Leadership impact: Let’s get real, arrogance won’t get you anywhere

Featured in the May 2019 Issue of The CEO Magazine, Executive coach Susanne Biro from Syntrina Leadership shares what it takes to be an impactful leader with CEO Magazine.  There’s a question I routinely ask potential clients because I want to understand what led them to seek out an executive coach: “Why are we speaking?”“Well, apparently I’m an asshole.” This is an answer I have heard countless times, sometimes verbatim and sometimes couched in politer words. “Are you an asshole?” I inquire. We both laugh. “Yes, I suppose I can be.”“Hey, me too. We all can. Here is your coaching: stop doing that.” Again, we both laugh.We then get to work, exploring all that is occurring for the executive: the challenges of leading in a global marketplace; the politics playing out at the senior leadership level and the resulting lack of trust; engagement and specific results throughout their organisation.And this is to say nothing of their personal life and its complexities, which might include raising children, caring for ageing parents or coping with divorce, illness and death.“What is actually happening within you?”The answers to this question vary greatly but the essence is always what is happening within each of us: our personal histories are impacting our present [...]

By |2019-05-16T09:06:52-07:00April 23rd, 2019|Global Leadership, Latest Articles|

Richard Branson’s Necker Island Inspires Launch of Executive Leadership Firm for Credit Unions

Richard Branson's Necker Island Inspires Launch of Executive Leadership Firm for Credit Unions Executive Development for World Class Leaders Indianapolis, IN – July 23, 2018 – Credit union industry leaders announced today the launch of Syntrina™ Leadership, a newly formed partnership with experienced executive coaches. Syntrina provides one-on-one coaching services for C-suite and executive-level leaders, as well as custom-designed, expert-facilitated leadership development offsites to create stronger leaders and more effective teams.  Syntrina’s mission is to guide executive-level leaders towards initiating positive change across organizations and around the world through their own self-development. The idea of building a network of experienced coaches and authorities on leadership was born over dinner one evening at a retreat held on Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island in June of 2017 when Susanne Biro, a master leadership coach, Christopher Beltran, a serial entrepreneur, and Carrie Birkhofer, a credit union CEO, discussed how the world could be a better place if there were more compassionate, kind, and thoughtful leaders like Branson. A year later, nine seasoned executive coaches and leadership development practitioners were united to form Syntrina with the goal of positively impacting the lives of executives by showing them a better way to process information, view themselves, and influence people and profit. [...]

By |2018-08-02T06:49:08-07:00July 24th, 2018|Press Releases|

Richard Branson’s Necker Island Inspires Launch of Executive Leadership Firm

Richard Branson's Necker Island Inspires Launch of Executive Leadership Firm Executive Development for World Class Leaders Indianapolis, IN – July 23, 2018 – Syntrina™ Leadership, a newly formed network of experienced executive coaches and thought leaders, announced today new one-on-one coaching services for C-suite and executive-level leaders, as well as custom-designed, expert-facilitated leadership development offsites to create stronger leaders and more effective teams. Syntrina’s mission is to guide executive-level leaders towards initiating positive change across organizations and around the world through their own self-development. The idea of building a network of experienced coaches and authorities on leadership was born over dinner one evening at a retreat held on Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island in June of 2017 when Susanne Biro, a master leadership coach, Christopher Beltran, a serial entrepreneur, and Carrie Birkhofer, a credit union CEO, discussed how the world could be a better place if there were more compassionate, kind, and thoughtful leaders like Branson. A year later, nine seasoned executive coaches and leadership development practitioners were united to form Syntrina with the goal of positively impacting the lives of executives by showing them a better way to process information, view themselves, and influence people and profit. The company [...]

By |2018-07-31T10:31:28-07:00July 24th, 2018|Press Releases|

FORBES: The Thrill of Seeking Mastery

As published in Forbes. Photo credit: Lori Ann Hansen Photography As a senior leadership coach, I am a human behaviorist, an avid reader and a life-long student. I know that working on myself is a critical requirement for effectively helping others. I would like to tell you that this work has always come naturally and easily to me and that I have been a willing and eager student of myself, but that would be an outright lie. Only a decade ago, I recall telling my professors, who had strongly encouraged me to visit the on-staff counselor, that although I was certain that kind of professional help was needed by my classmates, I myself did not require it. I am sure they struggled to keep a straight face. The irony now is not lost on me. Here I was completing my master’s degree so I could advance leaders by having them look at themselves and how they interact, react and impact others, while I was unwilling to do the same. Worse, I actually believed I had no personal work to do. Now, that is the definition of arrogance. Today, I still struggle to master myself in terms of my inner thoughts and [...]

FORBES: More Humanity. Not Less.

As published in Forbes. Every true act of leadership has only one purpose: to make life better. As such, leadership is rooted in our humanity. It is curious then that so often we hide ourselves within a professional mask of what we think we ought to do and be, only to lose connection, both with ourselves and the people we are meant to serve. When we approach leadership, human “resources,” recruiting, coaching and professional development via mechanical methods, we generally miss the mark entirely. There are a lot of good leaders today. However, too often they lack the one quality that would make them truly great: their humanity. You see, being human is hard. Perhaps the hardest thing we ever do. After all, we seek leadership positions to fulfill our desire for power, control and authority. Yet to be human is to be weak and vulnerable, something most of us fight against our entire lives (and why we love superheroes, as they allow us, if only briefly, to escape our very limited human form). We don’t really understand the power of our humanity until life forces us to our knees, generally through challenging events like job loss, divorce, aging, illness [...]

