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.
The case for sticky coaching
Many businesses expect to increase their spending on coaching in the coming years, both on external coaches and on developing their own internal coaches. It’s no surprise then to find that conversations are increasingly turning to how we can make sure that coach training, whether as a formal, ‘pre-contracted’ activity or as a more ad hoc approach to unlocking potential and improving performance, ‘sticks’. At NG Bailey we’re no different. Over recent years we’ve taken four steps that are starting to make a real difference in our quest for sticky coaching; I’d like to share them with you.
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.
Have you ever heard or met “a Master in resolving conflicts”? No. Well, you might be one yourself.
We are all Master of something
Like in every other aspect in life we can become experts in any field, by doing something right for a long time, changing your wrongs into rights to a point where you can give advice, create awareness, provide recommendations, or even give instructions on subjects that we master.
When it comes to conflicts, especially in the working environment, a leader should not become a Master in resolving those conflicts but rather a Master in avoiding, stopping, reducing the possibilities for such conflicts to occur.
Now, please don’t get me wrong, they will always be conflicts but in the same way a leader is prepared to resolve them his concern should be creating a team environment where conflicts are less.
I had leaders who created conflicts and that is even worse. They say it allowed different ideas to be known and keeps team on their feet. In my opinion that could not be further away from the truth, such leaders are only creating several momentums that will unavoidable end up in good valuable members of the team to leave and restrain new eligible ones to join.
A serious disagreement or argument if not handled on time, can linger to the point that it blocks creativity, participation and obviously there goes teamwork through the window. For me the biggest and most important part of resolving any conflict is not in how good communicator you are as how great listener you are.
When you really listen others is when the magic starts. The conflict might not be generated by what is being said but by what is not being said and in that case, if you are not paying attention you will always face the same issue no matter how well you think you handled it.
Listening will also allow you to find the root cause and eliminate it once and for all making you a real Master in resolving conflicts.
My first challenge took me to a realization that marked a huge difference for me as a Leadership Coach.
We last checked in with Hans Augusteijn on the progress of his personal coaching journey back in 2016. A lot has happened with him since then in terms of career progression and taking on bigger and more global leadership challenges. In 2017 Hans was promoted to Global Head of Intermodal Transport for Maersk Transport and Logistics Division. And recently this year he became Global Head of Delivery.
I went back to three key questions I asked Hans in my 2016 interview to find out where he is now on his continuing coaching journey.
With the end of the year approaching fast, I’m sure I’m not alone in taking a moment to reflect on the past 12 months and what it’s meant to me both personally and professionally.
Don’t worry, this isn’t one of those terrible articles titled “10 things you need to do to be a success in 2019” but I did want to share something that’s helped me, with the hope that it will help you too.
By way of context, 2018 has been a challenge. I work in a traditional industry, that faces a severe skills shortage and, if I’m honest, a distinct lack of imagination about how to solve it.
My own organisation is not without its frustrations, and our own attempts to be creative and innovative in the way that we approach the development of our people – I’m Head of Learning – can often feel like they just aren’t impacting quickly enough. It always feels like we should be doing more.
And on a personal note, earlier in the year my mum was diagnosed, quite unexpectedly, with an aggressive form of brain cancer. After a short illness she passed away in May.
As the year continued I think it’s fair to say that all the above started to take a toll. I began to “leak” as a result of my frustrations.
So, what to do? Well, as someone fortunate enough to have both a coach and a mentor, I thought I should practice what I preach and look for some support.
On July 12th, the FT published an article headlined “The UK’s productivity problem: the curse of the ‘accidental manager”, you can find it here – https://www.ft.com/content/b96ce8f2-5dd9-11e8-ad91-e01af256df68.
Are pork pies good for you?
It is somewhat disquieting to read that the “Peter principle”, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_principle, continues to thrive in UK business. Our poor productivity performance arises because too many people gain promotion into managerial roles beyond their level of natural competence. However, in the firm featured in the FT article performance is improving.
It strikes me, however, that simply hanging up figures of Superman (is this unconscious bias by the firm’s leaders?), and doling out pork pies are rather superficial practices. The only likely outcome of this epicurean approach is hardened arteries.
The firm’s performance growth is due to its managers doing something much more profound, i.e. the way they “serve” their employees, see Robert Greenleaf’s Servant Leadership, https://www.amazon.co.uk/Power-Servant-Leadership-Robert-K-Greenleaf/dp/1576750353/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1531821205&sr=8-3&keywords=robert+greenleaf.
At the simplest level, they should be talking to their employees as equal partners striving for success. When this is achieved, I hope they’re rewarded with more than cholesterol laden pies!
“In order to prove to yourself what you are capable of doing, you need to step out your comfort zone, otherwise you are limiting yourself and you will never grow”, sounds familiar?.
You automatically push success away when you don’t believe in your capabilities and abilities. If your mind doubts your actions will not follow and you will not get the expected results, as simple as that.