Cognitive Behavioral Leadership (CBL): Create a Checklist for Changing Your BehaviorPosted on October 13, 2019

Kendall L. Stewart, MD, MBA, DLFAPA

Why are leaders hesitant to do this?

Changing one’s instinctive behavioral patterns is difficult and requires persistent effort. Leaders are often unwilling to pay the price—particularly if they can get away with behaving in ways that feel natural to them. Moreover, many leaders keep longing for others to change, never recognizing they are the ones who need to change. Many leaders spend their professional lives feeling frustrated that people don’t meet their expectations instead of recognizing that they cannot reasonably expect that until they have made their expectations clear.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

If some of your patterns of leadership behavior are diminishing your effectiveness, you must own those behaviors and invest the time and energy to change them. Good intentions will not cut it. You will need a list of evidence-based strategies to follow.

How can you do it?

If you wish to accomplish any goal, you must consistently follow a process that will produce the result you desire. This is especially true if you intend to achieve a lasting behavioral change. The following steps that have been successfully used by leaders who have succeeded in changing their disabling leadership behaviors can help you design your own successful behavioral change process.

  1. Identify a recurring behavior you need to change. For example, let’s assume that you have decided you must stop crying at work.
  2. List the reasons you need to change. If you cannot make a compelling case to yourself that crying at work is widely viewed as weak and unprofessional, you are not likely to succeed.
  3. Explain how you will motivate yourself to persist. If you intend to succeed, you must prepare yourself for the long haul–the rest of your life. You can learn to resist the urge to cry in the workplace, but the urge will persist.
  4. Make a public commitment to change. A public commitment to stop crying won’t make your quest easier, but the social pressure will make it harder for you to not follow through on your commitment.
  5. Consult with leaders who have successfully changed their flawed leadership behaviors. You will need every helpful hint you can find. And you can find plenty of leaders who have successfully stopped crying at work. Ask them how they did it. Some of their strategies will work for you, too.
  6. List the barriers you must overcome. It helps to be optimistic, but denial, ignorance, and failure to plan are not. Identify the circumstances at work in which you find it hard not to cry. You cannot avoid stressful circumstances entirely, but you can at least be prepared.
  7. Describe the new behavior you will use to replace the destructive leadership behavior. It’s a lot easier to replace a bad habit with a good one than to just stop the bad habit. Taking a bathroom break or excusing yourself to make a phantom call might be better alternatives than dissolving into a puddle in an important meeting.
  8. Ask your colleagues to hold you accountable. Augment your willpower with a team that won’t let you off the hook. A knowing look from a colleague at the moment may be enough to bolster your strength to maintain your emotional composure.
  9. List helpful mental distractions to employ when your brain undermines your intent. In the war with your brain, you must find ways to trick your brain into fighting with itself. For example, when you feel your emotions welling up, you might choose to begin writing down the parts of your brain that are creating these feelings.
  10. Write down the destructive beliefs that cause your brain to urge bad leadership behavior. If you have chosen to believe that, “crying publicly means that I care,” you will want to reconsider whether that belief is true.
  11. Describe contrasting, constructive beliefs for each of your destructive beliefs. You may choose to the above destructive belief with, “When I cry at work, it is evidence that I am not managing my feelings as a wise leader should.”
  12. Write down your new (replacement) constructive beliefs daily for 30 days. Investing the time to write out the replacement beliefs supporting improved emotional control will help you reprogram your brain and increase your willpower.
  1. Post your new constructive beliefs at home and in your office. You can increase your emotional intelligence by reminding yourself of your new beliefs and intentions several times during the day.
  2. Measure and display your target behavioral results daily with a trend line for an extended period. Just by recording the times you cry at work over time, you will likely notice a decreasing trend right away.
  3. Anticipate failure and learn from it. Your brain’s flawed programming can never be entirely erased, but you can partially replace it with more mature instructions. Slipping back into your mental ruts will remind you how you have improved and provided an opportunity to grow further.
  4. Reward yourself for any progress. Changing bad leadership habits is hard. When you make it through some situation that would have previously reduced you to tears, give yourself a big high five afterward. You deserve it.
  5. Be patient with yourself and others. Remember, it will take a long time to change your reputation; people will think of you as that leader who contaminated the workplace with your emotions long after you have stopped doing so.
  6. Teach others how to change their bad leadership habits. Helping other leaders change will help to solidify your own changed behavior.

How have you used a checklist to change your behavior?


