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Creating Successful Leaders

With the release of my new eBook (A Quick Guide to Courage), I’m writing a series of blog posts about courage this month. Enjoy!

Not long ago, I met with a coaching client who was pretty sure she was going to lose her job. Her company had been losing business lately, and they were beginning to lay people off at all levels of the organization. She was fairly high up on the company’s org chart, but she knew cuts were being made in her department. So, she began preparing for the worst.

As part of her preparations, we talked about leveraging her severance package. Leaving a company can feel awkward, and many people are tempted to scoot out the door as quickly as possible!

However, it is actually the perfect time to be bold in your negotiations.

After all, what do you have to lose?

My coaching client and I talked about five things she could ask for in her severance package, including funds for outplacement coaching, healthcare benefits for several months, and a payout for her accumulated paid time off (PTO). We roleplayed the scenario, and my client was able to practice her asks.

Even though this is an intimidating and uncomfortable situation for many people, preparation and practice can help boost your confidence and give you that extra shot of courage you might need. To me, preparation is one of the most important aspects of the 5 P’s of Courage, since it can help you anticipate possible scenarios and consider ways to deal with them.

Another way to boost your confidence in a nerve-wracking situation such as this one is to come up with a positive, affirming mantra and repeat it to yourself whenever you’re feeling timid or unsure of yourself.

This mantra should be short and empowering, such as:

  • I am worthy and deserve respect.
  • My ideas are important and my thoughts are valuable.
  • I deserve a place at the table.
  • I am strong, confident, and my voice will be heard.

You could also ask yourself: “What’s the worst that could happen?” I address this question in a recent blog post (read more about it HERE), and encourage people to use their imaginations to picture both the worst-case and best-case scenarios. Then, think about the scenario that is most likely, which will probably land somewhere in the middle of worst-case and best-case.

Not long after I worked with my client on her severance package asks, another person approached me with a similar situation…except she had already been presented with a severance package and had not negotiated the terms. She had been too shocked and unprepared to do so. This upset her, because she knew she deserved a better package than what her company had offered.

I asked her, “Why don’t you call up the leadership team and ask to renegotiate?”

“I couldn’t,” she said. “What’s done is done.”

“Maybe so, but maybe not,” I said. “What’s the worst that could happen if you picked up the phone and simply asked?”

Reluctantly, she agreed that nothing catastrophic would happen by asking for what she wanted. After going over the items she wanted to add to the severance package, she made her phone call. And, guess what? Her company agreed to her requests!

Through preparation and reframing the situation (What’s the worst that could happen?), she had the courage to ask for what she wanted. And you can do the same.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 

Her new eBook is called A Quick Guide to Courage
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

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