Leading through uncertainty is the challenge of our times for leaders. It’s times like this that we all look to our leaders to restore certainty, to bring back equilibrium, stability and normality. We see their role as seeking out the facts, discovering the truth and taking action to make things happen. But that was before COVID-19 imposed itself upon us.
Because of the threat to many parts of our lives, especially our health, leaders have had to make decisions quickly and more often than not the information they needed to make those decisions was not there. They have had to act with the most current information and facts at hand only to discover later that there was information and facts they didn’t have at the time. If they had had them they would have made a different decision. They have then found themselves having to say something like: “In retrospect I would have made a different decision” or “In retrospect I could have handled this differently.”Read More
A significant part of my work involves helping leaders and managers develop and enhance the performance of their people. When they have a team that is engaged, committed and intrinsically motivated they can do great things together. The challenge, however, is to build such a team. The crucial first step is to recruit the right people for the right positions.
Jim Collins made a strong point of this in his classic, all time, bestseller book, “Good to Great”. While it was written in 2001, these comments he made have resonated with so many leaders ever since and have been constantly quoted. He said that the first thing great leaders do is get the right people on the bus (and the wrong people off the bus), and then get those right people in the right seats. Those leaders together with their people, he said, will move their organisations from being good organisations to being great ones.Read More
In the unpredictable, uncertain and changing times, even before COVID-19, being proactive was a most significant and important skill for all of us, especially for leaders. I’ve always called on people to be proactive. I’ve always believed it was a matter of mindset. By changing your thoughts you could change your behaviour. It was a shift that was possible if you developed some self-awareness of what was happening within you. You could see the considerable benefits of being proactive as compared with being reactive.
Yet here we are now caught in this unprecedented reality of the COVID-19 pandemic that I feel challenges those beliefs.Read More
Networking, for me, is first and foremost about making connections and building relationships with people – the more high quality and targeted to my work the better. It’s about staying connected to these people over the long term developing a mutually supportive relationship where I can get to know, like and trust them, and they me. I believe that what happens, as I authentically engage in doing that, is that we begin to build our personal brand, our profile and our reputation.
No amount of money can buy those three things. We have to earn them and networking is one of the most effective ways of doing that. Only then will we be ready to do business together, refer clients to one another and work on joint projects together. Networking is as much about what we can give as what we can get.Read More
Why were you promoted to leadership? Do you even know? I asked a group of leaders this question recently and there was little clarity. In fact, they seemed surprised to be asked. There was no one who said they were appointed because they were skilful at leading, motivating and inspiring people to be high performers. That was one of the answers I was looking for.
So why are people appointed to leadership? I’ve come up with 8 reasons.Read More
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.