Welcome to the Deploy Yourself Newsletter, where I share what impactful leadership looks like to show your own power. I also share the most insightful lessons and stories I encountered in the last two weeks. You can also read this issue online.


Remind people who they are instead of just giving feedback

A popular quote by Thomas Leonard goes like this –

Remind people who they are instead of just complimenting them on what they’ve done.

You might have heard that giving positive feedback or compliments can build strong relationships. This advice can be found in hundreds of leadership and management books. However, the “how” to do it is often missing, and today I will share my biggest learning on this topic in the last couple of years of being an executive leadership coach.

How many times has someone given you a “compliment” and you just know they’re trying to get something from you?

There is a huge difference between complimenting someone and acknowledging them.

Compliments and positive feedback are important, but they are often focused on you (the giver) instead of the person in front of you. They often start with “I” and talk about how you loved a particular behaviour or action the other person did. “Great job” is another example of such positive feedback.

Acknowledgements, on the other hand, go deeper. Acknowledgements are about who the person is instead of just what they did.

They take more effort and they focus on who the recipient is “being” rather than what they just “did”.

For example – “Your sincerity and reliability stand out, and yesterday’s project update meeting was a demonstration of that. Keep it up”.


“Everybody around here knows they can count on you when it comes to taking responsibility. You lead by example and that helped the team achieve more than they committed to at the start of the year.”

The part in bold in the above two statements is the acknowledgement part. Acknowledgements make the other person feel understood and valued. They remind people of who they are rather than what they just did.

Before I end, I must add that the above is not a “trick” that you can copy and paste. People can see right through a fake acknowledgement. An acknowledgement must be sincere and genuine – it must come from your heart, and not just your mind.

Give genuine acknowledgements instead of feedback or compliments for a few days. Reply back with what you notice – in your own behaviour as well as the other person. I respond to every reply.

Articles and Stories Which Have Fascinated Me


The Art of Framing Problems

Framing is the process of breaking down a problem into a set of choices, trade-offs, and options that enable a team to make a call and move forward.

One of the critical disciplines of framing is to “find the right question.” Too often debates start with “solutions,” before we determine if we’re asking the right questions, in the right order.

It is my view that being a great framer is a magical ability for just about any role, and is also a completely learnable skill.

Find an article on Coda by Shishir on making “decisions that stick.”


How to Do Twice as Much With Your Time

This video shows how to group your goals together and get them done—at the same time.

The secret is to create “Multipliers”—activities that fulfil multiple goals. This may sound impossible, but once you watch this video, you’ll see how easy it is to do twice as much!

If you find this interesting, do not miss the accompanying resource guide PDF.

From a video by Jennifer Aaker at the Stanford Graduate School of Business


Seven Ways to Cope with Uncertainty

Living with so much uncertainty is hard. But sometimes—maybe always—it’s more effective not to attempt to create certainty.

Though evolution might have rigged our brains to resist uncertainty, we can never really know what the future will bring. And in improbable situations like the pandemic, which has massively disrupted our routines and utterly destroyed our best-laid plans, we need to learn to live with ambiguity.

“Uncertainty is the only certainty there is,” wrote mathematician John Allen Paulos. “Knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.”

So how can we best cope? Here are 7 ways:

  1. Don’t resist. Practice acceptance (of what is so)
  2. Invest in yourself
  3. Find healthy comfort items
  4. Don’t believe everything you think
  5. Pay attention
  6. Stop looking for someone to rescue you
  7. Find meaning in the chaos

From an article at The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley


A Humble Inquiry on Coaching as a leadership skill

  • Leslie – “Coaching helps people create lasting change and long-term impact and really is about empowering the coachee to create their own path forward.”
  • Leslie – “one of my mentors always shared the beautiful analogy of,  the Lily pads on the surface of the water. Beautiful flowers come from that, but they have. Come up from the deep murky bottom of the water to come through and shine their light as a beautiful flower. So sometimes what’s stopping an individual or getting in the way is it’s down there deep in the murky, muddy mess, and a coach can help go through there and part the way for the growth to move forward and for others to see that.”
  • Sumit – “Coaching is showing people the mirror. And what happens when we see the mirror. is we get to see what we cannot see on our own.”
  • Leslie – “One of the most rewarding things in coaching is when you ask a question and the other person says, wow, that’s a really great question. Or I’ve never thought about that right there. It’s an opportunity for that person to change and look at something differently. “
  • Leslie – “As the manager, you don’t always have all the answers often. They think you do because you’re in charge of the department, the function, whatever that may be, but you don’t have to have all the answers and you don’t have to have walked the journey before them. That’s where shifting into a coaching conversation really creates so many more possibilities because you don’t have to have the answer”
  • Leslie – “You don’t know what you don’t know. And sometimes you really just need to experience it.”
  • Sumit – “the kind of people I am coaching are high-level executives and leaders. What I’ve seen is the most use of coaching can be taken by high performers. People who are already performing or who are already ambitious, they can take their performance and the results they produce to a totally different level, a totally unheard-of level through the process of coaching.”
  • Sumit – “every business team and every business leader will have a coach in the future because it’s quite natural that if something can help you move towards your future and you get more productive at the same time, and more happy and joyful. Why wouldn’t you have that resource why wouldn’t you avail of that?”

The above are the show notes from the fourth episode of the Humble Inquiries series on the Choosing Leadership podcast, which I am co-hosting with Leslie Wireback. Watch out for more episodes in the coming weeks. If you have missed the previous episodes, you can listen to the first, second, and third episodes.

That’s it for now. If you have any questions or feedback, or just want to introduce yourself, hit reply. I read and respond to every reply. All the best,


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