How to Include Company Leadership in Your Diversity Efforts

The Importance of Diversity in the C-Suite

In our last blog “Can Diversity Be a Strategic Advantage to Organizations?” (read the blog here), we discussed some of the challenges of diversity. One of those challenges was getting everyone involved in diversity efforts, most importantly, the C-Suite.

When it comes to the importance of diversity in the C-Suite, there are a few key points to keep in mind. First, having a diverse group of leaders can help educate the rest of the company on the importance of inclusion and diversity. Secondly, a more diverse leadership can help bring different perspectives and solutions to problems, which can ultimately lead to better company performance. Finally, as more companies focus on diversity and inclusion, it is important for leaders in the C-suite to set an example and be vocal advocates for these values.

Women make up 56 percent of front-line employees but only 29 percent of the C-suite, according to the Gartner 2021 Leadership Progression and Diversity Survey, which queried 3,500 employees across 24 industries on the topic in February 2021. Black and Indigenous people and other people of color (BIPOC) make up 31 percent of front-line workers, but only 17 percent of the C-suite (

It’s critically important that the C-Suite reflects the diversity of the customers and employees it serves. The makeup of a company’s leadership affects all aspects of its business, from the products it creates to the way it communicates with customers. That’s why it’s important for businesses to not only recruit a diverse range of employees, but also to educate their leaders about the importance of diversity. Too often, people in positions of power are unaware of the benefits that come from having a more diverse workplace. As a result, they make decisions that don’t take into account the needs and wants of all their customers.

It is no secret that businesses with more diverse leadership teams perform better financially. A study by McKinsey & Company found that organizations with the most racially and ethnically diverse executive teams were 35% more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians. The same study also found that gender-diverse executive teams were 15% more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians.

So, what’s stopping businesses from having more diverse executive teams? One of the biggest factors is a lack of education among company leaders about the importance of diversity. Too often, decision-makers rely on their own personal experiences and biases when making hiring decisions. As a result, they tend to hire people who are similar to them, which limits diversity in the workplace.

There is a growing body of research that suggests that a more diverse C-suite can lead to a more successful company. Having leaders from different backgrounds can help educate the rest of the company on different cultures, values, and ways of thinking. Additionally, a diverse C-suite can provide a more accurate representation of the company’s customer base and help make better decisions when it comes to product development and marketing.

It’s not just important for businesses to have diversity in their executive ranks; it’s also important for them to educate their leaders on the importance of diversity. Too often, companies promote people into leadership positions without giving them any training on how to be effective leaders. A recent study by the Harvard Business School found that only 25 percent of companies offer any type of diversity training for their managers. This is unacceptable, and XcelMil can help with the other 75 percent.

Why Company Leaders Need Diversity Education

Leaders in any field should be aware of the value that diversity brings to an organization. A diverse workplace is one where employees from different backgrounds, races, genders, and religions can come together and share their unique perspectives. This can lead to better problem solving and a more innovative company culture.

Unfortunately, many leaders are not aware of the importance of diversity or how to create a more diverse workplace. This is where diversity education comes in. Diversity education teaches leaders about the benefits of diversity and how to create an inclusive environment where all employees feel welcome and valued.

Diversity education is important for leaders at all levels, but it is especially important for those in positions of power. They need to understand that creating a diverse workplace is not only good for business, but it is also the right thing to do.

Many people would agree that a diverse and inclusive workplace is great. It’s been shown to lead to better employee retention and recruiting. But what many people don’t realize is that organizational leaders need diversity education just as much as everyone else in the company. Leaders play a critical role in setting the tone for the entire organization. They need to be aware of their own biases and understand how to create an environment where everyone can feel comfortable sharing their ideas.

Leaders also need to be conscious of the way they communicate with different groups of people. For example, they might use more formal language when speaking with someone from a more traditional background, or they might use more casual language when speaking with someone who is younger. It’s important to be aware of these differences and adjust your communication style accordingly.

