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Welcome to The Leadership Coach 2020. A new look and a new theme. Twenty Twenty means clarity and vision for the new decade. This is where we continue to meet to exchange ideas on what makes leadership at all levels in an organisation really work.
Since this is a BLOG, my Guest Authors and I post articles and you comment or ask questions. That way we all learn something and make a daily progress on that big leadership transition journey. I started the Blog in 2016 and there are now over 200 articles for you to browse and enjoy.
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I came across this illustration on LinkedIn a few days ago. It claims to offer a fresh recipe for the mindset shifts required to transform organisations. It stimulated much thought and reflection about the practicalities of the ideas it imparted. While the best ideas are often simple, is this too simplistic? Does it ignore the realities of organisational and wider societal life? This is morphing at warp speed under the impact of Covid-19. What the end state will, no one is really sure.
Without doubt, change needs to occur. Are the alternatives so firmly locked at the opposite ends of the five linear scales? In other words, rather than “Yes, but…”, don’t we need a “Yes, and” approach? Walt Disney was alleged to answer questions by saying, “Yes, what if we did this…?”. By doing so, he responds positively to the principle of the idea while “reviewing and refining” it. This remains an organisation habit across the entertainment conglomerate.
Is the optimal case for organisational leaders to cultivate the cultural flexibility to display aspects of all the attributes of the labels? The article does not need to be read in one go. Consider each of the five “shifts” separately over their own mug of tea or coffee.
5 tips to help you gain more influence in virtual meetings.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted on the Leadership Coach. It won’t surprise anyone to know that, as for many others, the business model of my organisation has had to change radically in response to the pandemic. It takes up a lot of time!
I’m not the only one for whom this has been the most challenging period of their career. The myriad obstacles that we’ve had to respond to, many of which have no precedence have made it a sometimes exhausting, sometimes exhilarating experience.
As we now move away from the original crisis response and shape our businesses for the new and evolving normal, it can often seem like we know nothing. No sooner have we overcome one challenge but another rears its head.
Much is Still the Same
And yet…throughout this whole process, some things have remained the same even though we are doing them in very different ways. Most importantly we are still having to communicate. The medium might have changed but effectively showing up in front of stakeholders is as important now as it ever was. In fact, given so many businesses are having to fundamentally change their offer, it’s probably more important.
So what is the same, if the way we communicate with people is so different?
Simply put, it’s the need to influence and persuade. The irony that I’m witnessing is that, despite certain small efforts that we can take to make the experience of meeting us virtually so much more powerful and engaging for stakeholders, many people just don’t do it. The reason for this is that we’ve all been thrust into virtual/digital/remote communications without any real training or awareness of what makes the experience better for people.
I suggest a handful of things below that will immeasurably improve your ability to persuade and influence others, without even thinking about the actual content of your conversation.
The Covid-19 pandemic means supporting the basic and psychological needs of staff with a different style of leadership.
The effect of Covid-19 has invoked uncertainty over health, income, and indeed our very future. The effect of the pandemic means that normal life has been overturned. The metaphorical alligators are amongst us…
‘When you are up to your neck in alligators, it’s difficult to remember that your initial objective was to drain the swamp’
Against this backdrop, leadership in companies has also been challenged. Guiding staff through uncertainty demands a radically different approach than leading in times of relative stability.
But recent experiences with clients have highlighted outstanding examples of managers and directors, by instinct, in response to Covid-19. They have swiftly adopted a new approach in the direction of their businesses and staff.
We try our very best to arm our children with tools we know they will need to live the best life they can, but we forget that life will present them situations where those tools might not do the cut.
Being responsible of a team, listening, allowing, guiding with the tools we know are the ones they need, prepares them to execute their job as expected and some may exceed expectations.
The tools you equip your team with, do not guarantee they are covered for all and any issues they will come across on their daily duties.
