Future Leadership – Globe’s Most Critical Issue?

Is the development and focus on our Future Leaders the globe’s most critical challenge? I know this might seem to be an interesting question to ask and yes there are many key issues and challenges across the world today. Many of which are fundamentally essential to our globe.

Last year the World Economic Forum stated some key challenges and why they matter to the world such as politics, climate change, equality, poverty, and unemployment.

In turn, Business Insider published the ten most critical problems in the world, according to millennials and as mentioned that despite the dire state of the world today — and the stereotype that millennials’ are selfish and apathetic (I disagree) — the generation aged 18 to 35 cares deeply about global issues, and they’re determined to tackle them.

They state; in fact, 70% of millennials see plentiful opportunities for themselves and their peers, and 50% believe they can significantly contribute to decision making in their home country.

In turn, every year I speak at Griffith University at their Future Leaders Summit and many who attended were 15-17 year olds. They are some of the most incredible days of my life. I speak about Courageous Leadership and Leadership is an Attitude and how those leaders in that room are vital for our world. The insights and questions are always mind blowing. One time there was a question from a student – “What do you think is going to be the greatest challenge for our generation in the future?”. I stood silent for a while and said this was another topic all together. I said I think there are going to be a number of challenges; and I see leadership being the biggest and most important issue. To hear them say to me that I changed how they saw themselves, their views on courage and leadership and how they could make a difference, is always beyond inspiring.

As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others. Bill Gates

The thing is, in our research and work we are finding many of our future leaders who care so passionately about the globe, and its challenges, don’t see themselves as leaders. Why? They see leadership as a role; a leader is a title. Leadership is not about position or title. It is about Attitude, Mindset, Behaviour and Action.

What are we doing today to build and cultivate our future leaders to guide and empower them to have the mindset and courage to lead? To be leaders.

Have a look at politics today. Look at the pool of leaders what are running our countries? Is the calibre of leaders we have to choose from today? Is the best of what the world has to offer when it comes to leadership? No…!

We need to step up. We need to lead.

We need great future leaders who can lead these critical issues. Yes, you might be saying what about the leaders of today, and of course, they matter. However, it is our future and emerging leaders that we need to give them the skills, confidence, courage and mentoring to lead our future.

We need leaders who are authentic, aware and know who they are. Leaders, who have the courage to stand tall, believe in themselves and demonstrate complete compassion, empathy and integrity. Leaders who only speak the truth and walk the talk. Leaders who want to be significant to others and create a legacy of leading the way.

Leaders who are inclusive and embrace the diversity of our world. Leaders who inspire and empower others to be the best they can be and lead change. Leaders are vulnerable and who are not afraid to say I am scared and I know I am going to make mistakes. Leaders who ask for help. Leaders who will keep moving forward and believe they have a purpose on this planet. Leaders who are the ripple effect.

Leaders who see leadership as an action, choice and attitude.

We need leaders who will lead our global challenges with a whole heart, conviction and courage. We need to take care of your future leaders and make sure we are truly connecting with them. We need to be asking them how we can help them be better and be the best they can be.

We ALL have these global challenges. However, it is the small things we can do today and each day to lead the way. It is those things that could have the greatest impact for future leadership and the globe tomorrow.

I am so passionate about Leadership; building leaders of today and for tomorrow. If you would like a Leadership Attitude, grab my latest book on our website or via Amazon or Booktopia – or you can order it via your local bookstore too. Or talk to me or my brilliant team about our bespoke leadership programs, workshops and keynotes –  they truly rock!

Please share with us what you are doing today to make a difference in leadership for tomorrow and why.

Phone 1300 719 665 or +61 424 447 616

www.soniamcdonald.com.au

sonia@soniamcdonald.com.au

White-Hot-Moment

5 Reasons Even Execs Need Coaching

Reaching the executive level on the totem pole in business doesn’t mean you should stop the pursuit of greater knowledge and skills to support you in your role. We can all benefit from additional knowledge and executives are no different.

What is the benefit to executive level coaching?

The benefits for coaching are multi-faceted. Some intertwine and others are very clear but ultimately there are benefits for everyone, regardless of position. As an executive, you not only have company requirements but also personal requirements that coaching can assist with.

Below are 5 reasons we believe execs can benefit from coaching:

1. Life becomes boring without something new. Regardless of where you reach in the corporate world, if you don’t continue to push yourself to expand your knowledge or improve the way you handle your role, then you run the risk of every day becoming ground hog day, and that can only lead to burnout.