The Sum of All Diversity Efforts

Cultural change is a critical part of creating an inclusive and equitable workplace. Leaders must be intentional about developing and promoting a culture that celebrates diversity and inclusion. This requires a commitment to ongoing education and engagement around the issues of equity and inclusion. It also necessitates an openness to change, both individually and organizationally. Culture is the sum of all the things we do and say – it’s the way we work together every day. To create a truly inclusive culture, leaders must be willing to model behaviors that reflect our values, listen to employees from all walks of life, and take action when they see or hear something that isn’t right.

In order for companies to be successful and grow, they need to have a workforce that is reflective of the society in which they operate. Acknowledging this, many organizations must make concerted efforts to increase diversity and inclusion within their ranks. While these initiatives can take many different forms, there are three key elements that should be at the heart of any diversity and inclusion program: cultural competency, leadership, and equity.

Cultural competency is the foundation of any effective diversity and inclusion initiative. Leaders must be committed to creating an environment where all employees feel valued and respected. This includes understanding the unique needs of each group, and being open to new perspectives.

Inclusion goes beyond simply including people from diverse backgrounds. It requires actively seeking out input from everyone affected by a decision, then taking steps to implement their suggestions. Leaders must be willing to make changes that will benefit everyone, not just certain groups.

Equity is key to creating an inclusive environment. Organizations must address systemic inequalities that have led to disparities in opportunities and outcomes.

Creating a corporate culture that is open and welcoming to all employees is essential and necessary. This means establishing clear values and standards that reflect the organization’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Leaders must also be champions for change, ensuring that everyone in the company understands why diversity and inclusion are important, and how everyone can contribute to making the workplace more inclusive.

Despite countless diversity and inclusion programs, organizations are still struggling to create equitable and inclusive environments. Leaders must take a holistic and systemic approach to diversity and inclusion in order to achieve meaningful change. XcelMil specializes in developing effective and dynamic DEI programs and can fine tune your organization’s strategy.


How diverse is your C-Suite?

How do you feel about your organization’s diversity and inclusion goals?

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XcelMil, LLC is a certified Minority-Woman and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business specializing in Executive Management Consulting and Leadership Development Training.


Can Diversity Be a Strategic Advantage to Organizations?

In the business world, diversity should be seen as a strategic advantage. Why? It’s quite simple. Diverse organizations are better able to innovate and find new solutions to problems. Additionally, they are more likely to be successful in attracting and retaining talent. However, even with the positive effects of having a diverse workforce, many people remain skeptical of the benefits. Some managers worry it will lead to division and conflict. Yet, research clearly shows diversity can be a key ingredient for organizational success.

Diversity Defined

Diversity in the workplace has been a hot button issue for many years. What does it mean, and how can it be achieved? The definition of diversity is broad, but at its core, it refers to inclusion and equity of everyone. When a company embraces diversity, it means everyone in the organization is treated fairly and has an opportunity to succeed, regardless of their background or personal characteristics. This includes race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, age, and disability status.

We should not forget diversity is displayed inwardly and outwardly. Employers often think of external physical, geographic or socioeconomic traits, however, these are not the only elements to a diverse workforce. While these attributes are sometimes the most obvious, they are not the only traits. Diversity of thought, personality, professional experience and education can all bring amazing benefits to a stagnant organization and provide fresh ideas, insight, and perspectives.

There are many reasons why embracing diversity is important. First and foremost, it’s the right thing to do. Every individual deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. Secondly, a diverse workforce is more innovative and creative. Team members from different backgrounds bring different perspectives to the table, which leads to better problem solving and improved outcomes.

Research has shown a diverse workforce can be beneficial for businesses. A study by McKinsey & Company found companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity were 35% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. Even more, a study by Harvard Business Review found 83% of employees said they would prefer to work in a company with a diverse workforce.

While employers are beginning to realize the importance of workplace diversity and are making efforts to create more inclusive workplaces, there is still a lot of progress to be made.

The Power (and Benefits) of Diversity

The power of diversity is often overlooked in our society. A recent study found a more diverse workplace leads to better decision making and problem solving. The study, conducted by the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, looked at data from over 2,000 companies around the world. It found those with gender diversity were 15% more likely to have returns above their industry median.

