Uncharted territory

How to lead ‘extreme’ teams

In today’s world, many leaders need to address complex, multi-boundary challenges at scale. To meet this need, you’ll have to develop your leadership mindset and skills, especially your ability to lead ‘extreme’ teams into uncharted territory (as the image suggests).

Much of the content of this month’s article was inspired by the book: Extreme Teaming: Lessons in complex cross-sector leadership by Amy C Edmondson and Jean-Francois Harvey.

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People pleasing

How to stop being a people-pleaser

We all need to feel loved and accepted, however, this is exaggerated in someone who’s a people-pleaser, and they may avoid circumstances that cause them to feel conflict with others. Because they’re worried about being rejected, they generally seek approval to reassure themselves.

This isn’t the most constructive way to be, so this month’s article is about people-pleasing and how to escape it.

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The power of diversity in teams

The power of diversity in teams

When you face a challenge in your organisation, you shouldn’t always stick with the same peer group, or even the same peer group + direct reports, to address it.

It’s best to use a diverse pool of people from across the organisation, and maybe from outside the organisation. This will help challenge the prevailing understanding, mindset and beliefs, and is likely to result in increased creativity.

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Emotions

How to deal with emotionally immature people

How do you cope if your boss, colleague, client or other stakeholder is emotionally immature? These are individuals who can be successful on the outside; they are smart and capable, but they have not developed emotionally. This makes them very tricky to deal with, and even harder to build a working relationship with!

This article explores their likely traits, and ideas for how you can respond.

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Transitions

Dealing with life transitions

I have recently experienced some significant changes in my life. This made me think about transitions and how to handle them.

Any kind of transition can lead to uncomfortable feelings, and it may take time to work through them. The extent of the emotion you feel is linked to the level of loss. However, it’s not all bad, as transitions can also be opportunities for growth and reshaping of your relationships.

We can’t escape things ending and new things beginning. It’s all part of life. In this article, you’ll discover four main types of life transition described by Sharan Merriam (Professor of Adult Education, University of Georgia), and get some ideas about how to deal with them.

When you understand what type of transition you’re facing, it may help you through the process.

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Back to school

Getting ready for the final part of the year

After the summer break, you might be experiencing that ‘back to school’ feeling. Schools get back into a new rhythm, so how about us? As team members return from their summer break and work routines return, it can be a good time to take stock and consider what you want to focus on for the remainder of the year.

September is a good time to get organised for the rest of 2022. I’ve therefore collated some ideas, thoughts and tips to help you.

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Butterflies

How to make anxiety your friend

Anxiety is something we’ve all experienced to a greater or lesser extent. Through the pandemic, it’s probably touched everyone.

This article contains advice on how to deal with anxiety on both a practical and a mindset level.

Disclaimer: I’m talking here about general feelings of anxiety. This is different to having an anxiety disorder, which is outside the scope of this article.

“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was ending, he turned into a butterfly.”`
Anonymous

 

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Cogs

Team Charters: Are they still worthwhile?

What’s your experience of Team Charters? Is it a document that’s rarely or never referred to? Or is it a useful guide to improve team spirit and work efficiency?

In today’s work environment, teams are often more fluid than before, maybe forming for a shorter time and with team members coming and going. Creating a Team Charter might therefore seem old-fashioned, overly bureaucratic and a waste of time. However, in my view, Team Charters are worthwhile because they create clarity so that people know what’s expected – that’s still important today.

When I meet teams who skip this step because of their more temporary nature (or because the Team Leader thinks it’s not necessary), team members tell me they are confused. They don’t want to ‘tread on people’s toes’, they don’t know what their accountability is, and they are frustrated because people work in silos and/or decisions aren’t made.

This article explores best practice around Team Charters, whether you’re a more recognisable, stable team or one that is more fluid – both have moving cogs that need to work together smoothly to create value.

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Attachment

The science of attachment and its effect on relationships

This month’s article is inspired by the book Attached: The new science of adult attachment and how it can help you find – and keep – love.

This topic might seem as though it’s not strictly work-related because it deals with romantic relationships. However, as well as giving you insights that might be useful for your personal life, it also covers behaviours you might recognise from the work setting.

When you have someone you attach to, they become the anchor on which you can build your life. You can be vulnerable with them. Without attachment, you only have yourself to rely on – this might seem the safer option, but it may also mean you miss out having someone to lean on and share life with – the joy, the sadness and the journey.

This analogy could also be stretched somewhat, to apply at work – relying on colleagues helps you learn, feel good and create something better than if you went alone (as an old African proverb offers: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”).

When you understand the traits you see in yourself and your colleagues, you will have more compassion for yourself and others, and can adapt the way you work so that you, and they, feel more secure and can thrive.

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Quiet leadership

Quiet leadership

When thinking of classic ‘great leaders’, many people would define them as confident extraverts who bring a lot of energy into a room, articulate their ideas, and can rapidly change tack because they generate new ideas while they’re talking. However, many successful leaders are/were introverts, such as Rosa Parks, Mahatma Gandhi and Bill Gates.

Rather than just value this one-size-fits-all style of leadership, it’s important to appreciate diversity in style, so let’s explore the qualities of a quieter, more considered approach.

Note that the traits discussed in this article are not exclusive to introverts. Extraverts can harness these qualities too, so it’s useful for all of us to be aware of them.

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