by Laurie Sudbrink on November 22nd, 2017

​I love Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite holiday. And it’s a great time to remind ourselves of all the things we’re grateful for… family, friends, our good health, delicious food, the abundance of love and laughter we have, the great country we live in… There are many things that we can be grateful for.


Have you thought about being grateful before you even receive any of those things?

You might be wondering how in the world would you do that? How can you be grateful for something that’s not even there? And why would you want to anyway?

Feeling gratitude before you receive what you want allows you to be open to receiving.
When you imagine how you’ll feel once you receive what you desire, and you actually feel gratitude for this future possibility - -  well, you’re kind of tricking your brain. I like to call it positive brain washing.

Your brain receives that information. You begin to change your own thoughts and beliefs toward abundance rather than scarcity. Then you act in ways that will attract what you want into your life.

I’ve seen many people successful in doing this, and I’ve done this many times myself (and yes, I’ve worried and stressed and done the opposite as well - so I know this stuff works!)

It’s actually pretty simple. It’s just a matter of believing in it, and doing it.

Start by imagining the kind of life you want. Maybe it’s more freedom and less stress. Perhaps it’s to have more good friends in your life? For some, it might be to achieve a career or financial goal, or get healthier, or feel happier.

Picture yourself there, smile and feel the gratitude for it.

We talked about this a little in last week’s live webinar in terms of visualizing yourself in the role you aspire to within your organization and how that can help you get there. If you missed it, you can see the replay in my free Resource Library!

Do this every evening before you go to bed, and every morning before you get up. Writing this is even more powerful!

Then start with some attainable goals and tasks to support your belief. For example, if I am focusing on health, I’m picturing myself feeling energized, flexible, and fit, and I’m so grateful for this. Every morning and evening, I’ll write “I am so grateful for being happy and healthy, being flexible and fit, with lots of positive energy.” I’ll feel the gratitude while I’m writing it. Then I’ll begin with some small steps towards it. I’ll stretch before I get out of bed. I’ll add one green drink a day, or something else that’s healthy to my diet. I’ll walk 10,000 steps. (By the way, I change it up to keep it fresh and new, because I get bored doing the same ‘ole thing.)  

Before I started this ‘feeling gratitude before I receive’ routine, it always felt so forced, so difficult to complete the tasks I knew were important to my goals. I resented the healthy food. I groaned about the exercise. I didn’t want to stretch each morning. Now it just flows. There’s not a resistant to it. And when you think about it, it’s pretty logical. We’re training our brains to accept our activities, rather than our brains working against us.

So whatever it is you desire, just think, you can have a much more enjoyable journey getting there if you feel gratitude before you receive!

Happy Thanksgiving!



by Laurie Sudbrink on November 14th, 2017

Moving up in management can seem downright impossible at times. But there are steps you can take to increase your odds!
We’ll be discussing a few things that are really important to climbing that ladder:
  • How to handle the biggest obstacles to moving up in management
  • What core competencies most managers need to develop
  • How to identify the RIGHT developmental steps to take you from middle manager to the c-suite.

​And, there’s one trick that really works well.

​It’s so simple, but it’s not always easy.

Anyone can do it, but most of us don’t.

Join us today and find out what this trick is, why it’s so important, and how you can do it! We’ll also include “How to Convince My Boss to Send me to Training!” for all attendees!



​PS - Check out our free Resource Library, and stop back frequently - we’ll be adding value-packed items on a regular basis!

by Laurie Sudbrink on November 7th, 2017

Leading people isn’t easy, but it can be very rewarding. Having good tools to work with makes it that much easier.  

We are so excited to announce the launch of our Resource Library this week!

During leadership training, when I’m coaching, and in everyday conversations, I love to give people resources. It got me thinking “why not create a library for everyone to access when they want?”  

Please check out our new Resource Library here. Anyone on our lucky list of email subscribers received the top secret password this morning! Don’t see that in your email? Make sure you’re signed up for my weekly emails!

I’ve added a few things to start and will consistently be adding more. Don’t hesitate to let me know what other resources you’d like to see added!


by Laurie Sudbrink on October 30th, 2017

​How do you know if you’re ready to move up in management?

Too often I meet people who think they want to be promoted but they really don’t know what management is all about. They’ve been very successful individual contributors - great work ethic, very skilled at their job, and most of the time they get a lot accomplished. To make more money and/or to get recognition and status, they look to this one path - managing. They think this is the way to have a little more control and autonomy, make more money and to gain more status.

But most have no idea what they’re in for when they sign up to manage a team:
  • Working way longer hours with a lot more stress
  • Constantly dealing with people issues that seem ridiculous
  • They get blamed by upper management for everything
  • They feel forced to stay positive and give recognition to people even when they don’t feel it
  • It’s lonely because they have no one to vent to
  • There is excessive time spent communicating without enough action
These are almost verbatim statements from supervisors, managers and directors I’ve spoken with over the years who were promoted with no formal training or understanding of the role. Most were flattered when offered the position and were excited to get recognized for their hard work. And then reality set in!

​The good news is, it doesn’t have to be this stark. Leadership can be a very rewarding experience. When we’re prepared.

Last week I shared Susan’s story of changing her thoughts and beliefs about taking the time to really connect with her team. This awareness helped her ease right into the behaviors of being present and connected. Similarly, we need to change our thoughts about our management role.

It’s very helpful and inspiring to understand the role and purpose of management. As leaders, we are tasked with moving a group of people to a desired outcome. Along that journey, we need to help people see the big picture, relate and communicate more effectively as a team, lead them through change, build trust, have courageous conversations, help each other stay on track, have their backs, coach and mentor them, contribute to their development and just simply be there for them. When done effectively, a whole lot more gets accomplished through your team than could ever have happened individually. Best of all, along that journey, we have an opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives.

If that sounds inspiring to you, then you’re probably ready to move up in management. And as with any new adventure, it is helpful to have a map to get there. Most of us need to hone skills that we haven’t had to use before. Leadership isn’t something we’re either born with or not. Very very few people lead naturally with no formal training and/or years of learning through trial and error.

