Categories
General Leadership

Is never business, is always personal… a story about passionate people

I was attending a town hall (meeting) and one of the topics being covered was safety. In shipping, safety plays a major role in our work. Usually, these talks are pretty straight forward, more about following processes.  The speaker threw a question at us that got me thinking. He asked us, “who should get the recognition, the firefighter who puts out the fire or the safety inspector who prevents it?”. Later that night, I continued to reflect on this question over a glass of wine and realized that both sides had strong points. The firefighter needs to perform under severe stress which is needed in high performing teams, but the security inspector’s dependability saves a lot of time and resources. In conclusion, both roles are needed when you assemble a team, but I was not yet satisfied with this reflection and continued to think about it for a week as I felt that I was missing something.

Then it hit me one night. What if I spent time talking to the firefighter and the safety inspector in order to understand more about why they do what they do and what motivates them to do it every day? By getting to know their passion I will understand the true value that they add to the team.

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Every Leader a Coach General Leadership Leader of Leaders

An ABC of Leadership and Management (part 3)

T is for training

Does training (or L&D) activity add value?  Is there a return on the investment, if, indeed, the C-suite regards it as such rather than an expensive, preferably avoidable cost?  An article entitled “The Great Training Robbery”, published by Harvard Business School, merits reading during the festive season, see https://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Publication%20Files/16-121_bc0f03ce-27de-4479-a90e-9d78b8da7b67.pdf.  It says US firms spend something like $165 BILLION on “development” of which 90% generates NO performance uplift within 12 months. 

The new vogue of e-training commoditises learning into read this, watch this, listen to this, do this tick-box exercises. This may satisfy compliance but the learning cycle of acquisition, assimilation and application of new knowledge does not complete a full cycle.  The old practice of discussing expectations of performance uplift before undertaking any training, reviewing and committing to them immediately afterwards then subsequently tracking progress appears to be a redundant managerial practice.  Is it all too humdrum?

Might that have something to do with the job descriptions including leading the team and growing its capability as the last in the list of objectives – see my previous blog (letter S)?

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Every Leader a Coach Leader of Leaders Leadership Coaching Team Development

Leadership Interview: Peter Drake my Leadership Transition Coaching Journey

A leadership transition may at first seem an onerous prospect; however in reality, with the right planning and coaching support, it will 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 2019 I had the privilege of working with Peter Drake. I was supporting him in his transition from General Manager to a Director role at A.P. Moller – Maersk North Europe Liner Operations Centre in Rotterdam. He certainly approached this with commitment and a great deal of enthusiasm. Most of our coaching sessions were conduction via Skype. The exception being one face-to-face session in August.

In this article I ask Peter to share his leadership transition experience and the role that coaching played. I am most grateful to Peter for the thoughtfulness and depth of his replies to my interview questions.

This is the second article in the series. Earlier this year I wrote a similar article about James Wroe’s leadership transition experience, 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.

Categories
General Leadership

An ABC of Leadership and Management (part 2)

N is for nature or nurture

Have you ever heard a midwife say, “Congratulations, you’ve given birth to a leader / manager”?  No!  It suggests leadership is almost entirely nurture than nature? 

Research about the psychology of leadership is extensive, yet still there is no one single model.  David McClelland writes about personalised and socialised power. Sadly, I see far too many personalised powered, autocratic leaders .  Where are the servant leaders that Robert Greenleaf writes about, see https://hbr.org/2015/09/new-managers-need-a-philosophy-about-how-theyll-lead

As our understanding grows about the workings of the human brain, will we see more biological, physical and chemical processes identifed to have causal impact on leadership potential and subsequent practice?  I’m holding my breath regarding any cogent conclusions concerning politicians! 

Many people like putting letters after their names, e,g. honours and educational qualifications.  Perhaps we should limit the choice to the following two options.  As a colleague of my late father remarked of him, “He was the best effing bastard I worked for.”  What are you, an organisational climate bolstering BFB or merely an FB who sucks all life out of the room they’re in?

Categories
General Leadership Self-Insight

Over to you, coach.

As we reach the end of the year, the decade even, the opportunity to blog also presents the opportunity to reflect – and what a year it’s been!

We seem to be ever more at odds in our society, our politics, our lives, with the main casualty seemingly being truth – who knew fake news would be a thing?

And, as I’ve touched on before, we’re further away than ever from the “dream” existence that we’ve been sold.

When the overriding emotions in society seem to be fear, or worse still, hate we’re one heck of a long way from Kansas, Toto. So, what to do?

I guess in most instances, the standard procedure is to mourn the lack of leadership in our society and call for a new type of leader, who can rise above the pettiness, but what if that leader – those leaders – already exist?

Categories
Communicating with Impact General Leadership

Every Story Needs a Teller

Consuming stories is something we are programmed to do as humans. From the first cave paintings, to the Homeric word of mouth tales, to the written word, to recorded media, we can’t get enough of a good yarn. What are the top tips for storytelling?

As I talked about in my last post, stories help us understand the world around us and are a primary mode of communication. We just love stories.

Categories
General Leadership

The Political Leadership Question: Who Governs Britain?

The political leadership question is back on the agenda. This time it’s more important than ever. This time we decide who will govern Great Britain and Northern Ireland for the next five years. Who will resolve Brexit, unite the country and build a prosperous economy for the future.

In June 2019 I published an article Political Leadership Revisited outlining the eleven leadership characteristics with which to judge the political leadership capability of the two candidates who sought to be leader of the Conservative Party. Boris Johnson won that election and succeeded Theresa May as Prime Minister. Who could have predicted just five months later Mr Johnson would find himself in a position where he needed to call a General Election to settle the question of who governs Britain. This is the political leadership question.

The leadership election in June 2019, when Boris Johnson became Prime Minister, was settled by just 160,000 members of his party. In the General Election on 12th December 2019 there will be about 46 million people eligible to vote in 650 parliamentary constituencies. Who will they select to be the new resident of that famous address at 10 Downing Street London SW1? Who will they vote for, and how will they choose their Member of Parliament, the Political Party they will back and who they want as their next Prime Minister? This is a complex subject at a crucial time in our nation’s history. There are a lot of factors to consider. But since my job is write about leadership, I once again offer a set of characteristics by which to judge the political leadership capability of the two candidates seeking to be the next Prime Minister.