Why is this? The study’s authors say that having a diverse team allows for different ways of thinking and creates a more competitive environment. “Inclusive environments – where employees feel like they can be themselves – unleash the power of cognitive diversity,” said Scott Page, the lead author of the study.

When it comes to the workforce, diversity is a key ingredient for success. A recent study by McKinsey found companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are better at problem solving and can come up with more innovative ideas.

Additionally, a diverse team reflects the customer base a company serves, making it better equipped to understand and cater to its needs. And finally, when teams come from different cultures, they can learn from each other and develop new ways of working together.

Challenges of Diversity

When most people think of diversity, they may think of the different races, religions, and cultures that make up a community. However, diversity extends beyond those visible characteristics to include all the different ways people experience life.

Though it is often claimed diversity is a strength, in practice it can be difficult to manage. For one thing, achieving diversity can be challenging because it requires effort from everyone involved. It is also difficult to maintain because it can be easy for people to become complacent or forget why diversity matters in the first place.

How organizations handle diversity has a significant impact on their employees. A study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that when organizations have diversity and inclusion initiatives in place, employees are more satisfied with their jobs, feel that their voices are heard, and are more engaged in their work.

Despite these benefits, many organizations struggle to create an inclusive environment. According to the 2016 Deloitte report “The State of Inclusion in the U.S. Workplace”, only 30 percent of survey respondents reported that their company was doing a good job at creating an inclusive environment.

There are several reasons for this disparity. One key reason is many organizations lack the necessary data to understand the scope of the diversity challenge they face. Many people would agree embracing diversity is important for both personal and professional growth. However, statistics show minorities are often underrepresented in corporate America. A recent study conducted by the Executive Leadership Council found only 3 percent of senior executive officers at Fortune 500 companies are Black, and 5 percent are Hispanic.

There are many factors that contribute to this lack of diversity, including a lack of access to education and networking opportunities, as well as unconscious bias on the part of recruiters and hiring managers. To increase diversity in the workplace, businesses must first acknowledge the challenges involved and make a concerted effort to overcome them.

Diversity Management and Return on Investment

The business case for diversity management is well established. In fact, there are a number of studies that show a positive correlation between diversity and organizational success. In order for businesses to remain competitive in the global marketplace, it is important they embrace diversity management practices.

Diversity management refers to the proactive steps employers take to create and maintain a workplace that respects and values the individual differences of employees. Employers who want to reap the benefits of diversity must first understand embracing diversity is not just about checking a box or ticking off a list of goals.

There is a growing body of evidence to suggest diversity management initiatives can lead to a significant return on investment (ROI) for employers. The ROI of diversity management initiatives comes from multiple sources, including increased employee productivity, creativity, and innovation, reduced turnover and recruitment costs, and enhanced customer satisfaction.

In order to achieve a successful ROI from diversity management initiatives, employers must first assess their current state of diversity and identify areas where they can improve. Once the areas of improvement have been identified, employers can put in place specific strategies and programs to address these areas.

Finally, it is important to track the progress of these initiatives over time and make changes as needed in order to continue achieving positive results.

Another study by SHRM found nearly 60 percent of organizations report a positive ROI for their diversity and inclusion initiatives. The study also found when properly executed, diversity management can improve organizational performance in a number of ways, including increased innovation, better problem solving, and enhanced employee engagement.

Given these findings, it’s no surprise an increasing number of employers are making diversity and inclusion a top priority. However, achieving success in this area can be challenging, and many organizations find themselves struggling to create an effective diversity and inclusion program. XcelMil can help in this area, it is one of our specialties.


Diversity is a strategic advantage to organizations. By leveraging the unique perspectives and experiences of employees from different backgrounds, companies can create a more innovative and productive workplace. Diversity also helps organizations better understand their customers and respond to changing trends. By embracing diversity, companies can access new markets, tap into new sources of talent, and improve their bottom line. To reap the benefits of diversity, organizations must create an inclusive environment where everyone feels welcome and valued. Only then will they be able to capitalize on the innovative ideas and perspectives that diverse employees bring to the table.