If you’re ready to move up in management, to take it to the next level wherever you currently are, join us on Nov 15th at 2pm EST for “The Secret to Moving up in Management.” I’ll talk about how to handle the biggest obstacles to moving up in management, what core competencies most managers need to develop and how to identify the RIGHT developmental steps to take you from middle manager to the C-Suite.  Register here!



by Laurie Sudbrink on October 24th, 2017

​It’s hard enough to change our behaviors, but even when we change them, people often still see us the way we used to be.

​So once we’ve put in the work to change ourselves, how do we let other people know that we’ve changed?

Have you ever tried to change something in your life only to find people reminding you of who you used to be? Take Susan as an example. She and I worked on developing her interpersonal skills so she would more effectively connect with her team.

She changed her behavior almost instantly because she believed that it was important. She began making eye contact, not multitasking while listening, nodding her head, raising her eyebrows, and even sitting on the same side of the table with people for their one on one meetings.

Susan’s manager acknowledged the changes when they did their 2-month review. He was impressed at how fast she did change! But at the 3-month 360 progress review, her peers and direct team reported very little change. We knew we had a perception issue.

I admit, to some degree, I do think that it’s none of my business what other people think of me. But - when we’re trying to change, and we’re dependent on other people’s perceptions in order to be successful, well, that’s just a reality of the situation. So we may need to make it our business and manage those perceptions.

​The good news is you really can influence other people’s perceptions of you. But it takes a little focus and effort.

How can we influence other people’s perceptions?

Before we start focusing on their perceptions, we need to manage our own thoughts and beliefs, as Susan did. Susan believed it was important to connect with her team. The energy we exude based on what we believe and what we are thinking comes through in our actions.

Change your thoughts and beliefs about yourself and watch your actions change and your confidence increase. Susan experienced this first-hand. This is paramount to managing others’ perceptions of us and it has to happen first. Then we can start managing others’ perceptions of us.

A few tips on what you can do to influence perceptions:
  • Remember, this change is happening within you and you’re highly aware of it, but others may not be. We have a lot more information about ourselves than others do, so be a little patient.  
  • Respect the fact that it’s really difficult to not see someone as they used to be. After all, this is the reputation you built. It’s not going to change overnight.
  • We need to make sure we are being transparent about the behaviors we are changing. Be proactive about admitting things. For example, if Susan gets distracted during a meeting, as soon as she realizes it, she will apologize and share that she is working on improving this.
  • Help others to see the new you. Susan could further point out that she used to think she was being productive by multi-tasking but she’s learned she is much more effective when she stays focused, and it’s more respectful to do so.
  • Solicit feedback, and don’t get defensive. If someone points something out to you, consider that feedback a gift. Often we’re not aware when we slip back into old habits. We need others to help us be aware.
  • Don’t correct other people about their perception. It’s their perception. It’s our duty to help change the perception by changing OUR behavior and helping them see the new you.
On Wednesday, November 15 at 2:00 p.m. EST, we will be talking about The Secret to Moving up in Management, and this topic of how other people perceive you is a big part of your career growth. I’ll talk about how to handle the biggest obstacles to moving up in management, what core competencies most managers need to develop and how to identify the RIGHT developmental steps to take you from middle manager to the C-Suite.  Register here!

Are there tips in here in this blog post that you plan to use to help others see the work you’ve put in on your personal development? I’d love to know which ones hit home for you.

by Laurie Sudbrink on October 17th, 2017

​From the time I started working at 18 years old in a restaurant, I was constantly looking at how I could move up; my first promotion was to assistant manager. Sure it was for more money, but deeper and more importantly, it was for more challenges, more responsibilities, being able to be more creative. It was a bit later in my career that I realized it was also about making a bigger difference. I remember getting only 25 cents more an hour for that assistant manager position, but the work I was doing was much more engaging to me.

​Many people are looking to move up, but they rarely question why.

​Especially in a management position, before you can begin to discover what’s really holding you back, it might benefit you to dig into your why. When money is your first answer, dig a little deeper. Money is just symbolic. When it’s about ego and position, dig a little deeper and find out what that really means for you.

​Our why is our intent.

It is the life force that moves us. It is what motivates us. It is where our energy comes from. When we are clear about our purpose, some of our roadblocks will simply disappear. But don’t think they all will - there will always be challenges. Real challenges we have to deal with.

To illustrate this I’ll share a story of a coaching client I’ll call “Jane” to protect this person’s privacy.  Jane had been in mid-management for 12 years, her most recent position at a VP level for 3 years. She had 12 direct reports. Jane’s performance reviews were always good. She was looking to move into a C-suite position. It was her next career move. She was sure it was her boss who was holding her back, most likely threatened by her. Until she started to explore her why.

Jane initially just thought moving into the C-suite was the next obvious step in her career. With a little reflection, she discovered that she wanted to be recognized as accomplishing something great, and moving into a C-suite position was the perfect thing for her.

When she started to dig into that, she realized she wanted to get to a position where she could make a difference; make some real positive changes that would affect the lives of other people.

When we met 2 weeks later, Jane was much more clear on what was holding her back. It was her boss! But it was Jane that was making it about her boss. She was using him as an excuse to not step into the behaviors of a C-suite executive. (While Jane was ‘digging in deeper’ it also came out that she had some hidden fears that maybe she wasn’t C-suite material.)  

​Over the next couple of months, Jane reported back that her energy had completely shifted.

​She was focused on making real positive changes and gaining allies to help. She noticed her stress level went down, her communication flowed more easily and she was actually enjoying work again. She still had some real challenges with her boss, but it was clear to her what issues were his and what she could do differently to interact more effectively. This took some real work, and it paid off 9 months later when she landed her C-suite position. Jane has made incredible contributions to the organization and to the lives of many.

