Don’t just be a great leader, be a stand out leader

Sep 19, 2018

There are many challenges facing organisations these days.

To thrive and survive the turmoil requires more than greatness from the individuals.

"Great" doesn't cut it.

We need leaders that are stand-outs; people who cannot be compared to others because their distinctiveness defies any standard.

Here are 9 practical and proven attributes of the stand-out leader that I have discovered:

The stand-out leader:

  1. Is not content with managing the momentum of the business. They cause interventions that force people to challenge the status quo and think differently. They don't wait for a reason to change; they "force" change and make it integral to the organisation's DNA.
  2. Does not tolerate sameness. They ask "how can we be different?" rather than "how can we copy the best in class?" And they accordingly change the conversation throughout the organisation.

They seek ultimate uniqueness for the organisation by creating their "only" statement: "We are the only ones that..."

  1. Loves uncertainty...
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How to receive a compliment without feeling awkward about it

Sep 12, 2018

I've just returned to Wellington after a fabulous three-day conference where I facilitated a workshop in the morning and again in the afternoon.

A number of people came up to me and said it was a great workshop.

So how did I respond?

I downplayed the compliments.


I thought I had addressed my perfectionist ways and “don’t want to appear whakahīhī” nonsense.

Like everyone else, I'm human.

I enjoy receiving compliments but accepting it with grace seems to be a challenge for me.

Apparently, it’s not just me.

In fact, it’s so common that sociolinguists have categorised the three responses to a compliment: acceptance, deflection or rejection.

Rather than humbly accept or outright reject the kind words, individuals often choose to deflect or dilute the compliment.

You may be tempted to respond with denial or self-insult.

I did.

Not once but several times.

It was easy to say, “Thank you, but you’re just saying that because you’re my...

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Never do this ...

Aug 01, 2018

Fake it till you make it!

A common kōrero that comes up regularly when I’m working with wāhine who have taken on a new project or a new role or find themselves in a situation that is outside their comfort zone is the “Fake it till you make it” idiom.

It’s not a piece of advice that I would ever give.

Think about it – the word “fake” means not genuine, sham, fraud.

You get the picture.

That’s not what I’m about and I’m sure it’s not you either.

Authentic leadership is about being genuine, being yourself.

So what should you do?

Try Acting “as if”.

Acting “as if” doesn’t mean being phony or inauthentic.

Acting "as if" is about changing your behaviour first and trusting the feelings will follow.

Let me give you an example - one wahine I’m working with told me she doesn’t like going to networking events or conferences because she feels socially awkward and doesn’t enjoy...

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The confidence factor

Jul 18, 2018

This morning I went for a walk along Oriental Parade, breathing in the salty air, and staring out at the sea.

One of the things that fascinate me about the ocean is its myriad dimensions: shifting colours, textures, moods, sometimes all in the space of a day.

Confidence is oceanic like that. It’s a blanket word we use to describe a quality that feels different depending on the day and impacts us differently depending on where and how it shows up.

In their ground-breaking book, The Confidence Code, authors Katty Kay and Claire Shipman detailed the myriad ways in which a lack of confidence holds women back relative to men.

We apply for promotions later, we communicate more tentatively, we sometimes avoid taking career-shaping risks.

Building confidence is critical for all wāhine, leaders and emerging leaders alike, especially if they want a successful outcome such as getting accepted into a university programme, getting a job offer or a promotion or even...

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Let's do this!

Jun 28, 2018

I know you dream big.

That’s how you got to where you are today.

I also know your dream hasn’t ended yet.

The only problem is, you’re not sure how to turn the rest of your dream into reality.

It might be time to up the ante.

I see it all the time.

Women are QUICK to invest in others but HESITANT to invest in themselves.

Maybe it feels selfish or overwhelming, but if you want to see real results, you need to invest in yourself, your business, your career.

You wouldn’t ask your child to perform a piano solo without lessons first.

You’re willing to invest in a mentor or teacher for your child to show them how to play, instead of making them figure it out alone (where they’ll never learn proper technique or skill).

It sounds a little absurd when I say it that way because you would never do that to your child.

But that’s exactly what you’re doing in business without a mentor to teach YOU technique and skill.

