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IDEAS. STRATEGY. TACTICS. INNOVATION. INSPIRATION.

Learn to Lead Your Way With Kristine Steinberg


Kristine Steinberg, MA, ORSCC is a CEO and Executive Coach focused on behavioral change and the human elements of leadership. She brings 23 years of combined professional coaching and business experience to help build and sustain strong executives, business teams and successful organizations. Her behavioral coaching approach dives to the root of her clients’ challenges and makes lasting impact for sustainable elevation and success well beyond the coaching engagement. Kristine focuses on proven feedback and coaching methods that catapult her clients towards action and results. She is a Certified Marshall Goldsmith Behavioral Coach and Certified Organizational Relationship Systems Coach (ORSCC) who specializes in executive success, career advancement, behavioral change, emotional intelligence, relationship building, communication strategy, political navigation and team cohesion. A few of her previous clients include Inc., Harvard University, Philips, IBM, Chanel, Heineken USA, LinkedIn, Scholastic, The Home Depot, Adidas, TED, PBS, and Microsoft. The objective of the following session is to inspire a sense of sustainable leadership that's born out of a driving internal purpose.


What are the elements of leadership?

To gather the building blocks of leadership you have to start with the fundamentals. To be a great leader of any kind you have to get clear on what you're good at and what you're not good at. Some of that comes with experience, and the rest comes from self-assessment and being honest about where you need to grow.


What are the hard and soft skills of leadership?

The hard skills are the ability to set a direction, to have a vision, and to be very clear about where you want the organization to go. A good leader is able to create a vision strategy, and then mobilize their team in order to carry it out. They're good at building teams and making sure people do what needs to be done. But then there's sort of the other components, like physical presence. Most leaders who have gotten to a certain level have had a sense of confidence, a sense of energy, a sense of vitality. It's that gravitas and presence that comes with knowledge of their field in addition to their technical ability.


There are a lot of soft skills, but I boiled them down to these three things: integrity, communication, and relationships. When it comes to integrity, it's about doing what you say and saying what you do, and being consistent with that. A critical soft skill is communication, everything has to get communicated in a way that people can receive, execute on and take to the next level. Relationships can be a challenging part of our workday because we are human and are all triggered by different things. This is where emotional intelligence and strategic empathy come into play, empathetic skills can be used to advance the team, the agenda, and the organization.


There are a lot of soft skills, but I boiled them down to these three things: integrity, communication, and relationships.

Tell us more about how to be an effective communicator.

Communication is how you create high performance. The words I came up with for great communication are precision, audience, voice and clarity. The first thing that you need to consider is, What is your intention when you're communicating? What is the purpose of what you're saying? Why is it important to say it, and then who's going to listen, who's the audience that you're going to be conveying that information to? What do they need to know? And why are you telling them that and why do they care? When you're engaging with your audience you want to be incredibly thoughtful and intentional and precise and prepared within the context of an audience.


You could say a whole bunch of things and have good intentions, but if your voice is off the message can get lost. Your tone of voice and the way that you talk to people, the pace, the eye contact, the body language, all impact your message. You could say something one way, and then say the same thing another way and have a completely different impact.


How can leaders learn their strengths and weaknesses?

Start by choosing five confidants, five people that you can ask for advice. Instead of saying can you give me some feedback on the weakness that I'm presenting ask them, What would you do? How can I get over this? How can I change? How can I grow? How can this weakness become a strength? When you ask those types of questions people will have wisdom for you. Once you've gotten their advice try to implement it. With those five confidences say, here's what I heard you say, here's what I'm going to work on, here's how long I'm going to work on it, and here's when I'd like to follow up and discuss my progress.


What are some things to think about when generating a purpose statement?

Your "why" is the purpose, the cause or the belief that drives you. Some questions to get you started are, What gets you out of bed in the morning? Why should anyone care? What is the deep reason for your existence? In terms of leadership and vocation ask, Why are you here? How can you help? What gift do you want to offer the world - and it doesn't have to be altruistic. It could be anything. You might want to design a handbag, create a new technology or provide a service.


Now that we know about hard skills, soft skills, and a deep sense of purpose, where does inspiration come in?

Inspiration is derived from the Latin word inspiratus, which means to breathe life into something. When you're inspiring someone or something you're bringing it to life.


The Economist Intelligence Unit found that only 50% of employees feel their leaders are inspirational. That is not a lot. If you're a leader, and you're not inspiring, then that's a problem. The Unit identified 33 main elements that are statistically significant when it comes to inspiration. Even more interesting is that you only need one truly inspiring attribute to be an inspiring leader. If you double down on one thing that you want to inspire around, then you will be considered inspirational, according to their research. It takes us back to, What am I good at? And what are my strengths?


Do you recommend seeking advice from people who excel in your area of weakness? Even if they're not your strongest confidence?

Yes, if you want to take the risk, and ask people who are not necessarily your confidants or your cheerleaders, then absolutely go for it. Because in a way, if they accept your invitation to do that, you're going to build a relationship with them. A lot of people are looking to help, it makes them feel good. So absolutely, I would say 100%. If there are people you can learn from and use this as a mentoring exercise as well, that'd be great.


Should a good leader be loved by others? There are a lot of very successful leaders who are not necessarily loved by others but are seen as good leaders.

That's a subjective question. I don't know that you need to be loved. As a leader, I do think you will be most effective if you are connected to the people around you and committed to their well-being. Well-being may be about challenging people to their highest potential. So it isn't about loving someone in that warm and fuzzy way. But I think a leader is at the foundation, a respected individual that you want to follow, and you want to emulate and, you know. Steve Jobs had a reputation for being a hard person to work with. However, people still wanted to work with him because they learned and they grew and knew they were in the presence of greatness.


As a leader, you will be most effective if you are connected to the people around you and committed to their well-being.

How do you motivate a team working from home who might be getting distracted? Or struggling with working from home?

To answer that question, I'd want to understand some of the details around what's dragging them down. I might set up 15 minutes with each person and ask them, How it's going? How are you feeling? What's draining you the most? What are some things you can do to create some rejuvenation to refill your bucket?


If people are getting distracted working from home, accountability is a tool to keep them on track. There has to be balance though in order to avoid becoming a micromanager. You do that by getting super clear about what you're doing as a team, where you're going with it, what people's strengths are and why you need them. This makes individual team members feel valued and allows you to gather the information you need to make sure that they're producing and they're performing.


How do you motivate someone who is not living up to your expectations without demotivating them?

This comes down to being skillful with feedback. It may be hard to talk to them about what you need but if you don't they're just going to keep doing what they're doing, and you're going to get more and more frustrated.


Feedback is a gift. We cannot grow without it. Every single second of every day we're getting feedback from the people around us through their expressions and what they're saying to us and how people are reacting to how we're operating in the world. Ultimately, feedback is what people are going to need, so be honest, clear, confident and direct when you're providing information to people about their performance. Also being very factual, with a lot of warmth and compassion is helpful.


Afterward, follow up don't just give them information and then drop it. It's your responsibility to make sure that they feel supported in the feedback that you're giving them.