As you begin to identify your upper management speed bumps, think of it as your journey.
We can all attest that some of the best learning and development we’ve had was from mistakes and challenges we’ve had to overcome. Just learn to look at these challenges as critical learning and growth opportunities.

If you want more on this topic, register for our free webinar on The Secret to Moving Up In Management! Please take the anonymous poll and share what you think is holding you back from moving up in management. And stay tuned over the next few weeks. We’ll be sharing a lot more on this topic!



by Laurie Sudbrink on October 12th, 2017

​Self-reflection isn’t enough. (In fact, if done improperly, it can be more damaging than beneficial!)

I was recently working with a group of managers within a health facility in the upstate NY area. We were delving into the GRIT model (generosity, respect, integrity and truth). While looking at truth, we had a great conversation about ‘not only being aware of our truth, but completely and unconditionally accepting our truth.’ It was a powerful moment for the group and a lot of light bulbs went off.

Most of the managers shared that through their years of going through development programs such as the one I was there for that week, they felt like they could identify and accept what needed improving. And in some cases admittedly it was tough to hear, like when it was a blind spot in a Leadership 360 assessment . A few of them had even developed the habit of taking time to reflect. But what they realized they had not mastered was the ability to look at themselves and really be ok with these development areas. To accept where they are right now and still think highly of themselves was not even on their radar.

​When we do take the time to look inside, we humans have a tendency to self-criticize rather than self-reflect.

Of course, there’s always the exception to the rule, and there are those that over appreciate themselves rather than objectively looking inside. But we’ll focus on the majority - the self-criticizers.

You know who you are. While you’re receiving feedback, you silently beat yourself up that you should have done better, known better, shown others better. You debrief a project and all you can focus on is what you could have done better, and you silently judge yourself for it. You’re asked about your strengths and you can only think of those ‘opportunity areas.’

While it’s very beneficial to look at what we need to improve, if we dwell on it in an ‘I’m not good enough’ kind of way, it’s self-defeating. Focusing on a thing can have the tendency to make it escalate. At the very least, it’s inefficient, because the energy wasted on those thoughts and beliefs could have been spent moving on more quickly. In fact, if we accept where we are, and then even appreciate where we are, it will catapult our improvement efforts.

It’s similar to goal setting and always striving to get there, pushing yourself, focusing on the things you don’t have yet, rather than taking the time to appreciate the journey and even visualizing yourself feeling gratitude after reaching your goal. Just reading that sentence you can feel it drain your energy in the beginning of the sentence, and you can feel it energize you in the second part. There’s something that propels us when we lighten up, let go of the forcing and pushing and criticizing. We work with a more positive energy.

So while it’s important to look at what you need to improve, it’s much more effective to take a moment and feel gratitude for where you are right now. And then feel gratitude for where you’ll be when you begin working on your opportunity areas.

Give it a try - you really don’t have anything to lose, do you?


by Laurie Sudbrink on October 4th, 2017

Some people resist change - there’s no doubt about that. But what are we doing that might be preventing people from getting on board with changes we're making within our organization?

Consider this list of top mistakes managers make when implementing change and see if you can identify with any of these:
  • Being too reactive to stop and plan for the change
  • Being too task oriented and not realizing that people need to buy-in emotionally
  • Not being aware of how much personal change people might be dealing with
  • Not knowledgeable or respectful of the change process
  • Forgetting that you have been aware of the change for a while, while others are just learning of it and need time to process and buy-in  
  • Not explaining the “why” behind the change
  • Not allowing people time to ask questions
  • Not knowing or respecting DiSC styles and how each person reacts to change
  • Misunderstanding the underlying reason people are resisting the change
  • Neglecting to build good relationships so people can trust in you and the change you are requesting
  • Thinking you told people once and they should get it
  • Expecting everyone to have the same gung-ho attitude that you have about making things happen

Are there any I’ve forgotten that you think may be holding you back?

Join us today for a FREE webinar at 2pm EST on How to Intentionally Lead People Through Change, and get in on the discussion. Participants can type in confidential comments and questions for Laurie to answer live!

Hope to see you there!

by Laurie Sudbrink on September 26th, 2017

​“Everyone thinks of changing the world,
but no one thinks of changing himself.”


​Taking care of ourselves has a direct impact on our ability to lead others.

The other day I was meditating and doing some movement activities to help with some stress I was dealing with. It occurred to me how less creative, patient and productive I am when I’m stressed.
Just like parenting, or athletics, leading people takes being in our best mental, emotional and physical health. While it’s difficult to control all the stress that happens in our lives, we can do our best to manage ourselves through it.
These five things help me alleviate stress and help me stay focused and more patient so I’m able to lead effectively:
1.  Awareness of the stress. This can be difficult at times because I’ve learned to stuff it down and keep going. In the last year, in particular, I’ve been working on awareness, especially in my body. Waking up in the night and not getting back to sleep easily; tightness in neck, shoulders, back, and hips. Lack of focus and memory.

2.  Meditate in the morning and at night. When I wake in the middle of the night and cannot get back to sleep, I listen to a guided meditation. My favorites are Deepak Chopra, Kris Carr and FMTV has some really great stuff. One night I did this for almost 3 hours because I couldn’t sleep. Even though I was awake, I relaxed and I felt much more renewed than when I lie there awake thinking for 3 hours.

3.  Move. Stretch. Swim. Walk. Dance. Especially first thing in the morning I find that I sleep better and am less stressed. 5  minutes every hour helps me destress and stay more positive as well.

4.  Breathe. I set my intention the night before, in the morning and throughout the day. It’s so important to shift our own thoughts and beliefs so our actions align. A friend recently sent me this saying: Breath in possibilities and breath out expectations. Our breathing can tell us a lot about our stress. The more shallow the more stressed. Taking time throughout the day to breathe in slowly, hold it, breathe out slowly and hold it helps me level set and gets important oxygen flowing.

5.  Great music, sunshine and laughter with friends and family. Take time to let loose, have fun, laugh and enjoy the people you love.