You’ll do your best and...

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Did you know there are different ways of leading with authenticity?

Jun 27, 2018

One of the things I try to do is encourage women to show-up as authentic leaders in their own lives. This means staying true to their values, knowing their strengths and weaknesses, always seeing the big picture and attaching meaning and purpose to their work.

It's important to know that being a leader doesn’t necessarily mean you are a CEO or manager leading a team or organization. There are five different ways leaders present themselves. Each one is equally important and brings unique value to situations or challenges.

See if you can relate to any one or more of the following leadership styles….

The Leader in Front is the one you see up front and center projecting her authentic voice, holding a vision that has a strong “why” or story behind her cause. 

Leaders Beside enjoy the partner or coach approach and co-creating an experience together. 

The Leader Behind is a mentor, teacher, team member or good friend who wants the very best for...

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The forgotten practice of women's circles

Jun 25, 2018

Did you know that in ancient times, it was common for women to sit in circle in their communities?

Wisdom and stories were passed down through the generations and rites of passage were an integral part of transitions through life.

Sadly, the modern world has mostly forgotten or abandoned these practices.

As wāhine Māori living in the western world, we have shifted from our natural rhythms and cycles to the striving and hustling required in a patriarchal world - much to our detriment.

But it's not all bad news.

Recent times have seen many women craving a circle, a sisterhood, a place to belong, to be seen, heard and held and it seems that women's circles are now on the rise.

The upsurge of women’s circle gatherings is no coincidence.

More and more women are tuning into themselves, realising that they want something ‘more’.

Connecting in circle is a powerful way for women to not only empower and heal themselves but also enables them to create genuine connections and...

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Don't let fear keep you stuck

Jun 23, 2018

One of the biggest things that stop people from achieving their dreams is fear.

Fear of failure but also fear of success.

Let’s explore this emotion a little more closely.

Fear is universal.

The gymnast fears stumbling instead of making the perfect landing.

The singer fears a moment of wavering pitch.

The serious speaker fears laughter; the comedian silence.

How we respond to fear, however, varies considerably and determines whether this emotion will help us achieve our goals or leave us less able to meet the challenges we face.

Fear doesn’t have to be disabling.

When properly understood and managed, fear can become a tool you use to your advantage.

Here’s what you need to know.

What is fear?

As with most emotions, defining fear is complex.

Is it the physical response we feel when faced with danger?

Does it apply to social dangers such as rejection and failure?

Should the definition be reserved for the feeling we affiliate with this response and, if so, can the two...

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Why your personal brand is important

Jun 21, 2018

Have you noticed that the most inspiring women in the world have an unmistakable Personal Brand?

Think about it.

Who do you admire and why?

Typically it’s because they represent a specific idea or trait so powerfully that they inspire people beyond their immediate circles, contacts, and networks.

Let’s take Michelle Obama for instance.

To me, she represents both style and substance.

She serves as my inspiration and reminder to always endeavour to act intentionally with strength and elegance.

So my message to you testing is to not be whakamā.

Because when you’re crystal clear on what you stand for and you’re able to communicate that simply, clearly and consistently, it grounds your work, helps you prioritise and inspires people inside and outside of your personal circles.

That’s your personal brand.

I’m fascinated by this, because my work includes supporting wāhine to be properly prepared to stretch their influence beyond their current circles,...

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Are you an authentic leader?

Jun 20, 2018

Let me tell you a little more about iWahine NZ.

iWahine NZ is about leading with authenticity. We promote wāhine Māori who are role-models of authentic leadership to share their personal stories and leadership journey so we can learn from both what they know and who they are.

The iWahine Leadership Hui in October 2017 show-cased a number of wāhine toa.

We are excited about building a community of authentic leaders who…

Stay true to their values

Values act as your inner compass, pointing you in the direction of what it means to be true to you. Staying true to your values is not always the smoothest path to take. Authentic Leaders do not change their stripes to make others feel comfortable around them. They honour their unique set of guiding principles that define who they are and how they operate.

Know their strengths and weaknesses
Authentic leaders know what activities strengthen them and which activities weaken them. They lead with their strengths and are...

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