Does your organization have a fully developed DEI strategy or plan?


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XcelMil, LLC is a certified Minority-Woman and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business specializing in Executive Management Consulting and Leadership Development Training.


Gaslighting White Paper


Think your manager is gaslighting you? Ask yourself these 4 questions

While the word “gaslighting” gets thrown around quite a bit in the workplace these days, it’s a much more severe and complex problem than simply having a bad boss. Gaslighters are manipulative, psychologically abusive saboteurs who may have a mental illness. If you think your manager might be gaslighting you at work, ask yourself these four questions.

  1. Does your manager lie?

A signature characteristic of a gaslighter is a refusal to admit they are wrong. If your manager doubles down when you dispute their account of a conversation or an event, even when you know you are right, they might be a gaslighter. Gaslighters are such effective liars that they make their victims question their memories and, ultimately, their sanity.

  1. Does your manager talk bad about you behind your back?

Victims of gaslighting at work often notice that their performance has a negative reputation without merit. While gaslighters might seem friendly and supportive face-to-face, they often speak poorly of their victims to colleagues and superiors.

  1. Have inexplicable things been happening at work?

Do things disappear and then reappear from your workspace? Have documents or files gone missing from your computer? Have you noticed strange logins to your accounts?

These are real examples of gaslighting behavior that employees have experienced.

Gaslighters intentionally try to control their victims by making them feel psychologically unstable.

  1. Do you think your manager ultimately wants you to succeed?

The most important thing to ask yourself to determine if your boss is a gaslighter is whether or not they want you to succeed. A tough manager who holds a high bar and pushes you to do better is not a gaslighter. Gaslighters are malicious and do not ultimately want to see an employee succeed. On the contrary, they aim to sabotage their victims’ careers.

If you think your manager is a gaslighter after reflecting on these four questions, it’s time to take action. First off, reground yourself, as gaslighters corrode their victims’ confidence. Recognize if this has happened to you, discuss it with your therapist or trusted friend, and implement a self-care plan. Next, start documenting every interaction with your manager. Be sure to use a personal device that your manager can’t access. Finally, take your evidence to HR.

The only way to get out of a professional relationship with a gaslighter is to leave or have them removed. If the organization is unwilling to take action on your complaint, you may, unfortunately, have to remove yourself from the abusive situation and seek employment elsewhere.


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XcelMil, LLC is a certified Minority-Woman and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business specializing in Executive Management Consulting and Leadership Development Training.


Gaslighting at Work: What it is and how it plays out

Imagine being reprimanded at work for not attending a meeting you didn’t have on your calendar. Or, your manager insists that they emailed you regarding a critical deadline, but you have no record of receiving the email. These scenarios are examples of what could occur when one is in a professional relationship with a psychologically abusive “gaslighter.”

What is gaslighting?

Gaslighting is a psychological and social phenomenon that plays out in relationships with unequal power dynamics. It’s a type of manipulation where one person, typically a male, makes a victim feel irrational, crazy, and uncertain about their very grasp on reality. Gaslighting is rooted in gender-based stereotypes and structural and institutional inequalities.

Victims of gaslighting are most often women for a few reasons. First, there is a long-standing cultural tradition of labeling women as irrational, crazy, and emotionally unstable. Secondly, women have not historically had enough political, financial, and cultural resources to gaslight men. Power inequity is a fundamental condition for gaslighting.

While men commonly perpetrate gaslighting against women, men can also be victims of gaslighting. Still, gendered stereotypes–masculine as rational and feminine as irrational–play a significant role. In male-to-male or female-to-male gaslighting, the gaslighter uses gender-based strategies to feminize the victim, portraying them as irrational or crazy.

Like in intimate personal relationships, victims of gaslighting in institutional relationships–like at work–cannot easily dismiss gaslighting transgressions. In particular, the power dynamic between boss and employee makes it extremely difficult for the victim to extricate themselves from the abusive situation.

