Imagine you’re at the start of your career and you make a big mistake in your first role. You will probably lose your job.
Now imagine you’re the CEO of a large organisation and you make a big mistake. Chances are, everyone loses their job.
When you’re a leader, your actions have high impact. There can be a lot at stake when things go wrong.
Having said that, we’re all human. We all have our own strengths and flaws. By raising our awareness and working on ourselves, we can make a choice about how we want to show up in the organisation, and optimise our positive impact.
This newsletter explores how flaws are made, three common flaws, and how to address them. It’s just one way of looking at this topic, and I hope it gives you food for thought.
With advances in medicine and technology, we are typically living longer than we did 100 years ago. Even as recently as 1960, the average life expectancy in the UK was 71; today it is 81. That’s a lot of life to live and make the most of, and around half of those years may involve being in work.
When we reach our 50s and 60s, we might have made some choices about the work we do. We may be considering retirement, or planning for it. We still have a lot of energy, but also have wisdom and maturity. We may be more comfortable in our skin than we were in our 20s and 30s. Any children may have left home, and we may be more financially stable, giving us more freedom.
I have a lot of clients in this age group. Some are wondering if they want to ‘keep playing the game’, particularly if they are going through yet another round of reorganisation. Yet, those who can afford to give up work might not want to. They still want to use their brain, play a part in society and be part of social networks – work is one way of doing this (and our identity is often closely linked to our work).
“Age only matters if you are a cheese”
We can’t prevent aging, so how do we age well? This article looks at how to make the most of the age we are and the body we’re in.
Do you find yourself reluctant to get started on certain things? Do you regularly miss deadlines? Or work long hours because you waste too much time?
This month, we look at what procrastination is, analysing why we do it and what we can do about it. If procrastinating affects your productivity, it’s worth thinking about. But procrastination isn’t always bad, so we also explore the benefits.
Procrastination: the action of delaying or postponing something
This month, I share what you can learn from the book Unlocking Leadership Mindtraps: How to thrive in Complexity by Jennifer Garvey Berger, which has attracted some impressive reviews.
Jennifer points out that, whilst we’re living in a VUCA world, our instincts are wired for a time when things were more predictable. Jennifer posits these instincts now mislead and “trap” us – her book describes each trap (mindtraps), with key questions to help you identify them and habits to develop that will help reduce the impact.
In my coaching work, I see leaders falling into these mindtraps all the time, so Jennifer’s ideas make sense to me. They help you connect with yourself at a deeper level so you can understand the effect of complexity on you, and show how you can flourish rather than just trying to survive. They apply in life as well as at work.
I’ve added my own commentary alongside the author’s ideas.
This article builds on last month’s topic of Meaningful conversations.
When you build relationships and interact with people – whether at work or in your personal life – you will often find others react differently to you in a situation you both face.
In that case, it is likely that the other person is having an emotional trigger that may have started in childhood. When these triggers manifest in ways that appear to be unhelpful or disproportionate, it is likely you are seeing a self-limiting belief in action.
This may also apply to you. Do you ever find you react differently to others, or hold yourself back because you don’t believe something is possible?
Self-limiting beliefs are a problem because they limit our potential to flourish in life. We also risk passing our unhelpful thoughts on to others, including our children (the opposite risk is that other people recognise reject our unhelpful thought patterns but then swing too far the other way).
This month’s article explores this topic. As usual, my advice includes a blend of theory and practical.
“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right.”
After 15 months of living with the pandemic, we’re getting tired of being in front of a computer screen all the time. We’re not working fewer hours, but we are becoming less engaged – particularly on an emotional/heart/relationship level. You may not have seen your colleagues for months – particularly if you lead or are part of a globally dispersed team or if you haven’t had any working-from-office days. It’s so long since we’ve had social interaction that conversations have typically become more transactional, just so we can get them over with.
Technology doesn’t lend itself to meaningful conversations in the way face-to-face connection does. That’s why this article focuses on how we can have conversations that deepen relationships and are more productive and fulfilling, even online.
Many of us are still mostly working from home. Even when lockdown lifts, it’s likely that we’ll move to a hybrid model comprising both home working and office working. (I wrote about this last month: The new model of office working.)
Many people working remotely are getting tired of back-to-back video calls. This means it can be hard to keep their attention during your online meetings. One answer is to include audience participation activities that help to bond the team and reinforce your desired outcome.
When running face-to-face meetings, I always have a few energisers up my sleeve to use when I feel energy levels start to dip. Online, this is even more important.
For this article, I’ve teamed up with Jackie Barrie, the author of Experiential Speaking: Engaging icebreakers, energisers and games. She’s currently working on a new book explaining how to keep people engaged online, and is kindly giving us a preview of some of the content below.
I hope you’ll find at least one idea you can try with your team, and look forward to hearing how you get on.
I don’t like the expression “new normal“ – maybe I’ve heard it so many times that I’m bored of it! But we do need to consider what the new model could look like for the way we work once all the lockdowns are lifted, worldwide.
What is clear to me from recent conversations with clients is that things won’t go back to the way they were before the pandemic. This has major implications for leaders in terms of office arrangements, use of space, and ensuring the culture enables employees to flourish and embrace innovation.
While some technology companies may claim that they are moving to a permanent working from home situation, the reality is that a hybrid model where you blend home and office working is likely to be the best way forward.
This article looks at some of the areas leaders need to focus on.
A 2015 study found that a ‘superstar’ employee (defined as the top 1% in productivity terms) adds about $5,000 per year to the bottom-line but a single toxic team member loses the business about $12,000 per year.
So one ‘bad apple’ costs you more than two superstars, especially when you include the potential spread of toxicity, lower morale, upset customers and even legal fees.
The research* was done by Dylan Minor (assistant professor at Harvard Business School) and Michael Housman (Chief Analytics Officer at Cornerstone OnDemand). They studied nearly 60,000 workers in 11 firms across various industries.
* Download PDF: Toxic Workers (Harvard Business School, 2015)
This article looks at the definition of a toxic employee, and suggests what you can do about it.
This month, we look at the various types of culture that your organisation might exhibit, and invite you to explore a commitment culture. This was first written about before ‘agile working’ was valued, and has many similar characteristics.