Cognitive Behavioral Leadership (CBL): Create a Checklist for Managing Your FeelingsPosted on October 6, 2019

Kendall L. Stewart, MD, MBA, DLFAPA

Why are leaders hesitant to do this?

Feelings are so integrated into how leaders perceive themselves that they rarely see the need to manage them. These complacent leaders view their feelings as, “just the way I am.” And because they have achieved a position of leadership, they are even more strongly positioned to view themselves as exceptional already. There is no need to fix what is not broken. Every human brain is a legend in its own mind.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

Leaders shoulder two primary responsibilities—to manage feelings and tasks. Obviously, you cannot successfully hold others accountable for completing their tasks unless you complete yours on time. Likewise, it is not possible for you to help others manage their feelings until you have learned to master your own. Managing your feelings is the foundation of emotional intelligence, and is one of the essential skills every successful leader must master.

How can you do it?

  1. Recognize when you are emotionally aroused. Your breathing and heart rate are reliable indicators.
  2. Take your feelings seriously. Your feelings, even when you don’t recognize them, drive most of your leadership behaviors.
  3. Don’t take your feelings too seriously. While powerful and compelling, your feelings will often mislead you.
  4. Identify your feelings. You can’t manage your feelings until you know what they are. And they are usually complicated and mixed.
  5. Remind yourself that your feelings are contagious. The people you lead are looking to you to be the calm one in every emotional storm.
  6. Document your feelings. If you don’t write them down, you will forget them and neglect to manage them.
  7. Accept your feelings. Your feelings are just what they are; face them and manage them first. Understanding and modifying them comes later.
  8. Don’t allow your feelings to call the shots by themselves. The best leaders use both emotion and reason to motivate themselves and others.
  9. Don’t try to change your feelings directly. It just won’t work. Ordinarily, you can only change your feelings by changing the beliefs that triggered them.
  10. Identify the beliefs behind your feelings. This can be a real challenge, but the payoff is worth the effort.
  11. Give your feelings time to change. Arousal-driven impulsivity often gives way to regret after the leader has cooled off.
  12. Ignore some of your feelings. This is essential when something needs to be done, but you don’t feel like doing it.
  13. Minimize disabling feelings by replacing their underlying beliefs. Changing what you believe is required if you intend to permanently change how you feel and behave.
  14. Leverage your feelings to motivate yourself and others. Never let an emotional firestorm go to waste; harness that energy to find a better way and make the change stick.
  15. Consult colleagues with excellent feelings-management skills. Some leaders are just naturally more emotionally intelligent; learn from them.
  16. Learn to predict your feelings. If you predict how you are likely to react, you can manage your reactions more successfully.
  17. Grow a thick emotional skin by embracing emotional detachment. Leadership is a tough business; leader up.
  18. Do not vent your unpleasant feelings. A lot of leaders still believe this helps. It does not. It only makes things worse.
  19. Minimize your rumination about your feelings. If you are wired to ruminate, you probably cannot stop it altogether, but you can definitely decrease the time and energy you invest in this destructive mental activity.
  20. Milk good feelings for all they are worth. And they are worth a lot!
  21. Do what needs to be done despite how you feel. Leadership is about doing things that need to be done even when you don’t feel like doing them—and persuading others to do the same.

How have you used a checklist to manage your feelings successfully?


Cognitive Behavioral Leadership (CBL): Recognize and Manage Your Emotional ArousalPosted on September 29, 2019

Kendall L. Stewart, MD, MBA, DLFAPA

Why are leaders hesitant to do this?

The human brain generates thousands of emotions of varying intensity every day. While our brains allow us to reflect—and to modify to some extent—what we are thinking and feeling, most leaders just accept the feelings their brains have triggered and act on them without recognizing or second-guessing their emotional arousal. When the leader’s brain creates any strong emotion, it generates an explanation for doing so. Intriguingly, the leader’s brain almost never takes credit for the feeling it has invented. Instead, the leader’s brain blames something or someone else. Because most leaders accept this mistaken attribution without question, aroused leaders don’t even realize what their brains have done to them. This is not surprising. After all, questioning one’s brain is trying, and the guilty brain is not eager to cooperate.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

Your feelings drive your behavior. The less you know about which feelings are calling the shots at any given moment, the less control you have over how you behave. And you have probably already discovered that impulsive behavior usually gets leaders into trouble. Building the emotional intelligence that will permit you to recognize your arousal and do what needs to be done despite your brain’s goading will set you apart. Most people accept their feelings and their brains’ explanations for them without question and leave the driving to the urges their minds have unleashed. This is why people need leaders—to manage the feelings they are unwilling to manage themselves.