2. Personal development. You may be in the top position now but what if your company folds? What if something else happens that means you no longer hold the position you are in? Would you be well enough prepared to move into a new role? Coaching can also help you identify the limiting beliefs which are holding you back in life. He or she will help you break out of the comfort zone you are in and support you while you grow.

3. Times change. It is important to stay abreast of new techniques to being an efficient leader and for how to proactively implement the changes required. If you have been in an executive role for some time, it becomes all too easy to continue as you have been. You do things the way they have always been done without noticing the new and more streamlined techniques you may be able to implement. Coaching can support you in not only learning about the new ways, but providing you with the tools and techniques to implement them. The real pay-off is in your improved productivity and capability.

4. Personal sounding board. Your coach is an impartial, unbiased person with whom you can share the challenges you are facing and who will provide you with the necessary feedback and suggestions to help you navigate those challenges. Your coach will also call you out on thoughts, attitudes and actions that are no longer serving you. It’s true that you might not like everything your coach says, but you will know it’s being said for your benefit, and you have their complete support.

5. Identity. An executive level coach can assist you in not only cultivating, but maintaining a business brand as opposed to your private persona. It is important to have a very clear understanding of who you are as an executive leader, and understand how operate comfortably within your brand. Your brand – your leadership identity – represents your beliefs and values. Your coach will work with you to build a brand you are happy to become known for.

Coaching may seem like a luxury, however, with most executive positions lasting less than three years, it is more of a necessity to ensure your continued growth and continued viability at an executive level. The changes we see in executives in our coaching programs are not only inspiring but crucial to the overall success of everyone at executive level.

If you are at exec level and have not considered working with a coach, ask yourself why not. Don’t hold yourself back any longer, contact us today and make 2017 your year!

Creating a Culture

Creating a Culture

If there’s one thing that today’s leaders understand it’s that you can’t impose a culture on the workplace. No leader can dictate the way the people and the organisation work together. Instead, they need to grow and nurture the culture they want to see flourish in the organisation.

So how do they do that?

Set the scene

We have previously spoken about why reward and punishment doesn’t work when you want to bring about change. Instead we need to activate the part of the brain which makes decisions and helps us think about our actions. To do that we need to set the scene. People need to be able to visualise the scene and experience the change before it happens. Set the scene that you want to reach and together you can analyse what’s happening, how and why.

Write the script

The way you communicate about change has a big impact on whether or not it will be successful. The more you listen to your team members, the more you will understand about what is going on in their minds, and the more easily you will be able to guide them towards change. The more you speak with your people, the more you will develop a common language and expectation. Remember, the fear of being left behind is greater than the fear of change. They will want to come with you and the rest of the team.

Run the rehearsals.

Set the example for the culture you want to create. Modelling the behaviour works because, when you are a great leader, everyone wants to do what you do. Create opportunities for your team to “rehearse” and become used to the new way of doing things. . Remember every repetition rewires our brains into new patterns of thought and behaviour.

Are you trying to create a specific culture in your organisation? LeadershipHQ worked with a leading government organisation this year and we partnered with the Executive Leadership team to create such a culture. It was fantastic to see the turnaround after a few months. We did an analysis of the current state using one of our leading Organisational Cultural Tools, then worked closely with the leaders within the business to create and implement a culture and strategy. It had to be meaningful and high impact for THEM; they had to OWN it, DRIVE it and MODEL it. And it ROCKED! We love our work and these stories, because culture and leadership truly matter.

Try these suggestions and let me know how they work for you.

If you would love to know more about how to create and build a culture that truly rocks, contact the team at LeadershipHQ today at info@leadershiphq.com.au or click here to find out more.

Would you love a coach or speaker at your next event? Contact me or click on the link below.

Check out my NEW Online Courageous Group Coaching too!

Reach out to me today as I would LOVE to hear from you at sonia@soniamcdonald.com.au

About Sonia

Sonia McDonald believes we should lead with kindness, from the heart, doing rather than telling and is known for her mantra ‘Just lead’. She leads by example in all these areas and through her one on one practical coaching, leadership training for teams and organisations encourages others to do the same. Sonia has helped hundreds of people on their leadership journey to become the best version of themselves and in turn, inspire and bring out the best in others.