And there’s one more thing I do when the stress is something I can’t seem to get control of:
6.  I get a massage, go to the chiropractor, get acupuncture and/or get energy work to shift the stress I’m holding in my body.

When we consider the fact that everyone is coming into work with their own issues and stressors, it’s that much more important to manage our own. In doing so, we can be the best leaders we can be, not only for ourselves but for those we are empowering to get results.

On October 4 at 2pm EST, we’re hosting a free live webinar on How Managers Can Intentionally Lead People Through Change. Getting people from point A to point B is what managing people is all about. And like we wrote about in this blog post, sometimes that means managing yourself! We’d love for you to join us. And because we know how valuable your time is, just for attending, you’ll receive a free Managing Change Checklist you can use with your team.

Register here: 
I want to learn how managers can intentionally lead people through change.

​What do you do to take care of yourself so that you can be at your best?  Share it in the comments!


by Laurie Sudbrink on September 19th, 2017

As George unfolded his story, I could definitely relate. George was getting strong resistance from a couple of people. It seemed ridiculous to him because the project made perfect sense. Why couldn’t they see it and just get on board?

George is a mid-level IT Director in a large company. He’s responsible for a very important project that will impact the entire organization. He has been working with the executive team and an outside consultant for the past six months. They’ve done all the due diligence. They’ve selected the right software. How could people not trust him to make the best decision? George was stuck on “Why couldn’t they see it and just get on board?”  

​It’s one thing to embrace change for yourself - it’s quite another to get everyone else to buy in!

When we’re faced with a change, the initial reaction, whether we’re aware of it or not, is typically to think “what’s in it for me.”  This isn’t necessarily negative - it’s actually quite normal. We want to understand the “why” behind the change and how it impacts us.

In some cases, if we’ve had too much change at once, our threshold for change may be about to break. That’s when people skip right over the “what’s in it for me” and go immediately to resisting the change.

And then there’s the possibility that egos are in play and because people weren’t involved in the decision, and the change feels like it was thrust upon them, they can’t even see the project for what it really is.

While there are other reasons for resistance to change, most boil down to the lack of acceptance from an emotional perspective. The biggest mistake managers make when implementing change is being so focused on the quality of the change initiative that they forget about the people side.

​The question becomes, then, how do we get our people to embrace change?

George was completely immersed in the project much earlier than anyone else even knew about it. There was no doubt to him and the executive team that they had selected the best solution. The quality of the change initiative was not the issue. George, the executive team, and the consultant neglected to consider the change process.

They didn’t think about the time it might take for others to understand and embrace it.
They didn’t consider the other changes people might be going through, at work and in their personal lives. They didn’t respect the interpersonal dynamics of relationships and egos. Just imagine how much more efficiently and effectively this project could have been implemented!

We'll be wrapping up this series with a FREE webinar on October 4th, 2017 at 2pm: How Managers Can Intentionally Lead People Through Change. There will be time for a live FAQ at the end - come prepared!

And stay tuned next week for further discussion on managing change.



by Laurie Sudbrink on September 12th, 2017

​Have you noticed the amount of change seems to be compounding? The only way to sustain the change we’re attempting to make, and to save time and money in the long run, is to intentionally lead people through that change.

​We need to carve out time, attention and resources to prevent the fallout from people resisting change.

10 tips to get started:
  1. Take a good look at all the major change that is happening in your organization.  How many new projects or products, IT system changes, reorganizations, new employees, etc.
  2. Do you have a clear vision for each major change initiative?  Are you helping people understand it and get engaged around it?
  3. Proactively provide as much information as possible.
  4. Respect that people progress from the current state to the future state differently.
  5. Understand DiSC styles and how they impact your change initiatives.
  6. Knowing and caring about each person will help you be aware if they have a lot of personal change happening that might be compounding their amount of transition. Divorces, marriages, moves, babies, breakups, family member issues, hurricanes and other natural disasters… these all add to the change threshold.
  7. Be realistic about the time it will take to make change happen.
  8. Be mindful of your desired culture and don’t sacrifice it for short term gains.
  9. Measure people’s engagement levels. The method you use will depend on your company size.
  10. Provide training and development in change management, leadership, emotional intelligence, and effective meetings.
It’s true, the only thing that’s constant is change. Yet we seem to spend the least amount of time on intentionally managing and leading change. Many managers are not truly respecting the change process, whether they’re unaware, impatient or unrealistic.

I’d love to hear your management challenges with getting people to embrace change. Which step is most difficult (1-Awareness; 2-Desire; 3-Knowledge; 4-Action; 5-Perseverance) from The Five Steps of Change?  (If you aren’t using this model yet, you can access it in Chapter 6 of Leading With GRIT, available in Kindle and hard copy).

Join us October 4th, 2017 at 2pm for a FREE webinar on How Managers Can Intentionally Lead People Through Change!

Stay tuned next week for more discussion on managing change!



by Laurie Sudbrink on September 5th, 2017

​​If you want to increase employee engagement levels at your company, the smartest place to focus is on emotional intelligence.

​Emotional intelligence, or EQ, has a direct and positive impact on employee engagement.

In the last 10 years, employee engagement levels have remained static, even though companies throw millions of dollars at this issue.

Why? Because they’re working on making the environment more fun, spending lots of money on things like free food and slides and bean bag chairs, rather than working on the obvious and most impactful issue of emotional intelligence.

Having strong emotional intelligence is the key to success for leaders. It builds trust and a sense of genuine connection and caring. This results in loyalty and higher output.

Join us today, September 6th, for a FREE webinar and learn more about emotional intelligence and how it applies to your own leadership practices.

Learn how optimism and perseverance (aka GRIT) have a direct impact on your teams:
  • Avoid politics and power struggles
  • Connect and relate better to your co-workers
  • Develop loyalty and increase productivity
Leaders with a high EQ are happier in their work and home relationships AND are more likely to be promoted!

Is there a situation you find yourself neck deep in?

Save your spot today and join live to participate in our Q&A after the presentation.



by Laurie Sudbrink on August 30th, 2017

If you’re looking to move up the management ladder, there’s one area that you absolutely have to master.