How can you do it?

  1. Monitor your breathing and pulse. These neurological signals are among the first signs that your reptilian brain networks are preparing to override your prefrontal cortex, that part of our brain that sets us apart from other living organisms.
  2. Recognize your erupting feelings. Anger is the most common intruder. Fear and hurt are also frequent visitors to the leader’s mind. Resist your natural tendency to deny or minimize your feelings. It’s true that all destructive feelings exist on a continuum; anger ranges from mild annoyance to murderous rage. But no matter their intensity, destructive feelings are still destructive and must be contained quickly.
  3. Restrain your urges. This is easier said than done, but the best leaders get it done. If you feel the urge to speak impulsively, speak deliberately or not at all. If you feel the need to opine, keep your opinions to yourself. If you feel the urge to decide on the spot, sleep on it instead. Recognizing your urges is necessary but insufficient. You must learn to automatically resist them, too.

How have you recognized and managed your emotional arousal in leadership crises?


Cognitive Behavioral Leadership (CBL): Draft Your New Constructive BeliefsPosted on September 22, 2019

Kendall L. Stewart, MD, MBA, DLFAPA

Why are leaders hesitant to do this?

Examining one’s beliefs, challenging them, and then replacing those settled beliefs with more accurate attitudes is hard work. It demands time and a significant amount of mental energy. The human brain prefers easy over hard, the status quo over change, and superstition over science. That leaders wouldn’t line up to do this difficult—and sometimes threatening—brain work is not surprising.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

There is simply no other way to make a permanent change in your flawed leadership behaviors. Unless you replace your destructive beliefs with more constructive attitudes, the next time you find yourself in a similarly-challenging leadership situation, your brain will undermine your best intentions to behave differently, and you will find yourself repeating the same old mistakes.

How can you do it?

  1. 1. Carefully examine the destructive beliefs you have discovered. Ask yourself whether those beliefs are accurate and whether they are the best guides for how a leader in this circumstance should behave. You will likely be able to describe a more accurate, more constructive belief. Be sure to document this better option in your leadership journal—right beside the destructive version you intend to replace it with.
  2. Reinforce the new belief you intend to program into your brain. Brains don’t give up easily. You will find it helpful to post your new beliefs on the wall in your office or, in a throwback to your childhood, to write the new beliefs 25 times each. When it comes to replacing beliefs, you must beat your brain into submission.
  3. Ask your colleagues to explain how they have succeeded in reprogramming their brains. In “Stuck in a Rut,” the Leadership Case Study (LCS) I introduced earlier in this blog series, I managed to replace several destructive beliefs with more constructive beliefs by creating a presentation and giving that presentation many times. I am further reinforcing my new learning by writing this blog series. Instead of choosing to believe that listening to a lecture from an expert is the most effective way to learn, I have chosen to believe that listening to a lecture may be easier, but is not the best way to learn. Instead of choosing to believe that attending a conference is the best way to find the experts I need, I have chosen to believe that the experts I need may be just down the hall.

How have you replaced some of your destructive beliefs with more constructive, accurate beliefs?


Cognitive Behavioral Leadership (CBL): Identify Your Old Destructive BeliefsPosted on September 15, 2019

Kendall L. Stewart, MD, MBA, DLFAPA

Why are leaders hesitant to do this?

This step is usually the most challenging for leaders. There are many reasons for this. First, leaders are never fully aware of the beliefs their brains have embraced. Much of what we believe is unconscious. Second, few leaders clearly understand that their unrecognized beliefs are what their brains use to create their feelings. All humans are evolutionarily wired to feel and then act without thinking much about it. Third, leaders are at war with their brains, which have minds of their own. Asking themselves, “Why did I just do that?” is not a question most leaders normally ask themselves. Like most other humans, leaders usually let their instincts call the shots in their lives. And leaders’ instincts often lead them astray.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

If you don’t invest the time and energy to figure out what you believe and how those beliefs are generating your destructive leadership behaviors, you will just keep right on behaving the way you do now, and getting the same results you are getting now.

How can you do it?

