Author: MJ Romeo

What Are Your 2021 Goals?

What Are Your 2021 Goals?

Before we wrap up 2020, I want to thank you for reading The Shift every other week, for being open to learning new things and/or thinking about them differently. Writing a bi-weekly blog has been an experience, teaching me discipline and focus.

Next week, I’m meeting with my Executive Coach to share my personal and professional goals for 2021. Having an accountability partner and a deadline will make my goals more tangible and increase the likelihood of actually doing them!

As we turn the page on 2020, what are you thinking about for 2021?

#WiseWords
Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.
Pablo Picasso

Worth the Share

This short article from the website Thrive Global, highlights the importance of setting goals and making sure they are measurable. While the article doesn’t include this common acronym, I live by it. Goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound. Read on to learn a bit more about the Power of Goal Setting. Read on.
And Finally...
Maybe take some time over the next couple of weeks to write your goals for 2021. Maybe start a daily practice of journaling? I journal daily because it sets me up to have a great, intentional day.​ Since I so believe in the power of gratitude, I make sure to include a few things I’m grateful for too. Today I’m grateful for you. Enjoy the end of year break with friends and family – in person or via zoom. Wishing you all the best for the year ahead! Mary Jo

To learn more about my 1:1 executive leadership coaching, custom workshops, the Career Transition program or just to connect, you can reach me at info@mjrcac.com

The Soft Skill That Matters

The Soft Skill That Matters

Even before Covid hit this year, changes were taking place in how companies manage annual or quarterly performance reviews. There is a movement away from numeric scoring and boxes that are checked with “does not meet expectations”. Now, some companies are pushing back performance reviews altogether while others are adjusting goals and lowering expectations. Since many of us are under significant stress at home and work these days, the review process at many firms is being modified to be kinder and gentler, more empathetic and caring.

One of the companies I’m working with has moved to a coaching model for performance reviews, which demands a manager who takes the time to really listen, ask good questions and be more empathetic. It encourages employees to be active in the process and managers to have frequent check-ins throughout the year, while focusing on the goals of the company. Yes, it takes more of a concerted effort but it seems to be paying dividends. Empathetic leadership is the name of the game!

#WiseWords
I think we all have empathy. We may not have enough courage to display it.
Maya Angelou​

Worth the Share

The skills that companies look for when it comes to their leaders and managers is also shifting. We are moving from authoritarian, autocratic, transactional or bureaucratic leaders to more authentic, agile, affiliative or even salient types of leaders.

What we do know is that soft skills matter. How we treat others, open up to others and show our vulnerability makes a huge impact on company culture and performance. One important aspect is empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand and share another person’s feelings, joys and sorrows. Developing an empathetic leadership style can pay dividends.

Read on.

And Finally...

Work is busy, especially for those of us who are closing out the fiscal year, and as the holidays ramp up, so does our stress levels. Now more than ever, self-care is critical.

Think about what you eat, how often you move and how well you sleep. A healthy diet is linked to better moods, lower depression and more energy. Exercise is critical to increased blood flow and improved memory. A good night’s sleep is tied to increased focus and creativity and improved empathy. Yes, EMPATHY!

Take care of yourself…as they say on the airlines (remember them?) “Put your oxygen mask on first before helping others”. Remember to prioritize you own self-care.

Happy Holidays, Mary Jo

To learn more about my 1:1 executive leadership coaching, custom workshops, the Career Transition program or just to connect, you can reach me at info@mjrcac.com

Why Gratitude?

Why Gratitude?

Since it is the day before Thanksgiving, I would be remiss not to talk about the power of being grateful. A formal gratitude practice, such as journaling what you are grateful for each day, or simply being grateful as a way to live your life, can have a tremendous impact. 

Gratitude opens the door to more relationships, improves physical and psychological health, enhances empathy and reduces aggression, improves self-esteem and increases mental strength. And the best benefit of all? Being grateful improves your quality of sleep! List provided by Psychology Today, but the emphasis on sleep is mine. A good night’s sleep is so important.

Everyday, I am grateful for the opportunity to work as an executive coach (and of course, I’m grateful for my amazing family and friends).

#WiseWords

“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”

Charles Dickens

Worth the Share

Another thing I’m grateful for is the opportunity to work remotely so that I can partner with clients all over the country.

Did you know that 74% of millennials would actually prefer to work remotely and not go back to their office? Regarding the pandemic and remote work, can we return to the way we worked pre-Covid? Do we even want to? This article from Gallup examines how important remote work is to millennials because it gives them the flexibility and work-life balance they crave.

