Truth is a True Holiday Gift

2021-03-12T08:54:02-08:00By |Categories: Advice for Management|Tags: , |0 Comments

“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” ~ Mark Twain

Recently, I have been thinking about truth and honesty. I love to watch holiday classics and Hallmark movies, and the theme of honesty seems to be woven through all of them. This Christmas, however, I came to realize that the themes of the holiday movies I love are rarely centered solely on honesty. They are often interwoven with other themes I frequently deal with as an executive coach — personal growth and reconciliation. Whether the movie is as sappy as a pine tree or has me rolling on the floor with laughter, it always seems to involve honesty, personal growth, and reconciliation.

Truth is a True Holiday Gift

Think about it. Whether your favorite Christmas movie is Miracle on 34th Street, A Christmas Carol, It’s a Wonderful Life, or Elf, you will see honesty, personal growth of one or more of the leading characters, and reconciliation leading to deeper, more meaningful relationships. And the secret to a happy ending is always the truth, usually one or more painful truths — the essential ingredient for personal growth and reconciliation.

10 Tips for Breaking the Truth to Someone You Care About

This holiday season, I encourage you to be more honest, both in your personal and professional lives, for your own good, for the well-being of those you care about, and for the purpose of building deeper, more meaningful, and more productive relationships. Here are my 10 tips for telling the truth: Continue reading…

How to Overcome Gratitude Deficit Disorder in the Workplace

As Thanksgiving approaches, consider what “giving thanks” means to you as a business leader. Think about how a simple expression of gratitude can serve as a critical component of motivation throughout your organization — not to mention improving and enriching your personal relationships.

The word gratitude is derived from the Latin words gratia, meaning grace, and gratus, meaning pleasing, agreeable, thankful. It is a state of mind and a practice that should permeate all of our lives every day, not just in November when we gather with family and friends around the Thanksgiving table.

Gratitude Deficit Disorder

Unfortunately, most people feel grateful only when surprised to find themselves the recipients of an excess or abundance of good — when they win the lottery, or come face to face with someone significantly less fortunate than themselves, or land their dream job, or discover their soulmate, for example. But why wait for the experience of gratitude when enough is sufficient and when abundance of opportunity always surrounds us?

I once heard someone ask another, Which person is more grateful — the one with $5,000,000, or the one with five children?

The answer? The one with five children. Why? Because he doesn’t want any more! He is grateful for what he has.

However, when it comes to money, success, and possessions, many of us tend to always want more. That’s just human nature — or so we’re told. As soon as we have what we desire, our focus shifts from what we have to what we want. And what we still don’t have. This tendency is not always bad. In the case of business, for instance, it is at the root of our drive for continuous improvement and advancement.

When envy or greed overtakes gratitude is when we need to take a closer look at our motives. When we fail to be grateful for what we have — and for those who directly contribute to our success — we place our future success, happiness, and fulfillment at risk. After all, nobody wants to continue to contribute or offer their support when their efforts are not enough or not appreciated.

Develop a grateful mindset

While I occasionally notice leaders that are appreciative of the opportunity to lead, many leaders drive themselves to excellence and rarely take the time to appreciate all they have in their lives — especially in respect to people and relationships. They look at the day or week ahead, and the short- and long-range plan, but rarely do they take a minute to be grateful for what they’ve accomplished and who they have met along the way.

Worse, some of these executives forget to express their gratitude and appreciation to the people who contribute to making their success possible and whom also share in their struggles and victories.

As a part of our collaborative development and action planning, most of my clients setContinue reading…

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Is Missing Something

Most everyone has heard about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs — a theory of what motivates human beings. It was presented by Abraham Maslow in 1943 and has since been used widely by corporate leaders, business owners, and managers across the enterprise to understand and motivate employees.

If you need a quick reminder, Maslow proposed that people have five levels of needs:

  • Physiological: Air, water, food, shelter, sleep, clothing, reproduction
  • Safety: Personal security, employment, resources, health, property
  • Love/belonging: Friendship, intimacy, family, sense of connection
  • Esteem: Respect, self-esteem, status, recognition, strength, freedom
  • Self-actualization: Self-fulfillment, achieving one’s full potential

Maslow was born in 1908, raised in Brooklyn (New York), and was the oldest of seven siblings born to immigrants from Kiev. He structured the above levels of needs as a pyramid, with basic physical (physiological) needs at the base and increasingly higher levels of needs moving up toward the top of the pyramid. People generally find motivation at a higher level only when their lower level needs are met. For example, an employee who is struggling to feed, clothe, and shelter herself and her family is more likely to be motivated by potential raises or bonuses and not by offers of increased recognition or status.

Although Maslow includes love and belonging in his hierarchy, I think he falls short by not thoroughly addressing what I call the need for relationship and connection — two needs I delve into more deeply in this post. We all need relationship and connection, but many of us do not realize we have this need, or we even fight it through a false need for independence or self-reliance — believing that we can and should “do” life all alone. (Curiously enough, self-reliance and independence are excluded from Maslow’s hierarchy, as they should be. Though one might choose to argue that self-actualization would include these.)

Keep in mind that, by definition, the need for relationship and connection cannot be met in isolation. We need others, and they need us for all of us to feel bonded and to support one another. We need others to bear our burdens in times of crisis. No one can, or should, “go it alone.”

From childhood on

This need for relationship and connection begins early in Continue reading…

9 Steps to Navigating a Difficult Conversation

Any relationship, personal or professional, requires a means to address and resolve difficult or distressing issues. In fact, the ability to address and resolve issues is a good barometer to measure a relationship’s health. An inability to confront issues that are disturbing or hurting anyone in the relationship allows counterproductive patterns to persist, making the issues more pronounced over time.

Difficult conversation

Although we can never make someone change or force them agree with us, we can help to foster positive change in others and ourselves by engaging in constructive dialog. Speaking truth in a non-combative, loving, and kind way fosters growth emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, and relationally. And even if the other person does not respond favorably to our attempt, at least we can rest in the knowledge that we tried and did not merely sit by and wait for change that would probably never otherwise occur.

The key to navigating a difficult conversation is the ability to confront the other person without appearing confrontational. In this post, I offer guidance on how to do just that.

Establish a constructive mind-set for confrontation

Before you approach anyone about an issue that is troubling you, establish a constructive mind-set. I suggest the following: Continue reading…