  1. Write down the contributing beliefs you recognize. Some of your destructive beliefs will be obvious if you spend a little time reflecting on them. For example, most leaders mistakenly believe that “I expect people to see what needs to be done and do it without my having to tell them.” You may believe that, but that leadership belief is badly flawed. That belief, if not replaced with a more accurate belief such as, “I have no right to feel frustrated when others fail to read my mind,” will create unceasing frustration in your professional life.
  2. Ask yourself, “What belief would explain how I felt and behaved?” This question will help you identify beliefs that you would not otherwise recognize. What you discover will surprise and embarrass you—and prime your brain to learn and remember something important. We all learn much more effectively—for good and ill—when we are emotionally aroused.
  3. Learn from your colleagues who have identified some of their destructive leadership beliefs. In “Stuck in a Rut,” the Leadership Case Study (LCS) I introduced earlier in this blog series, I identified several destructive, mistaken beliefs that clearly contributed to my leadership failure. Here is one of them. I chose to believe that listening to a lecture from an expert is the best way to learn. If I had not believed that, I would not have recommended this learning model. When I examined this widely-held belief objectively, I immediately realized this belief is not evidence-based. Research has repeatedly confirmed that action-based learning is much more effective than passively listening to a lecture. Perhaps we all hold onto this misguided belief because passive listening is so much easier.

How have you identified some of the maladaptive beliefs that are triggering your disruptive feelings and ineffective leadership behaviors?


Cognitive Behavioral Leadership (CBL): Describe Your New Constructive BehaviorsPosted on September 8, 2019

Kendall L. Stewart, MD, MBA, DLFAPA

Why are leaders hesitant to do this?

Admitting that they might have behaved better is embarrassing for most leaders. Leaders, especially insecure ones, believe they must be perfect to lead others effectively. For these folks, admitting a mistake is the same as admitting they have failed as a leader, and they will be strongly inclined to defend what they did instead of exploring what they might have done better.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

Since leaders almost never behave perfectly, every leadership challenge presents an opportunity to learn, to get better. Once you manage to get over yourself and your defensive brain, reflecting on how you might have responded more effectively becomes an enjoyable, satisfying exercise. This is particularly true if you engage in these mental experiments with a group of trusted colleagues. This way, your opportunities for novel ideas are multiplied and everyone can learn from your previous imperfect responses. Remember this eternal leadership truth: you cannot reasonably expect improved results unless you change what you believe and how you behave despite how you feel.

How can you do it?

  1. Write down exactly how you behaved. Resist the urge to justify what you did to yourself or others. Just describe what you did. Your honesty will serve as the foundation for your subsequent reflections.
  2. Describe all your behaviors. Include your mental behaviors, too. Don’t forget to mention your rumination if you ruminated. And don’t assume that everything you did was destructive. For example, you might have taken time to calm yourself before reacting. Taken altogether, your leadership behaviors likely included both destructive and constructive actions. Don’t sell yourself too short.
  3. Beside each behavior, describe what might have been a more constructive response. Once you have created some emotional distance from the event, you will be able to see better alternatives easily. And your colleagues can help you with this, too.
  4. Pay attention to how other leaders have found better ways to react. In “Stuck in a Rut,” the Leadership Case Study (LCS) I introduced earlier in this blog series, I identified several more constructive ways I might have behaved in that situation. Instead of recommending that we attend another expensive national conference of dubious value, I concluded that, in the future, I would recommend that our leaders attend an SOMC Leadership Retreat if that is appropriate. Instead of arranging our business trips around the vendor’s schedules, I decided that the next time I would recommend that we arrange our learning around our own schedules. Instead of arranging our travel to accommodate the airlines’ schedules, I concluded that we could drive to make our business travel more convenient and productive. From these examples, you can see that coming up with more constructive leadership responses is not that hard.

How have you identified and engaged in more constructive leadership behaviors?


Cognitive Behavioral Leadership (CBL): Identify Your Old Destructive BehaviorsPosted on September 1, 2019

Kendall L. Stewart, MD, MBA, DLFAPA

Why are leaders hesitant to do this?

Most of us feel completely justified in behaving the way we do. That’s because the human brain is in the business of creating feelings based on the beliefs our brains have embraced. The feelings our brains generate urge us to behave in ways that are consistent with those beliefs. This means that our brains are naturally inclined to vigorously defend the behaviors that result. Moreover, admitting that one’s behavior may not have been the best is never easy for any leader to do.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

The first step in learning to lead more effectively is to ask yourself whether you might behave in a more constructive way if you had the chance to react to the same circumstances again. Your reflection about the difference between how you behaved and how you might have behaved will usually make it clear that there were better leadership responses you might have employed. This gap will help you identify the instinctive responses that are repeatedly getting you into trouble.

