February 2, 2016 / Articles We Like / Leadership / Strategy

On "The Wild West of Measuring Corporate Sustainability"

Many companies have made sustainability measures part of their corporate goals. The impetus to do so might be driven by cost reduction measures, the need to ensure a future supply of materials, or a desire to make a positive impact on the communities they serve. Reporting on progress of sustainable development is a fairly recent business trend, and as such, varying degrees of standards exist, with varying degrees of transparency. At the same time, investors are becoming more savvy about the information they want from their portfolio companies.

In this Stanford Social Innovation Review article, The Wild West of Measuring Corporate Sustainability, author Eric Nitzberg builds a case for why executives ought to stay ahead of sustainability reporting trends to meet the expectations of modern investors. He also cites key sustainability reporting resources leaders can leverage to inform their sustainability strategies moving forward.

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April 2, 2015 / Leadership / Mariposa Articles

The Communication Toolbox

We all grow up with our own unique communication style. Some people by nature are very direct. They come right to the point. They tell it like it is. They don’t mince words. Other people are more diplomatic, more indirect, more subtle in their communication. Indeed, there are a variety of communication styles—quiet, loud, forceful, caring, showy, authentic, and many more.

One metaphor I have found helpful in working with leaders to develop their communication skills is what I call “The Communication Toolbox.” The idea is that we each have a communication style that is most natural and comfortable for us.  Usually, it’s a style we began to develop early in our lives or careers, and that somehow has served us well.  But no one communication style is going to be right for all situations, and leaders encounter a tremendous diversity of people and contexts.  Part of being a well-rounded leader means having more than just one tool.  The further up you go in an organization, the more important it is to have a broader set of tools in your communication toolbox.To read the entire article, visit the Sierra Leadership blog.

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July 3, 2014 / Coaching Skills

The Art of Receiving Feedback

Recently I wrote about the importance of giving feedback to your direct reports and others—openly, candidly and in a way that’s actionable for them. I think 50% of the feedback equation rests on the side of managers, who have to be willing and skilled in giving it.  Today I want to share a few tips on the other 50% of the equation: how to ask for and receive feedback.  How you receive feedback helps set the tone for your whole team.

  • Ask for feedback more than once a year
  • Listen to the feedback with everything you’ve got
  • Clarify the feedback
  • Say thank you

To read more, visit the Sierra Leadership blog.

 

About the Author:

Eric Nitzberg, M.T.S., is the Principal of Sierra Leadership and an Executive Leadership Coach at Mariposa Leadership, Inc. Visit his blog.

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June 26, 2014 / Leadership

Ask Mariposa | My Performance > My Confidence

Ed asks: I’m a senior executive with a track record of high performance.  My performance levels have led to interesting career growth opportunities as well as increasing amounts of responsibility over the years.  Given all I’ve achieved, my peers and colleagues believe I have a high level of confidence.  But, the truth is, I don’t feel that way inside. I wish I felt as confident as my performance indicates it is. What steps can I take to work on closing this gap?

Eric Nitzberg, Executive Leadership Coach, responds:

Your confidence levels have not become a barrier to performance.  However it will take some work to unwind the stories you’ve been telling yourself over the years about your limitations.  One way to start working on this is to recognize when your internal narrative is at play.  When you are in situations when you are feeling unsure, what are you thinking?  How does your body feel?  Begin to notice what transpires in these moments, and write them down.  Once you’ve identified your internal narrative, you can work on interrupting these habitual responses with more positive experiences.  Reflect on prior successes when you’ve overcome similar feelings and have pushed through to positive outcomes.  You can also try positive affirmations to change the narrative in these moments, as well as any meditation or mindfulness technique to get centered.

Somatic work might also help you embody your own leadership.  Work on getting more into your body to feel and experience your own strength.  Practice several ways you might walk into a room, perhaps to give a presentation.  Observe the sensations in your body and where you feel them. Notice your posture.  What feels good to you?  Meditation or mindfulness practices can help with this as well.  Practice tightening and relaxing your body while you sit with your eyes closes and notice what you feel.  The idea is to consciously embody the strength that resides within.

You might also want to watch Amy Cuddy’s 10-minute TED talk, Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are. In this talk, you’ll learn how standing in a confident stance even when you’re not feeling confident can impact success.

Good luck!

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May 30, 2014 / Coaching Skills

Saving Your Job

Sometimes I coach leaders who are afraid they are at risk of being fired.  They may have good evidence to support this. For example, they may have just been transferred to a different department or moved to a more junior position; or they may have gotten direct feedback from their boss, HR, or others that there is a problem with their performance.  They may also just “Have a feeling.”  If this sounds like you, here are a few tips:

  1. Find out what your most important stakeholders want you to do differently.
  2. Write down your goals for change.
  3. Do your very best to work on the areas your stakeholders care about.
  4. Look for other ways to shift perception.
  5. Stay positive and take care of yourself.