As a leader, allowing others to grow and discover what they are capable of during their own journey, will also show you that it is not just following check lists, or SOPs how things can be done. They might not fit the unexpected.
Living a global situation for which we were not prepared and for which tools were not given, we learn and apply as we go.
COVID-19 forced us to adjust to a new reality were creativity also flows, giving space to new tools we can now teach to others, both professionally and personally.
People will follow a leader they can look up to, but you must be open to do things without being prepared when the circumstances call for it.
COVID-19 has open my eyes to new faces of people I thought I knew and has also hide faces of those same people. Make sure you remain the leader others looked up to and followed.
Building Positive Working Relationships is about using your interpersonal and communication skills to work effectively and efficiently with key individuals both inside and outside your organisation.
Building Positive Working Relationships is one of my Bitesize Leadership Techniques. They are exactly what the title suggests. Short snippets of leadership tips, tools, process and ideas for you to use on a just-in-time basis. Use them as an update and to refresh your leadership professionalism. You could call it leadership in a hurry!
The aim of Cultural Interpersonal Effectiveness is to leverage differences for positive business outcomes by understanding that behaviours, values and performance factors vary across cultures.
Cultural Interpersonal Effectiveness is one of my Bitesize Leadership Techniques. They are exactly what the title suggests. Short snippets of leadership tips, tools, process and ideas for you to use on a just-in-time basis. Use them as an update and to refresh your leadership professionalism. You could call it leadership in a hurry!
Communicating with Impact is about listening and expressing yourself and in a way that creates insight and understanding, builds trust and inspires people to take action.
Communicating with Impact is one of my Bitesize Leadership Techniques. They are exactly what the title suggests. Short snippets of leadership tips, tools, process and ideas for you to use on a just-in-time basis. Use them as an update and to refresh your leadership professionalism. You could call it leadership in a hurry!
We are living in difficult times. A lot of reflection on what is right and what is wrong is happening at the moment. We have started questioning ourselves about our ways and what we can do better. During my high school years, I was a very enthusiastic basketball player. By enthusiastic I mean that I played every day but was never a good player. I struggled most of the time, so I spent most of my basketball ‘career’ in fixing mode. My coach constantly told me “when things are not going well, go back to the basics and you will find the solution”. A couple of months ago, I decided to go back to the basics and reflect on how I could add value to the people around me.
In part 1 of this blog, I raised some questions about the need to change our approach to leadership during and beyond this coronavirus crisis to nurture and sustain the quality of organisations’ climates. In so doing, I revisited some of organisational psychology’s foundational theories, notably the work of Kurt Lewin. In this second part, focusing on Lewin’s seminal environment formula that avers behaviour to be a function of personality and situation, I explore why understanding one’s own and your employees’ personality is so important to creating a healthy climate.
Susan Hunter from APM Terminals Bahrain shares her leadership transition experience and the role that coaching played.
A leadership transition may at first seem like an onerous prospect. Especially if it involves a complete change of role, a relocation – or both. However in reality, with the right planning and coaching support, it can turn into an extremely rewarding and satisfying experience.
Over recent years the majority of my one-to-one work has been coaching for leadership transition. In 2018/19 I had the privilege of working with Susan Hunter. I was supporting her in her transition from Senior Global Director Operational Excellence to Managing Director at APM Terminals Bahrain. From a senior job at the centre of the business to a key P&L leadership role in the Khalifa Bin Salman Port in Bahrain. Quite a transformation in many ways. Most of our coaching sessions were conduction via Skype. The exception being an initial face-to-face session in London and my visit to Bahrain to meet Susan’s senior leadership team.
In this article I ask Susan to share her leadership transition coaching experience. I am most grateful to Susan for the taking the time in her busy schedule to answer my interview questions.
This is the third article in the series. Last year I wrote similar articles about Peter Drake’s and James Wroe’s leadership transition experiences, and the role that coaching played. In his article Active Leadership Onboarding James shared the six key factors that ensure a new colleague’s successful leadership transition.