Emotional intelligence.

We’ve been writing about it for the last few weeks, and I’m hosting a live webinar next Wednesday on the topic. (Register here!) Wondering what all the buzz is about? It starts with your brain and your heart.

Our brains are amazing. Without conscious thought, our brain circuitry is processing emotions and it almost automatically impacts our actions. We’re not even aware of this happening - How are my feelings affecting myself and others and the behavior I choose in this moment?

Our hearts play a big role as well. Recent research by HeartMath has uncovered that our heart really does communicate chemically to our bodies: “In short, we found that the pattern of the heart’s activity was a valid physiological indicator of emotional experience…(p20)”   “It is important to emphasize, however, that the heart’s rhythmic beating patterns not only reflect the individual’s emotional state, but they also play a direct role in determining emotional experience.” (p38)

If we’re not mindful of this, we can end up reacting too emotionally. With awareness, we have more freedom in controlling our reactions by blending emotions with rational thought.
But that can be easier said than done, as we’ve all experienced ‘losing it’ in reaction to something someone says or does.

Like we saw with Jeff last week, we can be so consumed with our own emotional state that we don’t even consider someone else’s emotions and how we are affecting them.

Once we become more aware and practice processing our emotions, we can genuinely focus on helping others.

We should always keep in mind that it’s not our responsibility or in our control to change other people. But especially in a leadership role, we do have a responsibility to positively influence, build confidence and self-esteem, and help shape thoughts and beliefs of the people we are leading.

​In relationships, whether it’s a boss/employee, a husband/wife, friends, siblings, parent/child - emotional intelligence plays a critical role.

It’s how we feel about that other person. Is there give and take? (Check out Adam Grant’s book, Give and Take!). Is there trust? Compassion? Is it genuine, or manipulative? Of course, not all relationships are going to be improved. Some need to be abandoned, because they are abusive.

If it’s a relationship you’ve decided is worth improving, focusing on emotional intelligence is the best place to start.

Begin by thinking of someone you admire who has good interpersonal skills and relates really well to others. The Dalai Lama pops into my mind! He is so humble yet has such a huge impact. He’s not judgmental nor egotistical. He’s not self-serving. I also recall a manager I had who listened really well and helped me to see how my emotions were affecting my judgment at times. I felt like he truly cared about me and he wasn’t doing it just to help himself (although I’m sure it did)!

Think about how you might interact with this person differently in order to better connect, relate and communicate.

The lack of emotional intelligence has been found to be one of the biggest deterrents to a manager’s success and her opportunity to be promoted. Join us next Wednesday, September 6 at 2pm EST to discover more about emotional intelligence and how we can improve relationships and success, on the job and at home!


by Laurie Sudbrink on August 22nd, 2017

Jeff shared his frustration about one of his supervisors in a recent coaching session. He has 6 supervisors that report to him, and Veronica constantly tests his patience. When I asked what Veronica was feeling, Jeff immediately responded: “how would I know what she’s feeling?”

Some of us don’t naturally think about other people’s emotional states. In fact, it can be hard enough to be aware of your own feelings.

While we shouldn’t assume that we know what someone else is feeling, it is important to be aware of their emotional state, and it’s imperative to effective leadership (take a look at this previous article with 9 Practical Reasons Why Managers Need Emotional Intelligence). It starts with knowing ourselves and knowing why emotional intelligence is important.

Consider these 4 parts that make up emotional intelligence:
  1. Self-awareness (and motivation)
  2. Self management
  3. Social awareness
  4. Relationship management

Last week we shared daily practices we can put in place that help us with self-management. This is the second piece to emotional intelligence and a necessary step before leaders can be effective with their teams.

Social awareness is all about connecting with others by being aware of their emotions.

You might be wondering, how did Jeff make out? Jeff realized rather quickly that he hadn’t even thought about Veronica’s feelings because he was consumed with being frustrated with her. After only a couple of weeks working on some self-management techniques, Jeff began practicing these techniques for being aware of other people’s emotional states:
  1. Slow down and think about the other person.
  2. When things aren’t going well, take personal responsibility.
  3. Set the expectation that you’ll be checking in with how they are doing from time to time.
  4. Practice watching non-verbals, listening to tone, pitch and volume, and checking in. For Jeff and Veronica, Jeff practiced saying “You ok with this?” or “How are you feeling about this?”
  5. Listen, Acknowledge and Follow up (you can remember this easily by using the acronym LAF with your staff).
  6. Be available.
  7. Have a system for providing feedback.

Is there anything you do to practice social awareness? Share it here so everyone can benefit!



​How Emotional Intelligence Impacts Leadership
In this free 20-minute webinar, Laurie Sudbrink explains how leaders can improve their emotional intelligence (EQ)! Do you have questions for Laurie? She'll answer questions LIVE at the end.
As always, Laurie has some special offers saved just for webinar attendees. Interested?

by Laurie Sudbrink on August 15th, 2017

A doctor with bad bedside manner.
A boss who explodes at people.   
A partner who refuses to talk things out.  

What do they all have in common?  A lack of emotional intelligence.

Last week, we started talking about emotional intelligence. One reader, Michele, emailed to ask “but what is causing this behavior?”  This is a great question Michele - acknowledging the cause is the best place to start when you’re looking to improve your emotional intelligence!

We can imagine the dozens of reasons why the doctor doesn’t take the time to connect with his patients, or for the boss exploding, or why the partner won’t talk things out. If it is a pattern of behavior, and not just an isolated incident, it’s time to look inside.

Just visualize this scenario for our blasting boss. His kids left Legos on the floor this morning. Again. He stepped on them with bare feet. Again. He missed his window for a clear drive to work and got caught in a traffic jam. His assistant wears a scent that gives him a headache. He bottles all these things up and, combined with a lack of sleep, when one of his team makes a mistake that triggers the memory of a colossal client catastrophe… BOOM, he explodes! Again.

