Categories
General Leadership Managing Available Resources The Role of a Leader – Performance & Engagement

Listening Leadership: Getting Down on the Shop Floor

There seems to be no shortage of books, articles, advice and wisdom on leadership styles and the characteristics of good leaders. Yet it seems that one small, but valuable, behaviour is often missing – or at best limited in practise. Particularly during organisational change and development. Getting down on the shop floor.

In using an analogy : when our son was small he often demanded that at playtime we, his family, ‘get down on the floor’ and join him on the family-room carpet in whatever he was playing with at that moment: making castles from wooden bricks, building Lego or Brio trains or simply drawing… 

Of course a small child’s world operates at that level and that we, as grown-ups, in encouraging play, fun and learning engaged with our son in his world, at his level.

Is there a parallel to ‘getting down on the floor’ with staff in the workplace? From experiences over the years it seems there is. Its getting down on the shop floor!

Categories
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)?

Categories
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 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
Coaching for Performance Every Leader a Coach Leader of Others Leadership Coaching The Role of a Leader – Performance & Engagement

Engaging with feedback

In our team we will soon receive our annual employee engagement survey results. This a regular exercise in many companies and one that sheds light on dynamics of team performance, culture and wellbeing.

It is however only providing a snapshot. A moment in time with limited scope for understanding nuance, personal differences and context. The feedback is highly important and the initial response rate also provides an interesting insight, yet this data must be used as part of a wider approach to engagement if we are to truly create aligned & high performing organisations.

Categories
Leader of Leaders Nurture and Grow The Role of a Leader – Performance & Engagement

Stop washing fish!

Your engagement strategy isn’t working…I don’t know what that strategy is, I just know it isn’t working!

Don’t take my word for it though. Google it.

The numbers vary depending on which article you read but the headlines are fairly similar – about 70% of the UK workforce feel disengaged, which is costing UK Plc about £70 billion a year.

If the number of disengaged employees is that high, then it’s not difficult to imagine that some of those people are in your business, or your office.

Let’s be honest, if I gave you a piece of paper you could name them.

Categories
Change Leadership General Leadership

Moving on

Many of the best things about growing older are based around the friendships we accumulate along the way. Good friends we know we can rely upon. Who we can turn to at short notice. And who always make us feel happy, comfortable and warm. Losing an old friend like that is always a shock – even if, as in this case, it is merely a much loved old jacket.

Categories
Nurture and Grow Planning and Preparation Prepare the Ground Self-Insight Sow the Seed

5 Steps Closer to your Goal.

These 5 steps will help you:

  • Unroll the steps to your goal
  • know when are you moving closer to your goal
  • know if you are on the right path

I often listen people saying that they have tried over and over again to reach their goals and when they feel certain that “this time I will make it”, something happens and they go right back to point cero, leaving them with disappointment and with the “final” decision of never trying ever again.

As Einstein said: “Crazy is doing the same things the same way, yet expecting a different outcome”, so I guess there are a lot of craziness going on resulting in sad and frustrated people. Allow me to share with you what I believe will be the steps to end all madness and bring serenity, structure and most importantly, meeting your goal once and for all.

Before we get started, just please keep in mind that it doesn’t matter how many strategies, list, steps, etc. comes your way if you don’t make the serious and conscious decision to get stick to it and really do it!

Categories
Change Leadership General Leadership Leadership Influencing

What if Greta is correct?

Acres of hardcopy material and megabytes of softcopy content have been written about Greta Thunberg.  This 16-year old Swedish girl started the Friday school strike phenomenon to protest against what she regards as government and corporate inaction to combat climate change.  An article in the Sunday Times on August 18th suggested she is being manipulated by others taking advantage of her Asperger’s syndrome, see https://www.thetimes.co.uk/past-six-days/2019-08-18/news-review/greta-thunberg-and-the-plot-to-forge-a-climate-warrior-9blhz9mjv

Putting that aside, however, what if Greta is right and our planet is standing Tom Daly-like on its tiptoes on the edge of a very high diving board and could all too easily plummet into some catastrophic climatic cauldron?  As coaches, mentors, managers or leaders, are we providing destabilising counsel that cumulatively will increase the likelihood of that fall occurring?  Or, are we exerting enough influence upon those we work with to cause them to start to think differently or, cliché warning, to think outside the box?

Categories
Building Positive Working Relationships Communicating with Impact Leadership Influencing Managing Available Resources Self-Insight

How to Communicate

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a “how to”-style article and I thought it might be helpful to have a quick look at some tools that can help with one of the most challenging part of anyone’s job. The title is of course tongue in cheek but there are small things we can do that will make a transformative difference. Things no one told Phil Davison in the video above. Don’t be Phil.

It’s funny, as sophisticated communication is the one gift humans have that surges us far beyond all other intelligent life; yet it is the cause of so much confusion and uncertainty in both our professional and personal lives.

As an actor, I love communication. Like anyone, I don’t always get it right but when I was 17, performing in a Shakespeare lead for the first time at school, I discovered that the relationship between me and the audience was one I inherently understood. I felt powerful in that space. I had found where I belonged. My journey to Coach has been a long and winding one (politics degree, actor training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, professional actor, professional theatre director, coach, business leader) and I am passionate about sharing the thrill I felt as that 17 year old with others. I hope I can help them, if not love the dynamic created when speaking to an audience, to at least approach it without fear or trepidation.

So here are 10 perspectives on successful communication. Where I’ve italicised I am referring to a skill or technique to implement.