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There is no fear in love

I was recently amidst a small group of executive leaders who were exploring best practices about giving feedback for those we are leading in our organization. The heart of the matter was very fruitful and the leaders in the room were equally yoked towards a genuine desire to mentor and change lives for the better. When it comes to giving honest feedback with those you are closest to, it can be a messy ordeal; even if your heart is in the right place. As we vulnerably explored successes, failures, and drew conclusions, it dawned on me what intimate ground we were on. We were exploring amazing opportunities to value and love life’s most precious treasures… the people in our lives.

Thousands of songs, poems, tag lines, and societal mottos revolve around loving each other. Obviously love is a loaded word and its connotations reside within the different archetypes of our many relationships, but in general, being in a posture to give honest feedback with only the motive to help another grow closer to their fullest potential might be the most selfless form of love there is. This type of love does not come naturally and for that reason, it often takes us out of our comfort zone. It takes practice and we must engage wisdom from other great leaders in order to do it effectively and fully in a posture of selflessness.

I am not good at giving honest feedback. I like to be liked. I like to create environments that are comfortable and people enjoy. Amidst my juvenile leadership schemas of the past, I have not embraced the opportunity for the tough feedback. Hindsight reveals I missed those opportunities to love because I did not feel equipped and I was not ready to sacrifice my short term perceptions for the long term betterment of another. I’m done with that pattern and am convicted to embrace putting myself out there to give truth when it is 100% clear.

As I feverishly took notes from the mentors and peers in that group, I thought of the many circumstances I had cowered to not give great feedback. I was able to remember the few times I had given it and could identify the life change that resulted. The times I was effective, I had intuitively identified a common denominator: I had not feared another, yet feared for another.

Sympathy and empathy are very different. If you break your leg and I have never broken my leg, I can sympathize. If I had also broken my leg in the past, I can empathize because I can really understand the circumstances of your tribulation. We all have fear; therefore we are able to empathize with another who has fear. We may not be able to identify with their exact fear, but we have the ability to identify with the feeling of fear.

In almost every scenario when you give feedback in a relationship, it will either be repelled or considered with an element of fear. If my wife tells me I’m not meeting her needs in an area of our marriage, I have fear of marital failure. If I hear from my mentor that I’m not being the best version of myself, I fear I could lose a key relationship. If I hear from my child that I’m not modeling what I’m saying, I fear they may grow up with my bad habits.

By digging deep into the fear I experience when receiving feedback, it has helped me see that I need to empathize with others fear when I’m giving feedback.

Organizationally, you as a leader have the responsibility and privilege to help build into others. If you are in a supervisor relationship and you are giving feedback, the person receiving that feedback has some sort of fear. It might be of getting fired, it might be of failure, it might be of losing your respect or it could be something completely different. I now am conscious to empathize with the fear of the person whom I am giving feedback. This awareness has helped me mimic giving feedback in a way that increases the propensity of diffusing fear and instilling more love. Giving feedback in a posture of love and selflessness is a catalyst for true life change.

As I am embracing this and other core fundamentals of loving those I lead, I am getting better at embracing the challenge of giving effective feedback. By doing so, I’m better aligned to my life’s hope to genuinely treasure the people around me. I’m grateful to be bold and no longer fear others, yet fear for another.

Please let me know how you are embracing the folks you get to lead so we can all learn together.

Thank you for your vulnerability and letting us in your intimate space.

As I grow older and life teaches me, I have learned that the experiences I have on relationally intimate ground are the experiences that impact my life the most.

I have a fresh 7 week old baby girl at home. Lydia has been a gem. As the third child in our family, my wife and I have had less stress and more joy throughout the whole process of raising her thus far. It has been an abundant season of reflection, working through adversity, and constant focus on being the team we need to be to surround Lydia with love. As I rocked Lydia back to sleep this morning, before the birds were awake, I had such peace and joy in my heart. When reflecting in gratitude, on this joy and peace, it became clear that, in my life, the areas I had grown the most were in the new births of my children, the death and dying process of those that I loved and the times when vulnerability of others or myself led to greater self-awareness.

Birth and death are obviously intimate space. These two life realities cause one to ask a lot of questions that will define belief and drive behavior. Beyond these, I am grateful for those intimate opportunities to do life with others. Among these intimate grounds are the many people who have opened up their life story as we walk with them through the process of selecting a better career path. Navigating through the process of career transition is very uncomfortable to most. It requires deep reflection, intentionality and a process. Through a time tested process, we have the privilege to watch the progression towards greater career fit awareness. This is a true blessing for us!

The career seeking process also carries many emotions, especially when the individual has already left a role or been let go. It is said that the most common grieving takes place during death, divorce or loss of job. We get to experience this often in our workplace and do not take for granted the feelings of grieving needed when job loss occurs. It is not rare that an individual will try to sweep the feelings of job loss under the rug and move on.  It is those sweet moments and sweet people that allow us to speak into their lives by ask probing questions that will lead them to greater self-awareness and the vulnerability that follows that is mutually impactful.

Brene Brown is a leader in the space of research and conclusion regarding vulnerability. She concludes that vulnerability takes courage. There is no doubt. We see this every day and are the benefactors of many career seekers courage to open up and better themselves. Doing so benefits our lives more than you can imagine. Thank you for serving us through your courage, truth and trust. This intimate ground is not taken for granted and has forever changed who we are!

Neon Night ClubChicago, IL

Education is the most powerful weaponwhich you can use to change the world.

Interviewing Tips from the Experts
Interviewer: Are you questioning your questions?

