Week 3: Personal leadership

Week 3: Personal leadership

“Giving back: Results myths … Learned optimism … Turning ambitions into rituals”
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  • Week 3 - Personal leadership > Welcome to week 3 > Intro week 3
  • Week 3 - Personal leadership > Welcome to week 3 > Introduction on leadership habits
  • Week 3 - Personal leadership > Learned optimism > Learned optimism
  • Week 3 - Personal leadership > Learned optimism > Freedom to choose your own response
  • Week 3 - Personal leadership > Learned optimism > Amygdala hijack
  • Week 3 - Personal leadership > Turning ambitions into rituals > Behavioral change

Week 3 – Personal leadership > Welcome to week 3 > Intro week 3

  • We are pleased to see that you are taking your personal development so seriously.
  • It is really really impressive to see all your openness in sharing your personal strengths and passions in the discussion forum.
  • In this week, we´ll focus a lot on the tools and the habits that make leaders effective.

Week 3 – Personal leadership > Welcome to week 3 > Introduction on leadership habits

  • Effective leaders have also incorporated certain habits that make them effective.
  • Effective leaders are able to energize themselves in the most difficult situations and they are able to keep a constructive mindset.
  • Effective leaders also have the ability to deal with tough situations and the corresponding negative emotions.
  • Think of leaders such as Nelson Mandela, who spent decades institutionalized.
  • Apart from becoming more effective as a leader, these tools will also help you to experience your life and leadership journey more positively.
  • Despite all the challenges associated with leadership, leaders should be able to enjoy what they are doing.

> Introduction on positive emotions”]

Week 3 – Personal leadership > Assignment 4: Gratitude letter [deadline: January 25th 2016] > Introduction on positive emotions

  • We had them write down as much as they could about why this person was so important.
  • Now a lot of them thought at this point the experiment was over until we really put them on the spot and tried to get them to call that person and read what they wrote about them.
  • So who was that right person for you? Participant 1: The person is my sister Erica.
  • JH: What would you say if we called up Dora? P4: We can try but she lives in Britain.
  • JH: In Britain? P2: I don’t know her number by heart, this is awful.
  • JH: That’s fine, I don’t know my mom’s phone number by heart.
  • You scared me when you asked if I had a second, I thought something was wrong P2: No I’m on this little TV show and they told me to talk about the person that influenced me the most, and I picked you and they’re making me call, they’re making me call you.
  • The person that influenced me the most would be my mother, Marlow Dawson.
  • P4: I’m so sorry for calling you at 4 o’clock in the morning! P1: I have to read this to you okay? You can’t say anything or I don’t know.
  • You can respond but, I probably will just keep going [laughs] okay? [phone]: Is everything okay? P1: Yes! But I have to read this out loud to you.
  • P5: The person who has had the biggest impact on my life, outside of Jesus Christ who is responsible for my existence, was my college accounting instructor.
  • P2: I love her to death, and she keeps me going with positive talk, she is a woman that knows what she wants and won’t give up until it is achieved.
  • Phone]: Oh pumpkin, I don’t know what to, I’m about to cry because that’s so beautiful.
  • You are one of the most important person in my life.
  • I will never forget when she flew 3000 miles at the drop of a phone call to save me from a break-up.
  • P3: Bye! [phone]: Why did you do this to me? P1: [laughs] I don’t know because they made me do it! P4: Thank you for picking up, bye sweetie! P1: And then they’re like here you’re gonna write this letter and then I wrote like this whole long-ass letter which you know I don’t write.
  • Then all of a sudden they’re like “hey guess what you’re gonna call her and you’re gonna read her this letter and it was like what the [expletive] [laughs].
  • JH: Before we let them go we gave our subjects one more happiness test.
  • Now we mixed up and rephrased the questions so they didn’t know they were taking the same test twice.
  • For those who took the time to actually write something down but couldn’t make the phone call for whatever reason we saw happiness increase between 2 and 4 percent.
  • Now for those who actually picked up the phone and personally expressed their gratitude, we saw increases between 4 and 19 percent.
  • So either way! Expressing your gratitude will making you a happier person.
  • You want to know something really interesting? The person who experienced the biggest jump in happiness was the least happy person who walked in the door.