For more than 25 years, Sonia has been on the front lines of HR. She has held leadership positions worldwide and through experience, research and study come to realise what it takes to be a truly great leader.

Sonia has an ability to speak bravely and authentically about her own development as a leader, personal and career challenges in a way which resonates with her audience. She is recognised as a LinkedIn influencer and has become an in-demand keynote speaker, starts important conversations.

She is an award-winning published author and writes regularly for publications such as The Australian, HRD Magazine, Smart Healthy Women and Women’s Business Media. Sonia has become recognised for her commentary around the topic of leadership, developing work-life balance, championing the up and coming leaders of tomorrow and advocating for women in business and male-dominated industries.

Keynote Topics for 2019

Sonia will give you peace of mind when booking a speaker. She is a proven world-class professional speaker with the skills to “rock an audience”. Her energy, empathy, kindness, sensitivity, and humour will enhance any event she appears.

  1. Leadership Attitude
  2. Just Rock It
  3. Leadership for Small Business
  4. Leading the Next Generations
  5. Courageous Leadership
  6. Future Leaders of Leadership
  7. New Kindness of Leadership

Contact us today to learn more about how we can partner with you to keep your workmates safe!

Phone 1300 719 665 or +61 424 447 616

www.soniamcdonald.com.au

sonia@soniamcdonald.com.au

Amplify Making women leaders heard

Amplify: Making women leaders heard

I recently read an interesting article from Quartz which discussed a communication technique adopted by women at the White House to make themselves heard.

Politics has long been a man’s game so it’s no wonder that women are outnumbered in the White House, particularly as the President’s Aides. Quartz makes the point that women are typically interrupted by men, no matter what the setting, and that has led to the introduction of the new term “manterrupting.”

However, women at the White House have developed a new technique which they call Amplification, helping each other be heard.

The technique is simple but clever, and it’s one that women could apply anywhere they really want to get their message across.
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The technique

The article says “When a woman made a good point, another woman would repeat it, and give credit to the originator. This made the idea harder to ignore, or to steal. The women called the technique ‘amplification.’”
&nbsp

Why does it work?

Constantly repeating yourself so your message is heard is a waste of time. All that happens is that the intended recipient switches off. Your voice becomes little more than ‘white noise’ blocking what other people are saying.

The key to amplification is that someone else picks up your message and repeats it, acknowledging that the contribution is yours.

Immediately, your message gains credibility because someone else has recognised its value. It’s much harder to ignore two or three people saying the same thing, than it is to ignore just one.
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What does it rely on?

The technique will only work if you have someone willing to support you in getting your message across.  It’s based on cooperation and not competition. You need an ally at hand. As women, we naturally collaborate well especially when we have a common goal. I would suggest building your alliance before you head into your important meeting so each woman knows what the message is and how best to help you (each other) get it across.

The article comments that “Obama noticed and began calling on women more often.”

So we know the technique works and we understand why it works. Why aren’t we using it?
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Would you use this technique?

Would you consider using amplification in your next important meeting? I’d love to know your thoughts on the subject. Your experience and thoughts might help others who are reading this post. Please leave me a comment below and let’s start a conversation.

Phone 1300 719 665 or +61 424 447 616

www.soniamcdonald.com.au

sonia@soniamcdonald.com.au

Will you bend or break

Will you bend or break?

You are a leader – a change maker in your organisation.  You know what’s happening in the organisation.  You know how to inspire your team and lead them through change.

You are very skilful when you know that change is coming, but how do you cope when the change is unexpected?

It takes a different set of skills to cope when change is not planned, but sneaks up on you.  As leader you are expected to cope even if you are unprepared.   If you struggle in this situation it may not be your fault.  Your brain may not be supporting you.

Neuroscience has shown that leaders who are able to adapt quickly to change have a different brain structure to those who struggle.

The American Psychological Association reports on the results of a survey they conducted, saying “Brain networks in the frontal and prefrontal lobes of the most complex and adaptable leaders — areas associated with self-regulation, decision-making and memory — were more complex and differentiated compared to those of leaders who were determined not to be very complex, according to neuroimaging.”

Adaptability shows itself in many ways.

Not all great leaders were highly adaptable in responding to sudden change. Instead, they were adaptable in their choice of leadership styles.  They knew when to work collaboratively on a project and when they needed to take control. They understood their strengths and weaknesses and learnt to draw on skills from within their team.

