Lent Leadership Lament: Top 5 things to give up for Lent

What are the negative leadership traits you will give up for Lent? Maybe the ‘luxuries’ of error, laziness and omission. I’ve found five, inspired by recent articles by Guest Authors on this Blog. What are your top 5?

Today is Shrove Tuesday. It is the traditional feast day before the start of Lent. Lent is the 40 days leading up to Easter. This was traditionally a period of fasting and on Shrove Tuesday, Anglo-Saxon Christians went to confession and were ‘Shriven’ (absolved from their sins). Lent is also a time when people commit to giving up certain luxuries – hence the question “What are you giving up for Lent?” As you can see, I know today’s feast day as ‘Pancake Day’. And my plan is to give up pancakes for a year – until Shrove Tuesday comes around again in 2021.

Once again I have to remind myself this is a leadership blog, not a culinary one. So what can leaders give up for Lent? Maybe the ‘luxuries’ of error, laziness and omission. For inspiration I looked back at recent articles from our merry band of Guest Authors and came up with five negative traits leaders might consider giving up for Lent.

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Moving on

Letting go of the familiar is not like getting rid of memories. Memories will always be there. People often believe that ‘hanging on in there’ is a sign of great strength. But sometimes, isn’t it better to know when to let go – and then get on and do it?

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.

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Active Leadership Onboarding

Here are six key factors to ensure a new colleague’s successful leadership transition. Taking an active approach to onboarding improves the chances of them being successful sooner, and reduces the downside risks.

Selecting and hiring a new team member frequently brings me a sense of completion and excitement at having a new colleague to work with. It is the end of a long search having found someone who will make our team better, who will improve our organisation and take us to new places. Now they will need your help and support with their leadership transition.

At the same time, it is also the very start of a long process of adjustment. One that from personal experience tends to be neglected and left to the new joiner to figure out. Not only is the new team member going through a transition to a new role with much to learn, so are their peers who are adapting to a new colleague. If they are a leader, their direct reports all now have a new manager to understand. New vendors or customers to work with. There may be country changes to manage on an international move, also leading to changes at home for any family. Even within the same company, office cultures can differ significantly. Leaving a new employee to work this out alone – whether new to the company or an internal mover – leaves far too much to chance.

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Work hard, work harder

The leadership demands on people transitioning into senior roles are considerable. Resilience and stakeholder management are often key to a successful transition.

Moving into Leadership

I’ve been working with a lot of professional services firms recently and have been struck by the leadership demands being made on people transitioning into very senior roles. Particularly those making partner.

The step up to partner is a huge one and the pressure people are under is immense.

Getting to partner means you’ve been a superstar on your way up. When you get there, however, you move from being at the top of the tree, to being back at the bottom. Like the new kid at big school, you are now having to fight for yourself as the buck now quite literally stops with you.

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