To read more on these tips, visit the Sierra Leadership blog.

 

About the Author:

Eric Nitzberg, M.T.S., is the Principal of Sierra Leadership and an Executive Leadership Coach at Mariposa Leadership, Inc.  Visit his blog.

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March 21, 2014 / Stress / Work-Life Integration

Habits of the Mind

We all know there are simple things we can do to have a more healthy body, like eat well, rest and exercise.  But it only dawned on me recently that there is an equivalent sort of hygiene for the mind.  Here are three powerful “habits of the mind” that I believe contribute powerfully to long-term mental and emotional strength.  They take effort, but the payoff is huge:

  • Optimism
  • Positive self-talk and self-regard
  • Forgiveness

Click here to read more!

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February 8, 2014 / Stress / Work-Life Integration

Strength During Stress

Most executives have some periods of intense, unrelenting stress.  This can happen for example during a time the team is rapidly growing in numbers; during a mission-critical project where the stakes are very high; or during a time of crisis such as a major HR or legal issue.

At such times it’s a good idea to get back to basics, and remember that your body and brain are the only real tools you have for success.  These simple rules will help you to function at your best when times get tough:

  1. Exercise, even if it’s just “walking meetings.”
  2. Eat healthy, even if someone else has to get your food.
  3. Buy a water bottle you really like.
  4. Improve your sleep and break-taking hygiene.

For more on these 4 simple rules, read the full blog post here.

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August 9, 2013 / Ask Mariposa

Ask Mariposa: Difficult Conversations

Erica asks: My department head is an extremely brilliant man and I have nothing but the utmost respect for him.  But lately, I’ve noticed a shift in his behavior that is beginning to strain our working relationship.   He has become very irrational, negative, and all over the map with requests and demands.  What can I do to keep our relationship in tact without stepping over any boundaries?

Eric Nitzberg, Executive Leadership Coach responds:

A lot depends on the level of trust an openness you have with him.  This is a delicate situation, so you’ll want to be thoughtful about any approach.  If you have a pretty open, high trust relationship you might broach the subject directly, “It seems like you have been a little on-edge lately.  I’ve noticed some changes in your leadership style.  Would you be open to talking?”   If you can’t address the issue directly, then I would consider which of the new behaviors are the biggest problem for you, and what you might do about them specifically.  If “requests all over the map” is the most frustrating issue, you might try having a neutral conversation with him about that issue, “I want to make sure I’m aligned with your priorities.  Can we talk about what’s most important among your requests?”

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May 10, 2013 / Blog / Coaching Skills / Influencing Skills

The Power of Matching

200021828-001In his book To Sell Is Human, Dan Pink writes about the importance of attunement as part of selling, whether the selling is formal (actual sales) or less formal (influence and persuasion). One approach to attunement is matching. By subtly matching body language, tone of voice and choice of words, you can create greater attunement and more trust with people you talk to. Dan points out—and there is research behind this—that people’s mannerisms automatically attune when they feel connected to each other.

If you watch friends talking over coffee, you’ll see similar movements happening at the same time. Similarly, studies have shown that if one person at a table reaches for a glass of water, it’s more likely that someone else will also reach for a glass of water—if not at the same moment, then soon after. We match each other because we are social animals, and it’s one of the ways that we stay in sync, that we feel safe and connected.

I often talk to clients about matching to build trust and communicate more effectively with diverse stakeholders. You can match in three main ways:

1.  Body language.

2.  Vocal inflection.

3.  Word choice.

Read More on Eric’s Blog

Matching is also a powerful part of Mariposa’s In-The-Moment Coaching model. For more on this model, visit our ITM Workshop and read our article on ITM Coaching in Action.

About the author:

Eric Nitzberg, is the Principal of Sierra Leadership and an Executive Leadership Coach for Mariposa Leadership, Inc.

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December 18, 2012 / Articles We Like / Ask Mariposa / Coaching Skills / HR / Talent Management / Influencing Skills / Recommended Reading

Ask Mariposa: Need Resources to Become a Better Leader?

Jude asked:

What are a few resources you would recommend to someone looking to gain insight into becoming a better leader?

Eric Nitzberg, M.T.S., Senior Leadership Consultant responded:

I would recommend starting with your coworkers, and even friends and family members. The best leaders frequently ask for feedback from the people around them about how how they can become more effective. People who work with you have opinions about your strengths and development areas as a leader, but most won’t share those with you unless you ask them. Also, you have to ask repeatedly over time, and thank them for their feedback, even if you don’t agree with it. That way you will develop an environment where it’s safe to ask for and give feedback.

As for more formal resources, some of my favorites are The Leadership Challenge by Kouzes & Posner, Your Brain at Work by David Rock, and anything on Social Intelligence by Daniel Goleman. I also love the Harvard Business Review.

Share your thoughts on this response in the comments section below, and ask us anything here: http://blog.mariposaleadership.com/ask-mariposa/

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