If you are a Baby Boomer, or even a Generation X professional, you will remember when there was a career ladder. It had rungs, levels, that showed you how to get from the bottom to the top, how to progress your career. At each rung or level, there were fairly clear cut performance expectations that if you met granted you the opportunity to step up to the next rung or level. Depending on how far up you wanted to go and how quickly, you could get to the top of your career.
Today young professionals do not have that luxury, that certainty about how to take their career where they want it to go. There is no career ladder or if there appears to be one, many of the rungs are broken and getting from where you are to the next level seems a huge leap, often impossibly big.Read More
What kind of a leader do you want to be in the midst of these changing, uncertain and challenging times? Do you want to be an emotionally intelligent one or an emotionally unintelligent one? In the article I refer to here on the importance of working on yourself as a leader there is the story of Ann who was invited by her manager to give feedback.He took her comments and feedback and allowed his emotions to personalise them, became offended and then threatened her with withholding her bonus for no other reason than the fact that he couldn’t manage his emotions intelligently and appropriately as a leader. Emotional intelligence, like self-awareness, are crucially important leadership skills and deserve a high priority in our professional development as leaders. I doubt that Ann’s manager would have learned anything from this experience Who would be courageous enough to tell him if they were going to get the reaction that Ann received? Make a commitment to developing your emotional intelligence in 2020.Read More
“Setting up systems”, you say. “How would that empower my productivity?” It can. Let me tell you more. How much time do we waste every day at work telling people the same thing time after time? The next day we do it all over again. We explain procedures to our clients over the phone twenty times a week. We explain to at least 2-3 of our colleagues every week how to do something that is integral to our business.
Why haven’t we got a system that does that to which we can refer our colleagues and clients? We could have a flyer or brochure on it – online and hard copy – to which we could refer them. We could have a video on the intranet to which we could direct our colleagues when they don’t understand that issue or situation. Sure it takes time to set up systems, but it also takes enormous time – if we add it up over a day, a week or a year – to explain the same things over and over.Read More
Do you feel valued in your workplace? If not, why do you stay there? Why wouldn’t you move to where your expertise is valued?
In my work, especially as a mentor, I constantly talk with people who don’t feel valued at work. What keeps them there, however, is a doubt about their own ability. Part of them believes they are making a valuable contribution, but because no one actually acknowledges it, they then feel that maybe they are not as valuable as they think. They rely on the people around them to validate them. Because that doesn’t happen, they then fear to go elsewhere, feeling they have nothing to offer.
That’s one of the great things about mentoring. It validates you even while it challenges. If it is one-on-one mentoring, the mentor does that, but if it is group mentoring, a whole group of like-minded, equally motivated people share their experience with you and you find it validating yours.
So if you want to discover your real value, ask the right people. A mentor is one of those people.Read More
When I read recently that Michelle Obama feels a fraud and imposter and feels she shouldn’t be taken seriously, I wondered where that left the rest of us. She is one of the most admired and inspirational women in modern times. She drew audiences of 6000+ people as she promoted around the world her book “Becoming”. Yet in spite of her constantly feeling that way on the inside she presents as an empowered and empowering woman on the outside.
I realised how big an issue this is for us as women. Most of us have had that feeling, or carry it around with us as unnecessary baggage. We doubt ourselves often even when we are successful and accomplished at what we do. So we don’t seize opportunities that would enhance and accelerate our careers.
We, together, can break through this lack of confidence and self-belief, learn how to self-promote in a way that fits your values, find your voice and negotiate the future career you want. These are absolute essentials we need as women to accelerate our careers and become empowered and empowering leaders.
Last week I told the story of Mark the highly skilled technical expert who was promoted to management but couldn’t manage his people. What happened next was the organisation’s worst nightmare.
This was a blog post I wrote back in 2016. I recalled it when I recently had a CEO come to me to talk about a Mark in his organisation. I’m not going to detail exactly what we talked about for his Mark, but as this is a very common issue, I am going to give you some approaches for how to handle this kind of situation if you are a CEO or leader in your organisation.Read More
Mark has technical skills your organisation cannot afford to lose. No one else in the organisation has his level of expertise. You really want him to focus on bringing that expertise to research and development, enhancing the product development and service delivery in the organisation. Mark, however, has been wanting to move into management for the past 18 months, saying that having been with the organisation for 3 years at the same level, he deserves a promotion given his significant contribution.
You don’t deny any of that and you are quite concerned that if you don’t grant that management promotion to him, he may seek it elsewhere. So what do you do? You make him a manager. What happens next is an organisation’s worst nightmare.Read More
It is so easy, but hardly anyone does it. In these days of digital communication, it’s considered old-fashioned. Most of the people who still do it are over 50. Have all of my readers under that age already decided this article is not for you and moved on to the next email?
But if you do want to make an impact, if you want to be remembered, if you want to engage your people and lift morale in your organisation, then becoming aware of the power of the hand-written note becomes an important skill to embrace.
It is because so few people write hand-written notes today that they have such impact.
Writing a hand-written note is not an obligation; it is an opportunity. It is a differentiator.
There is presently an overwhelming global concern among CEOs and senior leaders about their inability to find talented people with the right skills for the job. One of the most important skillsets they are looking for is the soft skills for leadership, the ability to lead people, to engage them so they become intrinsically motivated to give 150%.
But the challenge is not only about attracting the right people with the right skillsets. It is also about how to retain them. It’s about looking after them.
These two articles I’m sharing this week have insights and strategies for how to do just that. They are a valuable resource for leaders and their organisations.
Every leader wants a team of high performing professionals in their organisation. How you achieve that is the big question. I’ve written previously about what I consider are the three big motivators – Engage, Empower and Elevate that will see you achieving that.
There are also many other skills that can enhance your leadership. I have selected six that when developed and enhanced are the ones that I believe will bring the most significant outcomes. Those of you who know my work will know that my focus is on the soft skills needed for leadership.