How can you do it?

  1. Describe exactly how you behaved. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by why you behaved that way at this point, just write down exactly what you did.
  2. List all your behaviors. Be sure to include those internal behaviors such as ruminating as well as those external behaviors such as shouting, arguing or venting.
  3. Learn how other leaders have done it. In “Stuck in a Rut,” the Leadership Case Study (LCS) I introduced earlier in this blog series, I identified several of my old, destructive behaviors. I recommended that my colleagues and I attend another national conference, even though we had often returned from such conferences dissatisfied with our learning experience. I recommended that we schedule our working trips—and our personal lives—around sponsor and airline schedules, while we all complained about the intrusions of these inconveniences in our lives. I recommended that we leave worthless sessions, thus admitting that many of those sessions added little value despite their excessive cost. I maintained that our working trips, while costly, added real value overall. While this was true, my choosing to settle for the status quo eliminated the opportunity to find a better way to learn.

How have you identified your old, destructive behaviors?


Cognitive Behavioral Leadership (CBL): Describe the Feelings You Wish You Had FeltPosted on August 25, 2019

Kendall L. Stewart, MD, MBA, DLFAPA

Why are leaders hesitant to do this?

Leaders usually find it uncomfortable to question their destructive feelings during a leadership challenge. We over-value our feelings, even when those feelings are toxic and counterproductive. It requires some open-mindedness and mental effort to consider how we wish we had felt in that circumstance instead. It demands that we acknowledge that our previous feelings while seeming legitimate at the time, might not have been the feelings a more mature leader’s brain would have created in a similar situation.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

If you will force yourself to reflect on how you might have felt had you reacted differently, you can easily see how different beliefs and behaviors might have triggered more enabling leadership feelings. This realization will help you begin the process of examining your underlying beliefs and behaviors, which is the method leaders use to learn from their leadership mistakes.

How can you do it?

  1. Identify the opposite feeling from the destructive feeling you experienced. If you felt insecure, you probably would have preferred to feel confident. If you felt embarrassed, you would surely have rather felt proud instead. If you felt angry, feeling calm would have been better. You get the point.
  2. Consult with a skilled mentor. You have doubtless come across fellow leaders who lead successfully without becoming upset by their daily leadership challenges. These are the leaders you want to learn from. They have learned how to manage their feelings by changing their perspectives and behaviors.
  3. Review a Leadership Case Study (LCS). Here are some examples of the constructive feelings I hope to experience in the future when I find myself in similar circumstances to those I described in the “Stuck in a Rut” Leadership Case Study (LCS) above. I recognized that I could only experience these constructive feelings by changing my beliefs and behaviors. If I do, then I will feel differently next time. Instead of feeling embarrassed that I have fallen into the same old rut, I will feel proud when I realize I have created an improved leadership learning model. Instead of feeling remorse that I subjected my colleagues to poor seminar instructors, I will feel pleased that I have arranged for more engaged conference speakers. Instead of feeling ashamed that I have invested organizational resources for so little return on investment, I will feel gratified I have found a better way to train fellow leaders. Instead of feeling disappointed that I have required arduous business travel, I will feel delighted when I have arranged for business travel that is both less demanding and more productive. Instead of feeling disgusted that I have learned so little, I will feel accomplished that I have finally reprogrammed my brain and become a slightly better leader. Instead of feeling guilty that I had not thought my decision through better, I will feel satisfied when I realize I have engaged in the critical thinking that is required for successful leadership.
  4. Don’t attempt to change your feelings directly. For all practical purposes, you can only change your feelings indirectly by changing what you believe and how you behave. Be patient. Changed feelings will follow.

How have you identified the constructive feelings you would rather have experienced during a previous leadership challenge?


Cognitive Behavioral Leadership (CBL): Identify Your Destructive FeelingsPosted on August 18, 2019

Kendall L. Stewart, MD, MBA, DLFAPA

Why are leaders hesitant to do this?

Every leader’s brain is skilled at creating compelling feelings and in convincing the leader that those feelings are normal, justified, and the result of external circumstances. Most leaders take their feelings and these assumptions for granted and then do what they feel like doing without pausing to consider their feelings may be leading them astray.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

Identifying your destructive feelings, while reminding yourself that only your brain can create them, is the place you want to start on your journey to becoming a more emotionally intelligent leader. You should start here because your destructive feelings, particularly unpleasant ones, are easy to recognize. When you begin pulling at the string of your feelings, you will eventually get to the beliefs that triggered them and the behaviors those feelings urged.

