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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Signpost

Self-motivation and wellness for your people

Failing to focus on employee wellbeing can cost your business dearly:

  • Average 15% to 20% of total payroll is lost in voluntary turnover due to burnout
  • $20 million lost opportunity cost for every 10,000 struggling or suffering employees
  • $322 billion global loss of turnover and productivity due to employee burnout

Source: Gallup

It has been shown that how you engage employees has a powerful influence on their wellbeing.

When you make an emotional connection with them, you will get to know them and understand what motivates them. Then you can create the correct climate for them to thrive – one that’s linked to their values and purpose. That way, they can be themselves, minimise their stress levels, and are more likely to do their best work.

This builds on my recent articles Skills and mindset for the future world of work and How is your self-motivation and wellness?

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Happiness

How is your self-motivation and wellness?

As the pandemic becomes endemic, self-motivation and wellness has emerged as a key leadership trend for 2022 – for us as individuals, and as leaders. This topic is linked to last month’s article: Skills and mindset for the future world of work.

For this month, we focus on what you can do about your own self-motivation and wellness. Next month, we’ll revisit the topic through the lens of a leader.

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Skills and mindset for the future world of work

Skills and mindset for the future world of work

What skills and mindset will you and your people need for the future world of work?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is likely to replace many basic cognitive skills, while the need for other skills will grow, such as those relating to technology, social and emotional intelligence, and higher cognitive abilities – this is what separates us from the robots.

McKinsey did a survey last year to explore this topic. They studied 18,000 people in 15 countries to help governments around the world identify what skills would ensure their citizens become employable, and remain that way.

This article covers what you can learn from their findings so you know what to focus on, both for you as an individual and as the leader of a team or organisation.

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Face your flaws

Face your flaws so you don’t fail

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.

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Aging well

Aging well

AgeWith 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.

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Procrastination

Addressing procrastination

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

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Escaping mindtraps

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.

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Self limiting beliefs

Self-limiting beliefs and how to turn them off

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.”
Henry Ford

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Meaningful conversations

Meaningful conversations

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.

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