Why Our Leadership Coaching Services Start from the Inside OUT

Summary: How would the world of work change if we learned to look at our behavior patterns from a broader perspective? Here are suggestions from our leadership coaching services to think differently.

Dear Dr. Sylvia,

I am frustrated. I have an employee who is always, and I mean always, disagreeing with me.

We need to collaborate, and he calls after we agree on the next steps and says, “I was thinking….” The minute I hear those words, my blood boils!

It means then we will still make change after change.

We hop back on that never-ending merry-go-round of “here is a better way” and “Hey, this is even better.”

This is a time waste and gets in the way of making good decisions.

Procrastinators and perfectionists live in the same world.

I think of him as a procrastinator. Yet, that is not it.

I just had a “light bulb” thought.

Perhaps he is a perfectionist.

Hey, that seems to fit better. He is always looking for perfection, for nirvana, that state of perfect happiness.

He is searching for perfect happiness, and I want to get the project moving.

Leadership coaching services succeed when they help you see your patterns at work.

Lately, I have taken a stronger stand. That way, I acknowledge his contribution. I tell him, “I appreciate all the thinking that you have done, and I like part of the plan.

Then, as the leader, I must take charge of the direction of the whole project.

What does he do?

He sulks and says (to others) that I am a control freak!

Damn, I have been in business a decade more than this “super-achiever,” and I see why you call them the “me-me-me- guys and gals.”

He always must be numero uno.

Super-achievers, procrastinators, and perfectionists can change to become creative collaborators.

How do I get this man to stop being “the main one” and become a collaborator?

I know you suggest helping your staff grow rather than just firing them. How do I help him transform his time-wasting ways? When is enough enough?


Losing patience

Dear Losing Patience,

Help is here. First, take a deep breath and prepare to learn new ways for you and all leaders who dare to think differently.

Think differently and find the way “OUT.”

There are three steps to get OUT of wasting time and responding with outdated behavior.

Here’s how to begin to get a handle on your communication by starting to OBSERVE what you do.

Then take the time to UNDERSTAND why you respond in specific ways when individuals challenge you at work.

Finally, consider how you will TRANSFORM the initially invisible patterned behaviors that drive most of your reactions, especially during times of stress and anxiety.

First, consider the bigger picture; then get back to specifics.

For instance, while discussing cooperation, collaboration, and accountability, work environments are still fraught with reactive patterns.

Here are examples of reactive patterns – power games, polarization, and “CYA” behavior.

Most of us stay locked in a mode of reactive learning.

This behavior keeps us tightly bound to our unconscious self-fulfilling prophecies about how our interactions with bosses, peers, and direct reports will turn out.

We know before opening our mouths that the situation will turn out exactly as we expect.

Only YOU can decide if you would rather be right or happy.

Sadly, we are usually correct because we would rather be right than happy in the world of patterned responses.

This circle of predictability is at the root of most poor work performances, misuse of sick days, lawsuits, and time wasted rumoring and gossiping.

While leaders can’t change an individual’s knee-jerk behavior, they can develop a culture for success.

Leaders can create a work environment where reactive patterns have limited space to pollute.

A better understanding of relationships can be taught and encouraged.

Leadership coaching programs should include modules on self-awareness and group awareness.

Contemporary leadership curriculums need to include three key areas:

1. How systems work in organizations.

2. What impact does the original organization-the family system- has on present-day work behavior?

3. Communicating using the dialogue method can accelerate how individuals and teams work together effectively.

Leadership coaching programs should include examples of how nature is one of the great teachers of systems thinking.

Thinking systemically, we comprehend how everything connects to everything else, and no one wins unless we all do.

Suppose a butterfly stirring its wings in South America can affect the weather in New York’s Central Park.

We know from global warming how connected our planet and our organizations are.

In that case, we need to ponder with more intention the impact of our business decisions on the whole economy and the environment in which we all live.

Moving close to home, leaders need to observe how the beliefs and behaviors we present at work are patterned reactions from our families, where invisible loyalties and legacies sit below our conscious awareness.

We first develop skills to master succumbing to anxiety in the family.

These embedded patterns tend to resurface when our primal fears rekindle around issues such as job security, promotions, mergers, or even fluctuations in the stock market.

When an environment appears to be unsafe, unfortunately, the way many employees see their workplace, there is always a strong connection with the un-safety of the childhood setting.

It takes courage for leaders to go beyond the superficial to the hidden patterns that play out at work. After all, leaders are not therapists, and work is not a rehab facility.

Modern leadership coaching services must include lessons to underline self-awareness and group awareness.

And yet, if leaders set the stage for all employees to have the opportunity to grow beyond their patterned responses and learn to be self-aware, a positive change occurs at work that can and does impact a robust bottom line.

As we understand systems thinking, we learn to suspend judgment. At least till we have more ways of looking at the situation.

Communication using the Dialogue Method is impressive.

Here you explore areas of mutual concern and develop trustworthy relationships.

Dialogue differs from a polite, superficial conversation. It’s not about “How are YOU? That is where the answer is almost always a similar superficial “Fine.”

The key to the dialogue model is for fact-finding and creative problem-solving.

Please know that dialogue also differs from debate, where we strengthen our intellectual muscles in the world of win and lose.

In dialogue, there are no winners or losers, only questions, and comments to see

Those in the exciting and enviable position of setting up leadership coaching programs and organizational learning forums can design tools to go beyond the obvious and encourage pattern-aware leadership.

This type of learning is a commodity so vitally needed in our complex world where decisions made “there” impact here and decisions made “here” impact there. It is time to connect the dots at work, at home, and in our whole society.

This time of extreme climate change and high anxiety in relationships demands that we consider how we are all connected.

There is no time to waste. Mother Earth and the generations growing up now require a more profound knowledge of systems thinking, the dialogue method, and generational healing.

Here’s to your success,


P.S. Please sign up for the new SANITY CHALLENGE on September 28 (only 5 minutes max for 7 days) and immediately claim your free e-book “GOTCHA! Resolving Conflict at Work”

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Sylvia Lafair

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