By |2017-12-20T09:45:13-08:00December 20th, 2017|Leadership, Leadership Communication, Self-Mastery|

TEDx Talk: Leadership. Lessons Learned in a Barbershop

My TEDx Talk, a tribute to my beautiful mother, Elfie Biro (1945 – 2007).Years ago I wrote this post for my mother to capture all I learned about business by working in her barbershop. She loved it! I am so glad she got to read it before she died. I am certain she would be over-the-moon to know that her lessons continue to live on in me and in the work I do with senior level leaders. I sincerely hope you enjoy this talk and that it reminds you that love is power. May you journey well. With love, Susanne.

By |2017-12-18T12:14:04-08:00December 17th, 2017|Leadership|

FORBES: Leadership. What Not To Do.

As published in Forbes. In my career, I have learned more about exceptional leadership by being on the receiving end of its opposite. Here are three fundamental things I have learned never do to others, simply because I know first-hand how damaging they can be. 1. Don’t lie. This includes blatant lies, half-truths and errors of omission. If you make a mistake, own it, clean it up, and apologize to all impacted. If you don’t know the answer, say so. Be transparent, sharing your thinking and your decision making process. Share what you can, as soon as you can, so people don’t need to make up a story. Be brave, pick up the phone and have the real (and often hard) conversation with the person you need to have it with. Live your values, as everyone is always watching. Call yourself on your own bull. This is perhaps the most important one, as few human beings handle power well. Keep your ego in check. When you need help, ask for it. Be human alongside the rest of us mortals. Remember whom you serve. Keep your promises. Be your word. Address reality. Discuss the undiscussables. Do the right thing. I repeat: [...]

By |2017-12-18T12:14:27-08:00November 18th, 2017|Leadership, Leadership Coaching, Leadership Communication|

FORBES: Leadership Levers. Two Powerful Levers to Initiate Change

As published in Forbes. What one change, if you made it and were able to stick to it long term, would have the greatest potential to positively impact your professional success? Having asked this question of thousands of senior-level leaders, I know the answer is often a personal one: eat better, walk more, stop watching late night TV, turn off the phone on weekends. For you, perhaps it would be to better manage your time or the focus of your mind? Most of us know we could be better listeners, clearer communicators, less distracted and more productive professionals (or parents, spouses or friends), and more effective in working with and through others (aka leadership). However, getting ourselves to change in even the one area we know would contribute most to our happiness and effectiveness is often nearly impossible. We make excuses, complain, point fingers, or wait and expect others to do what we ourselves cannot:  change. My job is to assist organizations to become more successful by helping their top leaders to become ever more effective. This is a tall order, as I frequently work with some of the world’s best and brightest. However, over the last 16 years that [...]

By |2017-12-18T12:14:51-08:00October 17th, 2017|Leadership, Leadership Coaching|

FORBES: Leadership Development. The Path To Becoming Our Highest Self

As published in Forbes. We call ourselves “human beings,” but I think that title is aspirational: one we are meant to earn. Being human should mean we are capable of higher-level thought and can choose rationally how we respond to external events as well as to internal thoughts and emotions. Now, I don’t know about you, but all I need is to be cut off in traffic or have my husband use the wrong tone of voice to witness my own inability to do this well. Perhaps the most surprising element in business today is that we often behave in ways that are extremely ineffective and quite beneath us. Even those among us who are highly educated senior-level professionals fall into these traps. For example: • We send an email or text when we know we should really pick up the phone. • We make a mistake but never apologize to those impacted by our actions. • We ignore the questions we don’t want to answer. • When we think we can get away with it, we are rude, short, or dismissive with others. • We don’t feel empowered to have the real conversation with the person we really need [...]

By |2017-12-18T12:15:23-08:00September 17th, 2017|Leadership, Leadership Coaching|

FORBES: Leading in Relationships. The Subtle Work of Self-Mastery

As published in Forbes. Several years ago I was asked to design a session that could build upon the skills of my peers: world-class speakers, senior facilitators, coaches, and business development professionals. The meeting would be held in New York, at the incredible Mohonk Mountain Retreat, and new colleagues from the Middle East and South America would be there. For weeks I labored over what I could impart that had the greatest potential to assist each person, given they all held slightly different roles. One of the ideas I shared that day is what I call the “horse and dog analogy.” It is a concept I now know to be relevant to all professionals, regardless of field, title or position. Thus, it is one I will share with you. When I was younger, I used to think that if I were an animal I would be a horse. Horses are sensitive creatures. As prey animals, they constantly read their environment. If you approach a horse with fear, the horse will mirror you and become fearful. However, if you enter a corral and think kind thoughts, the horse will come to you. Horses match emotion for emotion. Being highly sensitive, this [...]

By |2017-12-18T12:27:24-08:00August 18th, 2017|Leadership, Self-Mastery|