The Look & Sound of Leadership

Self-limiting beliefs hold us back. We limit who we are so we don't shatter those beliefs.

This month's coaching conversation serves up several strategies to help you push back against those demons.

Along the way, we mention "Leadership and Self-Deception," a great book to help you on your journey.

We also touch on the topic of "Coaching versus Therapy," something I've been talking about for years. You can find an epsiode about it in the archive.

I also mention an interview I did with Eric Cacciatore on his podcast, "Restaurant Unstoppable" episode 298, in which he and I talk about management and turnover and motivation. It was a blast. Check it out.

Related episodes:
Conquering Fear
Negative Self-Talk
The Look & Sound of Self-Esteem
Thinking Errors
Unmasking a Stand-In

Direct download: self-limiting-beliefs.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 6:00pm PST

Getting to the next level of executive presence usually demands the adoption of new behaviors. This month's episode explores a three-step process that helps new behaviors become habits.

Helping you change behavior so you can be perceived the way you want to be perceived is the raison d'être of this podcast. If it's time for you develop more effective behaviors, there is an entire category in “The Look & Sound of Leadership" archive that will accelerate your development.

The archive is at:

The category, "Developing New Behavior" is at:

Five favorite episodes in that category are:

The episode called "Creating New Behaviors" has a PDF that goes along with it. If you'd like it, just ask. I'd love to send it you. Pop me an email at:

Direct download: inhabiting-executive-presence.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 6:00pm PST

When we feel threatened or in danger, an old part of our brains, the one that regulates emotions, hijacks our executive functioning. We say and do things we regret. In the workplace, this can have serious consequences. This month’s Executive Coaching Tip has seven strategies for stopping yourself from getting hijacked.

The seven lessons in my conversation with my client, Kimberly, are:

  • Emotional hijacks are real. They happen when your emotions take control over your reason;
  • Emotional hijacks happen because of a trigger. Triggers activate your emotional flight/fight/freeze response. We all have triggers;
  • Your triggers follow a pattern. track them over time and the pattern will emerge. Often those who witness our hijackings know our triggers before we do;
  • The first step to mastering your triggers is to be able to name them. By way of example, two of Kimberly’s were feeling left out and being ignored. Two of mine were feeling ineffectual and fearing a bad outcome. Triggers are personal and are different for each person;
  • Emotional hijacks are usually preceded by a feeling somewhere in the body, most often somewhere in your core;
  • Learning to recognize the pre-hijack feeling in your body as a warning bell can help stop – or at least slow down – the emotional hijacking;
  • When you’re struggling to keep your executive functioning online, you can speak about your struggle. “I’m really upset at the moment.” Or, as Kimberly suggested, “I’m not sure I can make good decisions right now.” Speaking about the feeling helps make sure you don’t act from the feeling.

If you want to work on combatting your emotional hijacks. other episodes you can listen to are:

The entire archive is available to you for free at:

Direct download: combating-emotional-hijacks.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 5:00pm PST

This episode addresses three issues that arise when you’re facing an executive team. First, what meaning are you making about the event itself? Is that meaning helping you or not helping you? If it’s not helping you, change it.
Second, how will you address the moment when you need to say, “I don’t know”? Prepare for it. It’s going to happen. This episode has lots of ideas to try.
The final issue is confidence and finding your executive presence; the core of every episode of The Look & Sound of Leadership podcast.
In addition to the ideas in this episode, you can ask for a PDF that lists 15 related episodes to help you show up the way you want to show up.
Send an email to and ask for the PDF that goes with this episode. I’d love to send it to you.

Direct download: under-executive-questioning.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 6:00pm PST

You can’t be an effective leader if you are not able to have hard conversations that are successful. “Successful” means addressing tough topics in a way that will create change. 
One crucial skill to make hard conversations successful is attending to how things are being said. Without an awareness of the ‘how,’ things won’t be as safe as they could be. And if things aren’t safe, they won’t go deep. And if they don’t go deep, they probably won’t stick.
Five other episodes that relate to these skills are:
If you want to dig even deeper into this topic, two books to read are:
“Difficult Conversations” from The Harvard Negotiation Project. The authors are Stone, Patton and Heen. 
And from the folks at VitalSmarts is “Crucial Conversations.” The authors are Patterson, Grenny, McMillan and Switzler.
Both books are great. Lots of scripts. Lots of insights. Lots of tools.
Direct download: creating-safety-for-hard-talks.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PST

Conflict on teams is a good thing. Really! Well, it's good if it’s healthy.

This month, two techniques to help team members engage in healthy conflict: arguing about what's best for the business and turning hostile non-verbals into dialogue.

Related episodes to help with these skills are:
Disagree Agreeably
Facilitating Open Dialogue
Getting Agreement
Holding People Accountable
Leadership and Listening
Resolving Conflict

Direct download: How-Teams-Fight.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00pm PST

Meetings are often viewed as a necessary evil to be endured. But they can be engaging events that build people’s skills and accelerate the work. This month, a recipe for mixing up meeting magic.

There is a four-meeting model discussed in this episode. If you want a graphic illustration of the model, just look at the online version in the archive: or email me at

Two books are also discussed in this month's episode: Patrick Lencioni's "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team" and "Death By Meeting," both essential reads for team leaders.

Direct download: taming-meetings.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PST

Fear is natural but insidious. It can carve caverns in the foundations of our confidence, weakening our capacity. This month, a client learns about three kinds of fear and a transformational question that tames fear.

A seminal book to help master fear is "Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway" by Susan Jeffers.

At the end of this month's episode, Tom tells a story about the amazing reach of podcasts.
Direct download: Conquering-Fear.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PST

Empathy is a crucial component of The Look & Sound of Leadership. Some people have it naturally, others don’t. In either case, it can be developed and learned. This month's episode has lots of ideas about what empathy is, what it isn't, and how you can develop it.
There are lots of resources discussed this month.
A book called "The EQ Edge" by Stein and Book.
A great 3-minute animation by Brene Brown about sympathy versus empathy. It's on the home page of her website: Look for the cartoon of a bear and a fox.
Other epsiodes you might listen to are:
Building Emotional Intelligence
Dealing With Emotional Responses
Self-Awareness & Self-Management
You also might go to, select "Coaching Tips," then search two subjects in the archive :
Managing Yourself
Personal Growth & Self-Development
Finally, if you or someone you know is in the middle of a job search, Tom did an interview this month with a wonderful career coach names Alyson Garrido. The interview has lots of helpful tips and tools. You can find it at: LA The show is called "Get Yourself The Job." The show is in their archive for May, 2016. 
Be good to the people you're leading. And be good to yourself! Until next month, thanks for listening!
Direct download: building-empathy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PST

A bonus episode!

Tom shares email exchanges he had with two podcast listeners. One exchange is about handling people who interrupt presentations. The other is about defining tasks and responsibilities when they're not defined for you.

During the podcast, Tom mentions two other episodes that support the ideas here: one episode is “Facilitating Open Dialogue.” The other is “Creating Devoted Followers.”

If you’d like more bonus episodes like this one, let Tom know at

Direct download: Bonus-Episode--May-2016.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am PST