​Emotional intelligence is a reflection of our own thoughts and beliefs about the situation at hand and/or the past experiences we’ve had.

Remember the definition from Emotional intelligence is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.

It takes self-awareness to even begin working on our emotional intelligence. Being mindful of what we’re thinking and how we’re internalizing is so important because that is what is driving our actions.

We could even go deeper and consider things that impact our state of mind - what we eat, our sleep, our exercise - all have an impact. Although we’re not going to dive into this aspect, it’s good to realize that without a certain level of self-care, it will be difficult to be in the mindset it takes to have a healthy EQ.

Managing our thoughts and beliefs helps manage our emotions. When we put daily practices in place, it helps us be more resilient and raises our emotional intelligence. A few things anyone can start practicing immediately:
  • Gratitude – every morning and every evening, list a couple of things you are grateful for.
  • Writing your intentions every morning and every evening. What do you want? How do you want to feel. Write them in the present tense so your mind starts to think that way.
  • Be aware of your own intent – is it helpful or hurtful?
  • Change your perception of others – start believing in people and visualizing them successful.
  • Deep breathing to reset and recharge. Pause and look at something in nature. Clear your thoughts.
  • Move – stretch, dance, or walk while you practice gratitude, or listen to great tunes, or focus on your intentions.
For more on this topic - self-awareness and increasing our EQ - I recommend a couple of my favorite books that help us shift our thinking:
It’s easy to point a finger when it comes to our emotional reactions, but remember, there’s four pointing right back at you! Join Laurie and her team LIVE on August 30 at 2:00 p.m. EST to delve deeper into how you can improve your EQ! This session is FREE, but there are limited spots to attend. Don’t miss out on your chance to participate in the live Q&A!  

Save my spot!
​Do you have a practice or intention to help you manage your thoughts and beliefs – We’d love to hear and share these!

by Laurie Sudbrink on August 9th, 2017

​Organizations are feeling the pain of people leaving due to the way they are mistreated by their bosses. Many studies are chalking this up to the manager’s lack of Emotional Intelligence (aka EQ).

But what is emotional intelligence, and why is it so important?

​“Out-of-control emotions can make smart people stupid.”

​- Daniel Goleman, Working with Emotional Intelligence
According to, emotional intelligence is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. The definition goes on to explain that "emotional intelligence is the key to both personal and professional success."

It’s pretty evident why we need emotional intelligence just by that definition!

And I couldn’t agree more. In the majority of the executive coaching, leadership development and management workshops that I facilitate, emotional intelligence is where we focus most of our time! It is the key to higher employee engagement.

Let’s look at nine very practical management reasons why having emotional intelligence (EQ) is so important:
  1. Keeping control of your emotions so you don’t spread the toxicity
  2. Not flying off the handle and adding to the already high disengagement percentages
  3. Better at connecting and relating to your people
  4. Avoid backstabbing and power struggles and it builds trust
  5. Can better notice and probe when a person is giving non-verbal signals
  6. Helps make your people feel understood and appreciated
  7. You get more loyalty and productivity from your people
  8. Gets the team to better gel and creates efficiencies
  9. It is much easier to inspire your team to be accountable
Managers with higher emotional intelligence have more optimism and perseverance (aka GRIT), and this has a direct impact on their teams.

Like any management skill, some people are just naturally good at EQ. But the majority of people need to hone their emotional intelligence.

Stay tuned over the next few weeks for more on emotional intelligence!

Want to get started right away? Check out Leading With GRIT on Amazon, in Kindle or hardcover format).

Let us know what leadership topics you think would help managers the most - just share in the comments!


by Laurie Sudbrink on August 1st, 2017

Did you know that 1 out of every 2 managers is terrible at accountability?

In an article for Harvard Business Review, more than 5,400 upper level managers were researched around the world, and guess what? Holding people accountable is the single biggest thing that managers avoid doing!

If we want our teams to be accountable, we’ve got to walk the talk. If we don’t hold people accountable, how do we expect people to be accountable, for themselves and to their teams?

Top 10 things you might be doing to prevent your team from being accountable:
  1. You’re too casual with your team - Are you hanging out having drinks, talking about other people, complaining, venting? Maybe you’re used to being “one of the guys” and the transition is tough. Perhaps you’re trying to connect with people. Maybe you just like hanging with them. Regardless, if you’re too lax with your team, it will be very hard to hold them accountable. 

  2. Micromanaging - Are you worried things aren’t getting done properly, looking over everyone’s shoulders and putting in your two cents? When you’re too involved, people don’t feel like you trust them. In fact, the more people are watched, the less productive they are. 

  3. Too vague with your expectations - You have an idea in your mind what the outcome should be, but you fail to communicate it. It’s like when you ask your teenager to clean your car and when you inspect it, it’s not even close to your expectation. Their idea of clean was completely different than yours!

  4. Allowing people to come vent about something without having them take responsibility - It’s good to be that ear for your people, but are you letting people vent without turning it around and helping them take responsibility? 

  5. Getting mad about mistakes, or bringing it up over and over - Do you have a tough time accepting mistakes? Maybe you just can’t get it out of your mind and you keep bringing it up? Not being realistic about people making mistakes, and not being able to let go of it is sure to keep your team from being accountable.

  6. Allowing people to get away with the little things, not checking in on a regular basis - Maybe you’re afraid of being that micromanager, so you decide to be hands-off. The problem is, you’re not checking in enough. Finding the balance of checking in and micromanaging will be critical to accountability. 

  7. Not giving feedback often - whether you’re avoiding giving constructive feedback, or you don’t give enough recognition and praise, you are missing the opportunity to help your team learn accountability. 

  8. Solving their problems for them - We’ve all seen this in helicopter parenting! Well, guess what, it’s happening with management in the workplace too. Probably not for the same reasons, but we are enabling our teams to rely on us for problem-solving if we’re not teaching them to solve the problem. 

  9. Doing things yourself because you’re impatient and/or you don’t like the conflict - When you just do it yourself, you’re robbing your team of the chance to grow and develop. 

