For most of us, the most significant critic we have lies within us. It can damage the opportunities we have to be our best and realise our potential. It steals up on us in the most unexpected moments and hauls us back from the greatness within.
As a leader, you are not immune from this, nor should you be. A leadership role is so often isolated by its very nature, and there the demons can fester. As with all human nature, the slight slips of judgement; the decisions that didn’t quite work and the moments of indecision can play upon frayed and tested nerves.
The good news is that this is all good. If the world went perfectly every day, that surely would be a challenge, not least of boredom! The perfect face leaders show up with can so often be faked for effect, leading to the mistrust of those you lead. For they are a human just like you. Your people suffer from the same internal question marks, however robust and confident you see them. So, by being open and honest with them, you begin to build relationships and a safe, developmental place for all. Continue reading
We all know how valuable it is to build rapport and ultimately trust with people. It’s not only a good way to lead (if that’s your role), but it also is just a nice way to be and creates good, lasting relationships.
When we create trusting relationships, we feel fulfilled and occasionally, it brings tangible benefits to both sides as a spin off.
I’m now a leadership trainer and meet with people from all over the world regularly. We often talk about relationship building as a topic. As if it is a one-off activity we learn and do. Of course, that isn’t true, but it is (and I say this in severe hindsight from my role as a manager over 25 years) a valuable activity to develop and there are some easy tactics you can try out. Continue reading
As a leadership trainer, I am always conscious that I often learn from the participants in the groups that I work with. I was working with a group of first-time leaders recently, when a much better understanding of challenges they suffer when managing their time, came to the fore.
The session was all about delegation. It’s a topic I’ve trained in many times and as we were debating why delegation is so difficult, one of the participants raised the issue of ‘perfection’. They were very busy, they told me and that was because they were continually checking that their team members were delivering to their own exacting standards.
“I want what they do to be perfect,” she said.
In the ensuing conversation across the group, we came to debate the value of ‘perfect’ and it was clear that delivering anything less than this, as the accountable manager, was a big concern for many of them.
“But what is ‘perfect’?” I asked them.
“As good as me.” Came the reply. Continue reading
With 25% of all prescription drugs provided to patients used for psychotherapy; more than 11% of all occupational disease claims related to stress (and rising); and 42% of all absence citing stress as the major cause, workplace tensions have never been worse.
Pressure on business success, especially to meet the demands of stockholders, seems to translate itself all the way down the hierarchical chain to the many at the sharp end. Managers are shifting their pressures as quickly as they can, understandably. as their pressures are no less.
Characterized by symptoms such as:- irritability with others; fear; lack of hope and pessimism in general; lack of interest; lack of self-esteem, boredom; feelings of failure; frustration; anger, to name but a few, more employees are taking the time out today, for longer, than ever before, with paid absence as their support structure.
This stress, of course, goes all the way home at the end of the day, putting a greater strain on all the relationships at home, more than ever before.
We spend our lives being who we have become over the years.
Far from being the true character that lies beneath each and everyone of us, we are overlaid with the experiences we have had.
From the very earliest days where we have our parents, wishing us well each and every day, in their own way, they share with us and embody in us all the ways they have become.
It’s not their fault, it’s just the way they are, doing their best and infusing us with who they are. Good and bad. In fact there’s evidence to show that what they share with you, is what their parents shared with them and for generations before. And you’re the next in the cycle, maybe.
Relationship building is the most important activity for all management and supervisory roles.
Without having your people with you, in full rapport with you, it is likely to be an uphill struggle for you to lead a team effectively. And to be at that level of relationship with them, you have to work towards their trust steadily, consistently.
There are a number of tactics that you can adopt in order to make the most of working with your people and one of the best if by getting to know them really well. By spending time with them and understanding them better.
One of the best ways to get to know your people is to make sure that you get into regular and light conversations with them. It’s all about having the ability to talk and listen to almost anything they might have to say, with an emphasis on what turns them on, and less on you.
You start off alone. Be it as a solo business owner or a manager looking after a part of a larger business. It gets busier, you get distracted from what you want to do, because there’s only one of you and you’ve only got one pair of hands.
So you need to find help.Sometimes you need to find help fast, but there are things you can do to prepare.If you think ahead and plan, many of those nightmare situations can be overcome.
By ensuring that you have a great group of people around you, there will be more to fall back on when the going gets tough – because that, as they say, when the tough really do get going.
Big challenges can be very difficult to face – and they can be fascinating and exhilarating. So here’s some thoughts on how to make the best of these times, by getting ready in advance and making it work.
1. Plan Ahead
Look out for what you might need in the future and plan to make business life far, far easier for yourself. Decide what your business will be when it’s the best it can be and focus on getting to there. think then about whether the resources are within or outside your business, which will depend on the size of it.
We all have weaknesses. Whatever our roles.
In management positions, one of the bigger challenges is to recognise our own shortcomings and alter our own behaviours. And sometimes this can be very challenging.
Often, a hint is that there are areas of your work where you feel like you really struggle, or are things you avoid. Or are things that you don’t enjoy doing. So you do other things that you do like and leave gaps. Spaces in your attention that are important, but get missed.
You are not alone, your gaps are natural, because no-one is perfect, not even those at the very top of their game.
You see, the very best executives realise that they aren’t completely rounded. The ones who have wonderful strategic visions may not be the best with the purse strings. The ones who have a very focused view of the operational standards of their business, may well not see the possibilities.
The business world is littered with big-time bosses that missed a trick or two. You may have worked with one or two!
Management can be a lonely role.
Because of the nature of the job, it is critical to be dissociated from those in your team, yet vital to be as close to them as you can, which is quite an oxymoron.
Being close to people is to have a level of rapport with them such that you are trusted; have a gateway to communicate openly and as a result of that, a motivation and commitment between you to get the very best results.
Being ‘dissociated’ from them is to be respected as their leader and that when the chips are down, what you says goes. Continue reading
There is a huge value in accepting help in your business, to build your own capacity as well as growing your team too.
And often, when we are given a compliment, or someone says ‘Thank you’, we feel it is polite to gently decline. We say things like ‘It’s nothing’ or ‘No, no – it was all you’. Continue reading