Tag: professional development

Putting Together Teams that Work



How do you assemble the best people for a challenging project?   Whether a myriad of personalities and people with various capabilities surround you, or you are on the hunt for particular talents, finding the right folks for a team is critical. 

So many managers miss the mark, hastily throwing available staff into hotbed holes that need filled.  So many supervisors look to titles instead of talents to facilitate an emerging role in the department.  And so many leaders forget the path their own unique traits opened for them when considering others’ abilities.

Primary to putting together teams that work is insight into project need.  Real insight.  Not clouded, too-idealistic ideas about outcome, but a realistic look at what is likely required for any tough task, let alone achieving a pinnacle goal.  

We often know what we desire, but give far less thought whether its fully reachable or realistic in any given timeframe (including lifetime).  Better to see the point you are reaching for in your business or agency but remain committed to the process of striving, itself–with the best talents in place, tools at hand and a realistic sense of self or team.  Then whether the outcome is attained fully is less significant than all involved knowing their gears were moving together most effectively as possible, the ongoing re-evaluating and planning was attuned to all moving project parts, and significant achievements were reached along the way.

We often think less about the attributes and energy needed to propel us forward.  What exactly are our and project’s needs?  How do we apply what we have at hand or go after what will fill our need and take into consideration our liability?  Have you given creative thought into what you wish you had at your disposal but don’t?  What characteristics and background and skill sets and environment are going to definitely propel the project at least majorly forward?

The right people plucked for that need, and likely clamoring for such opportunity (whether aware or not) will determine how far along the spectrum of attaining that company or department goal is reached.  Though luck, fortune and circumstance all play a part in outcomes, talent and drive (which fit together organically) is the key.  Successful leaders (as well as less successful but fulfilled visionaries) know this about themselves.  They, and all managers and supervisors, need to see this in others.

Who around you has a hidden talent?  Hired for one thing but evidently interested and good at something else tangential?  Who expresses ability and expertise in an area of work little delved into but likely necessary for forward company motion?  What expertise is definitely lacking that you must look outside for?  

Are company constraints hampering you?  Departmental restrictions backing you down from stretching boundaries?  Don’t give in that easily.  Take creative thought and ingenuity about utilizing folks for new, significant tasks and roles to someone who can enact change.  Or subtly take the chance of working around parameters to show effective difference.

Perhaps there were more questions than answers to your liking in this article.  That is a starting point.  Putting together teams that work takes some risk, commitment and simply creative application–a new way of looking at your goals, the people around you, the people you need to have around you, and an openness to try to assemble something significantly different and more effective than where you came from prior.  And by tapping into one’s own leadership, managers and supervisors can better begin to discern who has leadership qualities in other areas, thus filling critical need for critical projects and jobs.


 c Lisa A. Miles 2013


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“Innovatively pushing boundaries & merging disciplines”

“Lisa is a presenter whose staggering scope of work defies categorization and stereotyping, and who teaches – through the example of her career – the notion of innovatively pushing boundaries and merging disciplines.”

~Michael Kumer, Nonprofit Boards Management

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Training & Leading While Understanding Emotional Dynamic


Last week I wrote on The Dynamics of Emotion in Facilitating a Great Meeting. This article extends that conversation, with tactics common to Emotional Intelligence Theory.  For whether running a meeting, training and advising, or being called upon for other methods of group leadership, one needs to cultivate the emotional dynamic at play.

If you are up in front of others because of your wise advisements or simply coordination of a gathering, you have to judiciously give and take counsel from those you are charged to guide.  That involves active listening, observing, moving the pace along, showing compassion and strength… often all at the same time.  You have to be be able to know when folks are ‘hogging the floor’ or trying to evaporate into the shadows–and be able to graciously take over or draw out a person accordingly.  

A true facilitator helps to shift power in group discussion among the group, whether it be by individual-to-individual moderating or by throwing something on the table that needs mulled over before it gets lost.  One of such authority can not get distracted or bogged down and must be able to casually pivot when seriously needed.  (Or, seriously put a foot down and pull rank  if all hell breaks loose.)

For sure, a group leader and trainer must forge strong working relationships so that at most times there is a dotted line between your role as the point person or coach and those that are of your team. Always try to attune your antennae to what your group wants, what are they looking for, what they need and what would move them forward. Then it is your job to get them there. (more…)

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Employee Wellness Programs & the Affordable Care Act

Hiring Managers: Are you aware there are increased company incentives for Employee Wellness Program participation in the Affordable Care Act?

