Words to grow by

Hi Friends,

I hope you enjoy this week’s actionable insights. Hit Reply and let me know what you think.

Free up time to think using these three steps

Your back-to-back meeting schedule is breaking backs—yours and others’. You need time to think, and others need you to bring your best ideas and presence. Plus, if you manage a team, every single one of these folks needs the same things.

Master difficult conversations

Learn my best tips for staying cool under pressure and elevating your leadership in complex times.

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Want to make things better? Here are three steps you can take in the next five minutes:

1. Free up. Look at this week’s calendar and find one 60-minute meeting you can cancel, reschedule, or simply not join. Block out this newly freed time as “Planning” or “Personal.”

2. Block out. In the Notes for this new calendar event, add this agenda: (a) schedule thinking time for the next three months; (b) prepare for one important upcoming conversation.

3. Enlist team. In your next one-on-ones, tell them why you’re doing steps 1 and 2 and ask them to do the same.

Words to grow by

You are what you say. For twenty years this has been a core premise of my work. What you say includes not only words but also intentions, voice, and presence. When you shift these in targeted ways, you get better results.

I now realize it’s bigger than that. Conversations are also one of the best places to grow—to develop through the stages of adult maturity. This insight seems well matched to our complex times.

Here’s what it means: every one-on-one meeting with your team has a higher upside than even the top experts suggest. Let’s say you currently use on-on-ones to develop and retain people. Cheers! You’re ahead of 95 percent of other managers.

But why not raise the bar? What if you considered these conversations to be the primary practice fields for growing yourself? Consider the capacity to take multiple perspectives, which expands as adults mature. What if you deliberately practiced this in your one-on-ones? This may seem ambitious, but it’s a matter of designing conversation micro-habits that are customized to your leadership DNA (Enneagram type) and the situation. Repeat these micro-habits several dozen times in one-on-ones and take time after each rep to reflect on the experience. Over time, you  wire multiple perspective-taking into your nervous system.

This is the place where adult development, ontological coaching, deliberate practice, and the science of habit formation do a merry dance together.

Cheerfully real,
Amiel Handelsman

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