And Finally...

Covid has brought many trials and tribulations, but for many of us, it has also brought forth some silver linings. Maybe we are spending more time with family, or slowing down a bit, maybe we’ve started a new, healthy routine that has made a positive impact or reconnected with people we have lost touch with. As you make your final preparations for your Thanksgiving Holiday, can I ask you a question? What is one thing you are grateful for?

Have a very Happy Thanksgiving,

Mary Jo

To learn more about my 1:1 executive, communication or business growth coaching, custom virtual workshops, the Career Transition program or just to connect, you can reach me at info@mjrcac.com

What does the word “leadership” mean to you?

What does the word “leadership” mean to you?

What does the word “leadership” mean to you? As an executive coach, I have the privilege of working with many different leaders who are open to change. By perceiving new ways of thinking and acting, trying new things, looking at their emotions, holding themselves accountable and making peace with the past, coaching clients benefit from making transformative shifts in themselves as professionals and as humans.

The models of leadership have also been changing over the last several decades as we have shifted from an autocratic style to a more collaborative style of leadership. Things like emotional intelligence, vulnerability, empathy, building trust and social intelligence are just some of the important components that are considered when talking about leadership today.

#WiseWords

“Leadership is not a title. Leadership is not a position. But rather, leadership is a mindset. Leadership is a way of being.”

Michelle L. Buck

Worth the Share

What does it mean to be vulnerable as a leader? Back in the day, managers where supposed to have all the answers and keep any personal struggles to themselves. We just powered through. 

Thankfully, that model is going the way of the dodo bird due to the understanding that being vulnerable as a leader has a powerful upside. When a leader is vulnerable, deep connections are made with the team, trust is built up and teams are more creative and innovative. “Being vulnerable is not a weakness” according to Bhavik Shah, the author of this article from Thrive Global.

And Finally...

Back in 1995, Daniel Goleman wrote the book Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ. This book and subsequent volumes of additional research has made a tremendous impact on leadership as we manage and understand our own emotions and those emotions of our team. If you are curious to learn more, read the book which is now in its 10th edition or watch Goleman’s various videos. A fun one I really like is from OnePercentBetter, check out this link.  

 

Have a good week,

Mary Jo

To learn more about my 1:1 executive, communication or business growth coaching, custom virtual workshops, the Career Transition program or just to connect, you can reach me at info@mjrcac.com

What Deaf People Can Teach Others About Virtual Communication

What Deaf People Can Teach Others About Virtual Communication

Have you noticed that talking with someone through a mask is difficult? Since 50% of our body language is communicated through our facial expressions, having a mask cover about 50% of the face severely inhibits our ability to communicate and connect with others and vice versa. It’s maddening.

When wearing a mask, we all need to slow down our cadence to speak more clearly and articulately, really connect through eye contact and put more energy into our voice so that we are speaking louder and with more energy. Trying to understand someone through a mask is especially difficult for those of us with a hearing impairment.

Since it seems that we will be wearing masks for many months to come, make a conscious effort to communicate effectively. Now more than ever we need to lean into kindness, patience and humanity, and truly listen to others.

#WiseWords
“Listening is not merely not talking…it means taking a vigorous human interest in what is being told to us.”
Andrew Miller

Worth the Share

If you know someone who is deaf or hard of hearing, you are probably aware of the need to be intentional when speaking or communicating with them. This article from the Harvard Business Review takes that intentionality to a whole new level as it explores what the hearing impaired can teach us about communicating via video conferencing. My favorite point is to pace yourself on video calls, don’t race through, so that there can be a thoughtful exchange of information. Also, the author supports something I have said many times, wear solid color tops since patterns can be visually distracting. Read on for more helpful tips…

And Finally...

Last week I had the opportunity to present Using Communication as a Competitive Advantage virtually to about 100 women for Fairygodboss, a comprehensive website for women and their careers.

We covered ten common communication misses that we are often not aware of and various techniques to become a more confident communicator during high stakes situations. If you would like to view the presentation, you can find it here.