You need a unique consultant who can bring and advise on Mental Health & Self Development programs for your company– benefitting both the bottom line and employee engagement.

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The Dynamics of Emotion in Facilitating a Great Meeting



Have you ever been to a group meeting poorly facilitated?  Sure you have.  

Not just the boring, check-the-phone on your lap kind, but the kind that happens when you arrive actually engaged around the topic at hand, came prepared to share and discuss, are surprisingly vividly awake… and then just sit dumbfounded at how bad a job the person supposedly in charge is in handling the dynamics.

Some may say, “Well not everyone is a born leader or facilitator.”  That is a valid point.  But anyone who has any business in leading a group at any time needs to know emotional dynamic.  Emotional intelligence, interwoven into basic facilitation tactics.

Managing relationships to move people in the right direction is one aspect of emotional intelligence, and certainly also a skill to bring into group facilitation.  For no matter what is on the agenda as content matter, the leader needs to be able to read the participants emotionally.  


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For Your Pain & Suffering

Lisa A. Miles  c 2013   www.lisamilesviolin.com
All Rights Reserved



Marsha Linehan, founder of Dialectical Behavior Therapy, has pointed out a belief that has resounded with many, judging by support groups for families of the mentally ill and subsequent literature.  Essentially– Pain, with acceptance, is just pain.  But pain without acceptance is suffering.

Its useful, inspirational application spans everything from natural disaster trauma to tremendous burdens at work.  

Note the word “just.”  Loaded, you say?  Sure.  But nothing like what comes with the alternative.  Pain still, but not that which will drive one to misery.  Pain still present and identifiable, but not allowed to overwhelm, which is a far deeper level.


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The Psychology of Workplace Leadership: Strong, Steady Transformation

View this article where it was originally published on PsychCentral


“Starting with your team’s — and your own — talents, and factoring in the department’s accomplishments and motivation, drive to a higher level more naturally.  Enthusiasm, vitality, vision (individual and collective) will take you a lot farther than setting some goal outside the sphere of what your assets already are….”


Lisa A. Miles c 2013

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Two Upcoming Speaking Engagements

I’m presenting for the 3rd time in 9 years at NAMI-PA’s statewide conference, Harrisburg, October 25-26.  

Title of presentation:  “Family Members as Treatment Team Coordinators.”  

Why is it that families are so kept out of the loop when it comes to the health of a loved one?  Caring, informed and involved family members must be the Treatment Team Coordinators for loved ones with mental illness and substance abuse!  More details TBA.


I’m honored to have been invited by Ann Dugan (Founder & Asst. Dean, Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence, Katz Graduate School of Business, Univ. of PGH) to be a featured Speaker/Program Leader in their prestigious 2014 Member Educational Series.

August 19, 2014, 8 – 10:30 a.m.  

My presentation will center around Emotional Intelligence & Cross-Disciplinary, Creative Applications in Business Coaching.

More details TBA

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Going After Goals Yet Letting Go of Outcomes




A recent article of Christine Lattimer of the UK inspired me to think on Goals/ Outcomes further–

Good advice in article, esp. ‘Going After a Goal’ but being able to “Let Go of the Outcome” at same time~ How true in business, career and interpersonally!  (This adage should be in all such, as well as mental health and employee EAP program, “manuals”…and indeed is found in some).

This is an important truth in life, especially when disappointments of any kind get us down.  We must aim high but  prepare ourselves mentally to feel satisfied when high outcomes are not in the cards for us.  Similarly, we must define success as personal and professional accomplishment regardless of whether great money, “following”/fame, and traditional definitions of “success” in personal and relationship happiness occurs.  

Define what you aim for.  Define success for yourself.   Though making great money (or at least a decent living) is always desirable,  more gratifying for sure is to do good work, to make a difference, to contribute, to create.  

Ask yourself–What have you actually done?  

What would you like to do?  Get to it.  Then the outcomes might even surprise you.

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Zen & Martial Arts Life-Lessons on the Path Around Anger


Psych Central


Awareness of when anger and conflict are imminent, and then using best practices to completely deflect or even transform it is one of many core truths in Zen and martial arts.

See this article where it was originally published on PsychCentral



Lisa A. Miles c 2013

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