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Moving from Stressed-out to Intentional Leadership

Updated: Feb 1, 2023

Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt this way as a leader: you need something done and you want one of your team members to do it. You’ve got 10 other priorities and no time to hold anyone’s hand or micro-manage their work - and things just aren’t getting done. 🖐

Whether an Executive Director of a nonprofit, a manager in a corporation or a parent of children, things can sometimes seem . . . difficult.

You may even find yourself feeling apathetic about your role as a leader, frustrated by all that you have on your plate, and generally looking at those around you through a cloud of dismay.

Often it isn’t clear to us why we find ourselves in this stressed-out energy state. We might think it’s because we missed a cup of coffee or because the people around us just won’t step up into their roles.

But what is really going on?

It's More Than Coffee

Now I love coffee, yet I believe there is something more going on. In fact, I know it is possible to understand why and how we find ourselves in difficult situations as leaders - and it is just as possible to flip ourselves into a more aware place that allows us to lead and live with purpose.

The first step is understanding how you show up as a leader. Here is a snapshot that the folks at IPEC shared with me about how Catabolic (or destructive) and Anabolic (or constructive) leaders show up differently.

The Catabolic Leader vs. The Anabolic Leader

  • Manages vs. Leads

  • Delegates fully vs. Project shares

  • Self-assesses vs. Utilizes others' feedback

  • Works in crisis mode vs. Plans & develops accountability systems

  • Disconnects emotionally vs. Utilizes emotional awareness

  • Utilizes left brain analysis vs. Uses whole brain thinking

  • Deals with problems vs. Sees only opportunities

  • Utilizes others for completing tasks vs. Brings out others’ gifts

“This all looks good, Michele”, you may be thinking, “but how do I get from stressed-out and destructive to aware and constructive in my various leadership roles?”

Of course, I’d first say coaching - and I invite you to schedule a time with me to learn more about my process of equipping leaders to meet their challenges head-on and love what they do. Coaching is important to all leaders because it provides a space to reflect on and activate the three categories of skills that are critical to success:

One: A Collaborative Mindset

  • Self Awareness

  • Empathy

  • Guiding & Facilitating Conversations

  • Generous Influence

Two: A Bias for Action

  • Comfort with Ambiguity

  • Purposeful Assertiveness

  • Action-Oriented

  • Creativity in Complex Situations

Three: Perseverance

  • Persistence

  • Flexibility & Resilience

  • Stress Management

With all of this said, I know that deciding to engage a coach is an emotional and financial commitment that not everyone can take.

If you're not ready to commit to a coach, yet still want to explore how you show up as a leader, I'm offering a one-off experience called the Energy Leadership Index™ (ELI) to help you learn more about who you are as a leader and how you show up when you are stressed out and when you are not.

Let’s learn a little more about the ELI -

The Energy Leadership Index™ (ELI) assessment, which includes an hour-long debrief with me, is a one-of-a-kind assessment that enables leaders to hold up a mirror to their perceptions, attitudes, behaviors, and overall leadership capabilities. In fact, the ELI is recommended as an effective leadership assessment by the Forbes Coaches Council and it doesn’t disappoint.

As a certified Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner, I’m offering the Energy Leadership Index™ (ELI) assessment and individualized debrief for $175. If you’re interested, schedule a time here and we can dive into this reflective and valuable process.

Whether you take advantage of the ELI debrief with me or hit the gym or meditation cushion a bit more regularly, find some time this week to reflect on how you show up as a leader when you are relaxed and in flow - and how you show up as a leader when you are overwhelmed and stressed. I’m sure you’ll have some insights and would love to hear them.

If you enjoyed this blog, join my newsletter for more insights, stories and actions for ambitious nonprofit leaders. And in the meantime, keep up with me on LinkedIn!


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