How it plays out at work

Just like in other relationships, gaslighting at work occurs when one person manipulates another into questioning their sanity. The perpetrator could be a manager, a colleague, or even a client or customer. When someone is “gaslit” at work, they are made to feel like they are crazy and could even start believing it. For example, a manager could insist that an employee didn’t complete an assignment that the employee knows they did. In such a scenario, the gaslighter is so unwaveringly adamant that the victim starts to question their memory of events.

The fundamental difference between a manager who holds high expectations, or even a micro-manager, is that they have malicious intent. A gaslighting manager does not ultimately want to see an employee succeed. In direct contrast, they aim to sabotage their victim. Gaslighters will go so far as to manipulate the environment and circumstances–delete files, cancel meetings, or file false claims–to make their victim question their sense of reality. As such, no matter how hard an employee works or to what lengths they go to please the gaslighter, their efforts will always be in vain.

The only way to escape a gaslighting relationship at work is to identify it and then remove oneself from the situation, either by leaving the position or exposing the gaslighter. To learn more about recognizing and addressing gaslighting, check out our next post.


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XcelMil, LLC is a certified Minority-Woman and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business specializing in Executive Management Consulting and Leadership Development Training.


Managing a Multigenerational Workforce


3 Tips for Managing a Multigenerational Team

Today, many workplaces have four, or even five, generational cohorts working together in and across teams, making for a complex organizational environment. Fortunately, along with the challenges come huge opportunities for leaders to leverage a diverse set of experiences, skills, and perspectives.

First off, let’s define “generation.” A generation is a group of people who were born and live simultaneously. There’s no formal beginning and end of a generation. You’ve likely heard or read different dates used to describe the boundaries of the five cohorts—the Silent Generation, Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z. However, experts agree that people who grow up around the same time and share pivotal experiences and events tend to share common traits and values. With that in mind, here are three tips to help you make the most of your multigenerational team.

Tip #1: Strive to Understand the Major Differences Between Generations

The first step to managing a multigeneration team well is to understand generational differences and how they directly impact how your employees work, how they prefer to be recognized, and what they want from their employer. To learn more about the five generational cohorts working today, check out our previous post, Five Generations in the Workforce: A Primer.

Tip #2: Encourage Mutual Understanding and Respect.

Healthy company culture is one where all employees feel respected, valued, and supported. Unfortunately, research indicates that people from specific generational cohorts do not always think highly of other age groups. For instance, a 2008 study found that baby boomers tend to have low opinions of generation X and Y, primarily because they felt they lacked work ethic. Interestingly, generation X had a low opinion of millennials, perceiving them as “slackers,” but thought highly of baby boomers. There are lots of varying perspectives and ideas at play among generational cohorts. One way to bridge the gap is to create pathways for multigenerations to build connections through mentoring programs.

Tip #3: Ask for Your Team Members to Share Their Perspectives

Finally, not all people exhibit the characteristics shared by the generational cohort assigned by their age. For example, when people move up the ladder at work, they might start to embody the next cohort older up from theirs. Others might identify more with another cohort because they spent more time with that age group growing up. In short, individuals are difficult to put into any box. As such, it’s important to remember that everyone is unique and to find ways to hear everyone’s different perspectives so you can create a positive work environment where each person can be successful.

A multigenerational team can be a massive asset to an organization. The older generations bring vast experiences and institutional knowledge, while the younger generations embrace technology and contribute fresh perspectives. The key is to create an environment where generational differences are understood, welcomed, and embraced. We hope the three tips outlined above help you get started toward that vision.

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XcelMil, LLC is a certified Minority-Woman and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business specializing in Executive Management Consulting and Leadership Development Training.


Five Generations in the Workforce: A Primer

While there are many critical components of successful organizations, the people are undeniably the largest asset of any company. Influential leaders strive to understand their people at every level to motivate and engage them. One essential aspect of understanding and leveraging the experience and talents of the people in an organization is knowing the generational differences that impact skills, work style, and motivation.