If you struggle to cope with unexpected change, perhaps you need to stop seeing yourself as the driver and see yourself as leading a team of change agents.

Leadership Development programs which incorporate brain training can enhance your ability to be an adaptive leader.  To be adaptive you must have strong connections across the neural pathways in your brain. Brain training builds and strengthens those connections so you can switch behaviours and leadership styles as the situation demands it.

If you are worried that you will break and not bend, all you need to know is that you don’t have to be born with all the skills of a natural leader.  You can learn and develop them.  Now that’s what I call adaptive.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can partner with you to keep your workmates safe!

1300 719 665 or +61 424 447 616

www.soniamcdonald.com.au

sonia@soniamcdonald.com.au

 

What I’d Tell My Younger Self about Leadership

What would you say to your younger self about Leadership? Becoming a confident and courageous leader is both an attitude and a process. Like many undertakings, developing the ability to lead is one that benefits from experience. In fact, when it comes to gaining the insight that we need to learn how to lead ourselves and others, there really isn’t a substitute for experience.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all go back in time and share our experiences with our younger selves (minus the pimples and glasses!)? The lessons that I’ve learned from my personal journey are priceless in value! If I could go back in time I would share the following five leadership development strategies with my younger self plus a few amazing tips.

Want to Be a Leader – Start Early

It is never too early to start working on your leadership skills. Regardless of your age, or current position in your career, take steps right now to learn more about the skills and qualities that all effective leaders share. Look for and read books on leadership, and look for coaches and mentors that can help you get started and guide you.

Life itself will present enough challenges and obstacles to your dreams. So, it’s important that you seek out literal cheerleaders to inspire you to keep giving your best effort even in difficult times.

Pursuing a path of excellence and authenticity is hard enough without being drained by negative attitudes. Early on, learn to multiply your energy by surrounding yourself with individuals who believe in you and support your efforts.

Embrace Opportunities to Lead

As you focus on developing your leadership skills, look for opportunities to lead. Whether it’s at home, in the office, or within your community, look for areas that need improvement and where your actions can make a difference.

Leadership is not defined by our job titles. Actively seek out more challenging roles in your workplace and be a leader by pursuing excellence and improvement.

What Direction Should You Take – Play to Your Strengths

Being a great leader really comes down to knowing who you are at your inner core and consistently being your most authentic, honest self. Learn your natural talents, preferences, abilities and limitations and make choices that play to your strengths.

It’s impossible to be exceptional at everything. Don’t waste precious time and energy trying to master everything, but narrow your focus and work on developing your strengths.

Define Your Mission by Focusing on Your Vision – Know Your Purpose

It may seem like a strange question to ask yourself, but do you know why you want to lead? What is it that you want out of life? What are your values, what do you stand for? Learning the answers to these questions is part of developing your vision.

Without vision, you can neither plan nor lead, because without vision, it’s impossible to define your mission. Great leaders have the ability to motivate others and bring out the best because they know and have defined their mission in four key areas: passion, purpose, philosophy, and presence.

Being an effective leader is about knowing your “why” and owning it! Take the time to focus on yourself and learn what energises you and brings you joy and don’t hold back from sharing your authentic self with others.

From this passion, find your purpose for leading. Discover what it is that you want and then plan out the steps that you need to take to achieve your purpose.

Avoid shortcuts that seemingly offer success at the expense of your personal philosophy. Be mindful of your plans and actions and take steps to ensure that they are consistent with your values.

Allow your passion, purpose and philosophy to shape how you present yourself to others. Be confident in your abilities and allow your presence to honestly reflect your vision.

Embrace Risk and be Courageous!

It’s tempting to play things safe in your career, but you will never achieve anything exceptional or great without taking a few risks. New ideas, innovation and creativity are fuel for our vision and all require risk.

Don’t be afraid of change, don’t be afraid of failure! Embrace risk and be courageous! Shake things up, discard the status quo, do something different.

Our best lessons come from our mistakes and failures. So, when you fall, move on. Pick yourself up and keep going forward!

I would also tell her –

• Have the best leadership attitude every day. You choose your attitude.

• Learn and open yourself to who you truly are. This self-discovery journey never ends.

• Pick up a leadership book and start reading it. I would personally read this one cover to cover, but I also mention several others throughout this book.

• Be authentic. The best leaders are those who know that self-awareness is the greatest capability.