Have a great week,

Mary Jo

To learn more about my 1:1 executive, communication or business growth coaching, custom virtual workshops, the Career Transition program or just to connect, you can reach me at info@mjrcac.com

Disruption Gives You Momentum for Change​

Disruption Gives You Momentum for Change

During this time of disruption due to the pandemic, you’ve probably heard friends and family talk about getting things back to “normal”. I know I have. But what is normal? Maybe instead of yearning to “go back to normal” we embrace this disruptive period and turn it into something positive. When you look back at 2020, will you remember specific positive changes that you have made in your life, your work and/or your relationships? What have you achieved? How have you used your time? Have you learned a new skill, adopted a new, positive habit or made a change at work? Don’t waste this disruption to reevaluate where you are and where you want to go, personally and professionally.
#WiseWords
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
Maya Angelou

Worth the Share
Many of us don’t like or accept change easily. For leaders, disruptions like Covid provide a great opportunity because it is during times of disruption that people are more open to change. This article from Gallup offers a decision matrix for times of disruption based on urgency and importance that provides clarity on deciding what specific areas merit focus. Their seven-principles for change management are on target but the seventh is my favorite: 7. Always plan for change to be “the only constant”. Check it out.
And Finally...
You’ve probably seen this in the news. Since April, 2020, 5,000 retail stores have closed and only 680 have opened. How we shop is changing. Companies are rethinking their office space needs and even questioning the need of having a headquarters location. Where we work is also changing. Yet, in all of this change, the need for human connection is more important than ever. Stay connected – on the phone, via VC, or across the fence. Good luck navigating the constant change. Stay safe, Mary Jo
To learn more about my 1:1 executive, communication or business growth coaching, custom virtual workshops, the Career Transition program or just to connect, you can reach me at info@mjrcac.com

Gravitas Is a Quality You Can Develop

Gravitas Is a Quality You Can Develop

The leaves are starting to change. Happy Fall everyone. As we begin this new season, many of us are kicking off Q4 tomorrow, the last quarter of this really long, Covid-filled year. It has been a struggle for many to keep up with all the change we have faced so far – changes in how we work, where we work or whether we continue to work or not. Changes in how our children are being educated, changes in pretty much every area of our lives. Have you given thought, during this year of change, to your professional self and some areas that you may want to change about yourself? Areas to grow and develop? I often hear from clients about an area that they want to change… they want to develop more gravitas or their managers have told them that they need to develop more gravitas if they want to move up in the organization. More gravitas – what does that mean?
#WiseWords

“There are six elements of gravitas critical to leadership: grace under fire, decisiveness, emotional intelligence and the ability to read a room, integrity and authenticity (people don’t like fakes), a vision that inspires others, and a stellar reputation.​”

Sylvia Ann Hewlett

Worth the Share
Regardless of seniority, it is common for professionals to have the desire to elevate how they “show up” in a room, they want to have a bigger presence, be seen, heard and considered to “have juice” as I like to say. To have more gravitas. What resonated with me about this article is that the author, an organizational and social psychologist, focuses on gaining gravitas through authenticity, building trust, being empathetic and curious about others, and living with integrity. Dive into “Gravitas is a Quality You Can Develop” from the Harvard Business Review.
And Finally...
In additional to all of the sage leadership advice about developing gravitas, I would offer that there are also specific things you can do with your body and your voice to elevate your gravitas when warranted in business settings. Perhaps when you interview for a new job, or attend a board meeting, or present to you peers? Never underestimate the POWER of communication techniques, such as taking a nice long pause when speaking, so that you show up with more gravitas. Have a great Q4, Mary Jo
To learn more about my 1:1 executive, communication or business growth coaching, custom virtual workshops, the Career Transition program or just to connect, you can reach me at info@mjrcac.com

How Grace Helps Your Team Grow

How Grace Helps Your Team Grow

In a coaching conversation the other day, the client used the word GRACE. She was speaking about giving herself grace. She realized that she wasn’t really being gentle with herself, nor was she accepting the challenging realities she is facing as a business owner, wife and mother who is in the middle of a complicated move… all during Covid.

Whether you are working, looking for work, leading a team, hollowed out by this ongoing crisis or just simply exhausted, are you giving yourself grace? Are you showing grace to your family, friends and colleagues? As Covid stretches on and on, it can wear us down without even realizing it. Are you pushing yourself and your teams too hard? Are you practicing self-care? Have you taken a vacation?

Try and extend some grace to yourself and to those around you.

#WiseWords

“The ideal man bears the accidents of life
with dignity and grace,
making the best of circumstances.”

