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 Stop Being Defensive with Four Mindful Strategies

 

 Mary Lee Gannon,
ACC, CAE
Your Healthcare Leadership
 Strategist

"Because Great Healthcare Workers Don't Become Great Leaders On Their Own"
 
Mindful Leadership Development by a CEO with 18 Years as a Healthcare Chief Executive


 
Keynote Speeches, Training Programs and Executive Coaching for:
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"The challenges of today's healthcare environment mean that you need to do more with less yet remain quality focused in a highly regulated industry. You promote your star performers then realize they're not prepared. They get frustrated, you end up doing their work and worst case scenario - they quit and you've lost your investment in them. I deliver keynote speeches on the value and "how to" of mindful leadership as well as train and develop new managers, teams and executives so that you can go back to what you do best and they can be productive and effective."
~ Mary Lee Gannon


 

Mary Lee Gannon, ACC, CAE is president of  www.StartingOverNow.com. She is an award winning certified coach, management development expert and author who helps you position your 'Executive Leadership Influence' to enthuse transformational change - the same change that took her from welfare to CEO of $26 million organizations. She is an International Coach Federation Certified Coach, graduate of Duquesne University's Professional Coaching Program, a Certified Association Executive, an alumnus of the Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital Coaching in Medicine & Leadership Conference, and author or two books: Reinvent You - From Welfare to CEO and Starting Over. She's been featured in Money Magazine, NPR, Yahoo.com, U.S. News and World Report, msn.com, Forbes.com, CareerBuilder.com. Visit Mary Lee's web site at www.StartingOverNow.com for a FREE excerpt from her latest book.
 

  
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Mary Lee Ganon is Recognized 

Michelle Wright of WTAE-TV, Mary Lee Gannon and Beth Caldwell of PPW - Women of Integrity Award 

Mary Lee Gannon is awarded the "Woman of Integrity" award by Pittsburgh Professional Women.  Awardees are women of distinction who have balanced career and civic responsibility, who share their success by mentoring others and
supporting their communities.  Pictured
here with Michelle Wright of WTAE-TV and Beth Caldwell of PPW.

The Book

"Starting Over" 

Mary Lee's first book illustrates her personal turnaround as a stay-at-home mother, with four children under seven-years-old, who endured a divorce that took she and the children from the country club life to public assistance. From there, within a short time, she worked to the level of CEO, directing three hospital foundations over the last 16 years each with assets of up to $26 million.  

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Defensiveness is simply a war mindset in a non-war situation. Sometimes we react defensively when we feel threatened, intimidated, vulnerable and that failure is imminent even when the issue doesn't call for extreme behavior. A trigger fast forwards the mind to how you MIGHT experience a dreaded feeling so the defensive gremlin shows up to protect you. It's like practicing failure in advance. Once the defensive gremlin is unleashed it is very difficult to soften to a more rational perspective. Fight-or-flight takes over and the defensive gremlin keeps dancing in front of your eyes, reminding you to armor up against shame. If full blown pessimism and self-doubt set in, the defensive gremlin has won and the damage can seem irreparable. Impressions get cemented, relationships severed, confidence lost, and hurt imposed that you never intended.

 

1. Be Curious and Name the Feeling

 

Instead of jumping to the last page of your perceived Doom-and-Gloom Trilogy read in between the lines of the page you are on. Build self-awareness by pausing in the moment when you feel a threat building and name the feeling. "I am feeling that I might fail at this task and that scares me" is far better than "I can't do this. Why did they give this to me? I always have more to do than everyone else."

 

2. Be Compassionate to Yourself

 

Often we get defensive when we feel judged when in truth we probably beat ourselves up far more than anyone else. We mindlessly self-judge to prepare for the ax to fall. In doing so we get defensive, switch on autopilot and switch off the receptors to growth, relationships and opportunity. When you are in a confrontation, instead of practicing failure in your head find the 'pause caf�' moment to notice your breathing. In that moment comfort yourself. Breathe. What would you tell a friend who felt threatened? Tell that to yourself. "I'm feeling that I might look bad among my peers and that's ok. I am prepared."

 

3. Be Curious and Compassionate to Others

 

An overall respect for others softens your own heart and sets the defensive gremlin to rest. Compassion is key to good leadership because it shows you are willing to understand another's perspective. Forgiveness is key to building compassion. Create clarity around what they issue really is. See beyond the turf war. The person you are in confrontation with is running from something far greater than you are. People who are happy do not hurt one another. Everyone has something that haunts them at times. You might love and cherish someone who in a certain situation exhibits behavior that makes you scratch your head. Ask then about it. "What were you thinking when that happened?"

 

4. Let Them Finish Their Stream of Thought Without Interruption

 

People want to be heard. Ask them for their perspective. Then ask them to tell you more and let them go on without interruption. Make no assumptions so you can hear the heart of the issue. Affirm and validate their feelings. If it is a personal relationship you might say, "You are a kind person by nature but in that instance I bet you felt _____________." Then share with them how you feel when they behave that way. "You may not have noticed but I felt _________. At work you might say, "I know you don't want to let the organization down by letting costs rise. I don't either. If I can explain how we could both meet our goals would that interest you?"

 

Conflict allows for connection. But you have to send the defensive gremlin on vacation before that happens. Send him to Florida for the winter without even using your frequent flier miles by finding that pause caf� moment. If he comes back too soon, let him know you've got it covered with curiosity and compassion.

 

Read Mary Lee's tips on The Fear You Are Running From is Running Your Life

 

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Mary Lee Gannon, ACC, CAE is an award winning coach, speaker and author who helps you position your Executive Leadership Signature to enthuse transformational change - the same change that took her from welfare to CEO of $26 million organizations. She is an International Coach Federation Certified Coach, graduate of Duquesne University's Professional Coaching Program, a Certified Association Executive, an alumnus of the Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital Coaching in Medicine & Leadership Conference, and author or two books: Reinvent You - From Welfare to CEO and Starting Over. Her personal turnaround came as a stay-at-home mother with four children under seven-years-old who endured a divorce that took her and her children from the country club life to public assistance from where she reinvented her life to support her family. She is the recipient of the Woman of Integrity Award by Pittsburgh Professional Women, the Joe Gilbert Life Time Achievement Award and the Member of the Year from Pittsburgh Society of Association Executives, and the Leading Lady distinction by Oakland Catholic. She's been featured in Money Magazine, NPR, Yahoo.com, U.S. News and World Report, msn.com, Forbes.com, CareerBuilder.com. Read testimonials from her clients. Both of her books: Reinvent you - From Welfare to CEO and Starting Over are available in bookstores, from online booksellers or on her web site at www.StartingOverNow.com  

  
  
         
  
Mary Lee is a featured executive coach in  MONEY MAGAZINE. 
  
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