What follows is a primer on the five generations in the workforce today, as outlined by Point B Consultants Julie Smith and Susan Garriety. While each generation’s beginning and end birth dates vary slightly by source, we cite dates in this article asserted by Beresford Research.

Silent Generation

The silent generation is the oldest in the workforce today, born between 1928 and 1945. In 2021, these individuals are between the ages of 76 and 93 years old. While members of the Silent Generation will be exiting the workforce in the coming years, they still play a critical role.

This generation includes Warren Buffet, Bernie Sanders, and our U.S. President, Joe Biden. The Silent Generation values commitment, hard work, traditional benefits, and individual recognition.

The key to engaging this group is to respect their experience and institutional knowledge and make space for them to share their wisdom.

Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers, the second largest group at work after millennials, were born between 1946 and 1964 and are between 57 and 75 years old. Boomers were born after WWII and brought significant changes to the workforce. They were the first generation ever before to have more women between the ages of 22 and 27 going to work than staying home. To engage Boomers, be sure to involve them in decision-making.

Gen X

The Gen X generation is smaller than both Boomers and Millennials; they’re sometimes called the “middle child.” This group was born between 1965 and 1980 and is 41 to 56 years old. This generation is flexible, self-directed, independent, and highly entrepreneurial. To engage Gen Xers, tap into their creativity and drive.


Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996 (ages 25-40), are the largest group in the workforce. They’ve pushed organizations to adapt to the world of technology and they understand the swiftness of change. Millennials are super connected—to each other and the world at large. To engage millennials, help them understand how their work has a significant impact on the organization and society.

Gen Z

Gen Z, born between 1997 and 2012 (ages 9 to 24), understands social media more than any other group. They are all about bringing people together around common goals for change. Gen Zers are resilient and very entrepreneurial. To engage Gen Z, leverage their passion.

Striving to understand the broad differences between generational groups is the first step toward bridging them together for the organization’s success. The next, and more critical step, is to talk to your employees to grasp further their unique perspectives, values, challenges, and perceived opportunities. Your employees will have invaluable insights about bringing together the work of multiple generations to achieve common goals.

Infographic: 5 Generations in the Workforce: Keys to Engagement


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XcelMil, LLC is a certified Minority-Woman and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business specializing in Executive Management Consulting and Leadership Development Training.


Self Leadership: Better Thought Patterns for Enhanced Performance

Henry Ford famously said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” It turns out this quote is not only inspiring, it’s also true according to decades of empirical research. Constructive thought pattern strategies, including self-talk and mental imagery, are one of the three primary groups of research-based self-leadership strategies. Self-leadership describes one’s ability to motivate and influence themselves.

We all have loops that play over and over in our heads in the background. These loops are both negative and positive, and researchers refer to them as habitual ways of thinking. Specific circumstances trigger these loops, which involve our beliefs, self-talk, and imagined experiences. Self-talk and mental imagery influence one another, essentially creating our thought patterns. By becoming aware of habitual thought patterns that no longer serve us, we can consciously remove them and replace them with constructive thought patterns that lead to better outcomes.


Self-talk is what we tell ourselves, whether we’re conscious of our thoughts or not. If you don’t think that you talk to yourself, you are not yet conscious of your self-talk. If you know that you talk to yourself and haven’t done anything to influence the content, you may have noticed how critical and cruel that little voice inside can be.

Your self-talk impacts your performance—a 1977 study of 12 gymnasts who were competing for a spot on the men’s U.S.A. Olympic team found that those who made the team practiced intentional self-talk, while those who did not make the team didn’t. Numerous other studies have shown similar outcomes.

The first step in changing your self-talk is becoming aware of current ways of thinking. Try to catch yourself thinking negatively. Perhaps you’ve just finished up a meeting that went poorly, and you find yourself ridiculing your performance (e.g., I should have been more prepared). Then, you can think of a better thought to replace it with (e.g., I learned from this meeting, and I’ll prepare better next time). Once you start regularly noticing your thoughts, it will get easier, and replacing negative thoughts will naturally happen.

