• How Clarifying & Confirming Saved a Relationship

    “What did you mean when you said __________?”

    This statement saved me from ruining a relationship.

    Have you ever reacted poorly to something someone said in an email? I remember one email in particular from a colleague where 95% of her email was fine, then there was one statement that really offended me. I mean, I went from zero to ten on the ‘ticked off meter’ in a heartbeat. I couldn’t believe she would say such a thing to me! I hit reply and started typing back an emotionally charged response. As I was about to hit send, I paused and said out loud, “I really can’t believe she would say such a thing.” As soon as the words came out of my mouth, it caused me to pause a bit more, which gave me enough time to think a little more rationally. I decided to clarify what she meant rather than send my loaded email. I backed out my highly emotional response and instead asked, “Can you clarify what you meant when you said _______.” Then I hit send.

    A few minutes later, I received her response. It was nothing even close to how I had perceived it. I had taken what she said completely out of context. Had I sent my initial emotionally charged email, I would have caused some significant damage to our relationship. I’m so glad I took the time to pause and seek further clarification on what she meant rather than responding emotionally.

    We lose a lot of the message when we are communicating by email. Tone, emotion, and body language are mostly missing when we just have the written word, and research shows that most of the meaning in the message lies within these elements. I’m sure many of you can relate to this quick story and have a similar one you could share.

    We teach Effective Communication skills in our Core Leadership Program, specifically in our Voice & Ears modules. If you would like to increase your effectiveness as a leader and learn more about communicating better with others, consider registering for our next Core Leadership Program.

    ~Michelle Cummings, CEO & Founder, Personify Leadership

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  • The Messiness and Order of Creating New Programs

    I have spent the last several months designing a new program for Personify Leadership. It’s the Deep Dive program that leaders can take after they have completed our Core Program. When we designed Core, it took a full year of designing and tweaking, and we still make small changes here and there to keep the content current and relevant. I facilitated the pilot for Deep Dive last week, and I’m so excited for this new program to come to fruition. I have felt ALL the feels over the last several weeks: exhausted, overwhelmed, elated, frustrated, hopeful, sad, overjoyed, creative, hysterical, spent and relieved. Now that the pilot is complete, it’s still all of those things, but with a sense of calm and peace that is palpable. I know this program is going to change lives.

    A great metaphor that really sums up the last few months is this: You know when you decide to clean out a closet that is crammed with all the things you think you need? You first have to destroy it and pull everything out to get it organized. You know there’s good stuff in there, but you have to examine all the pieces to determine what stays and what goes. Then you put everything back in juuuuust the right places and you are thrilled with the result. That’s where I’m at now. I’m tired, and emotionally spent, but absolutely thrilled with the result. There’s still a LOT of work to do, but the roadmap has been set!

    A HUGE shout out to my Personify team and trusted colleagues for their investment of time, effort, energy and support. This is a true collaboration of some the best humans I know. Gerry SingletonKristin SaladaLinda WilliamsDavid McMurray, Zachary Singleton, Paul CummingsJaneen McDonaldSara PageJohn Dee and Roxanne Esquibel. And an honorable mention to my Training Wheels team for being patient with me and understanding when my time and energy has been devoted other places. I am truly blessed.

    Stay tuned for our official launch of the Deep Dive program in 2024! Please register for our next Core Program (which is required before you can go through Deep Dive) to so you can experience our new programs when they launch.

    ~Michelle Cummings, CEO of Personify Leadership

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  • Three Reasons Delegation Fails – Dissecting Delegation for Better Results

    Recently, I was asked by the Association for Talent Development to write a few articles for their blog. The first article I wrote is called Three Reasons Delegation Fails – Dissecting Delegation for Better Results. Part of being a good leader is getting work done through others. Once an individual goes from a peer level to a people manager level, one critical skill they will need is effective delegation. 

    Delegation can be tricky and is full of potential pitfalls. When we do it well, we help others develop and grow. When we don’t do it effectively, we can create sabotage. When we don’t do it at all, we limit our growth and the growth of others. What is it that makes delegation so challenging to embrace, and why do those who do it so often fail to reach their goals? Let’s start by looking at what we really mean when we talk about delegation.

