, straight after putting her toddler to bed, wearing her comfy house clothes she; explained why the strict lockdown was so crucial, acknowledged it was really tough, clearly explained the data, reassured her people and then closed with her powerful key message "stay home, break the chain, save lives".

This was stripped back, authentic leadership in action. It was as real as it gets, no-pretence, no...

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More Women on Stage: Backing the Panel Pledge

Written by Sharon Longridge

Nudging women to speak up

Recently I met with the female head of Organisational Development (OD) at a major Australian company. While in conversation about working together to develop the company’s top talent, she mentioned that it was a great time for me to be a woman. Initially I thought it was an odd comment, then she went on to described the Panel PledgeIt’s a national initiative seeking to increase the participation of women in public forums, conferences and the media. Currently in Australia women are seriously underrepresented. The Panel Pledge toolkit describes the alarming gender disparity, “It is estimated less than 15% of panellists in Australia are women. Less than 12% of experts cited in business newspapers are women. Such optics have consequences.”

The OD leader explained that as part of her company’s commitment to the Panel Pledge, when staff ask to attend a conference, they only...

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The Mic and the Mind

For most professionals, mindfulness is critical to mastering the art of public speaking writes executive communications specialist and Leadium Director, Sharon Longridge.

“Commanding, inspiring, motivating.”

They were the anchoring words I gave a senior executive recently. We were preparing the presentation she was about to deliver to her 2500+ workforce at a 'Town Hall' style gathering. This was a conversation that she needed to get right.

We spent three-quarters of the session focused on her storytelling: hooking the audience, crafting compelling anecdotes and evidence, plus a powerful call-to-action to close.

The balance of the session we spent on her mindset. We explored how she really felt about public speaking. This gave her space to share long-held self-doubts which had up until then triggered unhelpful stress and corroded her...

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Why has mindfulness captured business leaders' attention?

Have you ever had the experience of ‘listening’ to someone talk and then realising you haven’t heard a word they’ve said? Too often our minds race off to the past or the future and we are unaware of what is happening in the present moment.

The opposite of this is ‘mindfulness’, where you are aware in every moment of your thoughts, feelings, sensations and your surrounding environment. Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, defines mindfulness as ‘paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.’

Mindfulness refers to the quality of a person's intention, attention and also their ability to self-regulate according to Mindful.org's Editor-in-Chief Barry Boyce "Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly...

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