Jennifer Musselman is a globally recognized executive coach and a licensed marriage and family therapist for high-performing executives and entrepreneurs. She has been featured on Psychology Today, Forbes, and Huffington Post. She specializes in emotional intelligence, navigating conflict among leaders and couples, anxiety, burnout, and stress and depression management. With 20 years of experience as an executive at Fortune 500 companies, Jennifer intimately understands the pressures her clients face in having to do a balancing act with their professional goals and their personal life. She is this week’s guest on this special episode of Love In Action, which is both an interview and a live consultation.
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- Jennifer recalls her negative experiences within a toxic workplace. “There was a change in leadership at the top that completely altered how people started connecting and relating with each other,” she says. “What I didn’t understand was the workplace trauma… even my personal therapist didn’t know how to handle it because therapists aren’t trained for that.” She describes the harmful effects that followed in her personal life, and how it motivated her to study organizational psychology. [5:07]
- Marcel asks Jennifer for tips on how to manage our emotions during a state of languishing. Self-care through self-reflection can help you recenter yourself, she replies, and doing so with a trained professional is even better. “Sometimes we need someone to get us out of our bodies and heads.” [10:18]
- Leadership is about modeling the behavior that you espouse across the board, Jennifer defines. A good leader actively practices the values of their family, their company, and their country. They use compassion to challenge the status quo, create a holding space for the people they work with, turn conflict into innovation and connectedness, and trust their coworkers to do their jobs while holding them accountable through feedback. Lastly, a good leader celebrates people’s contributions.[16:17]
The Coaching Session
Jennifer shares a recording of a live consultation with one of her clients, a CEO of a technology company. She helps her client explore the ups and downs of the recent happenings in his life, and how he has been mitigating them. They discuss:
- When conflicts in your personal life clash with your professional life. “I need to be focused for the team, and I can’t let personal things seep into how I present myself in the business, but unfortunately it has,” her client shares. “It’s been a challenge in the last few weeks.” [19:05]
- How to pull yourself out of a low-energy slump. “Everyone needs their own process of self-reflection,” Jennifer advises. “Find moments of personal reflection, which includes your thoughts… and then pay attention to how you behave. Having a chart of that gives you a better understanding of yourself and how you handle these moments.” [26:42]
- Mastering self-efficacy. “[Self-efficacy] is embracing that [you] don’t have to have all the answers; [you’re] in process. The answers will come, and you’ve created the network of people to lean on,” Jennifer remarks. [33:37]
- Empowering your employees to deal with large-scale organizational change. “Help them to understand the larger impact that needs to take place, and give them space to adapt,” Jennifer comments. [36:31]
Recap and Takeaways
Jennifer rejoins Marcel to talk about key takeaways from her session with her client.
- According to Jennifer, there’s a fear of being perceived as weak when you’re in a position of power, particularly in men.
- People see when you’re struggling and can create their own narratives about what might be happening, so it would be beneficial to be a little transparent with them. Expressing vulnerability creates a bond with your coworkers, and gives people the opportunity to support you. [42:48]
- “Our minds, hearts, and bodies are connected,” Jennifer says. “When we start to feel emotional, there’s a physiological reaction… The first thing you have to do is get a hold of that sensation in your body… deep breathing connects you to your heart.” [45:00]
- Leaders need to allow employees to have a voice, Marcel comments. It’s not just handing down decisions from the mountain top; employees should be able to voice their concerns, input, and even ideas. That’s the caring part of leadership, he adds. [49:23]
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