• Integrity is central to leadership. Lead by example.

• Focus on getting to know yourself – self-awareness is the key.

• The best leaders own their story. It does not define you, but your story makes you who you are.

• Take more risks. Say yes to opportunities! Just jump. Act now.

• Own what makes you different. Own it. You rock!

• Trust your natural ability – you can do it.

• Believe in yourself – confidence rocks. Trust yourself. Put your hand up!

• Don’t take no for an answer. If they say no, go to the next. Find that yes.

• Surround yourself with empowering people who lift you higher. Your tribe. Your cheerleaders. Get rid of people who put holes in your rowboat.

• Give more to others. Mentor and coach others. If you are successful, don’t forget to send the elevator down for others to ride up in.

• Empower others to lead. Leadership is about others.

• Be compassionate and curious. Be kind to yourself first and then to others.

• Network! Meet as many people as you can. Add value to them.

• Never stop learning. Invest in yourself. Only you matter.

• Enjoy your amazing ride. It is incredible. Take in your leadership journey.

What would you say to your younger self?

Would you love a coach or speaker at your next event? Contact me or click on the link below.

Check out my NEW Online Courageous Group Coaching too!

Reach out to me today as I would LOVE to hear from you at sonia@soniamcdonald.com.au

About Sonia McDonald

Sonia McDonald believes we should lead with kindness, from the heart, doing rather than telling and is known for her mantra ‘Just lead’. She leads by example in all these areas and through her one on one practical coaching, leadership training for teams and organisations encourages others to do the same. Sonia has helped hundreds of people on their leadership journey to become the best version of themselves and in turn, inspire and bring out the best in others.

For more than 25 years, Sonia McDonald has been on the front lines of HR. She has held leadership positions worldwide and through experience, research and study come to realise what it takes to be a truly great leader.

Sonia McDonald has an ability to speak bravely and authentically about her own development as a leader, personal and career challenges in a way which resonates with her audience. She is recognised as a LinkedIn influencer and has become an in-demand keynote speaker, starts important conversations.

She is an award-winning published author and writes regularly for publications such as The Australian, HRD Magazine, Smart Healthy Women and Women’s Business Media. Sonia has become recognised for her commentary around the topic of leadership, developing work-life balance, championing the up and coming leaders of tomorrow and advocating for women in business and male-dominated industries.

Keynote Topics for 2019

Sonia McDonald will give you peace of mind when booking a speaker. She is a proven world-class professional speaker with the skills to “rock an audience”. Her energy, empathy, kindness, sensitivity, and humour will enhance any event she appears.

  1. Leadership Attitude
  2. Just Rock It
  3. Leadership for Small Business
  4. Leading the Next Generations
  5. Courageous Leadership
  6. Future Leaders of Leadership
  7. New Kindness of Leadership

Contact Sonia McDonald today to learn more about how we can partner with you !

Phone 1300 719 665 or +61 424 447 616

www.soniamcdonald.com.au

sonia@soniamcdonald.com.au

Who Helped Me?

Who Helped Me?

I decided to have a Thai massage and whilst lying there, reflecting on the past and getting a sense of real relaxation, I heard the lovely Thai woman say to me that I am really tight in my back, to which I just smile and say I know. We all get so busy and caught up in the doing and peddling as someone once told me, that we forget to reflect on what we are thinking and feeling…we are just doing.

My mind wondered to my back and why I was feeling stressed. It might be due to the fact I have been running around like a mad woman, meetings, coaching, writing leadership training, conducting interviews, making a million phone calls, headhunting and looking after a daughter…ugh…now do you understand the massage! But my first thought was the floods occurring in Brisbane at the time and how I hadn’t been able to work with one particular client as the construction site was submerged. Then I began to think about what I have been frustrated by and around how I haven’t been able to work or help those people I coach and develop on my client site. I really missed it and really missed them. I love my work and I love that I make a difference but I also learn something from them. I was terribly frustrated I couldn’t help them and was eager to get back into the swing of things!

Sometimes we forget who helped me? And in turn whom, are we helping. In my coaching sessions, which really focus on a number of areas but mostly on self-awareness and building leadership capability, I talk to my clients about “Who Helped me?” A powerful exercise around thinking of people in our lives who have helped you most in your life, career and the people whom you would say, “Without this person, I could not have accomplished or achieved as much as I have. Without this person, I would not be the person I am today.” I love that saying, people come into your life for a reason. I truly believe this.

