In the short time since I last submitted a blog it seems the world has taken another step along the path to crazy. The scandals of Weinstein, Westminster, and Spacey et al say nothing good about the world in which we live…
In my youngsters days, at some point, I felt uncomfortable when someone told me one of these phrases, and even though I’ve learned how to act upon them, these for me are the top 5 things no one enjoys listening to and I want to share them with you. I’m pretty sure you will even agree with me on the reasons why.
My Grandmother, may she rest in peace, had a saying: “If everybody liked the same thing, everybody would have fancied your Grandad!”
I mention this only because I’m struck by the continuing belief that in order to be a great leader you must treat all your people the same – and a fear that if you don’t you’ll be castigated in the name of equality.
This was brought sharply into focus for me recently whilst watching a training session where the group was asked if it was ever acceptable to discriminate in the workplace. After a slightly awkward silence the group responded dutifully that it was not – only to be told by (the fantastic) Chrissi McCarthy, of Constructing Equality, who was leading the session that, not only is it okay, but that they’re already doing it…
The shock was palpable…clearly this was some kind of mistake. This was a group of seasoned professionals with many years’ experience and a great deal of success under their belts. We wouldn’t – we couldn’t – possibly discriminate…except that we do. As professionals we are paid to make discernements and differentiations all the time.
I started working with the Top Team at Maersk Line East China Cluster (PRE) in Shanghai when I visited them in April 2011 to kick off the Coaching Master Class program. Cynthia Li was Customer Service General Manager and starting out on her coaching journey.
Here she reflects on that five year journey. In 2013 Cynthia was promoted and moved from Customer Service to sales as Key Client General Sales Manager. In 2016 Cynthia jumped ship (pun intended) and joined Swire Shipping in Shanghai as Head of Commercial for mainland China and Hong Kong. What has Cynthia learned from her broad experience as a senior leader in the shipping industry? What can we learn from her coaching journey?
We live in a society where being introvert – or ‘quiet’ – is often labelled as a limitation. After many years of working with teams, I have reached to the conclusion that this statement is so far from being true. What most people fail to acknowledge is that every team need their fair share of ‘quiet’ players. These are the ones that think and follow an introspection process before reacting. This virtue is so crucial in the planning part prior to executing. Quiet teachers that allow students to express and pay attention to their needs instead of following a standard ‘one size fits all’ script. These are the true ambassadors of the ‘do more and talk less’ principle so commonly found in over achievers. In most recent times, I have had the opportunity to learn from a few outstanding ‘quiet ones’.