  10. Making excuses for not being accountable yourself - Most of the time this is masked pretty well. “I changed the date because I had to take another meeting.” Just remember the poem “Children Learn What They Live” by Dorothy Nolte. Replace Children with people and hang it on your wall! 
Do you ever find yourself or someone you work with somewhere in this top 10?

If you want to get your team more accountable, join me Wednesday, August 2nd at 2:00 p.m. for a FREE 20-min webinar! Here’s the link to sign up: From Blame & Complain to Accountability & Ownership for Teams. (the webinar is over, but you can email Laurie at to request a copy of the recording!)
Just for showing up to the webinar, I’ll give you a very handy accountability tool you can easily share with your team. No strings attached! 

I have two other resources that will help you with accountability! Everything DiSC® 363™ for Leaders combines the best of a 360-degree assessment with the simplicity and power of DiSC. Plus, Commentsmart™ takes the sting out of the 360 experience with its guaranteed useful comments. In addition, you’ll get three strategies for improving leadership effectiveness. The result is a 360 experience that’s more productive and satisfying! Contact Jessica at to learn more about this 363 assessment.

You can also discover everything you need to know about inspiring action and accountability in my book, Leading with GRIT! It’s available on Amazon in hardcover and Kindle versions. 

And stay tuned for the Get Your GRIT Together Planner coming soon! 


by Laurie Sudbrink on July 26th, 2017

Laying blame can defeat teams and ruin relationships.

When we blame someone, that person being blamed typically feels hurt or threatened. Reactions can range from shutting down to lashing back.

Ultimately that person who was blamed loses trust in you, and we all know trust is the foundation of relationships.

A past coaching client and I were having coffee a few weeks ago when she told me how angry she was with the way her business partner recently treated her. They are involved in a major project with a tight deadline. They both committed to it, but now that things are getting stressful and they're not sure they're going to succeed, her partner is "freaking out" she said. The partner told her "I only agreed to these deadlines because you said it was possible. I knew I shouldn't have." My client interpreted it as "this is all your fault!"

My client went on to explain how she could get past the fact that her business partner was emotional and probably just needed someone to blame because he was feeling out of control. The thing she was having the most difficulty with was trusting him to be truthful. Was he really feeling that way in the beginning? Then why didn't he say something? And if he wasn't feeling that way in the beginning, but just blaming her now, what is that all about?

When we play the blame game, we're not dealing with the real issue.

We're trying to scoot around the problem.

Sometimes we're not even aware that we're acting this way! The real issue is usually much deeper than that which you are blaming someone for. In this case, her business partner might be fearful of the financial impact, or mad at himself for not speaking up, and/or he could be feeling guilty for not doing his part. Or maybe he has a habit of not taking personal responsibility, or he may be afraid people will judge them as unsuccessful. The point is, there's something else going on. And it can be easier to blame someone else then take ownership of your own part in it.

Just think about when blaming happens within your team at work. Not only does it damage the relationship, but it causes significant problems on the entire team. I've heard countless stories of how employees felt their manager threw them under the bus, or took credit for something they did. Team members complain and blame others when they can't finish their project, or the quality is sub par, or there wasn't effective communication.

By the way, when managers tell people to stop blaming someone else, it's almost useless because the issue is deeper.

If managers don't get to the real issue behind the blaming and if they don't continue to deal with similar problems then ultimately the team will erode.

And if managers are not giving credit where it's due, or they're throwing people under the bus, the damage is enormous. The scariest part is that it's very difficult to measure, but what it's costing your bottom line is greater than any other liability!

So, how can we go from a blaming mindset to a mentality of "owning my part, and how can I help?"

Join me August 2 for a free webinar to find out what managers can do to get their teams fully accountable! Here's where you can sign up: From Blame & Complain to Accountability & Ownership for Teams Webinar

And hey, just for attending the webinar, I'll give you a very cool self-awareness tool that helps you identify when you're in blame mode! Perfect for team discussions on the topic! I hope to see you there!


by Laurie Sudbrink on July 18th, 2017

One morning, I was trudging into work in the rain when the wind whipped my umbrella inside out and I dropped all of my important work papers in a puddle. Ugh!

Maybe you’ve had a similar experience? That morning, as I trudged into the office, a colleague (known for her positivity) asked me how I was and I told her I was having a bad day! She replied “oh wow, and it’s only 7 a.m.!” I was about to carry the frustration of that 30-minute event dropping my papers in the rain into my entire day...

Then, I had my AHA moment.

Before we get to that, let me tell you a little about how my career started that led me to do the work that I do today.

My first taste of so-called leadership was not so great. The first manager I had was a hard-driving supervisor in a manufacturing company. I was 17 years old working 9 hour days in a summer job inspecting undergarments. If that wasn’t bad enough, my supervisor didn’t allow talking, frowned on us listening to our headsets, and constantly paced in back of us like a drill sergeant! She never seemed satisfied with our output.

The second manager I had was in a restaurant environment. I was 18 and in college. I was in the position for 30 days when he promoted me to assistant manager - I was so excited! He taught me to do everything he did, increased my pay by 25 cents an hour and then pretty much disappeared, for hours and sometimes days at a time. It wasn’t long that I discovered he threw people under the bus, took credit for their ideas and hard work, and constantly misrepresented himself to upper management (um yes, that’s the nice way of saying he lied!).
My next job was in a corporate environment and lasted almost 15 years. I held many positions as I advanced, and I had a number of managers.,Some were ok, most not so good, and one or two were pretty decent. Those are not very good odds!

I remember thinking, it doesn’t have to be this way! What was going on inside of these managers that made them treat people this way? And even when they were “ok managers”, why couldn’t they be great?

Early on when I landed the position of trainer, I started to see that you could help people change their thoughts and beliefs about things, and this, more than anything else, shaped their behavior. I first saw this in myself. I noticed my negative thinking and dwelling, and I asked myself, “what good is this doing?”

