Welcome to July! As the dog days of summer are upon us, it’s a good time as leaders to grab some moments for ourselves and soak up a little well-chosen inspiration. Leadership — the ability to inspire others through words and actions — is still rare in the workplace. Here’s the good news: leadership is a developmental activity and as we learn and reflect, we do get better! Where to start? Sometimes we call it to us when we least expect it — such as in meetings.

My favorite meetings are the ones where I sit around with a colleague or client and we focus on what we are most excited about. At GroupWorks, in the middle of “another zoom meeting”, we spontaneously decided to share new things we were learning that excited us. It turned into a very inspiring session, filled with creative leadership development resources, that we want to share with you!

First, Delores introduced us to Subtle Acts of Exclusion, a new book by Tiffany Jana and Michael Baran, that highlights the importance of belonging with insights about how to foster resilient and engaged teams. We were all intrigued by the reframe of the sometimes misleading term “microaggression” with the term “subtle acts of exclusion”. As leaders, we know some acts aren’t necessarily aggressive, but the impact of subtle acts isn’t small and can demoralize a team. How to wisely remedy this? As leaders, it can be challenging and sometimes embarrassing to find the words to be more than a bystander when sensitive situations arise. What’s exciting is that this book offers practical guidelines that help individuals and organizations recognize and prevent microaggressions and encourages a culture of inclusion and belonging.

Ever wonder what gets in your way of being you at your best? How many times have you heard the feedback that a behavior that once served you well, no longer helps you and worst of all, it holds you back? If so, listen up. Mario turned us all on to the insights of Positive Intelligence. This is a model developed by Shirzad Shamine who was researching mental fitness as a way to help coaches help clients. His theory is based on the idea that one must weaken the inner saboteur. Check out the link here to find out what’s doing the greatest harm to you right now by taking the assessment- it is easy, free and deeply revealing! You’ll receive your own top Saboteurs Report.

Next, Clare has been exploring Vertical Development, which challenges us to go beyond expanding the level of our current toolkit to transform the way we think and act in today’s constantly evolving workplace. Vertical Development focuses on greater agility and adaptive responses to increasing levels of authority. The part of this that catches my eye is the concept of developing the mind and mindset as part of an overall development plan for greater impact and effectiveness. Acquiring new skills has long been the route of development, yet helping a leader make sense of a situation and learn how to explore different perspectives gives the leader a newfound agility. When leaders can align their skills, mindset and values, they can have a significant impact in the world.

Lastly, Felice has discovered the depth of the podcast world. She has been listening to these on her daily walks. One of her favorites is WorkLife with Adam Grant. Adam is an organizational psychologist who studies, as he puts it, “what makes work not suck”. He talks with fascinating people to help us rethink how we work, lead and live. She really loved his discussion in Season 4, with John Amaechi, whose story as the first British NBA star, author and psychologist, highlights the mantra he lives by: “the most unlikely of people, in the most improbable of circumstances, can become extraordinary”. In this podcast, John enlightens Adam about ways to rethink privilege from the common “presence of an unfair advantage” to an “absence of an impediment or inconvenience.” What a great way to reduce defensiveness on this sensitive topic which John calls “wince moments” and encourages us to neutralize the emotion and guilt that may surface in deep dives. People make choices. Choices make culture. He talks about how The Act of Doing Nothing about racism or all of the other isms in the workplace defines the workplace culture. No matter how many anti-bias workshops we attend, it is these acts — the lowest common denominator of the culture — that end up defining it. Therefore, it’s critically important for leaders to understand how to effectively intervene in the workplace when there is systemic inequality and to foster inclusion.


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