    At Personify Leadership, we define delegation asSharing authority and responsibility with a delegate.

    We define a delegate as: One who is authorized to act for, or represent, others.

    With those definitions in mind, let’s look at the three main reasons delegation fails.

    1. We Don’t Want to Be Vulnerable
    2. We Don’t Know How to Properly Delegate
    3. We Don’t Provide Our Delegates With Voice and Choice

    I cover all three of these thoroughly in the article, as well as the solutions to overcome the Delegation Pitfalls.

    Click here to read the full article.

    We thoroughly cover Delegation in our Core Program in the Hands Module: Be a Leader who provides direction and support.  Join us for our next Open Enrollment class to experience this firsthand.

    ~Michelle Cummings, CEO of Personify Leadership

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  • The Courage to Delegate

    “If you are a leader who hasn’t assembled a team you can trust then you’re not a leader.”

    Colin Powell on the Importance of Delegation

    Mateo is a leader ready to move to the next level in his career. He had been very successful where he was for quite a long time. He knew how he was viewed in his division but his organization is global. He wanted to know how he was viewed by others who he had interacted with throughout the years outside of his immediate division. He asked me to assist him in learning more. Mateo gave me a list of key leaders that he would want to potentially work for in other parts of the company and he wanted to know how they viewed his leadership potential. (more…)

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  • Stress & Emotional Resiliency

    This month we are focusing on The Mind of a Leader and what it takes to be a leader who is Emotionally Resilient.  A common myth about stress is that zero stress makes us happy and healthy, but the American Psychology Association (http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/stress-…) says otherwise. “Stress can be the kiss of death or the spice of life,” comparing it to tension on a violin string: too little tension on the string produces sounds that are dull or raspy, but too much tension can potentially snap it.

    Michelle Cummings, Co-Founder and CEO of Personify Leadership (http://www.personifyleadership.com), talks about how to manage the right amount of stress. Too little can create boredom among your employees, while too much can overwhelm them. Finding the sweet spot will keep tasks interesting and challenging enough to be motivating.

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  • The Emotional Resiliency of Olympic Athletes

    I’m sure many of you tune in for the Summer Olympics when they air, and the Paralympics generally start a week later.  For many Olympic athletes, the Olympic Games represent the culmination of their hard work and athletic achievement.  I can’t imagine how much time, hard work and sacrifice has gone into preparing for this one small moment of time.  With this level of international exposure and pressure, I’m sure emotions run high as athletes prepare to be in the best condition physically, technically, mentally and emotionally. Every athlete from every country has put in relentless hours trying to become the best that they can be at something they love and bring home a medal that honors the individual, the team and their country. The years of preparation come down to a few minutes or even seconds of competition. How can an athlete not be overwhelmed by emotions?  How can they stay emotionally resilient in the moment? (more…)

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  • Afraid of Giving Feedback? Tips for Speaking Constructively at Work

    Afraid of Giving Feedback? Tips for Speaking Constructively at Work 

    As leaders in the workplace, how often to we buffer our employees from feedback? How often do we find ourselves holding back valid and useful information and giving messages that are diluted at best?

    For most leaders, the response is: too often to count.

    That’s because honest feedback is difficult — even painful — to give and to receive. It’s so much easier to shirk these uncomfortable situations by just avoiding them. Yet this takes a toll on productivity.

    This dynamic shows up in organizations of all shapes and sizes, and we’ve boiled it down to a three-prong paradigm — one we like to call the“Feedback Trifecta”.

    (more…)

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  • The Drain Model

    Have you looked at your goals for the year lately?  Remember back in January when you turned the calendar to a new year, full of opportunities and promise?  Did you make a list of the things you wanted to accomplish this year?  How many goals of the goals that you set for yourself have you achieved?  I took a look at mine recently and there were a few that I have done very well at.  There were also a few that still need a lot of work before the end of the year gets here. (more…)

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  • A Dose of Perspective for Setting Goals

    I’m sure you’ve been told by someone in your life the importance of setting daily, weekly, monthly and even lifetime goals. That being said, have you ever set a clear goal only to have it not pan out the way you thought it would?

    (more…)

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