Empowerment

The Australian Leadership Project Asked Me Who The Leaders Were That Impacted Me Most.

Maree Harris, Ph.D and Australian Leadership

When Victor Perton asked to interview me on Australian Leadership for the Australian Leadership project, I thought I would easily be able to speak about leadership in 2018. Instead I went on a reflective journey, thinking about the leaders who have impacted me most. What surprised me was how many of these were part of my life in my 30s and 40s but left a lasting legacy that has shaped my professional development and career ever since.

Victor asked me 3 questions:

What are the unique qualities of Australian Leadership and Leaders?
What do Australian leaders want from their leaders?
Who have been the leaders in your life journey ? What or who has inspired you?
To read my reflections and answers, continue reading.

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How To Motivate High Performing Professionals

high performing professionals

If Your People are Your Greatest Asset as I wrote in a recent blog post, what do you as a leader need to be doing to look after that greatest asset. You need to convince them of that by your actions, not merely mouth the words. You need to inspire their intrinsic motivation. You need to Engage, Empower and Elevate your people. When you look after your people, they will look after your organisation. Here are 15 ways you can do that.

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Your People are Your Greatest Asset

your people are your greatest asset

How often have you heard that? It rolls off people’s tongues like jelly and it often has no more substance. Cliches tend to become like that. Yet these are powerfully true words. Your people are your greatest asset, but unless they are treated that way, they will react and become your greatest liability.
People join an organisation because they admire and respect what it says it stands for. They leave because the leaders who manage them don’t walk the talk. They also they don’t feel valued, appreciated or acknowledged for the contribution they are making. They disengage long before they leave.

Peter Wilson, the President of the Australian Human Resource Institute, has said that only 24% of employees in Australia are engaged, 60% are neutral – just there but not engaged – 16% are turned off. This results in a  $42 billion cost in lost productivity in Australian organisations. Why is this happening?

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Turn Your Goal Setting Upside Down and Be Successful.

The great debate at this time of the year is about whether goal setting has a value or not. If you’ve been there before only to find that, in spite of your best efforts, life and “important” work gets in the way after a month or so, then you are probably not going to set any goals this year.

Let’s stop and think about this a bit.

Whatever success means to you, it is worth pursuing the actions that will see you achieve it. You feel empowered, in charge of your life when you do. You see yourself as a “Can Do” person. Having achieved one goal, you gain in confidence about achieving another. And the next one is much easier again. Your head is in the right place. You have more energy. You have fewer limiting beliefs about yourself. You are much more confident.

The most successful people, in whatever field they work, all set goals. They then bring focus to achieving them.
Goal setting is about focusing on your WHY. If you have a big enough WHY, the HOW is easy. 
So the first step in goal setting is knowing why you want to achieve that goal. Sometimes you have to dig deep to get clear about that.
So let’s turn this goal setting problem upside down.

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Videos to Enhance Your Soft Skills

Business people watching soft skills videos

One of the most rewarding thing about the world in which we live today is that we can so easily tap into the experience and expertise of people all over the world. I came across the work of Eddie Kilkelly, the Founder and Managing Director of Insynergi. 

Eddie has produced 3 videos that are worth watching and a quick way to enhance your soft skills. The videos are short, all 6-7 minutes long.

Building a High Performing Team.

Soft Skills Matter.

Emotional Intelligence.

You can access the videos here.

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Develop a Positive and Pro-active Explanatory Style.

Motivating your explanatory style

You probably know people who are always negative and reactive. It seems to be part of their personality. Being positive and pro-active seems an impossibility for them. They don’t seem to know how. While that may not be you, we all do tend to lapse into negative and reactive thinking at times, often when we are stressed, meeting deadlines, coping with difficult people or just having a bad day. We can get stuck there, or we can quickly lift ourselves out of it. Once we used to think that we had little capacity to change that. It was the way we were and we attributed it to our parenting, our socialisation or so many other external circumstances, too numerous to mention. With our recent understanding of neuroscience and how the brain works, we now know that if we want to we can change all that. We can move from being negative to being positive, from being reactive to being pro-active. We can develop a positive and pro-active explanatory style. It will change your life.

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How To Engage With The New World of Work.

the new world of work

How to engage with the new world of work is my Monday Motivational message for you. I used to send these a few years ago. They were well received and I’m going to begin again because in the last few months I’ve talked with a number of colleagues who are very disengaged from their work. Many don’t know what they can do about it, are resigned to it being their lot and lack the motivation to do anything about it.

So if you are jaded and disengaged at work, this is for you.

I was talking with a colleague recently. I asked the usual question: “How’s everything going with you?” She replied: “Same old, same old. Do you know I’ve been with XX company now for 15 years and I’ve realised I’m here to stay”. She is 45.

Every part of her being displayed flatness and jadedness – the way she was dressed and groomed, the lack of light in her eyes, the dullness of her skin, her overweight body. It all epitomised her lack of physical and psychological energy. And as she implies, she is there to stay working in that space until she is 70, another 25 years! Who will she be then? What will she have become?
In fact, my colleague won’t be there for another 25 years unless she changes her attitude drastically. She’ll be made redundant by the exponential change that sees people like her moved on while those with high energy and drive move up. Her professional sector is being highly transformed by digital technology. Those in her sector who will thrive are those who enthusiastically embrace those changes, who become a learner, who commit to developing the skills that technology cannot replicate and who engage pro-actively with this new world of work.

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What Do Women Want From Mentoring?

Mentoring Women

I recently re-visited Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In : Women, Work and the Will To Lead”. I had 3 women approach me for mentoring in the one week. I remembered she has some excellent advice on Mentoring. While this is normal part of my work, it is always helpful to step back now and again and reflect on what I am doing as a mentor and why I am doing it.

There was one part of her Chapter 5 on “Are You My Mentor?” that really got me thinking about my initial conversations with these 3 new mentees. She believes that many women coming for mentoring want a dependency relationship with their mentor which she says is not at all helpful for women. So what she said provoked me to think about how I wanted to engage with my 3 new mentees so that the relationship was an empowering one for them. I share my 7 insights here with my readers.

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How Mentoring Can Help A Low Performer Achieve Her Goal.

Mentoring

Mike sent me an email that went like this:
I employed a 22 year old new graduate for a position in my organisation. She presented well at interview and I was very impressed with her attitude. I wanted someone with more experience but here (in the regional centre where he is based) it is very difficult to get people with the experience I want. So as everybody says: “Hire for attitude and train for skills”, I hired her.

Her 3 month probation period is almost due and I can’t see how I can keep her on. I fear I have to dismiss her. I’m quite anxious about it and the impact it will have on her. I feel responsible because I hired her knowing that she didn’t have the skills I wanted. I thought that with her enthusiasm and my support she would develop them. Now I realise that the job is way above her and it’s not just about developing skills, but having experience.
What did Mike do that was a win/win outcome?

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Simon Sinek – Find Your Why To Inspire Your Action

With everything changing so rapidly and with  so much new information, ideas and opinions being available on a daily basis, there’s not a lot I want to read twice. There’s even less that I want to watch more than once. But Simon Sinek’s original TED talk from 2009 on “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” is a video I have watched at least twice a year ever since. In fact in the first few years after he presented, I would have watched it three to four times each year.

It was his book Start With Why that captured people’s imagination and saw us all begin to see the importance of knowing what our WHY was. He called on leaders who wanted to become great to find your Why because that was what would inspire their action.
I now notice that 34,288,830 people have watched it on video. Yes, more than 34 million! Pretty incredible isn’t it? He had a message that has stood the test of time. You can watch his 18 minute video here.

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