Mental Imagery

Mental imagery is the process of imagining the successful completion of something that hasn’t happened yet. Research indicates that positive mental imagery effectively enhances performance across many arenas and works for people of all types of personalities. When mental imagery is used in sports psychology, a basketball player might visualize themselves sinking shots during the upcoming game in preparation for the actual game.

In the professional realm, an organizational leader who has to make a speech at an important event could imagine themselves on stage, giving their speech precisely as they intend to at the actual event.

To practice mental imagery:

  1. Choose an event, small or large, that you have coming up and are feeling a little nervous about.
  2. Take some time before the event in a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted and close your eyes and take some deep breaths.
  3. Imagine yourself participating in the event as the best version of yourself.
  4. Imagine the feeling of accomplishment that you’ll have when the event is over.
  5. Repeat this exercise as many times as possible, and, eventually, you can create thought patterns that will support the outcomes you imagined.

Self-talk and positive mental imagery can boost performance for all types of tasks under many different conditions. As a self-leader, by choosing to practice positive self-talk and mental imagery intentionally, you can greatly enhance your performance on various tasks and ultimately achieve your larger goals.

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XcelMil, LLC is a certified Minority-Woman and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business specializing in Executive Management Consulting and Leadership Development Training.


Self-Leadership: Make Work Easier with Natural Rewards

It’s not challenging to complete enjoyable tasks. For instance, many
of us can browse a clothing store online to buy a new blouse or read the stats from our favorite team’s last game without having to work up any willpower. On the other hand, some tasks, particularly at work, have enjoyable and unpleasant aspects, making them more challenging to get through. That’s where self-leadership, particularly the strategies known as natural rewards, comes in.

Self-leadership is the process of influencing and motivating oneself, and decades of research shows that it enhances productivity, performance, and achievement. Researchers group self-leadership strategies into behavioral-focused, natural reward strategies, and constructive thought pattern strategies. For a complete overview of self-leadership, check out XcelMil’s previous post on self-leadership. In this post, we’re diving into natural reward strategies.

Natural Reward Strategies

Natural reward strategies aim to help the self-leaders motivate themselves by focusing on an inherently enjoyable task.


Natural rewards fall into two sub-categories:

  1. The first involves finding ways to make an unpleasant task more
  2. The second is about intentionally directing one’s thoughts toward the parts of the job that are enjoyable and away from the unpleasant features.

Natural rewards tie to intrinsic motivation by way of increased competence and self-determination. Task-specific inherent reason directly impacts the task and, in turn, the individual’s overall work performance.

Natural rewards increase our attention and efforts, which can make a
specific job more relevant and exciting. When we can complete the tasks that we’ve set out to complete efficiently and effectively, it also helps us feel a greater sense of control over our work.

How to Use Natural Rewards

So, how does one put self-reward strategies into practice? Here’s your
two-part plan.

Step 1: Choose a task you have to complete for work that you’re having
difficulty getting motivated to do. Next, make a mental or physical list of the parts of the work you enjoy. For instance, perhaps you have been dreading putting together your team’s annual sales report. Maybe you identify that you like seeing the growth that your team has achieved over the year or the number of clients that you’ve been able to serve with your product or service successfully. By simply identifying what you enjoy about the work, you should already feel the dread associated with the task start to lift.

Step 2: While working on your task, keep bringing the enjoyable aspects of the work that you identified to the forefront of your mind. When you start to think negatively about the work, redirect your attention to your mental or physical list of pleasant aspects. It may be difficult at first, but it’s like flexing a mental muscle. Whenever you choose to draw your attention back, you’re getting stronger at it, and it will soon get easier.

When employed consistently, natural reward strategies can help you get
more done with less resistance, which will lead to overall better work. At XcelMil, we believe that self-leadership is a powerful tool to achieve more at a higher quality and improve your team’s performance. Contact us today to book a consultation to learn more about what we have to offer around self-leadership.

Book a consultation with us now! Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions. We would love to hear from you. Email at Click here to learn more about our services.


XcelMil, LLC is a certified Minority-Woman and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business specializing in Executive Management Consulting and Leadership Development Training