When on a career search it is commonplace for a career seeker to look at the process with the overarching theme of “I’ll get this job if they really want me”, but there is an interesting reality in this relationship that few interviewers diligently embrace: you may get this job if you show that you really want them.

Obviously, good employers hire proactively based on skill set and the experience necessary for a role but when it comes down to multiple candidates who possess those elements the intangibles will be the deciding factor. Amongst those intangibles are a desire and passion to work at the chosen organization. The communication of this element could lead you or your competition to landing that dream job so let’s look at best practices to gain you an upper hand.

The portrayal of passion to work for an organization you are interviewing starts early on in the interview process. You must have done diligent research on the organization and gone beyond just looking at their website. Utilize the many resources available including social media, publicized employer reviews and your personal network to gain greater knowledge base to draw conclusions on employer culture, strategic decisions, leadership and market positioning.

Once you have these assumptions bring them up wisely in the first set of interviews by the questions you ask. The questions a candidate asks in the interview says as much about them then how they answer questions. The beauty of this is that you will have the ability to develop the questions prior to the interviews.

Most candidates anticipate interview questions and prepare answers, which is great, but the candidate that preps the right question will have a hand up on their competition for that dream job. Don’t hesitate to write these down and take them with you into the interview. Doing so portrays professionalism and preparedness – two desired traits for any job you will be interviewing for.

The questions you ask and the answers you receive about the organization will be the foundation to selling them on the fact you really want to work there. You can cater your selling points as the ideal candidate in further correspondence based on the info gathered from the high end questions you have prepared.

Employee turnover has been of interest for good organizations over the past few decades. Today, good organizations have more data and therefore are more in-tune with employee retention then any point in history. This fact coupled with the increased cost of employee turnover associated with a tighter labor market, increased health care costs and technological advances leading to more competitive markets make hiring with retention in mind a strategic objective of all hiring professionals. Good hiring authorities want candidates that really want to work for them because it increases the probability of retention.

Understanding this reality can help you better cater your approach to excelling in the communication that you really want to work at the organization you are interviewing with. Just remember that the questions you ask may be as important as how you answer the questions you are asked. Catapult yourself into the organization and career fit of your dreams by interviewing better than your competition. For more tips or to ask any clarifying questions to empower you on your career search contact us today for free one on one help. We would love to be a tool in your toolbox to make your career dreams come true!

As we celebrate our life liberty and pursuit of happiness on Independence Day I am reflective and grateful for the lessons I have learned about the importance of interdependence this year. Certainly happiness and the pursuit of it comes down to an individuals will and methodology; however, as I look back over the first half of the year every single area of my joy related to work and family life are relational.



One of my 2015 goals was to be more vulnerable in sharing my thoughts and needs with those closest to me. This renewed focus has brought on great reward. The reliance on others inherent to vulnerability has blessed my life with richer relationships. Enhanced vulnerability has been a great step on the road of interdependence and living with less selfish focus.

Reliance on those around me has been a shortcoming of mine in a management realm. I am quick to do yet impatient to develop others to do. This bull in a china shop mentality has driven some decent results but nowhere close to the results or happiness we can achieve when we perform in a highly functional team. I am starting to gain wisdom, patience and greater results in better understanding my strengths, knowing where my time is best spent and situating teammates with collaborative strengths in order to maximize efficiency.

So this Independence Day I am grateful not only for the foundation of this great country and its liberties but also the connectivity of the great people in it and how it is teaching me to be a better person!

What are you pensive about as you celebrate independence and our nation? Share your journey so we can learn from each other.

Defining characteristics to take GREAT Managers to be GREAT Leaders

Recently , I was asked the question “what is the difference between management and leadership”. This question got me thinking a lot about how I need to hone in on big picture leadership.Leadership

I believe, the character traits that best define a leader are INTUITION, INTENTIONALITY and the ABILITY TO CAST A SHARED VISION

To define the difference between management and leadership I best like Peter Drucker’s definition of leadership with my own twist: Management is doing  things right; leadership is doing the right things, right?

  1. We have all heard the saying “Practice makes perfect”, but I refuse to teach this to my children. In fact practicing the wrong thing leads to perfection of the wrong behavior. More accurately, Perfect practice makes perfect. In order to lead others towards desired results the right activity and action must be reinforced. I believe a great leader varies from a great manager because of the intuitive ability to know what should be the focal point of action. This takes great discernment ability and a big picture vision. I believe this INTUITIVE nature is the foundational element of a great leader.
  2. Once the leader has the ability to know what the right things are to focus on they must be INTENTIONAL. The right things will only get done if there is focus on that behavior. Great Leaders are able to define systems, behaviors and metrics to ensure focus. I know this seems obvious , but many managers simply rally up their troops, gain insight to betterment, but then never implement. All the work put in to gain direction is wasted if not acted upon; therefore, leaders follow through and intentionally sustain the doing of the right things
  3. I finish the great Drucker quote with a question: “right?”  I do so Intentionally to show the importance of having a SHARED VISION. The reality is when a Leader shows great intuition to focus on the right things and then intentionality to ensure those things are focused upon then the team must come around that vision and share it. A vision casted and dictated from a manager is not powerful, it is merely instruction. This mentality can work and lead to results, but in order for those results to be sustained, the vision must be shared by the others working towards the goals. In order to cast a shared vision a leader must be selfless to let others chime in and contribute to the vision and patient to let others go through the discernment process to get to the right focus even if the leader already knows the best course of action. So, when a leader has a vision, the best way to ensure it is shared is by asking those around him or her: “is this right?”

What are other elements that define leadership over management? Please chime in and let us learn from your experience.