This exercise and reflection really does make you think about the people who have impacted you – but also you become aware of yourself and how you are impacting others around you? Yes?! What did you learn from these people?

Then you start to think about the feelings and sensations you are feeling when you think about what they said or did – or in some cases didn’t say or do. And what do these memories want to make you do today?

I find you typically experience warm and emotional reactions to the memories of the individuals who helped them. They remember how deeply affected they are or were. I know when I think of a few people who really helped me, I find I begin to think about their long lasting impact and how profound that impact was in my life. They helped me discover my true strengths and values and ultimately my personal vision and learning for myself…Pretty powerful!

So the next time you are stuck in traffic or having a Thai massage (Note: Yes, I know what a life – but I really deserved it! And by the way we all do!), think about Who Helped Me? How do you feel about that person…what do you remember? Then think about Who Are You Helping? What impact or difference do you think you make as a leader to those around you? Or as a father, mother, friend, sibling, sports coach…it impacts many areas of our life. An understanding of how people have helped us and how we help those around us, helps us learn and grow and creates a fascinating set of guidelines for professional and people development…and you don’t need to massage to begin to discover that one!

Contact us today to learn more about how we can partner with you to keep your workmates safe!

Phone 1300 719 665 or +61 424 447 616

www.soniamcdonald.com.au

sonia@soniamcdonald.com.au

man head silhouette with jigsaw

5 Exciting Discoveries About Our Brains (plus eBook)

Day after day, neuroscientists make amazing new discoveries about our brains that can help us learn more about the way we function and how to become happier, more efficient and more productive.

At LeadershipHQ we know how important it is to understand the way our brains function in order to get better results, to maximise business performance and to become inspirational leaders. We are so passionate about Neuroscience and the difference it has made to our clients, leaders, teams and organisation’s effectiveness and productivity that we launched an Amazon Kindle Ebook – get your copy today!!!

These 5 discoveries have changed our understanding of leadership and influence the way great leaders behave.

Is it worth the risk?

According to Brian Knutson and Charlene C. Wu at Stanford, it is possible to explain why people risk even when the risk is not worth taking. According to them, there are two brain regions particularly associated with the making of financial decisions – the nucleus accumbens and the anterior insula. The former is particularly active when someone expects to win, and the bigger the sum, the more activity is recorded. The latter, on the other hand, is linked to disgust and anxiety and tries to “warn” you that the risk is not worth taking. However, according to their findings, the willingness of people to take risks increases proportionally to their excitement. Hence the success of the National Lottery; people become really excited about winning a lot of money, which helps them forget that their chances are close to zero.

Make sure they remember.

As a leader who wants to convey a certain message, you can use this neuroscience finding to make sure your audience will understand and remember what you say. Basically, scientists have found that what people hear, read and see is recorded in different parts of their brains. So, if you are making a presentation, make sure you include not only text, but also images – this will not double, but triple the chance of people remembering what you said, because they will hear it, and read it, and see it. Why? Well, when a message is first received, it enters the immediate memory, and it will sit there for just a few seconds unless you give it something to link to. When you present a message in the three different ways, it is all brought together into working memory, somewhere in the prefrontal lobe of the brain. Now the message is going to last long enough for you to build on it.

Keep calm and…

Research has shown us that the human brain uses words to interpret events. Think about situations that make you angry or scare you. You probably think of them as nasty, disgusting, terrible, dreadful… Next time you are in such a situation, try to label your emotions with bland or even positive words – curious, exciting, and indifferent. What you are actually doing is calming your amygdala, which is where the fight or flight response is triggered. If you can stop it from triggering a flight response, you have much more chance of remaining calm, and remember – a calm leader leads a calm team.

Optimistic Leaders – The Better Leaders.

It’s human nature that we want to be with people who make us feel good rather than those who suck us into negativity. Team members experience a leaders emotions through their mirror neurons, which are the tools in our brain that wire us for sympathy and empathy. Emotions are contagious and as leaders, we want to spread only the constructive emotions to our teams.

Optimism is attractive and in a leader, it’s an essential quality because it’s contagious. An optimistic leader creates optimistic teams who are then able to work collaboratively and creatively together.

Built-in GPS?