Rewind back to my day with the inside-out umbrella and wet papers and I had this epiphany moment of life-changing awareness and inspiration. I remember being aware of the negative feeling and realizing I was creating it, and I could create something different!

I knew I wanted to continue to work on myself, and to also help people free themselves to be who they really long to be. Too many of us feel trapped in our jobs, rather than inspired by them. It doesn’t have to be that way. I’ve seen people turn it around countless times now over my years of work.

That is what inspires me to do the work that I do. I absolutely love helping people find those AHA moments that make a difference in the rest of their lives!
​Coming from environments where I felt stuck and helpless, I get it. Because leadership positions are the most influential positions, this is where I find the most opportunity to help others.

Developing intentional leaders is my life’s work, because it frees people to live authentically, and to truly be happy and successful, at work and beyond! It’s all about changing lives through leadership!

Most of the managers I’ve worked with over the past 20 years have said one of their biggest struggles is with changing people’s behaviors. While we all know we can’t change another person, we do have the responsibility in leadership to get results through people. Creating that change in people requires changes in behaviors. How we go about changing behavior is crucial.

​​Leadership is a position of influence. And it is certainly not simple. It is complex. But Leadership can be simplified - with the right tools.
Most people who are promoted into leadership positions are not given the tools they need to be successful. Very few people naturally get it all on their own and become excellent leaders.

But just like any tool you use, you need the best tool if you want the best results. I’ve attended too many training classes to count and most were mediocre at best. They always focused on the behaviors that needed to change, providing you scripts and specific steps to take. Yet it rarely if ever worked.

Because focusing on the behaviors is not going to make a lasting impact on people.

​Until people shift their thoughts and beliefs, they will not change their behavior, or if they do, it won’t last long!
​We’ve all seen it in the countless people we’ve sent to training classes and they come back starting strong but soon back to their old habits. We see it in ourselves when we start diets and exercise programs (New Year’s resolutions ring a bell?). It doesn’t last!

​I’ve been studying people and behaviors for over 20 years and the one and only thing that will inspire lasting behavioral change is when people change inside.
Whether you own the business, you’re in the C-suite, you’re a mid-manager or front line supervisor, who you are inside has the greatest influence over who are to other people. When you shift inside, you can then lead intentionally. That’s when you get real results.

That is why I wrote the book Leading With GRIT, and it is why I’m so passionate about developing leaders.

​I believe in the potential of human beings.

​Perhaps you’d like to start feeling differently about your job, your career, your life? Imagine feeling like you have enough time to do the things you WANT to do, you’re not stressed out, you feel confident, positive and courageous! You’re getting so much accomplished through your team, and you have mutual appreciation and respect. Imagine not feeling trapped and constantly out of time.

You can stop imagining those feelings and make them a reality. Join me for this unique leadership experience, Lead With GRIT! Immerse for 3 days with a focus on developing yourself so you can lead intentionally. Your transformation begins immediately.

Will you join me?


by Laurie Sudbrink on July 13th, 2017

Nothing wastes time or frustrates people more than someone hijacking a conversation, whether it’s at work during meetings, or in our personal lives.

It happens too often. You know how it goes. Your friend wants to get together to share all about her recent vacation. A few friends decide to meet for dinner and drinks so you can all enjoy your friend’s pics together. As your friend begins to share a photo, she mentions a really cool gift that she found for her son while she was there. Another friend jumps in with, "Oh how is Harrison, is he doing ok after the separation?" and bam, just like that, the conversation is about her son, the kids, the custody battle, which leads to a discussion of the unfairness of custody laws, and another friend’s story of her marital issues and before long it's time to go home and you have only seen 2 photos of your friend's trip to Italy.

This kind of sidetracking happens often in conversations. We joke about ourselves or others who have a tendency to do this, “oh look - squirrel!” Although the intent isn't bad, for most of us who experience this, it usually isn’t a funny matter. In all seriousness, at some level, it doesn't feel like our friend really cares about our vacation. Just think of how often this happens, whether with friends, with your children, your spouse, or your siblings, or at work.

People easily get distracted and forget the purpose of the conversation. A simple question leads the speaker away from where they were going, to where we want to go. Even if the listener is genuinely interested, they can still end up taking the entire conversation off course. The speaker might even feel the departure, but they usually still follow because it feels too awkward or difficult to stop it. Feelings get hurt, people get frustrated, and time gets wasted.

Just consider the impact conversation hijacking has on workplace productivity. A room full of people spend an hour in a meeting. If we tracked the cost every time the conversation went astray we would pay much more attention to this costly sidetracking. Many of us have probably been the culprit at one time or another. So what can we do?

As soon as you notice you've taken the discussion off-course, just bring it back, with a simple statement like "It was good to catch up on Harrison, and I didn’t mean to take us off-course, so tell me more about Italy! I want to see those pics and hear all about it!"

Or as soon as you notice someone else has taken the conversation astray, you could say “Harrison’s fine, and I’d love to tell you all about him but I really want to share these awesome vacation memories with you tonight!”

Especially in workplace conversations, whether you're the listener who took it off-track, or the speaker who is being led off track, it's important to course-correct as soon as possible. "OK, that's a good topic we need to discuss. Let's table it until we get through our agenda, and then we’ll come back to it, or schedule time for it later." In team meetings, use “The Parking Lot.” When a topic comes up, write it in the parking lot. At the end of the meeting see what’s on the list and then either schedule another meeting or task things out. Build in time on your agenda for managing the Parking Lot.

Think of ways you can build in awareness of conversation hijacking. Giving people our full attention and staying on course during conversations is not just a nicety in our personal relationships. If we care about the relationship, we need to take care of it. In our workplace, it’s a cost of doing business and needs managing if we want to improve productivity.

Have you been in this situation before? Do you think these tactics will be helpful to redirect conversations in the future? Let us know in the comments!


Lead with GRIT Workshop
Lead with GRIT Workshop March 2018
Forbes Coaches Council Member
Forbes Coaches Council Member