Aristotle

Worth the Share
In a demonstration of serendipity, I read this article about GRACE for today’s leaders and managers during this time of crisis. We tend to forget that when things are so upended, professionals still need to keep growing and learning, it’s essential. In this article, GRACE stands for Growth, Relationship, Agility, Creativity and Equity. Sound advice for leaders to implement so that their teams continue to develop.
And Finally...

When you see something, say something. A couple of weeks ago I was talking to a friend who is also an Executive Coach, and noticed that he didn’t seem like himself. So I asked him about it. Long story short, he wasn’t himself. He had been working so hard and plowing through all that was on his plate, that he lost sight of the need to rest and recharge. Happily he gave himself the gift of time and did just that… and now is in a much better place.

To learn more about my 1:1 executive leadership coaching, custom workshops, the Career Transition program or just to connect, you can reach me at info@mjrcac.com

Insulting Your Employees is Costing You Money

Insulting Your Employees is Costing You Money

Recently, a client partnered with me to learn how to handle a toxic work
situation, I mean really toxic. The thing is, for various reasons, she was not quite ready to quit her job. What she needed were tools and techniques to get back her own personal power… and she did.

Putting effort into better understanding yourself and your hot buttons, and knowing how you think and how you are perceived by your peers, is incredibly valuable information. Introspection can be powerful. Don’t just rely on how you think you show up – take an assessment and apply what you learn, ask for feedback or input from work colleagues, or work with an executive coach who will guide you and hold you accountable. Whatever path you choose, keep growing as a person and a professional.

#WiseWords

You have brains in your head. 
You have feet in your shoes. 
You can steer yourself, any direction you choose.

Dr. Suess

Worth the Share

How come bad managers and toxic environments still exist? Why do
companies tolerate bad behavior and turn a blind eye? There are so many different ways to learn how to grow professionally. In the US alone, companies spent $83 Billion* on training in 2019. With all of that money being spent, why is there still a problem? This article talks specifically about the business case for improving how we treat our teams, with the author outlining the ripple effect, in dollars and cents, about the cost of insulting a team member. Take a look to reinforce the fact that there are substantial financial benefits for having engaged, psychologically safe employee

What is the “right” amount of sleep? It depends, but if you fall asleep easily and wake up before the alarm consistently, you’re on the right track. And speaking of consistency, going to bed and waking up at the same time each day is an important component to a good night’s sleep. New research has found that when we are sleeping waves of fluid clear the brain of toxins, shown to accumulate in Alzheimer’s patients.
And Finally...

One of my favorite assessments is the NBI because it is based on modern insights from the fields of neuroscience, creativity and psychology. Reviewing the results enhances understanding in the areas of social-emotional intelligence, self-awareness, creativity, leadership,  communication, team performance and conflict resolution. Reach out if you would like to learn more. Another favorite is 16 Personalities (it’s free!).

*Source: Training Magazine

To learn more about my 1:1 executive leadership coaching, custom workshops, the Career Transition program or just to connect, you can reach me at info@mjrcac.com

How Much Is Bad Sleep Hurting Your Career?

How Much Is Bad Sleep Hurting Your Career?

Have you given yourself the gift of a few days off since this pandemic
upended our lives in March? I hope so, there is nothing like taking time
away from work (even if you enjoy it) to rest, relax and rejuvenate.

I took last week off and it was fabulous … hiking, kayaking, swimming and
spending time with family renewed my spirit. Be honest, this pandemic is
stressful and it can feel oppressive.

Make sure you do everything you can to take care of yourself and your
family. Remember to laugh, sleep, eat well, do things you enjoy and take
time to for yourself. Maybe even take a few days off! 

#WiseWords

“Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are
confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.”

Maya Angelou

Worth the Share

One thing I am committed to – getting a good night’s sleep whether I’m on vacation or not. There is endless amounts of research tying a poor night’s sleep to poor performance at work. Lack of sleep also negatively impacts health.

This article from HBR looks at sleep problems in school and university and the impact of sleep on leadership and employee engagement.

What is the “right” amount of sleep? It depends, but if you fall asleep easily and wake up before the alarm consistently, you’re on the right track. And speaking of consistency, going to bed and waking up at the same time each day is an important component to a good night’s sleep. New research has found that when we are sleeping waves of fluid clear the brain of toxins, shown to accumulate in Alzheimer’s patients.
And Finally...

If you like gadgets, check out the wearable Oura, it’s a ring that will increase your awareness about your sleep patterns and overall health.

To learn more about my 1:1 executive leadership coaching, custom workshops, the Career Transition program or just to connect, you can reach me at info@mjrcac.com