A few months ago, Professor. John O’Keefe shared the Noble Prize for physiology or medicine with Edvard and May-Britt Moser. Back in 1971, O’Keefe discovered that the brain has something like a “built-in GPS”. His experiment with rats showed that when the rat is in a particular area of the room, there was activity in certain cells of its bran, while another area of the room activated other cells. More than 30 years later, the Mosers found a part of the brain that basically serves as a nautical chart. This discovery may give some answers as to why people with Alzheimer cannot recognise their surroundings, but it has also opened the door for more discoveries about the way we think and plan.

We hope you enjoyed the 5 neuroscience discoveries we selected for you. Do you know about any other remarkable discoveries related to the brain? We would be delighted if you share them with us in the comments section below!

Remember to get your Ebook on Amazon Kindle Ebook! It ROCKS!

Would you love a coach or speaker at your next event? Contact me or click on the link below.

Check out my NEW Online Courageous Group Coaching too!

Reach out to me today as I would LOVE to hear from you at sonia@soniamcdonald.com.au

About Sonia

Sonia McDonald believes we should lead with kindness, from the heart, doing rather than telling and is known for her mantra ‘Just lead’. She leads by example in all these areas and through her one on one practical coaching, leadership training for teams and organisations encourages others to do the same. Sonia has helped hundreds of people on their leadership journey to become the best version of themselves and in turn, inspire and bring out the best in others.

For more than 25 years, Sonia has been on the front lines of HR. She has held leadership positions worldwide and through experience, research and study come to realise what it takes to be a truly great leader.

Sonia has an ability to speak bravely and authentically about her own development as a leader, personal and career challenges in a way which resonates with her audience. She is recognised as a LinkedIn influencer and has become an in-demand keynote speaker, starts important conversations.

She is an award-winning published author and writes regularly for publications such as The Australian, HRD Magazine, Smart Healthy Women and Women’s Business Media. Sonia has become recognised for her commentary around the topic of leadership, developing work-life balance, championing the up and coming leaders of tomorrow and advocating for women in business and male-dominated industries.

Keynote Topics for 2019

Sonia will give you peace of mind when booking a speaker. She is a proven world-class professional speaker with the skills to “rock an audience”. Her energy, empathy, kindness, sensitivity, and humour will enhance any event she appears.

  1. Leadership Attitude
  2. Just Rock It
  3. Leadership for Small Business
  4. Leading the Next Generations
  5. Courageous Leadership
  6. Future Leaders of Leadership
  7. New Kindness of Leadership

Phone 1300 719 665 or +61 424 447 616

www.soniamcdonald.com.au

sonia@soniamcdonald.com.au

We Lead Our World

We Lead Our World

I remember taking a leap of faith in myself and focusing on my passion, purpose – and what made me different! I owned that difference to start LeadershipHQ. It took courage, passion, determination and guts to do this. To not try and compete or be like anyone else. To be just me. Just different. And there have been times where that difference has been applauded and celebrated, and other times judged and criticised.

We are not born to judge, discriminate or hate someone because they are different. We learn this. We can also learn to love, respect, and care for everyone despite of the differences.

I remember Martin Luther King saying “I have a dream, I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.”

The thing is, even though we have made progress, we still seem to be playing the same game now. We have just found 100 different ways to play it.

I have a dream, too, but I want a world where we are not having the diversity debate or discussion. It is not about race, disability, gender or age. It is about appreciating that we have a world of 7.3 billion humans where we are each different. We celebrate uniqueness and 7.3 billion people’s diversity of thought.

I want a world where instead of ‘The Business Case’, it’s just part of Business.

Instead of ‘it starts with me’, it starts with ‘we’.

Instead of ‘gender intelligence’, we see intelligence in all.

I want a world where we know that creativity and innovation is within each one of us.

A world where we feel truly safe for authentically being who we are.

A world where we see you, truly see you!

I want us to commit to not the word ‘diversity’ but to the action of embracing our differences.

Since going on my journey, taking a leap of faith to start my own company, I focused on what was unique and different about me, and I owned it. I owned my difference. I’m not perfect. None of us are, but it is our imperfections that make us real. We may have disabilities, but they are what give us the ability to be our unique selves.

I ask you, what are we really doing about diversity? Are we hard wired to see what we want to see, no matter what we are? Or can we do something about it?

What if we could lead everyone towards the ideal world?

What if we could show people what the world looks like when diversity was not the buzz word but part of how we live? What if we could model in our language and actions such things as acceptance, appreciation of difference, the value of the unique, human respect, inclusivity and vulnerability?