How can you do it?

  1. When you realize you are emotionally aroused, write your feelings down immediately. If you put it off, you will tend to forget how you felt. Other feelings generated by your brain will take their place, and your opportunity to learn from them may be permanently lost.
  2. Don’t judge your feelings. Just write them down. This is sometimes challenging since you may feel embarrassed or ashamed about how you felt. Write those feelings down too.
  3. Use technology. Dictate a voice memo or type a few words into OneNote on your smart phone. This will allow you to return to these feelings from any device in front of you. Pen and paper will work, but they are more time consuming and harder to retain and organize.
  4. Review a Leadership Case Study (LCS). Here are some examples of the destructive feelings I experienced and recorded in the “Stuck in a Rut” Leadership Case Study (LCS) I introduced earlier in this blog series. I felt embarrassed when I realized I was still in the same old passive learning rut. I felt remorseful that I had subjected my colleagues to such inept conference speakers. I felt ashamed that I had invested organizational resources for so little return on investment. I felt disappointed after having expended so much time and energy in business travel. I felt disgusted that, with all my years of experience, I had evidently learned so little. I felt guilty that I had not thought this decision through better.

How have you captured your destructive feelings?


Cognitive Behavioral Leadership (CBL): Embrace the Cognitive Behavioral Leadership ModelPosted on August 11, 2019

Kendall L. Stewart, MD, MBA, DLFAPA

Why are leaders hesitant to do this?

The Cognitive Behavioral Leadership (CBL) model goes against the grain. This model demands humility, reflection and self-discipline. It does not permit leaders to throw temper tantrums and blame others. CBL requires a level of emotional intelligence that many leaders have not mastered. And with so many immature and angry leaders rising to exalted positions of authority where they abuse their power by bullying others, mindless leaders naturally conclude that this is the way leaders are supposed to behave.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

A mountain of evidence now supports the conclusion that people are more engaged and productive when they work in the positive and respectful environments created by servant leaders. And servant leaders always embrace the principles of CBL whether they realize it or not. Emotionally intelligent leaders instinctively realize that an emotionally chaotic workplace undermines teamwork and stifles innovation.

How can you do it?

  1. Understand the model. The CBL model is both simple and complex. It is as simple as adding items to your grocery list and checking them off. It is as complex as the human brain. And the human brain is the most complex thing we know of in the universe. CBL only requires leaders to ask and answer a few questions. The questions are simple. Finding the answers and changing what you believe and how you behave is a lot harder. Here are the questions that are the foundation of the CBL model:
  2. What happened? Take a few minutes to write down what occurred. Stick to the facts and keep your emotions and editorial comments out of it.
  3. How did I feel? Your feelings are easy to recognize if you reflect on the situation promptly and if you are willing to accept your feelings nonjudgmentally.
  4. What did I do? Your strong feelings compelled you to behave in certain ways. If you reacted impulsively based on your emotions, you may have made some leadership mistakes. You almost certainly didn’t behave as well as you might have had you waited until you calmed down.
  5. What beliefs caused me to feel and behave this way? Answering this question is much harder. This is because our beliefs are mostly unconscious. Based on our experience and training, our brains naturally adopt a variety of beliefs and then use them to create our feelings, which then compel us to behave in predictable ways. Most leaders figure out what they believe by asking themselves what they must have believed to have felt and behaved the way they did. When they identify their underlying beliefs, leaders quickly realize their beliefs are often misguided, mistaken, destructive and just plain wrong. This powerful insight is the engine that drives change, strengthens emotional maturity, and ultimately, fosters leadership growth.
  6. What might I have done differently? With the aid of dispassionate hindsight, you will usually conclude that there are some things you would have done differently.
  7. What beliefs do I need to modify to change how I will feel and behave in the future? This is where the emotionally intelligent leader strikes gold. When you realize you can choose what to believe and that you can reprogram your brain with these more accurate beliefs, it is a life-changing moment. Every leader who achieves this will wonder why it took so long to figure this out. And that leader will wonder why every leader in the world wouldn’t want to embrace this powerful CBL model.
  8. When I change what I believe and how I behave, how will I feel? Your feelings will be the last thing to change, but this will be a welcome change when it occurs. You will feel less stressed and frustrated. You will enjoy your work and your life more. And you will decrease your risk of professional burnout.

How have you used CBL principles to enhance your leadership effectiveness?


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