Week 3 – Personal leadership > Learned optimism > Learned optimism

  • Grab a piece of paper and imagine the following scenario.
  • How did that go? Could you imagine the situation and what you would feel like? What would be your thoughts in such a moment? One way to think about this is as follows: The CEO left because he was irritated by my presentation.
  • Exaggerated? If this would happen in real life, a lot of people would feel like this.
  • I had to talk to John, cause John really need talking to.
  • I thought your presentation was very skillful, excellently done.
  • In short, it helps us become less reactive and more proactive.
  • The key here is not to become an unrealistic optimist, but to increase your awareness of how you are viewing a certain situation.
  • This can then help you examine the evidence for your thoughts and maybe shift to a more realistic point of view.

Week 3 – Personal leadership > Learned optimism > Freedom to choose your own response

  • Viktor Frankl was a psychologist who lived around World War 2.
  • If we put it into a diagram, it looks like this: there is an impulse, and a determined response.
  • It was in this environment that the deterministic view he had been taught was not correct.
  • He discovered that in the absence of freedom, the only freedom he had was to decide his response to whatever happened around him.
  • He learned that there was a freedom to choose between stimulus and response.
  • If someone hits us, we have the freedom to choose our response.
  • We can use our self-awareness, imagination, conscience and free will to determine our response.
  • In short, for our development as a leader it is critical that we understand and exercise this freedom.

Week 3 – Personal leadership > Learned optimism > Amygdala hijack

  • Or, more scientifically, we say that an amygdala hijack occurs.
  • An amygdala hijack can occur when a threat is perceived.
  • Because of this perceived threat, your amygdala might kick in and take over your behavior, eliminating your usual freedom to choose your response wisely.
  • Your amygdala might go on the offensive, overstating the case or raising your voice, creating tension between you and your colleagues.
  • The amygdala hijack is triggered by a perceived threat.
  • The only way to come out of the amygdala hijack is by activating the neocortex.
  • Let’s now do an exercise to discover and anticipate your own hot buttons and amygdala hijacks.
  • Think about a situation in the past 6 months where you did something you immediately regretted.
  • Deconstruct the situation: was there a perceived threat? When did you start to feel this emotion? Why did you feel threatened? What did you do? What were the consequences? Now think about what you would have liked to have done.
  • At what moment should you have paused? What should have been the question to ask yourself? What should have been your response to the situation and what would have been the probable outcome? Now think about the future.
  • What kind of situations are prone to similar amygdala hijacks? What should you do to prevent them? Write down your findings in your workbook.

Week 3 – Personal leadership > Turning ambitions into rituals > Behavioral change

  • Peter is an entrepreneur, very experienced in behavioral change techniques.
  • It is very important to first to understand the concept of willpower.
  • Research has established that willpower behaves as a muscle: if you use your willpower you exhaust your muscle of willpower.
  • Or to frame it differently you can see willpower as a sort of reservoir of self-control.
  • Every time you do something that requires willpower or self control you deplete the reservoir.
  • If it’s a reservoir with a limited amount of willpower or self-control, I can imagine that you want to apply it in the best possible way, to get the best outcome out of it.
  • How do we do it? The best way to change you behavior, given this concept of willpower, is by creating new habits or new rituals.
  • A habit or ritual is an action that you do automatically, therefore it does not require any willpower or self-control, you just do it without thinking.
  • Luckily, there is a lots of research available on how people can change their habits or rituals.
  • What I decided up on was to finish every day at six.
  • In my case finishing every day at 6 is neither really precise nor specific.
  • Therefore I framed it as: “Start every day with those tasks that needed to be get done that day, instead of doing something else”.
  • I can imagine that it is quite hard to do that 30 days.
  • So at the first day of the 30 days it takes a lot of willpower and self-control to conscious choose something else and you say that in the cause of the 30 days it becomes less difficult It becomes more as a ritual.
  • It’s more in your system and hence after 30 days is going to be fully ingrained and than you can move on to the next thing you want to change.
  • Do you have any other thoughts or advise for us? Yes, you can become more strategic about your reservoir of willpower.
  • To give you an example you can think about, what are the situations that are typically requiring my willpower, which are not really essential to my life and than trying to eliminate those situations.
  • Every morning I would require my self-control, I would tap into my reservoir of willpower to make the right choice about my breakfast, while it was not really a useful decision.
  • This is allows me to use my willpower of implementing new habits.
  • Thank you Peter that sounds like a very good checklist that we can start working on.
  • Thank you very much for your time and I wish you a wonderful day.

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