What if we could lead people to a world where there was no judgement, and we are truly seen for how we are, respected and being respectful.

This is my dream.

I invite everyone to stop the conversation and take action. Stop the debates and start showing up as the leaders we are.

We are all capable of experiencing and learning to enjoy this brand new world, but not everyone is able to take us there.

The world won’t change while we talk about it. We can only create a world where it is safe to be who we are if we start leading and showing the way.

If you and I don’t do it, who will?

I see and lead that world….we lead OUR world

LeadershipHQ and Griffith University Business School held an amazing event called LED – Leaders Engaging Diversity. The speakers were brilliant and the messages clear – we lead our world.

We know you can lead the way with Diversity and Inclusion. Contact the team at LeadershipHQ to find out more.

Appreciative Inquiry

Appreciative Inquiry

If you are looking for a OD process that makes a difference, have a look at Appreciative. I attended the AHRI Leadership Conference and the HR Team at Brisbane Treasury Casino implemented this process and had fantastic results!

Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is an organizational development process or philosophy that engages individuals within an organizational system in its renewal, change and focused performance. AI is based on the assumption that organizations change in the way they inquire and the claim that an organization that inquiries into problems or difficult situations will keep finding more of the same, but an organization that tries to appreciate what is best in itself will find/discover more and more of what is good.[1].

Appreciative Inquiry was adopted from work done by earlier action research theorists and practitioners and further developed by David Cooperrider of Case Western Reserve University and Suresh Srivastva in the 1980s. Cooperrider and Srivastva say that an organization is a miracle to be embraced rather than a problem to be solved. According to them, inquiry into organizational life should have the following characteristics:

  • Appreciative
  •  Applicable
  • Provocative
  • Collaborative

It is now a commonly accepted practice in the creation of organizational development strategy and implementation of organizational effectiveness tactics.
Appreciative Inquiry is a particular way of asking questions and envisioning the future that fosters positive relationships and builds on the basic goodness in a person, a situation, or an organization. In so doing, it enhances a system’s capacity for collaboration and change.
Appreciative Inquiry utilizes a cycle of 4 processes focusing on:

  1. DISCOVER: The identification of organizational processes that work well.
  2. DREAM: The envisioning of processes that would work well in the future.
  3. DESIGN: Planning and prioritizing processes that would work well.
  4. DESTINY (or DELIVER): The implementation (execution) of the proposed design.

The basic idea is to build organizations around what works, rather than trying to fix what doesn’t. It is the opposite of problem solving. Instead of focusing on gaps and inadequacies to remediate skills or practices, AI focuses on how to create more of the exceptional performance that is occurring when a core of strengths is aligned. It opens the door to a universe of possibilities, since the work doesn’t stop when a particular problem is solved but rather focuses on “What is the best we can be?” The approach acknowledges the contribution of individuals, in order to increase trust and organizational alignment. The method aims to create meaning by drawing from stories of concrete successes and lends itself to cross-industrial social activities.

There are a variety of approaches to implementing Appreciative Inquiry, including mass-mobilized interviews and a large, diverse gathering called an Appreciative Inquiry Summit (Ludema, Whitney, Mohr and Griffin, 2003). Both approaches involve bringing very large, diverse groups of people together to study and build upon the best in an organization or community.

The basic philosophy of AI is also found in other positively oriented approaches to individual change as well as organizational change. As noted above, ” AI …fosters positive relationships and builds on the basic goodness in a person, or a situation ….” The principles behind A.I. are based in the rapidly developing science of Positive Psychology. The idea of building on strength, rather than just focusing on faults and weakness is a powerful idea in use in mentoring programs, and in coaching dynamics. It is the basic idea behind teaching “micro-affirmations” as well as teaching about micro-inequities.

Taken from Wikipedia
Read: The Power of Appreciative Inquiry: A Practical Guide to Positive Change
Diana Whitney (Author), Amanda Trosten-Bloom (Author), David Cooperrider (Foreword)
Appreciative Inquiry: A Positive Revolution in Change
David L Cooperrider (Author), Diana Whitney (Author)

Contact us today to learn more about how we can partner with you to keep your workmates safe!

Phone 1300 719 665 or +61 424 447 616

www.soniamcdonald.com.au

sonia@soniamcdonald.com.au